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Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Hi Guys,

I like to upgrade my current laptop based media center to a dead silent system.
The main usage will be as audio player using Foobar2k, in addition as video player using MPC-HC, connected to the AVR and TV.
Favoured a Laptop/Netbook, because of the build in screen - I don't like to switch on my TV for audio play only.
I do not plan to use Chromcast or similar devices.

My simple requirements are:
  • Silent, no fans, no noise at all
  • Foobar2000 as audio player, MPC-HC video player, Windows  ;)
  • Playback of h.264 (*.mkv), 1080p
  • USB, HDMI, Wireless, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Local attached storage Media, USB
  • Min. 4GB RAM
  • ca. 12-14" screen, IPS, non reflective
  • Optional: USB 3.x, SP/DIF out, HDMI 2.0, h.265, UHD playback, Docking station
  • Inexpensive, good value for money

Thank you all for your recommendations  :)

.halverhahn

  • evgenetic
  • [*]
Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #1
this contradicts a number of your requirements (having foobar, windows, 4gb ram, gigabit ethernet, having a screen), but why not go raspberry pi 3 if you're planning to use it solely as a music/video player? you won't find anything better value for money wise (about 60$ for the the soc itself+micro sd card + power supply+some kind of case)  and it deals with music and 1080p video flawlessly in my daily experience with it.
  • Last Edit: 09 August, 2017, 08:45:05 AM by evgenetic

  • Cavaille
  • [*][*][*][*]
Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #2
This laptop has all of what you desire... but it's extremely expensive: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/05/huawei-matebook-x-review-fanless-macbook-pro-rival

Indeed, it doesn't have a fan. It uses Micro-encapsulated Phase Change Material (MEPCM) instead.

Regarding the price and since it's like jewellery I too recommend the Raspberry Pi3. You can customize it to your heart's desire, it's not expensive, you can add so many things and it's so small that you can probably attach it to the back of a TV (should you want that).
marlene-d.blogspot.com

  • eric.w
  • [*][*]
Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #3
Maybe a CHUWI LapBook 14.1? No personal experience but it looks like a good value.
https://techtablets.com/chuwi-lapbook-14-1/review/

  • Porcus
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #4
http://www.ultrabookreview.com/6520-fanless-ultrabooks/ maintains a list one could look at?

This laptop has all of what you desire... but it's extremely expensive:
Zenbook starts from around half of that.

  • 4season
  • [*][*][*]
Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #5
OK, it's an 11.1"  glossy screen, but if you have access to a Target store you can see for yourself:
https://www.target.com/p/A-52152149
I sampled this particular variant of the Acer Spin 1 and liked it lots. Build quality felt solid and thanks to 32GB eMMC SSD, it felt pretty zippy too. I recall it having a single DIMM socket to facilitate RAM upgrades, but the SATA header had been omitted from the motherboard, so adding an internal SATA SSD won't be quite so straightforward.

Display is 1080P IPS with touch. I don't have the light output spec handy, but do recall it getting plenty bright.

Keyboard, trackpad: I could really find nothing to complain about the layout or feel of either. Keyboard felt more solid than usual thanks to internal steel reinforcing.

Onboard speakers: You may not care, but I thought these were well above average, clearly someone thought that the kids might like to party.


  • andy o
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #6
You have requirements that fight against each other. You want fanless and inexpensive, but the laptops with enough power for a media device (up to 4k playback) and fanless are more expensive. Is there a reason you specifically want to use MPC-HC, and if so, is it madVR? Cause I have a Razer Blade Stealth which is not inexpensive by any means, and which comes with the latest Intel "Kaby Lake" Ultrabook processors, and still needs a fan, though it's very quiet, to the point that, without googling, I think it's off most of the time when it's not being strained.

This Ultrabook has a 4K screen, and even this processor (i7-7500u) struggles with most madVR scaling options. Native VP9 (which YouTube uses) and HEVC 4K content play smoothly even at 60 fps, but only when hardware-accelerated. The CPU here is simply not powerful enough for software decoding of such formats. So if you need future proofing or you already are in the 4K camp, you'll need at least one of these Kaby Lake processors, which come with hardware accelerated decoding (and encoding) of these newest formats (I think previous gen CPUs did 8-bit only for VP9 which might be a problem that sneaks up on you in the future). Also, 8th gen "Coffee Lake" processors are right around the corner so might be wise to wait cause they're touting more efficiency.

Personally, I use a HTPC desktop for media, which has plenty of power and it's extremely silent. I can put in a lot of storage, have as fast a CPU as I want (4th gen Intel i7-4770 has still plenty of power for software decoding of the newest formats), and can use powerful and silent graphics cards for fancy madVR processing. My case is an Antec P180 mini running only one 200mm fan at very low RPM. My CPU cooler is also a big tower with heat pipes with a very low RPM 120 fan. All in all, inaudible even late at night. My GTX 960 graphics card doesn't turn its fan on if it's not being stressed. With this, I can stream music using my phone with something like BubbleUPnP to a Chromecast or Chromecast Audio. Is there a particular reason you don't wanna use a Chromecast? It would solve your small screen and your fanless issues.

Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #7
Thank you all for the input!

@ Porcus and 4season: The ultrabookreview was helpfull to get a general overview what's available on the market and the Acer Spin 1 is very attractive, but the color is brave, may I get used to it ;) btw. my budget it's ca. 300€, so it fits quite well.

@ eric.w: I like to use it for the next 5+ years, but I've read quite bad reviews about CHUWI laptops. So I'll stick to the well known brands.

@ andy o: Indeed I use madVR, but no fancy and demanding settings, just the basics. Basically because of the "bad chroma" problems of the Enhanced Video Renderer (custom presenter).




4k video support is just optional. If it's build in I'm happy, if not it's fine :)
As I know Chromcast need a active internet connection, even you stream local media. This is not an option. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

@ evgenetic and Cavaille: The Raspberry Pi3 is nice, but the missing "audio only" screen is not attractive. I'm used to browse foobar2k, start the album and listen to it. Switching on the TV for this simple 1 min. task - no thank you ;)

All your input is much appreciated!

  • Last Edit: 10 August, 2017, 04:36:00 PM by .halverhahn
.halverhahn

  • Melomane
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #8
last year i have buy lenovo b50-10 laptop with no fan , 4 gb ram, intel pentium N3540 processor 4 cores 2.16 GHz, windows 10 ( replaced with linux ) 15,6" non reflective for 300€

now you can buy it for 250€...

  • Last Edit: 10 August, 2017, 04:40:04 PM by Melomane
Music is my first love.

  • evgenetic
  • [*]
Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #9
@ evgenetic and Cavaille: The Raspberry Pi3 is nice, but the missing "audio only" screen is not attractive. I'm used to browse foobar2k, start the album and listen to it. Switching on the TV for this simple 1 min. task - no thank you ;)

you don't have to turn on your TV in this case, turning on AVR will be enough. in fact you can configure it to turn on your AVR via HDMI CEC commands, assuming you have a relatively recent AVR.
  • Last Edit: 10 August, 2017, 07:40:12 PM by evgenetic

  • RudyB
  • [*]
Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #10
I'm very pleased with my Minix Neo z83-4 that runs on Windows10. It's fanless. No screen, but interestingly priced at around $180,-.


  • silverprout
  • [*][*][*]
Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #11
Hi Guys,
I like to upgrade my current laptop based media center to a dead silent system.
The main usage will be as audio player using Foobar2k, in addition as video player using MPC-HC, connected to the AVR and TV.
Favoured a Laptop/Netbook, because of the build in screen - I don't like to switch on my TV for audio play only.
I do not plan to use Chromcast or similar devices.
My simple requirements are:
  • Silent, no fans, no noise at all
  • Foobar2000 as audio player, MPC-HC video player, Windows  ;)
  • Playback of h.264 (*.mkv), 1080p
  • USB, HDMI, Wireless, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Local attached storage Media, USB
  • Min. 4GB RAM
  • ca. 12-14" screen, IPS, non reflective
  • Optional: USB 3.x, SP/DIF out, HDMI 2.0, h.265, UHD playback, Docking station
  • Inexpensive, good value for money
Thank you all for your recommendations  :)

Are you looking for a fanless laptop ?... with an IPS LCD ?


Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #12
Hi Guys,

I like to upgrade my current laptop based media center to a dead silent system.
The main usage will be as audio player using Foobar2k, in addition as video player using MPC-HC, connected to the AVR and TV.
Favoured a Laptop/Netbook, because of the build in screen - I don't like to switch on my TV for audio play only.
I do not plan to use Chromcast or similar devices.

My simple requirements are:
  • Silent, no fans, no noise at all
  • Foobar2000 as audio player, MPC-HC video player, Windows  ;)
  • Playback of h.264 (*.mkv), 1080p
  • USB, HDMI, Wireless, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Local attached storage Media, USB
  • Min. 4GB RAM
  • ca. 12-14" screen, IPS, non reflective
  • Optional: USB 3.x, SP/DIF out, HDMI 2.0, h.265, UHD playback, Docking station
  • Inexpensive, good value for money

Thank you all for your recommendations  :)



Ever look at the plethora of Android TV boxes?

  • medoc92
  • [*]
Re: Fanless media Laptop/Netbook recommendition
Reply #13

@ evgenetic and Cavaille: The Raspberry Pi3 is nice, but the missing "audio only" screen is not attractive. I'm used to browse foobar2k, start the album and listen to it. Switching on the TV for this simple 1 min. task - no thank you ;


You don't need to use the TV as a user interface at all, the Pi can be headless.

Just install an UPnP server/renderer on the Pi (e.g. as part of Volumio for an ultra-simple install, or look up upmpdcli), and control the audio from software on any PC, tablet or phone (look up UPnP control point on your platform of choice. Bubble UPnP is nice on Android, Kazoo or others on Windows, there is a lot of choice).