Robert, do you have a preference for VMS brand or price?
The Intel NUC or Fit PC are small, general purpose PCs and work well with VMS software but cost in the ~$500 range.
There are some Chinese NVRs that are small form factor and inexpensive if you want to go that route.
the HP SFF PC's (business class) are my choice for sub 10 cam installs, rock solid, set them to boot off an SSD and then use a decent recording disk and it'll be great for a while... should be able to set it up to send you logs of issues or problems.. you can also login remotely and do checkups if you want to set it up that way, just make sure it's i5 or above with lots of ram... we buy second hand ones for $250... good as gold :)
The reason I don't like Nuc's is largely do them not being particularly expandable, nor am I happy with their ability to remove heat from the chassis, and that's ignoring their limited storage options, I'm alergic to USB storage which seems to be the mainstay for NUC's
We're using Lenovo Thinkcentre M83 Tiny's. They're bigger then Intell NUC's, but it's what our IT department wants to use, so I'm kinda stuck with them.
As for performance, they're equal to the NUC's have had the liberty to test. So far I haven't gotten Intel Quick Sync Video to work, as we're using Milestone and I would had loved to see that work.
But even without the Intel Quick Sync, it's holding up nicely when you have a limited amount of camera's showing. Max is around 6-8 1080p camera's. It would be running between 60%~80% then.
Ive used both customer provided Lenovo Thinkcentres as stated above, but also ionodes has some nice, quiet, small form factor units that have pretty good performance specs. They definitely cost more than NUCs but have a couple other advantages as far as Im aware (stateless config, low power consumption), but I also am only really familiar with NUCs as a HTPC/streaming box type of config.
Pro Focus LLC | 03/04/16 06:10pm
From my experinces, small installs like this are better served with dedicated NVRs, but if that won't suffice, then a small PC loaded with a VMS should give you more options.
We tend to use Lenovo TS140 ThinkServers due to their very low cost. We add in an SSD for OS and as many Seagate Surveillance hard drives as needed.
Next big question is if it is a headless PC? Do you need to run the client on the PC? Or do you have another PC for the client? Maybe just a tablet or phone?
Dell does make a small form factor PC as well, but it will cost more than the Lenovo, be less upgradable, and slower.
Is there a reason it has to be such a small form factor? It really limits your storage capacity.
The 3xLogic VIGIL systems we use, for at least a decade were available in a Shuttle system. Some of those earliest units are still in service, and we still use a few retired ones for loaners.
They also produced a "mobile" version, the MVR, for several years, in analog, hybrid, and full NVR versions - we never installed one in a mobile setting, but they were very handy for sites with minimal space.
More recently, I ran across this little doo-dad on a site, abandoned in an elevator machine room, running XP Embedded and Milestone server:
Of course, all these options require you either keep a keyboard, mouse, and monitor around... or if you run headless but sometimes need to do local service to the system, you have to bring them with and hook them all up. Or... you could always use a laptop - built-in keyboard, mouse, and monitor cuts down on wasted space, and the built-in battery means it can run for hours in a power outage (you'll still need a UPS for your PoE switch, of course).
If you need to perform local service, just pull it out and open it up. All you need plugged in is power and network - close the lid and tuck it somewhere out of the way (allowing for proper ventilation, of course). Additional storage can be provided via external USB drive or separate iSCSI RAID unit that can be tucked away somewhere unobtrusive.