Build Advice Help me build a mini pc for Data Science

Dec 7, 2019
I'm looking to build a new quiet (silnce and power efficiency are very important to me) mini-pc desktop for learning Data Science and doing side projects at home (i.e competitions).

The reason I'm going for a mini-pc is: I don't need portability, so laptop is not an option. Normal power supplies are very noisy and power hungry, thus I'm searching for something with a low voltage external power brick, and lastly, I don't game nor use CUDA, so I don't need a GPU either.

That leaves me with 2 options:

  1. Build an Intel NUC
  2. Build a mini-itx system inside an Antec ISK-110 case, which comes with a 90w PSU
I can get the NUC in 3 options:
A. i3-8109U processor (3.0 GHz - 3.6 GHz, Dual Core, 4 MB Cache)
B. i5-8259U processor (2.3 GHz - 3.8 GHz, Quad Core,6 MB Cache)
C. i7-8559U Processor (2.70GHz - 4.50 GHz, Quad Core,8 MB Cache)

I always wondered if "laptop hardware" is good enough for Data Science, and I fear the NUC's fan will eventually coil whine like in many laptops.
Obviously the i7 is the most powerful of the three, but I wonder if it will be an overkill, or on the contrary, not enough for DS projects.

The other option is the ISK-110, which can accomodate a full desktop CPU.
As far as I read, Pentium G5400 3.7Ghz, 2 Core 4 threads 4MB, requires only 58w, while the rest of the core series requires 65w at max load, according to Intel's site
(i3 9100 3.6Ghz, 4 Core 6MB
i5 9500 3.0Ghz, 6 Core 9MB
i7 9700 3.0Ghz, 8 Core, 12MB).
I'll be using a Noctua slim fan, so noise won't be in issue.
Still, I feel a bit uncomfortable to put such PCUs in a 90w system (the rest of the components are a mini-itx Mother Board, 16G ram, and 512 M2).
While Intel claims they all will be fine, I wonder which of the 4 is best for such a setup.

I would really apprechiate your thoughts on the matter and which system, eventually will be the most powerful while still being power efficient, silent and reliable.
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Out of all the options you've listed the NUC seems the best route though you will still need to add ram and storage to the cost of the NUC. I could be wrong as some NUC's come as bundles which is why I'd like you to parse a link to the three NUC's you're looking at.

If you're set of Intel then the i7 route for the Antec ISK 110 build will still be a good platform. Please note that going itx most often is an expensive route.
Dec 7, 2019
Yes, all the NUCS require ram and ssd, but those don't present any issues. I just wonder which CPU will fit for the required task.

I7 into the ISK sounds cool. Will it work fine in such a low wattage set-up?