Info About Using a "mini pc"

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Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby TReischl » Mon May 20, 2019 4:11 pm

My trusty, slightly dusty, laptop is developing lid hinge problems, so it is not long for this world. Besides it has 3 USB ports and I need 4 these days.

1 to go to the smooth stepper
1 for the mouse
1 for the keyboard
1 for a memory stick

Yea, yea, I know, I could go out and get a mouse/keyboard combo that uses one port, but I like this keyboard, my fingers know where things are on it.

Anyway, I am looking at:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F1MM92S/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A39DVS1BD5XR15&psc=1

Figure I will add a cheap SATA drive to it, about 500gb for 30 bucks. I do not need Tb's of storage on this machine.

Anyone using one to drive their machine? Looks like it should work no problem to me, but thought I would ask just in case.
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby Adrian » Mon May 20, 2019 4:24 pm

I use one almost exactly the same as that with my ShopBot. Boots almost instantly and has been faultless for nearly two years now. I just used the 64gb storage it came with and that's been more than enough.
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby TReischl » Mon May 20, 2019 4:27 pm

Thanks Adrian, coming from you that carries a lot of weight!
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby ger21 » Mon May 20, 2019 5:05 pm

You could get a USB hub to get more ports.
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby gkas » Mon May 20, 2019 5:37 pm

The idea is great. If you need more USB ports, you can always add a small hub. The only problem I see is in the reviews. I use FakeSpot to analyze Amazon reviews. It checks the reviews for 'quality'. This item gets an 'F' rating, with the revised review down to '1/2 *'. Sounds like a lot of fake quality reviews.
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby Adrian » Mon May 20, 2019 6:19 pm

My one is an MSI Cubi.
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby dbushery » Mon May 20, 2019 8:30 pm

Plus, doesn’t Vectric require a pentium processor? This one has an atom. May not work.
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby TReischl » Mon May 20, 2019 9:06 pm

Getting a USB hub will not fix the hinge problem with the laptop.

I have had good luck with things from Amazon. Every now and then my better half will get something that is not quite right and there has never been a problem returning it, so there is that.

As to whether it can run Aspire? That is not my primary purpose in purchasing one. It will mostly be used to run the machine. Since Mach3 runs on really old computers I am pretty sure it will run on these.

My guess is that it will run Aspire but it might be a tad on the slow side. But it might be faster than the laptop, the laptop is now at least ten years old and runs Windows 7. It is definitely NOT a pentium processor so apparently Vectric does not require a pentium processor. I am not a hardware jock by any means, but my understanding is that the microcode in all the processors built by Intel is the same(sort of has to be, or it would not be able to run Win10. The difference lies in operation speed. But hey! I could be very wrong about all of this. Will probably find out in the next week or so.

Edit: This is for GKGas. Fakespot itself gets lousy reviews from lots of folks, do a google search on them , whoa.
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby highpockets » Mon May 20, 2019 10:24 pm

Ted, post an update if you get the mini pc. My Compaq desktop on my CNC is old, slow and needs to be replaced. Been thinking about using a mini pc and your results may help me pull the trigger.
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby Makingtoothpicks » Mon May 20, 2019 11:48 pm

I run my CN using UCCNC with this one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CJFZ1NL/re ... WNCCG&th=1

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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby TReischl » Tue May 21, 2019 1:18 am

As always the comments are useful.

Here is what I am learning about these guys:

32Gb of storage is an issue when it comes to Windows Updates. According to reviewers anyhow. I need to investigate that because it just could be that folks using it are loading big honking games and whatnot on it and then when an update rolls around there is trouble. Which brings up a question I had never considered, how does one get rid of the files that are downloaded to do the updates or are they automatically deleted after install? At any rate, it seems to me that I would be opting for one with 64Gb of storage for an additional $25. Edit: It seems that Disk Cleanup takes care of old unneeded files.

Reading reviews it seems that folks who run these with SATA drives or an additional memory stick do not seem to have the same issues as folks running them without. That sort of leads me to believe what I wrote above about people overloading the available storage.

Really appreciate your comment Don, that helps a lot knowing you run a machine with one. That is exactly what I want to do. I do not run a whole lot of software on my shop PC. Aspire, Corel Draw and that is about it as far as programs of any significant size.
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby Adrian » Tue May 21, 2019 8:08 am

32gb is definitely an issue with Windows updates unless you have a secondary drive. I have a netbook with that amount of storage and it was always a pain with the big updates until I put a secondary drive (SD card) in it and moved the User Folders to it.

No problem with my 64gb Mini PC though and no moving things around needed there. I only have the ShopBot control software installed on there though. Installing more software might require more storage to avoid update issues.
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby DLWOODWORKS » Tue May 21, 2019 4:18 pm

I've got one of those All-In-one machines that has the monitor and everything in the same box. It has 4 USB ports. I also have an external USB HUB to run all the other stuff (keyboard, mouse, barcode reader, printer, label printer). The CNC is connected to the USB ports built into the PC. I use it to run my Shopbot. It is NOT connected to the internet or my WiFi network. I bring files to it via USB sticks. Since it is only used to run the CNC, I've never felt a need to have it perform updates. I've stripped it to a pretty clean PC running Windows 7 Pro 64bit edition. Extremely reliable. The only time I've had a blue screen is when the Shopbot control software crashed. So the PC is very stable.
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby Jim_in_PA » Sun May 26, 2019 5:45 pm

I see no issue with the small format, but suggest it be configured with capacities somewhat like a non-compact computer unit. Must run Windows 10, Vectric will run in 4GB of RAM, but at least 8GB is better. Don't get stuck with a really small SSD...the prices are low these days for 256GB or even 480GB. Gary Campbell has used these small units on some of his project machines and they are impressive for the small footprint. Once WinCNC migrates to fully supporting Ethernet connectivity, I'd consider one to replace the more traditional "small tower" unit that I currently have in the shop that came with my machine. (PCIe slots required for WinCNC control board at time of purchase)
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Re: Info About Using a "mini pc"

Postby wb9tpg » Sun May 26, 2019 6:01 pm

Interesting tread. I'm close to switching to a RasberryPi with Touch Screen for my CNC with UGS for the sender. I don't want to take my Mac into my dusty shop and the Pi has no moving parts to break. I'd rather use a USB Stick to copy my gcode to and use it that way.
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