Anything I can do with an old nettop PC?

BlackHawkBlackHawk Bible music connoisseurThere's no place like 127.0.0.1

So I got an Nvidia Shield TV last year which made the nettop HTPC kinda obsolete. It ran Windows 7 and Kodi just fine but I think it was too weak to stream Steam games. That's when I went with the Shield.

Here's the nettop in question. Inside it has 4GB of ram and a 128GB SSD. I'm curious if I can use the PC for anything other than a HTPC? Is it powerful enough to be a server? Can it stream media (including transcoding)? Can it act as a file server while attached to an external drive enclosure?

I ask because I want to unload these duties from my main PC so I can at least turn it off at night and maybe save some power.

Comments

  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA

    I imagine the streaming performance would be low if you were doing transcoding like Plex. File server would likely be fine

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US

    Unraid or FreeNas should run in that just fine. Maybe you could gut the parts out, put them in a used case with more 3.5" bays so it would be useful as a file sever.

  • BlackHawkBlackHawk Bible music connoisseur There's no place like 127.0.0.1

    @Sonorous said:
    Unraid or FreeNas should run in that just fine. Maybe you could gut the parts out, put them in a used case with more 3.5" bays so it would be useful as a file sever.

    I don't think I can just move the parts to another case. It's a nettop. I don't even think it has SATA ports.

    Would USB 3.0 be enough for a file server?

    I think I may have to forget about this and put it in a closet to use as a backup PC.

  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA

    USB3.0 would be a slow, but passable fileserver. I would recommend your last sentence, personally.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US

    @BlackHawk said:

    @Sonorous said:
    Unraid or FreeNas should run in that just fine. Maybe you could gut the parts out, put them in a used case with more 3.5" bays so it would be useful as a file sever.

    I don't think I can just move the parts to another case. It's a nettop. I don't even think it has SATA ports.

    Would USB 3.0 be enough for a file server?

    I think I may have to forget about this and put it in a closet to use as a backup PC.

    Mini PCIE SATA card? Pretty sure that has at least one if not two mini slots.

  • BlackHawkBlackHawk Bible music connoisseur There's no place like 127.0.0.1

    @Sonorous said:

    @BlackHawk said:

    @Sonorous said:
    Unraid or FreeNas should run in that just fine. Maybe you could gut the parts out, put them in a used case with more 3.5" bays so it would be useful as a file sever.

    I don't think I can just move the parts to another case. It's a nettop. I don't even think it has SATA ports.

    Would USB 3.0 be enough for a file server?

    I think I may have to forget about this and put it in a closet to use as a backup PC.

    Mini PCIE SATA card? Pretty sure that has at least one if not two mini slots.

    I think you're overestimating the size. This nettop is the size of a Reader's Digest.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US

    I'm saying that you would remove the plastic outer case, mount the guts in a cheapo mid tower, add some HDDs and profit. I know you can't just add two or three 3.5" disks to a net top. I'm suggesting that you do something that requires a little deconstruction and creativity. Or it can just sit in your closet.

  • I've always found some value in an extra system to experiment and fool around with. I suppose more powerful machines running VMware make that a little less practical but I always like having that extra box that I can throw whatever Linux distro I want on it just to fool around and learn on it. For me I like having that sort of non essential personal machine for some repair projects for side work. I'll run a USB external hard drive dock to it and do some file recovery and repair on infected drives being sure to leave that machine off my network. So I guess what I'm saying is the old computer might not necessarily need a singular pre defined need to become useful.

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California

    @Cliff_Forster said:
    I've always found some value in an extra system to experiment and fool around with. I suppose more powerful machines running VMware make that a little less practical but I always like having that extra box that I can throw whatever Linux distro I want on it just to fool around and learn on it. For me I like having that sort of non essential personal machine for some repair projects for side work. I'll run a USB external hard drive dock to it and do some file recovery and repair on infected drives being sure to leave that machine off my network. So I guess what I'm saying is the old computer might not necessarily need a singular pre defined need to become useful.

    ^this isn't a bad choice. I hate using VMware for trying out new OSes. It never gives me a feel for actual boot times or hardware treatment.

  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI

    Well, tbh... neither will a nettop. :P

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA

    Have you considered Linux? 2016 is the Year of the Linux Desktop.

    Snarkasm
  • BlackHawkBlackHawk Bible music connoisseur There's no place like 127.0.0.1

    @drasnor said:
    Have you considered Linux? 2016 is the Year of the Linux Desktop.

    Just to try around or would it have an actual role? The PC is currently connected to the TV and I don't have an extra monitor. How's Linux's 10-feet UI?

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA

    Depends a lot on what you want to use it for. The ones which are configured for office desktop use (Windows-like) will not be as good for that application as ones configured as HTPC. There are some turnkey systems which provide MythTV or XBMC for home theater use. I haven't used any of those in awhile though. If you're serious about wanting to give it a shot I'd be happy to read up on the current state of those systems and give you a hand.

  • BlackHawkBlackHawk Bible music connoisseur There's no place like 127.0.0.1

    I'll probably bring the PC to my desk and use my current monitor. Maybe I'll try Mint. It'll have to wait til I get a DisplayPort cable.

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