Mini PC build suggestions?

I’m looking to build a rack computer using the Intel NUC mini pc platform and would appreciate some suggestions on CPU choices.

Currently, I’m using a Korg Kronos in a cover band setup, so I will need to run a few plugins at a time to cover the combinations of sounds for each song. Usually there are 3-4 sounds running at once but sometimes more for medeys and other complex setups. I have a 61 key Kronos and a 73 key as well so I like having all the sounds available at once without having to do any switching of patches or using pedals to enable/disable sounds during songs

I plan on using Pianoteq and other modelling plugins as much as possible to keep the load times as low as possible so CPU power would be most important but I also plan on at least 16GB of ram to start. I will be using Kontakt for things like strings and horns as needed and will have one or two SSD drives (OS and Sample/program drives)

I’m looking to spec i7 or better but haven’t done too much research on whether multi core is as important as raw single core speed.

Thanks for any info/advise. I’ve been very happy with my initial experiments and looking forward to being able to do our shows with less reliance on specific workstations/hardware synths and having more flexibility in my sound design

I would aim for single core speed in first place, but having 32GB under the hood is also not a very bad idea, if you are using Kontakt and such…

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I will likely splurge for the 32gb to start as the price difference is not too bad from 16gb. Some of the mini PCs have up to 64gb capacity so it would be nice to have some expandability for the future.

Seems the CPU is where I will have to focus on getting it right from the start as most are not upgradable from what I’ve seen

I use an older GigaByte BRIX i7 NUC PC with an mSata 2Tb SSD. No need to give you the refs, it is too old. But, they still have a large choice of very small and powerfull NUC PC.

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Thanks! I’ll look into them as well. I may even be able to get a mini ITX case small enough to fit in my rack. That will give me much more options for CPU and offer upgradability

@David-san do you use a touch screen monitor with your mini PC? I’m thinking of using OSC Pilot for my custom interface to control my vsts via touch interface

This case is very interesting and allows me to use any mini-itx motherboard for tons of flexibility. It also has 2 hot swap drive bays so I can have a backup SSD I can pop in immediately if the system ever crashes

Yes I do.

Which screen are you using? I’m trying to find one that’s fairly compact

I am thinking of a slightly larger one, but for now:

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That 10" one looks perfect for mounting to my Kronos. I can probably make a custom hinge so it can fold down over the Kronos touchscreen for packing/travel. I have my Surface Pro on a mount attached to my keyboard stand which could be a secondary display for my in ear mix and the 10" display can be for the vst custom interface via Pilot OSC

I have got it mounted using this stand:

If you need a 3D model, I made one using SketchUp, if you know this software…

Is the outside of the front bezel something that can be screwed into without damaging the screen? If so, I can probably attach a torque hinge to that and the case of the Kronos just behind it’s touch screen

Does this pictures answer your question?

Thanks, looks like lots of options to attach a hinge to the backing plate. Also looking at this monitor as a bigger (but not too big) option.

Yes, at the time I bought mine there were really very few options for HDMI touch screen, but now I would probably go for something like a 13" model…

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For the same price, here’s a slightly bigger one too. Good to know there are options

Ok, I have gone through same thing as what you are going through so read on…
I chose a relatively cheap / small set up with amazing results.
get exactly this PC:
ASUS VivoMini PB50 Barebone Kit - AMD Ryzen 5 3550H. ( you could get faster but this is proven by me and works )
you will need to get the fast M2 SSD , ( yes very very fast with the m2
( M.2 2280 ) , look out for the slower read/write speed ones. dont get m2 SSD , anything under 2,400 MB/s R/W

RAM memory stick 2 x 8 Gig 16 G ( smaller type ), window 10 OS ( OEM version ), small screen and keyboard/mouse. ( using more than 16 gig , seriously that is plenty for samples live )
if you are, you should consider dropping those hugely sample hungry sounds for live , its not that bad guys )

As for sound card , tascam 1608 USB is my choice , but any relatively new card ( with full asio support only ).
( that will depend what you are doing with it to , i needed 8 outputs )
Latency is low ( down to 4 samples if wanted that is ), its rediculously fast ! i set it to 32 samples for live.
I use GP with reason 11 and addictive piano , etc…
The fans barely turns on with this little beast machine. very quite , its roughly half a rack space and is small to carry.
After a month of using it , you will realise your korg kronos set up for live , will be obsolete. Oh yes, i love korg dearly too . Keep your precious korg for the studio I say. I have 3 of these PCs now and have NEVER looked back.
In fact i am getting a 4th machine ( as back up for the massive shows )
Use a midi keyboard with midi program change out for changing you patches ( via GP ).
or use a nano korgmidi / pad to switch between songs.
My machine boots within 11 seconds into the GP program,
GP is great because you preload your patches before your set starts.
instant switching between patches. its a dream !


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