Question Buy Advice PC Build - Mostly Just for Online Streaming

Muckster

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A couple years back I bought an Intel NUC (NUC6CAYS) along with an 8GB memory kit. I got this for streaming online shows on a 49" TV which I run at 3840x2160. The biggest incentive was that it came with Windows so I wouldn't have to buy it separately.

Unfortunately, it just isn't keeping up as smoothly as I'd like. For those who use Netflix, you know when you first log on there's usually a video running to advertise a new show. Well, too often, just that video loading slows my performance such that I have to wait for it to get rolling before I can bypass it and pick what I want to watch. During this time, my mouse arrow is slow or is stuttering, but once I actually pick a show and watch it, the streaming is good, although sometimes it seems to take a too long to "back up 10 seconds". I use a wireless combination mouse/keyboard so this might be more an issue about USB ports and the NUC, but I really think the overall problem is just processing speed. That's really my first question. Is this NUC (with 8GB mem) good enough for smooth hassle free steaming? Is this simply a case of me no buying a powerful enough PC for the task?

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/boards-kits/nuc/mini-pcs/nuc6cays.html

Which leads me to my actual question which is.. what's that cheapest way to build a PC that can be used for streaming and loading web pages absolutely smoothly? (Win 10) A smaller case would be nice, especially one that's designed for a horizontal resting postion, rather than a vertical tower of some sort.

The only caveat is that my wife likes to play Sims 3 with a bunch of expansion packs. This game was released in 2010 but hangs regularly on the NUC.
 
Use https://pcpartpicker.com/ it usually finds the best deals on all the parts you need. If you are just going to use this as a streaming/browsing and light gaming PC then most likely a Ryzen 2400G setup would be more then enough to run Sims 3, and you could always add a lower power GPU (if you have the space in the case) later on if it isnt.

Most of the ultra small cases require ITX motherboards which are more expensive then a mATX ones, which do have some quite albeit not as small as ITX cases.

I would wait until after AMD announces there next line of Ryzens (SHould be at the end of this month), it should at the very least put some of the 2000 series CPUs on sale and who knows they may have even a more power iGPU
 
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punkncat

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I would not suggest one of the Athlon chips for a "decent" streaming machine at that resolution. Would probably move up to the R5 with integrated if I were going to go that way and expect some future proofing.

Honestly, for that use case, get another NUC with an icore chip, an M.2 and decent memory. Should be good for another couple years.
 
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Muckster

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Thanks guys. I really appreciate that feedback.

I"m still mulling these suggestions over and may have a few questions once I get my ducks in a row...

For now, can I get a confirmation that indeed the NUC I currently have is a little bit under powered for totally smooth streaming? Or is it possible this is really an issues with the wireless mouse/keyboard and/or wifi access?
 

Muckster

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Honestly, for that use case, get another NUC with an icore chip, an M.2 and decent memory. Should be good for another couple years.
PunkCat,

So.. being this is just for streaming and a 9 year old game, I'm confused as to why such a build would only be good for 2 years, keeping everything the same, including the TV and resolution. Unless streaming standards change or Win 10 upgrades to some kind of memory CPU eating beast.... what would be the reason to think something that works well today would be slow in a couple years?
 

punkncat

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PunkCat,

So.. being this is just for streaming and a 9 year old game, I'm confused as to why such a build would only be good for 2 years, keeping everything the same, including the TV and resolution. Unless streaming standards change or Win 10 upgrades to some kind of memory CPU eating beast.... what would be the reason to think something that works well today would be slow in a couple years?
Didn't specifically mean 2 years...just in a general sense.
 

Muckster

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Didn't specifically mean 2 years...just in a general sense.
Yeah yeah, I knew you didn't mean a specific time... but my point is, even say, 8 years from now... so long as the hardware doesn't fail, wouldn't it work just as well for streaming? Or is there some other factor like OS bloat or a change in streaming that would somehow make the hardware not good enough? See what I mean?
 

punkncat

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My thoughts would be that if you can remove/replace the Celeron processor that is in your current NUC with a core, and add an m.2 (if not already) I think you would see it being well up to the current task.

I have no hands on experience with them, but a good friend of mine is all about using them and has several in his home which I have "messed with". Very impressive for what they are.
 

Muckster

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My thoughts would be that if you can remove/replace the Celeron processor that is in your current NUC with a core, and add an m.2 (if not already) I think you would see it being well up to the current task.

I have no hands on experience with them, but a good friend of mine is all about using them and has several in his home which I have "messed with". Very impressive for what they are.
Thanks again for all the replies.

I'm still confused why a PC that's good for streaming today might not be in 2 or more years down the road.
But, moving on... first, are we saying that yes, the problem is my current NUC just isn't powerful enough to give me smooth streaming performance? Can I safely identify that as the problem rather than some issue with the wifi or keyboard? Answering this question really is the whole point of my post here.

If so, then it sounds like you are suggesting I replace the CPU with a faster one and along with it the form factor so that I can support faster SSD, then my NUC will be faster and I'll have smoother performance. Right? I'll look into this. It sounds like a more involved hardware upgrade than just swapping out components and I'm a little concerned the Win 10 that came with my NUC is OEM and tied to the original core components.
 

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