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Someone tell me about the little black box that replaces my tower...


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Alex Trebek, "Little black boxes maybe 4-5 in square and an inch thick."


Me, "What is, apple tv?!"





For reals though, it's exactly what your title says, "little black box that replaces my tower" --- it IS the tower, just smaller.


I'd only refer to this as a node if the computer itself isn't doing the processing.  Then it would basically be just a medium for i/o (input/output... keyboard, mouse, monitor, usb).  


Your company may be doing it like that but more likely your computer is still running the software physically.


A notable example of this type of computer is the Intel Nuc



They can be spec'd as low as $250 (with a Celeron J4005 - 2 threads) and go all the way up to north of $1600 with (a Xeon E-2286M - 16 threads!) -- you can also get kits that have no memory and drive for like $135. -- can make for some pretty dense computing.


There are all kinds of mini PCs like this.  Search Amazon for "mini PC" and watch some youtube reviews to find a good one at a good price.  It's ever changing.


In 2015 I may have said that this could replace your tower with something like this for lighter workloads like general browsing.  Today... you can get a lot done in a much smaller package.  Having said that, if you spec'd a full tower at the same price you'd have WAY more power.  ...can't really fit an RTX in one of these.  :-P -- also I feel it's a huge waste of a processor if you aren't going to take advantage it's extra PCIe lanes.  But there's something to be said for such a nice form factor.  There are many use cases where this is a much better solution.


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oh ya tour right I remember that now it was just like you said , it was much smaller more like my Creative  X-fi 5.0 Pro usb sound card  about the size of 1-1/2 credit cards  and 1/2 thick had the Monitor out, keyboard and mouse connection, this here is much larger, 

Sorry to have be incorrect about your setup.

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Would it be something this, shown against a business card, connected to our living room TV? :

PC TV.jpg


This is a full Windows 10 PC, however, the specs the one we have are very basic, i.e. Atom CPU, 2GB RAM and 32GB storage.  This cost £50 (about $65) on an Amazon lightning deal at the time (May 2016) and I wasn't sure how we would get on with having a "PC channel" on the TV.  However, when I saw the lightning deal, it became an impulse purchase.  My parents barely used the Android TV stick we had before it, however, this Windows stick has been a success and in constant use for streaming.  It barely uses any power (powered with a USB cable), so we leave it running 24/7. 


With this running Windows 10, it is as functional as an entry level Atom powered Windows 10 laptop.  While I wouldn't try any type of photo editing on it, it has no problem streaming up to 1080p and can run desktop applications such as Word, Excel, etc.   It does however struggle with multimedia heavy websites, but we generally don't use it for web browsing other than to head to a website like the BBC, NBC, etc. (with a VPN) to stream shows.   There are higher end sticks also, for example, Intel has similar size stick with a Core i5 CPU, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM, etc.  Whenever we decide to upgrade ours, I'll certainly get something more capable, seeing how much use we got out of ours. 

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