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Similar size to a PI 4 but more powerful?

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stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
Update 2/3/21: Decided to build a miniATX system with a few new parts and a few left over parts.

Greetings.

I am looking for a very small system that I can zip tie behind a monitor. It's main purpose would be outputting 1080p YouTube and Netflix video. I would love to use a Pi4 but looking at a few reviews and videos it may be just shy of having the playback smoothness that I want.

The caveat is that I am looking for something cheap. Fully kitted out the Pi4 is less than $100. Finding a SFF PC on Craigslist for close to that price isn't easy. A lot of them are more expensive and may do no better than the Pi at 1080p. Is there a Pi competitor that has more horsepower? Spending a little bit more is not a big deal.
 
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Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
I guess you can find a Celeron based NUC or something similar (NUC but other brand) from last generations. Their prices as new, were starting at about $100 without RAM and storage but it doesn't need much like 128GB SSD+4GB RAM, so can get it cheap.
 
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stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
I was looking at those. I only hesitate because I do not know if they will play back video smoothly. The Celeron name does not inspire confidence in me after watching a few late night random YouTube videos on the last few Gens of Celerons.
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
Go Blue!
Honestly, if this is just for Youtube and Netflix you have a lot of options. Smart TV, Firestick, Chromecast, I've used an old phone connected to a USB-C-HDMI adapter, tablet, Notebook. Anyone of those will replay video fine over wifi.
 
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stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
Can't stand navigating YouTube on my fire stick. If I did go that route I'd need a new monitor as the current one does not have HDMI and Bluetooth keyboard/mouse.

*IF* I could find a Samsung Dex dock for cheap I would just use that with my unusable broken screen Note 8.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
I got used to it (YT via Firestick).. it isn't bad, especially once you search for things and it keeps the recent history, setup favs, etc. :)

Since the pandemic, we've turned part of our garage into a school/entertainment area for the kids (ventilation put in the side, heat, etc). I moved a 'dumb' TV outside and just use a laptop to connect......... though it is HDMI and your tube doesn't have one.
 
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stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
I have a hard time buying a monitor just for HDMI as it creates more ewaste. I'm currently sitting on a few keyboards, monitors and some not quite old enough to be retro but not relevant enough to be sufficient PCs. Oh and an original Fire TV that's caught in a boot loop and 4k firestick that became useless once we upgraded our TV.

So much ewaste guilt over here.

I have a spare laptop that I am considering. But it will need Linux because it is slow with Windows. It too has HDMI but has a headphone jack that I can plug my speakers into and USB for my current KB/M. I do remember running Linux off of USB a few times with it but don't remember if I tried YouTube on then.
 
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stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
I edited my post above and added that last paragraph.

How I use this second monitor/PC is I will be gaming and when I hit a spot in the game I need quiet I hit the spacebar and pause the video. Using something without a keyboard would end that convenience and then I might as well just hook the second monitor to my main pc and dual screen it
 

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Bring this over to the alternative os sub forum maybe? Not sure what's wrong but light Linux and old laptops are like peanut butter and jelly. Might just need a lighter distro or something simple
 
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stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
Peppermint wasn't light enough? Could find Puppy but this Laptop was $300 back in 2012 not thinking its gonna do 1080x60 too easily.
 

habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
The problem with a pi4 and a standard ubuntu install is the needed widevine support necessary for netflix and youtube playback. There is a docker compile of chromium for arm which enables widevine from https://github.com/monkaBlyat/docker-chromium-armhf. (search 'docker-chromium-armhf')
The actual cmd is "chromium-armhf" which opens a chrome browser which does play netflix and youtube right from the browser in ubuntu. The pi4 is only a quad core at 1.5ghz so will need to overclock it to get any kind of smooth playback.
I'm considering running one like you said (velcroed to the back of my tv), but I will connect it to my nas via the nas's AP over wifi. Then by simply opening a browser and browsing to the nas folders I should be able to play all my 1080 content, music etc.. The pi4 needing just an sd card for boot and some memory. CanaKit has kits with the power supply having an on/off switch. FLIRC makes some nice all aluminum silent cases too
One guy said he could run 1 stream at 4k, 2 at 1080 and 3 at 720 with just 4 gigs of memory and overclocked. I'd still use 8 though myself.
The Pi Imager will install everything from ubuntu to kodi to a plex server, and more to the sd card, but I only need a file browser that sees my nas over wifi. It uses ~6W idle and ~8W playing a 1080 stream.
Plex is out because I don't want to sign in to plex to play my own content nor do I need to watch movies when I'm not at home. PLEX? NEVER.
Tbqh though I do not want to buy and build one and then find out it's too slow. Cheap though it is.
Anything else on par with a regular pc's power is a hell of a lot more expensive and I don't want to pay it. A system76 meerkat would be perfect.
A 4.1GHz dual core I3 with 16gb memory on a 500GB nvme will run you $657. But at least you know it will run and play anything using ~20V.
 
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stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
One of the videos I watch showed the playback on an overclocked pi being jittery.
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2005
One of the videos I watch showed the playback on an overclocked pi being jittery.

Did you know which Pi, and what oc? I was under the impression that a 3 was ok with youtube (though I doubt it'd play nice with 4k) so a 4 should be alright as well.
 

godevskii

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
@stompah have you looked at the lattepanda? Compact, reasonable compute power and compatible with multiple OS, and not too expensive.
 
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stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
Did you know which Pi, and what oc? I was under the impression that a 3 was ok with youtube (though I doubt it'd play nice with 4k) so a 4 should be alright as well.
Pi4 with 8GB and over 2GHz.

I am gonna check out lattepanda. Thanks.
 

habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
The lattepanda is pretty cool. The most powerful board is $409. It uses the intelM series cpu. I'm gonna get the meerkat. For the 100+ odd dollars more I can just plug it in without having to build anything. Plus at 4.1 ghz, vs the 3.4 of the latte, it's def. worth it. I do like the 12.5" 4K t/s display though. They do have some nice display options if you need a standalone setup.