Mini PCs, NUCs Update

There were a few threads a couple of years ago about usage of the mini computers. I was considering a slimline (sff) recently, but thought I would check with those using a mini how the experiences have been, and what to look for before I make a decision. Would really appreciate any input.



Hi, Corky.

Based on my own research here, and what people like Neil were doing, I went the NUC and Touch Screen route. And experience has been very positive.

You can find info on how I built my gig rack here

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Thanks Derek. I read your excellent Building A Gig Rack when you 1st posted it. I will revisit it. Just trying to see what everyone’s experience has been since some time has passed. Was also wondering if anyone went the mini-pc direction.

I am not able to think at a NUC and a display. I am still thinking a notebook is more comfy.
I am trying to find an Ultrabook with 32 giga RAM and expandable hard disk bays.
Two NVM and one SATA minimum.
It seems not easy.
These foolish companies are copying Apple with soldered RAM… Unacceptable

I’m using an ASRock Desk Mini in a little case I built. I put an i7, 32Gb of DDR4 RAM and 2 Samsung SSDs in it.

I’m running WIN10, and so far… it has worked great!



We’ve bought some Dell micro format i7 based, 16GB m.2 SSD equipped units for around $600. We used VESA mounts to hide them behind the monitor. They’ve been reliable. The are slightly bigger than a NUC

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Sorry guys to ask…
And where is a monitor fill hd rugged to be used live?

Sorry, don’t understand your question…

I wrote in a bad way.
If you use a mini PC or a NUC, you need a display. Is there a good device to be used live? Rugged enough and light? Full HD?

No worries. Based on recommendations on this forum, I use a GECHIC 1303 which is 1080p and has been rock solid so far.

The price of my NUC PC and this monitor was actually better than the best SurfacePro (certainly so at the time).

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I’m using a Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK now upgraded to 32GB and two SSD drives internally. It sits neatly inside the lower keyboard section of my Hammond XK3 organ setup. I was using my Surface Pro4 to host Cantabile but in the end it just wasn’t quite up to the job (too many plugins, not enough RAM!). However, I now use the SP4 as the monitor for the Skull NUC using ethernet to connect the two and it all works seamlessly - never have audio glitches or dropouts.

Apparently the Skull can also be fitted with a second ‘tier’ which houses four more USB connections but still keeps the whole box pretty compact. Better hide my credit card…



Oh yes! Gechic displays are available in Amazon Italy. Obviously a NUC allows extreme flexibility and expandable options. Much better than a notebook.
I have a NUC as home theater under my oled and works extremely well.
This setup is surely cheaper.
But I am still thinking to my mobile habits. I would need a strange bag with some more cables. Intriguing…
Thanks for the idea!

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Full details of what I did are in my “gig rack guide” see link in my reply just under Corky’s main post

I forgot to say that another option, and assuming your NUC type PC can act as a WIFI hotspot or you have a small hub (or ability to have a wired connection) is Remote Desktop. You can get Remote Desktop clients for iPAD, and I would presume Android as well, and of course it should be built into any PC based tablet.

I don’t think Remote Desktop takes a lot of compute power (it only sends changes), but do check performance hit if you try it.

I actually use Remote Desktop to my NUC PC when practicing in my studio as my keyrig is closest to the monitors and keyboard of my DAW PC in my studio. So I start the GIGPC (NUC) and Remote Desktop into it. So far I have not noticed any issues, but I do have a wired network in the studio.

And then I use the GeChic on stage

My usual job is playing with cover bands made by friends in little pubs or rented rehearsal room. Most of the times my rig is my notebook, my audio board and a 61 keys controller.
Only twice a year with one big band we play for benefit in theaters. Only for these chances I add my Montage or my Viscount Legend.
Of course my PC is unchanged.
My issue for next pc is: still a notebook or a NUC plus display?
Until today remote access was never a requirement. Yes, with win10 pro it is a chance, good to know.

I have a intel nuc too, the 7i5bnk. Works well, I don’t drive it that hard but have never had any problems.
I also use a gechic onlap display and it’s not always great, sometimes the touch stops working which I’ve yet to work out why.

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Only time that has happened to me is when I plugged into the Power port instead of the USB port - easy mistake (for me anyway)

The only other issue I have found with the GeChic is that it does not like power being sourced from the USB port over long cable lengths from he ports of my USB Hub. Short cables < 1M are fine, but long cables are very marginal, so I power it via an old iPAD power wall wart and its own cable into the power port.

Even if you do not need to be remote, I mention it as an option if you already have a tablet or Surface type PC. E.g. if you have a Surface Pro (which might have more limnited IO, memory and HDD space) whilst you might not want to run Cantabile on the surface pro, you could also use it (via remote desktop) as the display for an NUC box as opposed to buying a GeChic.

Just a thought…

I use remote desktop a lot these days. E.g. in the summer I can sit out on my garden with my laptop remote desk topped into my DAW PC whilst I am testing Java Librarians against my synths (i.e. DAW PC needs to be connected to the synths in the room whilst I am doing this, but via remote desktop I could sit outside in the sunshine and the garden and fresh air). I also do the same from my Mac for any long programming jobs on the DAW PC. The Mac is a more comfortable working location for intense jobs.

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I use a GPD 6" with its internal card.
It runs Pianoteq, Halion6, B4 at 256 samples 44.1. No probl.
Generaly speaking it easily run 3-4 VST instruments. Very stable. For a large setup, I would not recommand this computer but 3-4 VST is enough for many live gigs I do.

I am using a simple notebook because it is a simple device. Not heavy, powerful enough to play some VSTs.
Using something and then remoting means use of two devices. I don’t see advantages in the places where I play.
Using a NUC the advantage is to build a more flexible device.
Nowadays notebook are very compact, but have limited expansions possible