Question Need a system recommendation! Laptop or Mini ITX for my particular needs?

TheLootGoblin

Prominent
Jan 13, 2020
11
2
515
0
Hey guys,

Was in the process of brainstorming my next build. I had assumed I would be best off by building another PC to cater to my needs, but now I'm not so sure that that's the best call if a decent, pre-built laptop could cover all the bases.

Here the deets from the sticky post.

Approximate Purchase Date: no rush. Don't mind waiting for parts to come in, or for something to come back in stock.

Budget Range: For a prebuilt, I'd like to stay under $1000. I have a bit more wiggle room if I'm assembling.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: This will be used primarily to replace our cable box. I'm anticipating a lot of media usage. Playing video files off an external HD, netflix, etc. But also some light browsing, potentially streaming live events, as well.

Are you buying a monitor: No, I'll be using my TV as the primary display.

So, need a PC to watch movies on my TV. If I go with a laptop, it'll almost always be closed, so screen quality does matter too much. I'd like some extra RAM just to handle tabs. And it probably goes without saying, but I'd like it to be wifi and bluetooth compatible as I won't be using ethernet, and will be using a wireless keyboard/mouse.

I know that's a ton of info, but I'm just getting back into the PC game, and there's a ton of options. I realize I don't need a monster rig to play movies, so I'm hoping there's a decent laptop out there that will be able to handle my needs.

Links/specific models are much appreciated. And I'd be happy to provide more details if I left anything out.

Don't be afraid to ask!

Thanks!
 
I would go with an "actual" PC for this.

Laptops are handy to hook to the TV and utilize, or stream to the TV wireless, etc. The issue you run into is that laptop lid. It will want to be opened to turn on, etc.

According to the resolution of the TV, I make a couple of suggestions.
If you are at 1080 or below and just streaming you should be fine with any modern CPU integrated graphics option. This allows for super small setups and you could consider a NUC or miniPC as the desire strikes you. Also take a look at the InWin Chopin. There is an earlier model of it that even has a VESA mount available.

If you are going to game on this at all, or are looking to push 4K resolution, watch action movies, things such as this I highly suggest going with a Mini-ITX or "media" style case. Silverstone makes a couple of great options for utilizing in the TV stand/stereo rack. There are many GPU you can get that will resolve high resolutions, but you start running into issues with things like pan shots and high action where the frame rate and scroll will stutter. Consider a GPU with some guts.

An aspect to consider out of all of this is the location you will be putting it, the power of the devices inside, and how that is going to sound in the room. You can consider lower powered devices, passive cooling, and so on.

I have utilized various HTPC setups over the years. Most often I try to focus on i5 or better, and recently Ryzen option. I try to keep the TDP low. Cases of note include the Lian Li PC-Q25 case (which is a great mini server case), the above mentioned InWin, and am currently using a Rajintek Metis.


I think if I were to buy an off the shelf solution for basic cable box replacement I would get a newer gen i5 NUC.
 

ScrewySqrl

Champion
Moderator
this should be perfect for you:

https://www.newegg.com/p/1VK-001E-41JP0?Description=4750g&cm_re=4750g-_-1VK-001E-41JP0-_-Product


Radeon r7-4750G 8 core/16 threads and a built in GPU. 8 GB of Ram and a 256 GB SSD. all in a small form factor that looks' like it belongs next to a TV set. There's room to add a large spinny drive to store media on. as well. $919

The GPU can even run games at 1080p on low to medium settings (older games on medium to high settings). the GPU rivals a GTX 1050
 
https://www.newegg.com/black-fractal-design-node-202-mini-itx/p/N82E16811352058
Fractal Design Node 202 Black Slim Profile Mini-ITX Computer Case $79.99

https://www.newegg.com/seasonic-core-series-core-gm-500-500w/p/N82E16817151242
Seasonic CORE GM-500, 500W 80+ Gold, Semi-Modular, Fan Control in Silent and Cooling Mode $79.99

https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16813144400
MSI H510I PRO WIFI $129.99

https://www.newegg.com/intel-core-i5-11400f-core-i5-11th-gen/p/N82E16819118264
Intel Core i5-11400F $159.99

https://www.newegg.com/noctua-nh-l9x65/p/N82E16835608071
Noctua NH-L9x65, Premium Low-Profile CPU Cooler $52.99

https://www.newegg.com/ballistix-16gb-288-pin-ddr4-sdram/p/N82E16820164176
Crucial Ballistix 3200 Desktop Memory Kit 16GB (8GBx2) CL16 $87.99

https://www.newegg.com/team-group-1tb-cx2/p/N82E16820331561
Team Group CX2 2.5" 1TB SATA III 3D NAND Internal SSD $89.99

https://www.newegg.com/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-1050-gv-n1050d5-2gd/p/N82E16814125920
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1050 DirectX 12 GV-N1050D5-2GD 2GB 128-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 ATX Video Card $199.99

Total: $881

https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/H510I-PRO-WIFI
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201, Bluetooth 5.1


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsDW0Q9Jeas
 
Last edited:

TheLootGoblin

Prominent
Jan 13, 2020
11
2
515
0
I would go with an "actual" PC for this.

Laptops are handy to hook to the TV and utilize, or stream to the TV wireless, etc. The issue you run into is that laptop lid. It will want to be opened to turn on, etc.

According to the resolution of the TV, I make a couple of suggestions.
If you are at 1080 or below and just streaming you should be fine with any modern CPU integrated graphics option. This allows for super small setups and you could consider a NUC or miniPC as the desire strikes you. Also take a look at the InWin Chopin. There is an earlier model of it that even has a VESA mount available.

If you are going to game on this at all, or are looking to push 4K resolution, watch action movies, things such as this I highly suggest going with a Mini-ITX or "media" style case. Silverstone makes a couple of great options for utilizing in the TV stand/stereo rack. There are many GPU you can get that will resolve high resolutions, but you start running into issues with things like pan shots and high action where the frame rate and scroll will stutter. Consider a GPU with some guts.

An aspect to consider out of all of this is the location you will be putting it, the power of the devices inside, and how that is going to sound in the room. You can consider lower powered devices, passive cooling, and so on.

I have utilized various HTPC setups over the years. Most often I try to focus on i5 or better, and recently Ryzen option. I try to keep the TDP low. Cases of note include the Lian Li PC-Q25 case (which is a great mini server case), the above mentioned InWin, and am currently using a Rajintek Metis.


I think if I were to buy an off the shelf solution for basic cable box replacement I would get a newer gen i5 NUC.
Asked a few other places and the consistent seems to be an "actual" PC. I'm glad I checked. The size and ease of a laptop was appealing, but I definitely want the best tool for the job. I was thinking I'd be able to disable or bypass the laptop having to be open/screen being on. But it certainly does add another headache to the mix.

I've heard the NUC runs on a laptop CPU, I assume I'd be better off going with a desktop CPU? I'll have to look into miniPC and inWin. I know the latter's cases, but not their systems. I won't be gaming on this rig, but it wouldn't hurt to have 1440p or 4k options, for down the road. My current TV is an older 1080p, but it's probably the next thing I upgrade.

Any minimum recommendations for a GPU for 1440 and 4k movies and not intense gaming? A 3060 would be nice, but so would the ability to fly and read people's thoughts, at this point.

I appreciate the case recommendations. I'll look into those. As well as the SFF favorites like the M1 and Ghost S1, etc, etc.

this should be perfect for you:

https://www.newegg.com/p/1VK-001E-41JP0?Description=4750g&cm_re=4750g-_-1VK-001E-41JP0-_-Product


Radeon r7-4750G 8 core/16 threads and a built in GPU. 8 GB of Ram and a 256 GB SSD. all in a small form factor that looks' like it belongs next to a TV set. There's room to add a large spinny drive to store media on. as well. $919

The GPU can even run games at 1080p on low to medium settings (older games on medium to high settings). the GPU rivals a GTX 1050
Interesting. That CPU is probably a bit overkill, but I don't dislike it one bit! Thanks for giving me an option!


https://www.newegg.com/black-fractal-design-node-202-mini-itx/p/N82E16811352058
Fractal Design Node 202 Black Slim Profile Mini-ITX Computer Case $79.99

https://www.newegg.com/seasonic-core-series-core-gm-500-500w/p/N82E16817151242
Seasonic CORE GM-500, 500W 80+ Gold, Semi-Modular, Fan Control in Silent and Cooling Mode $79.99

https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16813144400
MSI H510I PRO WIFI $129.99

https://www.newegg.com/intel-core-i5-11500-core-i5-11th-gen/p/N82E16819118240
Intel Core i5-11500 $217.99

https://www.newegg.com/noctua-nh-l9x65/p/N82E16835608071
Noctua NH-L9x65, Premium Low-Profile CPU Cooler $52.99

https://www.newegg.com/ballistix-16gb-288-pin-ddr4-sdram/p/N82E16820164176
Crucial Ballistix 3200 Desktop Memory Kit 16GB (8GBx2) CL16 $87.99

https://www.newegg.com/team-group-1tb-cx2/p/N82E16820331561
Team Group CX2 2.5" 1TB SATA III 3D NAND Internal SSD $89.99

Total: $739

https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/H510I-PRO-WIFI
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201, Bluetooth 5.1


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsDW0Q9Jeas
Oooh, lovely. A few components I'd probably tweak, but that looks really good. Thanks for the list!
 
Reactions: Why_Me
Any minimum recommendations for a GPU for 1440 and 4k movies and not intense gaming? A 3060 would be nice, but so would the ability to fly and read people's thoughts, at this point.
I laughed inappropriately and am glad I wasn't drinking anything....

IMO, there is something to be said for 1080 or 1660ti+ levels of performance....it's really only going to matter for TRUE high quality streams. Much of the mainstream app stuff is not really high bit or frame rate. Most of what you watch through a browser, worse than that.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
139,839
7,565
173,940
21,480
System Usage from Most to Least Important: This will be used primarily to replace our cable box. I'm anticipating a lot of media usage. Playing video files off an external HD, netflix, etc. But also some light browsing, potentially streaming live events, as well.
That is exactly what my Beelink GTR is doing.
https://www.amazon.com/Beelink-Processor-Graphics-Bluetooth-Ethernet/dp/B08V54W7W9

I got mine for less than that price, and more RAM.
But that also includes the Windows OS cost...;)

Control it from the other side of the room from a Logitech K830
 

TheLootGoblin

Prominent
Jan 13, 2020
11
2
515
0
I laughed inappropriately and am glad I wasn't drinking anything....

IMO, there is something to be said for 1080 or 1660ti+ levels of performance....it's really only going to matter for TRUE high quality streams. Much of the mainstream app stuff is not really high bit or frame rate. Most of what you watch through a browser, worse than that.
Hey, it's true! It'd be nice, but I'll be waiting a while. I wouldn't be streaming anything wild. Watching live sports just in my browser and the occasional twitch stream.

But I guess at this point, it's just get whatever GPU you can find!

Thanks, again!

https://www.newegg.com/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-1050-gv-n1050d5-2gd/p/N82E16814125920
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1050 DirectX 12 GV-N1050D5-2GD 2GB 128-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 ATX Video Card $199.99
Awesome, thanks!

That is exactly what my Beelink GTR is doing.
https://www.amazon.com/Beelink-Processor-Graphics-Bluetooth-Ethernet/dp/B08V54W7W9

I got mine for less than that price, and more RAM.
But that also includes the Windows OS cost...;)

Control it from the other side of the room from a Logitech K830
Hot damn, that looks like exactly what I need. Any issues running 4k files on that? Also, that keyboard basically kills my handwired keyboard idea.... LOL

Thanks for both of those!
 
Reactions: Why_Me

TheLootGoblin

Prominent
Jan 13, 2020
11
2
515
0
No idea about 4k.
I have no media in that format level, nor a 4k screen to put it on.

But it is a very capable, well put together system.
Initially, I bought that Beelink to use its guts as the basis for a casemod thing I'm working on.
But it is so well put together, I can't bring myself to disembowel it.
Understood. I doubt I'll ever run anything 4k, but still nice to have that base covered. For what I'm doing, it sounds perfect.

I appreciate the recommendation!
 
On a desktop HD630 is perfectly capable of playing HD movies as well as displaying 4k@60hz using displayport.
Unfortunately, TV inputs will only be HDMI.
60hz should be perfectly fine.
What is the make/model of your TV and what HDMI inputs does it accept?
A budget approach would be to use a simple 10th gen i3-10100 and the integrated HD630 graphics.
Add any lga1200 motherboard and 16gb of DDR4 ram for <$250.
With your budget, I think I would look at the i5-11400 with HD730 graphics, or, better yet, I5-10500 with HD750 graphics that is some 2x stronger.
Look carefully at the HDMI capability of the motherboard integrated adapter.
It would seem that hdmi 1.4 support is common for 10th gen processors, and hdmi 2.0 for 11th gen.

For home theater, find a case that appeals to you. You will have no issues with the included stock coolers.
Silverstone makes some nice units.
 

TheLootGoblin

Prominent
Jan 13, 2020
11
2
515
0
I'll just add that the Ryzen 4750G prebuilt I recommended above has no problem whatsoever with 4K Blu Rays
Awesome, I appreciate the follow up. It's unlikely I'll be running anything in 4k anytime soon, but I like having that base covered for when the day comes!

On a desktop HD630 is perfectly capable of playing HD movies as well as displaying 4k@60hz using displayport.
Unfortunately, TV inputs will only be HDMI.
60hz should be perfectly fine.
What is the make/model of your TV and what HDMI inputs does it accept?
A budget approach would be to use a simple 10th gen i3-10100 and the integrated HD630 graphics.
Add any lga1200 motherboard and 16gb of DDR4 ram for <$250.
With your budget, I think I would look at the i5-11400 with HD730 graphics, or, better yet, I5-10500 with HD750 graphics that is some 2x stronger.
Look carefully at the HDMI capability of the motherboard integrated adapter.
It would seem that hdmi 1.4 support is common for 10th gen processors, and hdmi 2.0 for 11th gen.

For home theater, find a case that appeals to you. You will have no issues with the included stock coolers.
Silverstone makes some nice units.
Good info, there! I think I'm gonna end up going with one of the Beelink GTRs. It'd be fun to build a mini-ITX, SFF rig for this, but the GTR's form factor is tough to beat. And it looks like exactly what I need. The ability to upgrade and pick out components as well seems ideal. I had no clue about the different in integrated GPU differences. Even more things for me to look into, later down the line.

Thanks!
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS