Windows 10 Laptop or Rack-Mount/Desktop for Live Performance

Which do you use (or prefer) and why?

I use a Mac laptop but it sits over on the side and I don’t really look at it during a show and I certainly don’t interact with it. I use an iPad with Lemur along with physical controls on my keyboards and a MIDI pedalboard to control it.

I use a Gigabyte Brix NUC PC with a low cost 10” touch screen. The NUC PC is integrated under my piano keyboard controller, I like the format.

Thank you, David-San. Would you mind sharing the parts list (motherboard, power supply, cpu, memory, ssd, case, etc.)? I am considering building my own rack-mount system and could use some advice.
here u go this is what i do
Scroll to top very long thread

Thanks, onkeyz. Looks like I can put together a pretty beefy Windows rack-mount PC for around $1,000.

I looked at the thread but it says “custom case” and “Gigabyte motherboard”, any hints as to the mobo model/form factor? Any extra fans in there? It seems like a great route to go but I’ve always gotten stuck early on not knowing how to balance performance with mini-itx etc.

FWIW I’ve been using a Clevo barebone laptop (P771-DM1-G) which is based around an intel i7 6700 (desktop cpu) with one PCIe SSD, one M2 SSD, one regular SSD and one HDD, currently with 16GB RAM installed. It’s fairly easy to upgrade with 4 RAM slots and disk spaces but the thing that you pay a lot for and really don’t need is the video card (they’re kinda gaming laptops). Once it dies (or hopefully a little before) I’d like to switch to a rack PC. Even though it’s a beast and it has everything in it, I could use a lighter laptop for administration and a cheap powerful rack PC dedicated to live audio duties.

My biggest concern with moving from a laptop to a desktop/rack-mount PC for live performance is the risk of having a boot issue. For those that only connect to their host PC through a crossover cable or wireless network, I think you’re screwed if the host PC won’t boot. Whereas with a laptop you can watch the boot sequence and recover. I would rather not carry around a monitor, keyboard and mouse in the event of a boot issue.

I always leave a small monitor in the car for that very issue , but never needed it.

Mine is a mini itx motherboard
Gigabyte Z370N-WIFI LGA 1151 Mini ITX Motherboard. They work great i chose this to keep everything under 2u for pc.

Patchbay makes ins and outs very easy

Thanks, onkeyz, that helps!
I have a similar patchbay for my UCX too, but it’s in a laptop trolley/flightcase deal atm.