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A laptop users SLAVE Box. Need: Thin/ Mini ITX Mobo + Tiny Case/ PSU advise?


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A laptop users SLAVE Box. Need: Thin/ Mini ITX Mobo + Tiny Case/ PSU advise?


- ATV/ Mac Mini/ NUC like Case/ or little larger as well - like a thick/ big book 

- But not the Mini-ITX towers/ desktops I see. 


Typical use this for: 

- XBMC/ Kodi streaming from Synology NAS

- Maybe offload my downloading/ torrents etc to this box


- Usually will contain a single Drive: Old 2.5" HDD/ SSD to start & some RAM


BUT - Main reason for buying - Once in a while hack/ heavy use: 


The max I will load it with hardware is when we 

PLUG in 2 or 3 new or old 3.5" / NAS Drives - {Wont fit inside obviously - Can lie around}


Typically for overnight burn in tests; dban, badblocks, chkdsk, SMART/ Surface Tests, Seagate/ WD Tests

Sometimes HDD/ Partition Cloning / Ghosting etc. 


On a laptop, this is stuff that's slow, hot & time consuming - not easy or done well.

Hence, delegate to a Slave Box.  


I hope the PSU can handle 2/3 drives for short term burning: 

Open to advise/ recommendations on inside/ outside power supply; 100 - 240 V - May take it for long term global travel. 




 - No gaming performance required/ not majorly anyways

 - Will be using QHD or UHD/ 4K Display - Monitor or TV as I thrive on High Res workspace

.. Hence preferably 

  - DP 1.new HDMI 1.4/2.0 @60Hz would be key

  - Dual Link DVI D / I as a second nice/ must have

  - VGA/ D-Sub - not key but hey no harm if its there else can use an Adapter


Slave Box: 

- I'm primarily a laptop user for 10+ years

- I'd just like a small, compact SLAVE Box to delegate things to, without having to stop work on my laptop


- At times I need for format, image, clone HDDs & hack around, do multi boot experiments etc. 

- For that I don't need a big PC


- Just something that has bunch of HDD/ SSD ports to plug into: 

 - SATA / eSATA?? / USB 3.0/3.1?? 


Nice To Have: 

 - m.2 ports - Mainly future proofing; Will add if price diff not huge for Mobo? 

Just started reading about them & given SSD prices are falling be nice to have for faster Storage & Bus performance



 - Mac OSX friendly - Ignore this part if its taboo on this forum. 



 - Dual GigE NICs - Just in case i want to run a Network Appliance like pFsense/ Sophos on it

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I apologize for newegg links, but they're easy to find, list all the necessary specs and usually have great images. 


Something like the Antec ISK 110 VESA case? 



Or ... maybe something like this:


It's a bit bigger than a book, but it supports a lot of drives.



As for power supply, I personally prefer an internal one, as they're less likely to have issues ... in theory. 



As for hardware, check out "ASRock RACK" for hardware, They have a lot of ITX form factor boards with a lot of options. Yes, including M.2 multiple NICs and ECC support. 


For instance, the ASRock RACK E3236D2I board:



M.2, DDR4 system, ECC support, dual intel NICs, 6x SATA ports, and 4x USB3.0 ports (and 2x USB2.0 ports)



As for Mac friendly, do you mean boots OS X? If so, that's ... a lot more complicated. If not, then use Windows File Sharing, as OS X supports it. 

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I'm using an Asrock N3700-ITX board.  Embedded quad core Braswell, which will work fine if you don't need a lot of computing power.  It takes DDR3 SODIMMS; I have 8GB of RAM on mine.  Has a mini-PCIe slot for wireless.  Very low power consumption.  Also inexpensive, has DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI, and you don't have to buy a processor separately.


Unlike some of the tiny boxes, having this means I get dual-channel memory performance, and a lot of boxes don't offer the N3700, only the 3050 or 3150.



Edited by LoneWolf
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You could do this with a Raspberry Pi.  Windows 10 will run on a Pi and I think there is a video on this site on how to setup the thing.

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You could do this with a Raspberry Pi.  Windows 10 will run on a Pi and I think there is a video on this site on how to setup the thing.


Windows on a Rasp Pi? I did see something about an IoT Windows for R Pi, but what will it allow me to do.. ? Functionality? 

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