New PC / Laptop or Something Different (Mini PC In The End....)

I'm more likely to purchase a new laptop... or less likely a PC.... Or even less likely will make use of spare RPI 4's or rpi zero's.... But thought this was an interesting topic, so decided to still post it... Basically, should I, or anyone else, purchase a new laptop or PC, or choose an alternative such as an RPI or similar?

A recent post by @aaiyar made me glance down at my "always-on" laptop on the desk and notice the slight bulge above the mouse track-pad... expecting this is an expansion in the built-in battery.... not some miraculous conception...

I have been thinking about purchasing an updated laptop model for a while now, even before noticing the expanding battery... My current laptop is a Asus Trio from 2014... But I am partial to Lenovo, both through my employer, but also my experience with my Lenovo Yoga tablet...


Personally I might repurpose an old laptop if I had one sitting around.

But if I were purchasing a new PC intended to be stationary, I would avoid a laptop. Risks to the battery being plugged in long-term being just one of the reasons.


Yeah, re-purposing a laptop would involve an older Dell laptop from 2004... :slight_smile:

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It really depends on what your use-case is for the new device.

A Raspberry PI can be a great solution for specific applications, like hosting HomeBridge or Scrypted. However, I would not use it as a Plex Media Server, due to its fairly weak CPU performance during transcoding of video on the fly. I have a Home Assistant "Yellow" system running with a RPI CM4 module. It does a great job running Home Assistant OS, along with InfluxDB, Grafana, and Node-RED as HA Add-Ons. But I would not use it for anything that requires significant CPU horsepower. The HA Yellow does offer a M.2 NVMe slot for an SSD. I am booting the Yellow off of a 1TB NVMe drive, and thus no fears of wearing out a SD memory card. When considering a RPI, please be aware that Disk intensive applications, like relational databases, will accelerate the wear and tear on a SD memory card. Make sure you buy high quality, high endurance SD cards is you choose to use them with a RPI.

If I were in the market for a new laptop, I would be looking at Apple's latest Macbook systems. The Apple M1/M2 silicon is pretty amazing in terms of performance and power usage. I am deep in the Apple ecosystem already with an iPhone, iPad, HomePod Mini, and AppleTV boxes. So a Macbook would seem to make sense, however I just use my iPad for most content consumption tasks, and my Windows 11 Desktop PC for most content creation tasks.


Yeah, I'm more in the Windows and Android camp myself. Not that I'm 100% against Apple, but for whatever reason chose Android when I had to choose my allegiance... Ultimately nothing against Apple, only that I like the options things like Tasker and other Apps provide....

Ok, Ok... That's not what I setup this topic to argue / discuss.... :slight_smile:

I'm still thinking something Windows / Raspian / etc... But, as I say that... Don't want to entirely downplay the Mac angle.... as much as I provided an counter to that above...



This. If you want an always-on dedicated "server", I wouldn't get a laptop. But if you need a laptop, I second the recommendation for M1/M2 silicon.

And if you need an always-on server that will transcode on-the-fly, look into the new Odroid H3+. It has a quad-code Jasper Lake processor that can handle computationally demanding processes very well. I use one for running iterative Fourier transforms for image processing.


Hmmm... I'm reluctant to narrow the conversation more and more.,... but I also want to:

  • Run the Games I have downloaded in recent times
  • Run EventGhost to control local devices
  • Still use Windows,....

Like I said... I'm not likely to be swayed by this conversation... No disrespect to the expert participants.... but I am not likely the one to convince... But do enjoy the conversation it does spark... :slight_smile:

Odroid H3+ checks all those boxes.

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Was wondering whether some of the newer low-powered offerings would tick some of the boxes... I have some research to do....

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Sounds like you want a decent Windows PC (laptop or desktop) if you want to play games... :wink: That is one of the main reason my desktop PC is a Windows system.


yeah, don't want to overplay (pardon the pun) the games element... only been a recent thing I have chosen to relive my youth and download some of my early-to-mid-nineties fav's to fill in time... While not a major requirement, not an insignificant one... There are various times where a Windows PC is useful for me....

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My wife’s family just stayed at a vacation house with a street fighter 2 arcade table system like this one.

I arrived a couple days later than the rest of the group due to work stuff. My kids thought they were pretty good at street fighter 2, and so of course I proceeded to absolutely destroy them repeatedly.

Seems my muscle memory from the SNES days is still intact :slightly_smiling_face:.


My memory may be slightly off when it comes to Street Fighter 2, but I slipped easily into Doom 2.... Including the Master Levels.... Quake, while a part of my youth, was not embraced with the same enthusiasm by my laptop, in particular my graphics card in my laptop....

Command and Conquer, strangely, needing to be returned due to some limitation in the driver between a 2014 laptop and a 586 from the 90's able to run Red Alert....

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I first played the original wolfenstein on a friend’s PC. But then Doom and Doom 2 were two of my absolute favorites at home for years.


I had an old Android phone I was using for Tinycam and noticed it wasn't laying flat anymore for the same reason. Needless to say it got permanently powered down that same day.

Good idea to check those always on devices once in a while.

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Yep, Wolfenstein for me was on a mates PC down the street, Doom 1 on a demo CD from a magazine... Doom II from ... well... I played the full version of that.... plus the Master Levels I bought (via my parents...)

BTW,, How the F# are you meant to complete the last level... Says the guy who carried a book considered "The Bible" amongst friends, being a cheats guide to Doom2 by Brady.... But seriously... How do you stop it producing new monstors.... I guess that's my research for the weekend...

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I will admit, while Doom 2 is still a fav, Quake still captures the essence of what I liked, tight, close, fast-paced combat...

Hmmm... Ok, while I'm not after a full-blown games-rig, feel free to chat about them and I won't complain...

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These days, unless you're someone who really wants a high-end gaming PC (i.e. >$1000 to get a decent MB, RAM, SSD, PS, and Video Card), you're much better off simply buying a Xbox or Playstation for gaming. Today's consoles pack a ton of performance into a nice form factor, with massive gaming libraries, including tons of retro games.

Then, you can use the PC for non-gaming related tasks, and thus the requirements can be much easier to fulfill with a low-cost, small form factor system. There are a bunch of Win11 Pro little computers being sold on Amazon in the $100 to $300 range.

For example, something like this

(I do not own one of these, so I cannot provide and firsthand recommendations)


By nowadays standards I am certainly not after a gaming rig... so anything cheap that can play todays equivalent of arcade games is definitely sufficient ...

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I set up one of these for a relative, basic surfing/email only, and it was pretty impressive for the price (CDN$160 at the time, gotta wait for those lightning/coupon deals).
Mini PC, Beelink Mini S Mini Computer 11th Gen Quad-Core N5095(up to 2.9GHz), Desktop Computers 8GB DDR4 RAM 128GB SSD 4K UHD Dual HDMI, 2.4G+5G WiFi Gigabit Ethernet/BT4.0 for Office/Home