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Unpopular Opinion: Don’t use a Raspberry Pi for that!

Unpopular Opinion: Don’t use a Raspberry Pi for that!

2023-03-22 08:00:59

A Raspberry Pi is nice you probably have a necessity for which it excels. GPIO, extraordinarily low energy necessities, tight house constraints. However the Pi shouldn’t be the very first thing you attain for when “Unobtrusive and Cheap Linux Host” are the one necessities.

Years in the past I migrated my Pi-hole from an precise RPi to a NUC-sized system primarily based on the AMD GX-415GA that I paid $5 for naked bones, roughly $45 all-in with PSU, 4GB RAM, and SATA SSD. It’s not screaming quick however it’s nonetheless overkill for one thing like Pi-hole. Extra importantly, it boots sooner than a Pi and the storage is WAY extra dependable than micro-SD playing cards and people issues are type of an enormous deal when DNS being down successfully means the Web is down. At about 7w in use the distinction in energy consumption is a couple of penny per day.

Extra not too long ago I needed to construct a stack of Docker servers to run a pair Frigate cases and consolidate my sprawl of containers working inside VMs. I purchased this stack of HP Prodesk 600 G4 micro desktops for a median of $260/ea. Two got here as i5-8500T / 16GB RAM, one i5-8600T / 8GB RAM, all with 256GB NVMe drives. That’s quite a lot of compute in a tiny package deal and I’ll be upgrading all of them to 32GB / 1TB NVMe.

A whole Raspberry Pi 4 Mannequin B 8GB package is admittedly cheaper — sometimes $150 today — however you’ll find full i5-6500T techniques in that ballpark with 8GB RAM and a tough drive or small SSD. Decrease specs, or i3-6100T techniques, can get all the way down to $100. Once more, for the cash a Sixth-gen Intel CPU is a ton extra compute than a Pi, gives sooner and extra dependable storage, and also you don’t need to put up with the quirks of Raspian or working an alternate distro that has zero neighborhood.

Granted, these are techniques that can idle at 10-15w and may hit 55-60w at 100% load. There are conditions the place which may be unacceptable however that’s most likely not the state of affairs while you’re constructing a tiny Linux server at residence.

When you begin down the rabbit holes of Pi-hole and House Assistant, you’ll most likely purchase a bunch of different issues to run — I’m at 10 distinct Docker-ized stacks and have a couple of extra issues emigrate — and also you’ll be happier having beginning with one system that’s overkill for every part you’ll need to throw at it than accumulating a bunch of limited-purpose RPis that you simply’ll ultimately need to consolidate on one thing extra highly effective in any case.

See Also

When you’d prefer to study extra about tiny PC choices, take a look at ServeTheHome’s TinyMiniMicro series. I particularly seemed for HP G4 techniques from the MP9 / ProDesk 600 / EliteDesk 800 traces as a result of they’ve twin M.2 M key sockets plus an A+E key, which gives most flexibility for NVMe storage and Coral TPUs.

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