FanlessMini PC - A Better/Cheaper Alternative Than A Raspberry Pi

A fanless mini-PC is a better alternative than a Raspberry Pi IMHO. A key board, mouse, and monitor are only needed for the initial setup of Volumio. You can buy one WITHOUT an OS for around a $100 on Amazon.

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Certainly a good option, especially with the silly prices for the Pi during this extended shortage. I like the tiny form factor of the Pi though; mine are hidden on the back of 7" displays. Hopefully we’ll have 50 dollar/euro RPIs again soon.

Make sure to fully check the hardware compatibility, as not all will work

Funny you should say that. I actually installed Volumio on a 12 year old Compaq Presario laptop with great results.

I am not referring to old gear, as most of them will work, but new

Regarding new fanless PCs what is compatible? A PC with 2 or more USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, a Celeron processor, 4 MB RAM, small hard drive, WiFi. What else is needed?

  • Check for compatible WiFi chipset
  • If you going to use an USB DAC => USB3.0
  • HDMI can sometimes be problematic.

Please check the following topics:

Thanks. My current setup uses USB 2.0 and SMSL DO100 DAC with good results.

Just curiosity, what does your fanless setup look like?
Could you add it to the link @Wheaten provided?
It may help others with picking a suitable device.

Which FREE OS Will you install?

I don’t have a fanless setup. I have a 12 year old Compaq Presario laptop. It has a fan. I want to upgrade to a mini fanless desktop at some point. That old Presario isn’t going to last forever.

I don’t need any OS.

Volumino is the OS on my laptop. When I installed Volumino I chose to install it to disk. This wiped out the obsolete Windows 7 OS that was installed on that old laptop. The only OS on it now is Volumino which works great!

When I buy a fanless desktop I would buy one with no OS. The BIOS will allow a boot from a USB storage device which is flashed with Volumino. After booting up Volumino you can choose to install it to disk.

Volumio is an OS based on Linux, so no need to install another OS.

You don’t have to use a pi4. A pi2 will run volumio and does not require a fan; even a pi3 will not require a fan running volumio.

@Nuvaslacker

Please read the subject :wink:

Please take a look at the tested systems, not all Chinese boxes run with standard drivers delivered with the kernel.
If you order a fanless, then at least you know if it will work.

Thanks for your advice. I will do as you say.

Cheaper versions of the pi are available and have ample power to run Volumio. They are readily available and draw less power than the alternatives.

You really don’t need to waste power draw or cash on an x86 or octacore arm CPU.

If you do use an x86 CPU you’ll need to work out a way to get a spdif output as motherboard dacs are cheap and subject to rfi from the cpu and ram clocks. For the pi you can get a cheap interface hat or a high quality dac hat and use an interference blocking smoothing intermediate hat. These are all cheap and readily available.

I use the USB output from the laptop to my SMSL DO100 DAC. This setup seems to work rather well.

In view of the ongoing shortage of RPI hardware, would you like to recommend one of these alternatives?