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I want a new no-noise dev server (LEMP); and I wonder what specs I should go for, how to narrow the search.

I currently use an old budget Laptop (Asus K53U) with an AMD C-50@800MHz, 1x2GB Samsung DDR3-1333 and the HDD replaced by a Samsung 830 (250GB SSD , SATA 3.0, 6GB/s), which is sufficient for the most part; but the fan has grown (kind of) noisy and on occasions I´d like MySQL to work a bit faster.

The hardest work that the machine has to do are the web tests. According to top, MySQL constantly uses 30% of the RAM, and, whenever it has something to do, it maxes out one core of the CPU, while the other one is idling, which is both not surprising: The CPU scores 66 at Cinebench R20 (single core), and MySQL uses only one core per connection.

I definitely can´t get anything slower nowadays; but how high must I aim?

I thought about something in the (physical) dimensions of a Mac Mini or smaller, maybe a NUC, with a 35W power supply, housing a Core i3, any 250GB NVMe or SSD and take whatever comes with it. No special needs on the connecting side; I think it should have video output of some kind. Passive cooling is a must.

SMART claims that the 830 is still in good shape; so I will probably use that as 1st level backup.


Hints on the specification will suffice at the moment; but if you have a similar scenario; let me know what you use.

  • Should I downgrade to a mobile processor for lower power consumption? upgrade to i5 for better performance? or stick with the i3?
  • I think about moving from Ubuntu to Puppy or TinyCore. Anything to consider on the driver side?
  • Anything else I haven´t thought about?
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    That missing RAM is probably allocated to the iGPU. On a DIY PC you would be able to change the amount, but on a laptop I'm not sure. Sep 13 at 22:44
  • I used my MacMini for the time being. It´s too old for the latest Mac OS anyway, has an i3 and no fan. Now that I don´t have a fan in my office anymore, I hear that HDD hum. Some day I´m gonna ditch it and replace it with an SSD.
    – Titus
    Nov 4 at 11:26
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The System76 Tall Meerkat checks most of the boxes, except the fan:

  • 10th gen Intel Core i3
  • up to 2*32GB of RAM (max 2666mhz because of intel cpu)
  • WIFI can be turned off
  • ships with Ubuntu or POP OS
  • small size
  • its not fanless, but has a quiet mode in the bios. But its pretty hard to do passive cooling on a small pc
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  • Thanks for the hint; but it seems I can´t get it in Europe; customs and taxes would push the price to ~800€, plus the potential trouble. Makes no sense when I can get a Mac Mini for less than 600.
    – Titus
    Sep 27 at 18:20
  • True, but the Mac Mini has a MacOS lockdown, and thats why I don't like it. Installing another OS would be as hard as installing a different OS on some android phones.
    – Irsu85
    Sep 28 at 4:50
  • IC. But still, I can order a Cirrus7, which is fanless, for ~700€. The thing is, I´m not sure about the power that I need for what I want.
    – Titus
    Sep 28 at 15:27
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    Yes, thats doable, but the Intel T processors mean you are very limited on power, so your clock speeds and overall speeds will be low.
    – Irsu85
    Sep 29 at 4:09
  • Check out the silentmaxx Kenko mini
    – Titus
    Sep 29 at 13:13

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