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Author Topic: Mac Mini's, Small Form Factor PC's and content/game development  (Read 8012 times)

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Offline kat

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Mac Mini's, Small Form Factor PC's and content/game development
« on: February 04, 2010, 10:47:34 AM »
Looking at the prices of Macs on eBay I never realised just how grossly over-inflated the market was/is!1 2 3 Seriously, you could buy brand new hardware1 for the asking price of some items and damaged Mini's are pushed higher than I'd expect1 2.. amazing what some people will do for a 'label'. Just to point out I've never been into the whole Mac vs PC thing but I'm fed up of having a hulking mass of plastic on my desk taking up all the available space. So, I'm looking at Mac Mini's onto which I'll load Windows OS - which you can do with Intel based machines, 'we' (IBM PC users) have the Shuttle machines, the small form factor stuff, but even those are just too big for someone not that interested in constantly upgrading with the latest hardware, PC manutacturers need to produce a proper decent small form factor machine.. it's not like the technology is holding us back on that one.  ::)

Offline Shaderman

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Re: Mac's and content/game development
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 07:34:13 PM »
Ever thought about using a virtual machine to save desk space? VM's are sometimes good enough for some quick testing of game dev stuff, if you need good 3D performance you'll have no luck though :/

Offline silicone_milk

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Re: Mac's and content/game development
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 07:55:33 PM »
Ever thought about using a virtual machine to save desk space? VM's are sometimes good enough for some quick testing of game dev stuff, if you need good 3D performance you'll have no luck though :/
^

I use a VM for several linux images on my Windows XP machine. Great if you're just doing some tests :)

Offline kat

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Re: Mac's and content/game development
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2010, 05:13:30 AM »
It's not the OS I'm looking at really, it's the physical hardware so I'm not quite sure how VM's work other than allowing you to use different OS installs on the same PC?. Using a laptop has it's advantages - power supplies both a monitor and the computers innards - but it means for larger screen sizes, having a large bit of kit taking up quite a bit of desk space that could be used for other things. Are 'shuttle' machines the smallest consumer PCs available?

Offline Shaderman

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Re: Mac's and content/game development
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2010, 07:02:27 AM »
It's not the OS I'm looking at really, it's the physical hardware so I'm not quite sure how VM's work other than allowing you to use different OS installs on the same PC?.
Not sure if you have the wrong idea here: "allowing you to use different OS installs on the same PC". You're running your main OS on your hardware and other OS'es in a VM (in a window of your main OS). A VM is just a software you install under your computers existing main OS. Depending on what you want and need, a VM can save you desk space and money.

Using a laptop has it's advantages - power supplies both a monitor and the computers innards - but it means for larger screen sizes, having a large bit of kit taking up quite a bit of desk space that could be used for other things. Are 'shuttle' machines the smallest consumer PCs available?
Are wall mounted monitors an option? :)

AFAIK the shuttle comps are the smallest on the market, but others like MSI might be interesting as well. Just search for slim pc / slim computers.

Offline kat

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Re: Mac's and content/game development
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2010, 08:21:24 AM »
Just found these Nexus Psile Silverstone Mini-ITX. Apparently there is something called a "pico" form factor which is tiny compaired to 'standard' motherboards. They also appear to use laptop sized memory but still allow standard sized graphics cards - that's the thing for us doing content creation, we do need more power than is generally available from the 'net' PCs which tend to use the Intoel Atom CPUs and locked in GPU chipsets. Interesting stuff.

[EDIT]Mesh's 'Cute', Dell's Inspiron Zino HD, LittlePC 650 Dual Core.

Offline Shaderman

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Re: Mac's and content/game development
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2010, 09:49:52 AM »
...but still allow standard sized graphics cards
What is "standard sized"? Recent graphics cards often block a 2nd slot - I doubt that'll fit into these small cases.

Another point you should think about is a defect of one of the parts inside like PSU or fans. These will most likely not be "standard" which makes it harder to repair/replace - maybe you'll be forced to send the complete computer to your reseller or manufacturer.

Offline kat

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Re: Mac's and content/game development
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2010, 10:26:24 AM »
True about sizing and yes, I'm betting these pre-built machines have the usual warranties in place as well that prevent you tinkering around inside them in the first place!. Most GFX cards I've seen tend to come one of two sizes; either 'double' or 'single' slot height. I think it's fair to say that yes, it's unlikely that these small cases will fit a double slot jumbo GFX cards (plus of course the heating issues that may create). It may not be necessary to go 'Pro' in that respect and buy double height cards; you can get a lot of bang for your buck with 'single' slot cards, providing you make a good choice.

Offline kat

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Re: Mac's and content/game development
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2010, 07:08:57 PM »
Just read this about Dells Zino, seems reasonable for what it is. Obviously not a power house but good enough to at least play HD playback.

Offline kat

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Re: Mac's and content/game development
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2010, 01:42:20 PM »
Apple have released info on the new, improved, redesigned MiniMac. Suggested retail price of 649 (incl. VAT).

Offline kat

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Intel NUC/Gigabyte BRIX
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2014, 03:48:25 PM »
Bit of a necrobump but was looking into this recently again, ultra small form factor PC's. It seems in the four years since last discussing this Intel created the NUC platform (Next Unit Computing) that Gigabyte have really run with for their BRIX devices, the latter in particular makes use of full powered Desktop versions of Intel CPU's rather than the throttled versions (mobile versions with reduced Cores) used by Intel in the NUC units. Unfortunately in all instances heat is a really big issue for all of them (aside from price), BRIX in particular which have some aggressive hardware throttling going on which can hit FPS and 3D performance quite hard (as much as 50%). For gaming, game/content development or CPU/GPU heavy activities it still looks like a desktop case (Shuttle being a popular option) is the way to go for temperature control.

 

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