So my mother's Dell Studio finally kicked the bucket (a rather surprising short in the SATA cable that melted the cable and left scorch marks on the drive supports and SSD -- I may post some pictures eventually when I have time). It was a 2009-era Dual Turion with a minimal MXM discrete graphics chip. And it was (with 4GB of RAM and an SSD upgrade) serving her perfectly well, which is why I hadn't bothered replacing it. But now I have no choice.
I'm definitely getting her something like a NUC or a Brix: her old Dell was roughly the same size, so it's familiar to her, which is important for an elderly person with slipping memory (I know if I just stuck a chrome stick or PC stick into her monitor she'd be perturbed by not knowing how to turn it off; she's from an era when electric devices were always turned off when not in immediate use). She likes her current screen and keyboard, so a chromebook or other laptop/iPad like thing doesn't make sense, and the Mac Mini hasn't been updated in forever and I don't really want to do remote support on a Mac. It's going to be bad enough moving her to Windows 10. So one of these little burger-sized buggers it is.
Which brings me to you: I'd like to tap the wisdom of those of you who have used a NUC or a Brix or a Zbox, mostly regarding reliability and noise. She's not going to be gaming (besides Freecell) though she may stream the odd video from a link in one her "Fw:fwd:FW:" emails. Right now I'm leaning towards a 6100U-based box like this box
as a reasonable choice (I like that it supports both M.2 and a SATA drive, and the SD slot is handy for backups). She really doesn't need anything more than this old Celeron
but I just can't bring myself to buy something so hobbled (single channel memory, what is this, the 90s?) even if it is much cheaper. But it might be quieter and cooler under load; I don't have a sense of how much fan noise there is in these things (15W max can't require much, right?) The Newegg comments also indicate they might be a bit finicky about compatibility with memory and/or M.2 drives, though that kind of surprises me, so any insight there would be appreciated also. Meanwhile there seem to be some good deals on fully-assembled Brix systems, but I don't know if I'd be happy with the components -- and again, I don't know about heat or noise or reliability.
So... what say the crowd?