I was looking for a mini PC to replace my Raspberry Pi. Low power, passive cooled, affordable and reliable were the key points important for me in order to run my web server on.
Hardware options and comparison
Here is my research for suitable hardware comparing all devices I considered in a table for quick and easy overview.
|MAC mini A1347||?||2||3x USB 3.0||802.11a/b/g/n||?||Gb||1x HDMI 1x Mini Display Port 1920×1200||i5-3210M||35W||yes||~150€ used|
|Gigabyte Brix GB-BACE-3160||1||1||4x USB 3.0||802.11a/b/g/n/ac||4.0||Gb||1x VGA 1x HDMI 1.4||J3160||6W||no||95€|
|Gigabyte Brix GB-BXCEH-2955||1||1||4x USB 3.0||802.11b/g/n||4.0||Gb||1x HDMI 1.4 1x Mini Display Port 1.2||2955U||15W||yes||100€|
|Gigabyte Brix GB-BLCE-4105||1||1||1x USB-C 3x USB 3.0||802.11a/b/g/n/ac||4.2||Gb||1x HDMI 2.0a 1x Mini Display Port 1.2a||J4105||10W||yes||130€|
|Intel NUC NUC7CJYH||0||1||4x USB 3.0||802.11a/b/g/n/ac||5.0||Gb||2x HDMI 2.0a||J4005||10W||yes||110€|
|MSI Cubi N 8GL-001BEU||1||1||4x USB 3.0||802.11a/b/g/n/ac||4.2||Gb||1x VGA 1x HDMI 1.4||N4000||6W||no||100€|
|Asus PN40-BB009MC||1||1||1x USB-C 3x USB 3.0 1x USB 2.0||802.11a/b/g/n/ac||5.0||Gb||1x HDMI 1.4 1x Mini Display Port 1.2||N4000||6W||no||130€|
|Asus PN40-BB013M||1||1||1x USB-C 3x USB 3.0 1x USB 2.0||802.11a/b/g/n/ac||5.0||Gb||1x VGA 1x HDMI 1.4 1x Mini Display Port 1.2||N4000||6W||no||150€|
I decided for the Asus PN40-BB013M because Asus claims that this one is rated for continuous use. Since I run my web server on it, this is important for me. I also like that it is among the less ugly ones from an aesthetic point of view. It offers modern hardware (apart from the VGA port) at reasonable cost.
Inside the box
Under the hood
Idle CPU temperature is roughly 39°C and after eight hours of memory testing, CPU temperature was 46°C. Debian installation on an old 500GB SSD went super easy. The only difference to Pi OS is that ssh, curl and sudo are missing from the default Debian installation and need to be installed manually. Also, SSMTP is missing from the Debian packages, but MSMTP is a better option anyway (glad I found out).
So far, the Asus PN40 makes a good first impression. How good it really is will be clear in one or two years. I will write an update in a year or two.