Which computer to play 4K app?


I am developing a generative video in my MacBook Pro Retina using OF. It will be part of an exhibition in March and I would like to present it in a 4K screen (TV since it will be 43"-50").

Since the exhibition will last for several weeks I cannot leave my personal laptop there.

I would like to get some advice on which computer to buy in order to be able to run my 4K app. I was thinking in using something similar to a MacMini but it could be a PC because it’s cheaper.

I would also like this machine to be somewhat future-proof, so that I can use it in other projects I may come to work on.

What kind of hardware is being used for this purpose?
Should I go for a NUC or a regular PC?
Any specific GPU I should choose?
Any particular concerns I should be aware of? For example, I guess it must be fan powered considering that it will be constantly pushing both CPU and GPU, right?

Thanks in advance,

Heyho, i was using a HP z2 mini with Ubuntu for a web based project. These machines are made for cad rendering, I guess you should not run into problems with 4K. I can’t remember about the cooling, but it was not noisy at all.

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Thank you @thomasgeissl,

I was looking at its price, though, and it’s not cheap!

I was hoping to find a solution costing around 500€. But I really don’t know much about what the market has to offer as I always used either my MacBook Pro or Raspberry Pis for all my needs.

But until now I never needed to make a 4K video so… maybe 500€ won’t be enough :frowning:

I’ve used Intel NUC PCs for several exhibitions. Low power, small form factor (e.g. can easily be hidden behind a monitor) and I think most current models support 4k output.

They’re generally supplied as barebone kits, so you have to add some memory, a ssd / m.2 drive, and install the OS yourself, but should fit within your budget.

What you need processor power wise will depend on what you’re doing generatively, but you might even get away with something like this (which claims to be 4k output capable):


I’ve generally gone for NUCs with i5 processors to give a bit more va-va-voom.

Hello @andylomas,

Thank you. I had already heard of the NUCs but always imagined their graphics capabilities were not good. After reading your post I investigated further and found that indeed they are much more powerful than I thought. This may really be what I need!

But… so many different models to choose from!

Usually my generative videos tend to be CPU/GPU intensive so, if I do choose a NUC, I think I’ll also go for at least an i5 with the Iris graphics card.

I wonder if I should consider an i7. but at least this review suggests that paying extra for the i7 is a waste of money: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghTx8cNDNEI


I can recommend Scan Computing if you’re UK based (I believe they ship outside of the UK as well but you’ll need to check). They have a very generous returns policy so if you purchase a PC you can test it out for 2 weeks and if it’s not up to par you can return it for a full discount.

I’ve done this with GPU’s and monitors with them as well in the past. They have excellent customer service and it takes the pressure off buying something for an installation you’re not sure about!

Edit: here’s the link: https://www.scan.co.uk


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Definitely depends on how much GPU power you need. The integrated Intel GPUs definitely aren’t up to the power of some AMD and NVidia cards, but I’ve managed to get single 4k or triple 1920x1080 displays out of a single NUC.

The way I see them is that they’re basically the same electronics that you typically get with a laptop with integrated graphics rather than a discrete additional GPU. In a nice small form factor box that works well in an exhibition environment.

The Radeon (MX?) integrated graphics on the Hades Canyon NUC are reportedly quite superior to the Intel integrated options. But, not cheap, though!

Anyone tried the Lattepanda’s for this kind of application? I’ve been considering getting one of those for a while. They compare the core M3 one to the MacBook (not the Pro or Air, the MacBook) performance.