Fanless, low power computer for HA controller


Active Member
HI all,

Long time no see! Hope everyone has been doing well...

Havent been playing around with HA for a while now (5 years or so). Last I left off, I was using Girder 3.x with a hodgepodge of x10 / misc. parts for random HA projects around the house. At the time I was running this on an htpc that was left on 24/7. I have since gotten rid of the htpc and started looking into something that would be inexpensive to purchase and to run 24/7. I orginally started to think about the raspberry pi and looked into possibly using a "stick pc", but those options seemed to be a piecemeal solution as I would be buying addons for everything I would need.

I came across this mini-pc that seems like it would fit the bill. Newegg has an open box for $136 right now, coupled with some ram and a SSD, I could put it together for around $225...

Looks like it would run around 16-25w (probably on the lower end since I would be using SSD?), is fanless, and has 2 rs232 ports (something I need and want), it could serve video (not HD from what I have read) and music from my home network or most likely, my external harddrive. One major drawback is that it only supports windows 7 32-bit.

Are there cheaper or better solutions (in the same price point) out there?

I know x10 is old school, and I should upgrade and use something like the ELK, but I still have a ton of x10 gear laying about and back in the day it worked great for my needs. As for the Elk.... one day :)

Im not ready to pull the trigger, as I was just entertaining the idea of getting my system set back up... but since I've been out of the loop for so long I wanted to get some feedback to see if Im barking up the right tree.

Happy Holidays!
A couple of years ago purchased the Shuttle XS35 (two of them) for Christmas presents. That said I did set up my HA server on one of them and ran it for a bit. It worked fine for me using Homeseer. That said though I liked the Atom D525 CPU so much that I purchased two of the Foxconn D525 based "deals" that Newegg had soon after. Customized these boxes a bit with a hot swap 2.5" cage, raid card and micro PSU. I also updated my two carpc's from VIA CPU based motherboards to Atom D525 based motherboards and these too are working well now.

That said though one Shuttle is now my wifes computer replacing an older computer and the other Shuttle is in Florida; both run 24/7 and I have not had an issue with the boxes running 24/7.

I was a bit hestitant to go with a Shuttle initially as I have a "few" of their mini towers which are now disfunctional after maybe running for two years or so. I couldn't fix them because of the propietary motherboards; hence I had decided not to purchase any more Shuttle computers until I tested out the Shuttle XS-35.

I still run X-10 here and recently have upgraded to Jeff's new XTBIRII device. (I also run UPB, Z-Wave and still have an Insteon PLM on line-but not doing much today).

I also now utilize X10 with my Zoneminder box (in addition to using xAP with it).
Atom is probably acceptable but these days I would want a little more power. Have you looked at the intel NUCs? You would need to add a USB serial adapter but other than that they're pretty capable.
I've looked at a bunch of these lately and one of the best PCs for the money and size is a Mac Mini. However, it isn't fanless but runs cool, quiet, and uses little power. Also, little chance of compatibility issues and it will run MacOS or Win7/8.
I am running 2 Shuttle XS35's. One as my HA server with Homeseer, WinXP, 4gb and a 60gb SSD, works great. The other is my video camera server running XP and Blueiris w/6 cameras. It is slightly underpowered, but acceptable.
I have not had a problem with either.
I know x10 is old school, and I should upgrade and use something like the ELK, but I still have a ton of x10 gear laying about and back in the day it worked great for my needs. As for the Elk.... one day :)

Happy Holidays!

Keep in mind that you will be able to integrate your X10 with the ELK, along with any other technologies that you may want to use. i.e. UPB, RadioRa2, etc. This feature can help you transition between techs, or even utilize multiples at the same time as we do in our offices.