If you’ve ever looked into building a PC you’ll know what an addictive and fun process it is. Using sites like http://pcpartpicker.com and getting feedback on Reddit’s boards (there are a few, but here’s a link for one) for PC builders, http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/, you can pick and choose based on price, performance and compatibility and get tons of feedback. It’s a lot of fun.
When I posted some build plans I had made to build a PC (exportable from PC Part Picker) to the Reddit board, some suggested using an Intel NUC, a very small board & case, that’s made to make a computer you won’t notice.
Lifehacker had an article on one of these and what you have to do to build a PC that showed it off nicely, and the comments were useful, too.
If you use this little option from Intel to build a PC you won’t have as many options, and your cost won’t be as low as possible, but if you want a hot little portable computer, basically the size of a paperback book, it’s a great option.
While I have ideas floating in my head for using it to build a PC that is a portable, with plugin power options and Bluetooth connected display and keyboard options (a laptop without the computer almost), more practically I’m considering using one to build a PC for my family TV. We watch Hulu and various other streaming video sources, and this could be a nice alternative to using one of our laptops.
I don’t want some commercial, dedicated box that will limit my options and make me pay for Hulu Plus, either.
Using it and the family TV for Skype video calls with the grandparents would be nice, too.
Have you considered going with integrated graphics? Might save you a little coin if you aren’t interested in upgrading later on. (Not cheaply anyway.) Also, the new Mac may be a good choice and the cylinder approach may appeal as well. Personally, I still prefer AMD over Intel — better thru-put.
What would you recommend for a unit to plug into a TV?