Nearly Pi free using an x86 PC

I've finally migrated 90% of the stuff on my pi 4 to a nice (virtually new) Dell thin client.

While the pi works perfectly fine (SSD not SD based), here are my thoughts.

  1. Pi 4s are hard to come by and not cheap and you still need a whole bunch of extras to get it going - USB SSD Cable (not all work properly), case, SSD drive, PSU, cooling fan (a must).
  2. a used dell client (in my case) fully loaded with 8gb and an SSD cost me the same as a bare pi 8gb.And I can upgrade the ram if needed. AND it came with 8 USB ports!
  3. the pi runs pretty warm all the time and required active cooling. The dell runs pretty cool all the time.
  4. Using VMs, backing up the PC is a super easy task. 2 mouse clicks on the server console.
  5. power consumption difference isn't huge. prob a couple of W extra on the dell.Let's face it, you waste way more than that on your HA system anyway.

Pretty much everything works the same way so far. NR/mosquitto/Z2M run as HAOS addons no issues. A second debian VM takes care of all the other stuff like NUT/CATT. The only things left to migrate are the BLE stuff and homebridge.

In short, if you can't get a pi an x86 will easily do the job and often cheaper as well.

PS the Pi isn't being retired - it will find new life as a music streamer!


I never did run on a Pi though I have a few. I've been running everything on a Linux server (Dell Precision T3600 from eBay) for well over a year. I use Docker containers for Node-red, zwavejs2mqtt, and zigbee2mqtt while running InfluxDB, Grafana, and Mosquitto native. The box has s/w RAID1 disks.

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I have used so many Pi’s over the years I ended up with a load redundant so went the other way..

A separate Pi3 for mosquito,
2x Pi2 for zigbee2mqtt (one upstairs and one downstairs)
A Pi4 for my main box with NR etc. (ssd)
Oh, and one HE running presence sensors and a couple of zwave devices into mqtt

If any fail then I have ‘spares’ to replace with.
All machines are backed up to my main PC
Only the Pi3 runs mosquito and all the others report to this

Previously, I had run 5 HE boxes to spread the load


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Oh, I forgot.
One Pi3 running everything in my Motorhome, reporting back to the mosquito server

I don’t use docker, all running natively

Amen to that. I am running anything I need on Windows mini-PC I got free. Using a VM running DietPi (debian variant). Plenty of RAM and SSD. I never have figured out the point of using docker.

Have a second mini-PC as a media host.

That is my preference too but without Docker on Linux I ran into a "dll hell" with requirements for different versions of Node. I use Arch Linux so it may be different on other distros. :man_shrugging:

I could use VMs instead but I think Docker is smaller and cleaner.

That's why I went debian. No trouble so far with all the ex pi apps.

Take the unused PIs and add an MMDVM hat to make a digital radio hotspot. Add a Nextion screen and load Pi-Star and you are set (if you have an amateur radio license, that is).

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Everything I use works or current LTS node version. But yeah I could see if I wanted to run something that needed an old version of node I would have to figure out containers to make it work on the same VM. That’s one case where it could be useful.

Download the Hubitat app