Mini PCs, NUCs Update


Many thanks for the replies. I’ve been searching for a new gigging computer for quite some time, as past threads indicate. In my never ending endeavor to reduce gear, gear size and weight, this has been the one purchase I keep putting off.

As far as weight, laptops are not heavy anymore, but I will probably mount a small separate monitor, as mounting the full laptop either restricts audience views, or requires an extra stand. I’ve also been looking at forum member provided websites for used small form factor desktops, which would be easier to self modify, and mount to key stand.

Since the discussions about NUCs and Mini PCs some time ago, I was wondering about personal experiences. Everything so far has been positive, and that’s good to know.




I use two 2in1 convertibles (ACER Spin5). This way I have touchscreen features available and the backup computer can control my soundcraft ui24r mixer in case the tablet stops working.


Did not realize the specs were that good in the 2 in 1.


Specs are good for many laptops nowadays.
Intel i7, 16 giga RAM and fast SSD with NVM interface are good requirements for our typical C3 use.
I am worrying about RAM currently. Most Ultrabooks have soldered chips and never with 32 giga.
Still looking for such equipped laptop…


Yes, the specs are not top but I’ve learned to optimize it so that all things I need for live playing work fine. I don’t use sampled instruments extensively and in a 12 man band I rarely need backing tracks.
When I bought the first system I thought it would be an experiment and I’d never use it live. Now I use it live for more than 3 years and I’m more flexible as with my hardware devices before.


You could also think of using a mini-ITX mainboard and a powerful CPU. This is what I do in my Cantabile-Keyboard. Powered through a 12V DC power supply that sits inside the keyboard.

With this solution you get much more power than from a NUC because they use laptop-CPUs and not desktop CPUs


Thanks for the info Christian. I also looked at the mini in my search. Was hoping someone would chime in on their experience.


You can go even smaller with mini STX. But as far as I know there is no mainboard available for consumer that support coffee lake CPUs…so I’d go with ITX. I’m very happy with it. Last week I had 7 instances of Diva running in Devine mode. :grin::grin::grin:


Wow…that’s amazing!


I use a Clevo shell laptop, there are plenty of resellers. Mine has a desktop i7, 16GB RAM (but 4 slots so could be 64 if you really wanted to), 1 PCI Express SSD, one M2, and two regular 2.5 inch disks.

It doesn’t have very good battery life by modern standards and it’s pretty heavy but it runs basically anything I throw at it.


Hello Corky

I use this NUC with Windows 10

There is no problem at all, exept the noise of the fan !


Do you run with power management turned off? I do wonder if these small PCs could overheat if CPU is 100% all the time.


Hello John
Do you speak about power devices management ?


Hi Jac635,
For Cantabile it’s recommended that you turn off power management. This means the CPU is 100% all the time and isn’t allowed to “throttle down” to save power. This means the system could get hot. Some details are in this thread:



I run my NUC PUC in full power mode, using all the tweaks mentioned in Brad’s Glitch Free guide, and so far it seems fine


Cool, thanks.


Hmm - looks like the ASRock DeskMini could be an excellent platform for a small stage PC. @FantomXR: what is your experience in terms of real-life audio performance between an i5 and an i7 - is the performance plus worth the extra cost? So far, I’ve always gone for i7s, but I see others happy enough with i5s…


No no… I’m with i7 all the time. Since I have a few songs where I get to the limits of Cantabiles Engine-Meter I wouldn’t go with an i5 at the moment. But anyway I’d be interested how it performs again an i7 in our application.


Yes - maybe @brad can shed some light on the effects of the architectural differences?


I guess it hardly depends on the plugins you use and if these support hyper threading since this is a something unique on the i7s if I remember correctly. I had a talk with Brad some time ago about it. And to test it is on my to do list.