Possibly the best known of the Mini-PCs, the Raspberry Pi has one huge advantage. It is very well supported. However, there are two large disadvantages, IMO.
- 1 GB of memory seems insufficient even though the processor has four cores and has graphics acceleration. This limits this Mini-PC’s performance.
- Any Pi build seems to end up with a spaghetti of leads.
Then along came the Media Pi box. No need for a USB hub and all the leads are neatly contained within a cleverly built box. I bought one designed for the Pi 1 but installed a Pi 2 so the remote does not work, but that was half expected. There is now a newer box for the Pi 2 which, hopefully, overcomes this.
So, if you like the Pi or just want a tidy Kodi setup and don’t mind it being a bit larger than most of the current Mini-PCs, maybe the Media Pi box is for you. It is shown here running with a 2TB 2.5inch spinner, all tidily enclosed within the box, and a tiny WiFi keyboard.
One tip that wasn’t obvious to me. Use a 32GB class 10 or faster micro SD. Build your Pi using Noobs and select both Raspbian and one of the Kodi implementations and you can run both operating systems. Just select which one at start up. You should find that any problems that you hit will be easy to solve in the large Pi community.
However, there is a better solution. See RPi and WD Labs
If all you want to run is Kodi, a smaller and much cheaper alternative is one of the little streaming Android boxes. You just need to add a powered external hard drive and it will play all of your media through your HDMI TV.