The recent blog post on using a thin client as a Pi alternative for DietPi inspired me to look more closely at refurbished Mini or small-form-factor (SFF) PCs as an inexpensive upgrade to a RPi for DietPi. Many of the inexpensive refurbished PCs are 7-10 years old and can have 5th or 6th generation Intel CPUs or similar AMD CPUs.
Considering the age of the CPUs in these inexpensive refurbished PCs, at what point does the scale tip in favor of the refurb over a RPi4? When is the refurb PC an upgrade over the Pi?
From another perspective, what’s the PC equivalent of an RPi 4, in terms of processor/performance?
I used an HP 260 G2 for this. I did choose it because it has a i5-6200U CPU which has a good performance and a quite low power consumption.
I also use Apple Mac mini 2012 resp. 2014 with DietPi with also a good power behaviour (and nice hardware), but expansion options are a bit lower than these of the “1 liter PCs”.
Additionally you can calculate energy costs, especially for 24/7 applications to see whether hardware costs or long term energy costs are more relevant.
Also using SSDs lower the power consumption compared to HDDs and might be cheaper in long term.
I propose not to use CPUs older than 4th Gen and to use power saving CPUs (low TDP, see List of CPU power dissipation figures - Wikipedia).
These CPUs outperform thin clients in the computational power a lot and every Raspberry Pi even more). A try is worth.
But it is often more relevant to use the minimum needed performant CPU to minimize energy costs.
The higher powered PC devices can serve quite good as a Virtual Machine Appliance Server like Proxmox, covering a couple of RasPi devices.
I am a fan of these virtualization environments instead of several RasPis located beneath.
Those refurb’s stomp the yard with the RPI’s…plus you can upgrade the RAM and whatnot
I have a few of em…even went so far as to take the top off one, put the heatsink on the stove and melted the short fins off (melted the solder holding the metal fins)…then epoxied a super cheapo aliexpress SNOWMAN 2 heatpipe fan on it…with all 4 cores hammered hard and running folding@home it rarely get’s above 60C.
It’s a HP EliteDesk 705 G2 Mini with a AMD PRO A8-8600B R6 processor in it, I think I paid $80~ for it…then I upgraded the RAM for dirt cheap as well.
It looks kinda ghetto…but it runs circles around the RPi’s and variants with VERY little power usage
I have used both thin clients (HP T630) and micro PC’s (HP Elitedesk 800 G1) very effectively with DietPi.
One thing to note with the microPC’s is that to use in a server type environment is that you will need to use a dongle that will simulate a monitor to the displayport or the machine will not start, nor will hardware assisted transcoding work.
Thanks, I found the HP Elitedesk 800 G1 started complaining (loud beeping
) at “power on” from Bios when there was no screen or dongle in the displayport.
That was even before DietPi booted.
May be able to turn this warning off in bios, but that may disable xrdp etc.
Have you tried to update to latest bios?
You can download a live windows distro USB, load the bios on it, boot into the livecd, then update thru a “windows” .exe program from HP…that might fix the issues
Thanks to everyone for the comments and recommendations! I recently bought a refurbished HP ProDesk 600 G2 mini desktop with an i5 6600T, 8 GB, and a 256 GB SSD. I installed dietpi and Nextcloud to get started.