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Raspberry Pi 4 Model B/8GB as a main machine

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Is anyone using a

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B/8GB

as a main machine? and does it have the muscle and can the SD card endure?

I don't want to go adding an SSD, just use it as is; I'm happy to fork out on a high endurance SD card and cooling case.
 
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Never used one, but I am going to bet that the endurance of a SD card isn't the same as a SSD, so likely would have to replace that somewhat regularly, where as a proper SSD will last longer. Also, unless you're going for the very best SD card, likely isn't going to be as fast as an SSD, so depending on what the intended usage is, the SSD might be the better option.
 
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I don't really want stuff hanging off the main box.
 
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The Raspberry Pi 400 uses basically an elongated 4 Model B board, although it's the 4GB version. Even on a full-fruit Raspberry Pi I would expect that it will struggle with things like HD video playback. The extra RAM may help although it still wouldn't be indistinguishable from a normal desktop, but in a pinch it would be fine for basic tasks.
 
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unless you are really in a financial tight spot, I would not use a Raspberry Pi as a PC. There are other SBCs that are much better suited (including offering an M.2 slot for SSDs). The best solution though would probably to just get a SFF PC such as a (possibly used/refurbished) HP EliteDesk Mini or the Lenovo Think* (or Dell?) equivalent if you want a tiny and power efficient PC. You could even buy a used thin client (e.g. HP T620) on eBay for very little money and install a larger M.2 SSD. The Jaguar-based quad cores in some of those will still easily outperform the quad Cortex A72 Broadcom SoC in the Pi 4 (not to mention the vastly superior graphics performance and IO capabilities).
 
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I own an original Raspberry Pi 4 configured to dual boot Raspbian and LibreELEC.

The device while running Kodi on LibreELEC is capable of satisfactory HD video playback in 1080p at 60 Hz provided the content isn't high bit rate otherwise it starts to get choppy or freezes. While the option is there to run 4K content at 30 Hz, in reality this is not a satisfactory user experience so I keep it at 1080p.

I despise desktop Linux but I suppose some masochist might be able to live with it as a primary device assuming they had a very, Very, VERY limited assortment of tasks and applications in their usage case.

I boot Raspbian twice a year only to check for RPi4 firmware updates.

After all a decent smartphone/tablet has better performance-per-dollar value and supports a far greater selection of useful applications. The GPU in modern smartphones blow doors on the Raspberry Pi 4 and the disk I/O will also be better on a used iPad versus the RPi4. I can't imagine editing 4K video on the RPi4 would be joyful and yet smartphone owners have been doing this for years in a very efficient manner to the point where it's a mundane task to ask from these handsets.

Even a cheap Chromebook might be a better performer than the RPi4 as a general purpose computing device.
 
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I own an original Raspberry Pi 4 configured to dual boot Raspbian and LibreELEC.

The device while running Kodi on LibreELEC is capable of satisfactory HD video playback in 1080p at 60 Hz provided the content isn't high bit rate otherwise it starts to get choppy or freezes. While the option is there to run 4K content at 30 Hz, in reality this is not a satisfactory user experience so I keep it at 1080p.

I despise desktop Linux but I suppose some masochist might be able to live with it as a primary device assuming they had a very, Very, VERY limited assortment of tasks and applications in their usage case.

I boot Raspbian twice a year only to check for RPi4 firmware updates.

After all a decent smartphone/tablet has better performance-per-dollar value and supports a far greater selection of useful applications. The GPU in modern smartphones blow doors on the Raspberry Pi 4 and the disk I/O will also be better on a used iPad versus the RPi4. I can't imagine editing 4K video on the RPi4 would be joyful and yet smartphone owners have been doing this for years in a very efficient manner to the point where it's a mundane task to ask from these handsets.

Even a cheap Chromebook might be a better performer than the RPi4 as a general purpose computing device.
I do not consider myself a masochist and I exclusively use Linux on my PCs these days. While not perfect (I would actually prefer OpenBSD or DragonFlyBSD in an ideal world where they did not have their own issues), I consider it vastly preferable to putting up with Windows (particularly those auto-updates :banghead: not to speak of the telemetry and included garbage). I also would not say that I only do/use a very "limited assortment" of tasks/applications. I can certainly understand that it is hard to imagine using Linux if you are very wedded to proprietary Windows(/macOS)-only applications but as someone who has been using Linux to some extent for many years that simply does not apply to me.
 
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I got one with Raspberry Pi OS on it and it's great for retro games but for as a PC.. Basic internet browsing, video playback isn't ideal. I'd get sick of it pretty quick having to use it as a main.
 
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I do not consider myself a masochist and I exclusively use Linux on my PCs these days. While not perfect (I would actually prefer OpenBSD or DragonFlyBSD in an ideal world where they did not have their own issues), I consider it vastly preferable to putting up with Windows (particularly those auto-updates :banghead: not to speak of the telemetry and included garbage). I also would not say that I only do/use a very "limited assortment" of tasks/applications. I can certainly understand that it is hard to imagine using Linux if you are very wedded to proprietary Windows(/macOS)-only applications but as someone who has been using Linux to some extent for many years that simply does not apply to me.

Linux on a full blown desktop PC is very different than Linux on an RPi4 due to the latter's limited hardware performance. Trust me, I've been there.

I ran Linux (Red Hat, Gentoo mostly, I think I used Slackware twice) in the late Nineties/early 2000s on home-built PCs. Linux is still great for servers and as an OS for embedded devices.

Every time I diss desktop Linux, it invariably brings out some super-defensive Linux apologist.

Device driver support? End user documentation? Notebook power management? Software dependency hell? Ahahahahahahaha!!!!

Look around this site's Linux sub-forum. There are still discussions about how to get some basic thing up and running on Linux.

So I have a cheap HP OfficeJet MFP (print, copy, scan, fax), you know the sort of device that costs $50 at Best Buy and whose consumables will end up being more over the lifetime of the device itself. I have Windows PCs and a Mac connected to it wirelessly. How quickly could a Linux user get all four functions to run? I will bet a buffalo nickel that a Mac/Windows user can get it done faster and less painlessly than the Linux user.

Anyhow back to the OP's inquiry. I have Linux on an RPi4. It's a decidedly joyless experience.

Desktop Linux is an abject failure. That's not my opinion. That's the marketplace's conclusion.

Even its greatest institutional champion, the Munich city government decided to kick it back to the curb. Their computers weren't RPi4s, they had normal PC hardware. Eventually I think they kept a few Linux systems but went back to Windows. They had never fully gone 100% Linux because there were a handful of critical applications that wouldn't run on Linux so something like 15% of the machines were always Windows.

Today, I don't even think the major system builders like Dell and HP even offer Linux as an OS option for the majority of their configurations. This was a thing at one time. Those days are gone as desktop Linux as a consumer OS failed miserably.
 
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Every time I diss desktop Linux, it invariably brings out some super-defensive Linux apologist.
I can assure you that I am not one of those people. I would just prefer it if we desktop Linux (or *BSD, for that matter) users were not labeled as "masochists" because, from my experience and perspective, I could just as easily use that term to describe Windows users if I were inclined to do so.
Device driver support? End user documentation? Notebook power management? Software dependency hell? Ahahahahahahaha!!!!
Device driver support depends on what you hardware you *choose* to purchase. Furthermore, from what I gather the driver situation on Windows isn't always that peachy either, whether it is devices (which aren't really all that old) for which support has been dropped or simply low-quality drivers. Never had an issue with end user documentation or notebook power management but those are again issues where you have a choice regarding what distribution you want to use and what hardware you want to acquire. Dependency hell? I am pretty sure that is something from the 90s/early 2000s. I have never experienced it in my years of using Linux. Does that mean that installing/updating software on Linux is always perfect? No, certainly not but exactly the same can be said about the situation on Windows.
Look around this site's Linux sub-forum. There are still discussions about how to get some basic thing up and running on Linux.
And I am sure you can find Windows equivalents of those.
So I have a cheap HP OfficeJet MFP (print, copy, scan, fax), you know the sort of device that costs $50 at Best Buy and whose consumables will end up being more over the lifetime of the device itself. I have Windows PCs and a Mac connected to it wirelessly. How quickly could a Linux user get all four functions to run? I will bet a buffalo nickel that a Mac/Windows user can get it done faster and less painlessly than the Linux user.
Actually, I find it to be much easier to to get a consumer HP printer to work on Linux (or macOS when I used that for some time years ago) with hplip than on Windows.
Anyhow back to the OP's inquiry. I have Linux on an RPi4. It's a decidedly joyless experience.

Desktop Linux is an abject failure. That's not my opinion. That's the marketplace's conclusion.
This argument always irks me terribly because it assumes a perfect world where there is a level playing field and everyone is perfectly informed about the available choices and their pros/cons and 100% free to choose. It particularly irks me when it comes to mobile OSes since I absolutely refuse to believe that the current Google Android/iOS duopoly (and the death of virtually all alternatives) is the situation that the majority of people would actually want if they were properly informed.
 
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Have you owned an RPi4? There's one sitting right next to my A/V receiver under my TV.

THAT'S THE DEVICE THE ORIGINAL POSTER IS DISCUSSING.

Linux on that device is painful. If I put Linux on the computer I'm typing this reply on, it wouldn't be so slow. It still doesn't alleviate Linux's fundamental and longstanding problems as a desktop OS.

Look, I didn't personally set out to declare that desktop Linux was a failure for everything. The marketplace tried it and basically decided they didn't like it. There have been plenty of distros which tried to popularize it. Every single desktop Linux distribution has failed to popularize Linux as a desktop OS. It's not that desktop Linux hasn't been given a fair chance. It has had many opportunities. I know Linux apologists hate when this is pointed out.

With the Munich city government back on Windows, there's really no major institutional champion for desktop Linux.

Over three decades I have owned systems running System 6, System 7, all flavors of OS X/macOS, pretty much all Windows starting from Win95, four distros of desktop Linux, even FreeBSD.

When I switched from a dual-boot Linux/Windows system to a Mac running OS X, I immediately cut my system administration load by over 90%. And when family members switched from Windows PCs to Macs, I told them, "Call me if you have any problems." No more calls. I ended up hanging up my duties as family sys admin.

I mostly run Windows for a couple of applications (MS Office, PC version of Quicken) and PC gaming. For many years I didn't own a PC running Windows. I just ran those applications in a virtual machine, sometimes using VirtualBox on my Mac, sometimes using an Amazon AWS cloud instance.

Anyhow, let's stick with the original topic: Linux on the RPi4. It sucks.
 
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Linux on the RPi4. It sucks.
I don't understand what Linux specifically has to do with this topic. (Some) Linux (distribution) is the default OS for the RPi regardless of what you plan to use it for, yes. But you are making it sound like Linux is an especially painful OS to run on an RPi when this topic is really about using a RPi as a desktop replacement. The RPi has certain hardware limitations that make it questionable or relatively painful to use as a desktop replacement. That, in my opinion, is the crux of this debate.
 
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READ the thread title.

The OP is asking if anyone uses the RPi4 as a primary device which in the context of this website implies as a computer.

99.99% of people familiar with an RPi4 are going to assume that if you are using an RPi4 as a primary computer you will be using some sort of Linux distribution as an operating system.

You can't run Windows nor macOS on an RPi4.

For most this would be Raspbian which is a special distro designed for this hardware.

You can't use the RPi4 as a primary desktop computer without an operating system. The operating system itself is part of the user experience. The capabilities of the hardware can be helped or hindered by the operating system.

As I initially wrote, the RPi4 functions satisfactorily playing back 1080p/60Hz video with Kodi on LibreELEC. It is less joyful as a desktop computer running Raspbian. In fact, it sucks so much that I limit my Raspbian usage to twice a year just to check for firmware updates. If the RPi4 had sucked as a media box, I probably would have deployed it as a PiHole. I still would not have used it for desktop computing.
 
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READ the thread title.

The OP is asking if anyone uses the RPi4 as a primary device which in the context of this website implies as a computer.

Guess what? You can't run Windows nor macOS on an RPi4.

99.99% of people familiar with an RPi4 are going to assume that if you are using an RPi4 as a primary computer you will be using some sort of Linux distribution as an operating system. For most this would be Raspbian which is a special distro for this hardware.
I would assume that OP is already aware of the available OS options if they are seriously considering the RPi for use a desktop replacement. I could tell you to read the thread title too. You seem to be obsessed with the OS when there is nothing that indicates that OP is particularly worried about that aspect at all.
 
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OP already uses Linux as their desktop OS of choice
 
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I would assume that OP is already aware of the available OS options if they are seriously considering the RPi for use a desktop replacement.

I would not make that assumption. There are plenty of discussions of the "What if... ?" variety here at TPU that clearly show zero research by whomever is making the inquiry.

I get it. Linux lovers hate it when an erstwhile Linux veteran trashes desktop Linux as a pleasant alternative for general purpose computing.

Ultimately I think desktop Linux's failure circles back to the Linux developer community. Without a cohesive effort to build a general purpose desktop operating system, the world got a bunch of distributions. The diversity of Linux distro efforts helped open a greater range of use cases for Linux overall but didn't provide the critical mass necessary for widespread desktop adoption.

The earliest distros like Red Hat and Suse had the best chance when there were few players.
 
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You can't run Windows nor macOS on an RPi4
This is the most important thing that this thread has come up with.

OP already uses Linux as their desktop OS of choice
System specs show W11.

@Shrek I cannot imagine that it would be an improvement over the Compaq you have already.
 
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This is the most important thing that this thread has come up with.


System specs show W11.

@Shrek I cannot imagine that it would be an improvement over the Compaq you have already.
Well, luckily most of the alternatives that I suggested can run Windows, although perhaps not 11.
 
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Processor Intel 3.2 GHz Core i7 (I7-8700B Coffee Lake - 6 cores, 12 threads)
Motherboard Apple proprietary (with Apple T2 Security Chip)
Cooling Apple proprietary
Memory 16GB 2666 MHz DDR4 PC4-21300 SDRAM
Video Card(s) integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 + Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB (via Sonnet eGPU Thunderbolt 3)
Storage Apple proprietary 1TB SSD + various external HDDs
Display(s) LG 27UL850W (4K@60Hz IPS)
Case Apple proprietary
Audio Device(s) Apple proprietary
Power Supply Apple proprietary
Mouse Apple Magic Trackpad 2
Keyboard Keychron K1 tenkeyless (Gateron Reds)
Software macOS Monterey 12.6 (including latest patches)
Benchmark Scores (I have a number of desktop Windows PC builds but I use the Mac the most.)
This is the most important thing that this thread has come up with.


System specs show W11.

@Shrek I cannot imagine that it would be an improvement over the Compaq you have already.

Look, you can own more than one computer.

Just because a person runs Windows 11 on one computer doesn't mean that A.) they can't own a second device, nor B.) that second device needs to run the same operating system.

I have a Mac mini 2018 running macOS Monterey. In the past I have also had Windows running VirtualBox VM instances. I have a few PCs in the house, some are running W10, one runs W11. One's an Intel-powered notebook PC that I only use on the go (i.e., outside my house).

Then there are devices in my house that run a Linux kernel. My RPi4 for sure, as well as my Super NES Classic. Probably my DSL router.

HP OfficeJet, LG smart TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Nintendo Switch? No idea.

Could I use my iPad mini running iPadOS as a primary computing device? If I really wanted to, sure.
 
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System Name Dell Latitude 7490
Processor Intel Core i5-8250U 1.6 GHz quad core (3.4 GHz max boost)
Motherboard Dell proprietary
Cooling rather lousy
Memory 8 GB DDR4 SODIMM
Video Card(s) Intel UHD 620
Storage internal Kioxia XG6 1 TB NVMe SSD
Display(s) HP P22h G4 21.5" 1080p (& 1080p internal LG Display LCD)
Case Dell proprietary magnesium case
Audio Device(s) Realtek ALC3246 -> JDS Labs Atom (headphone) amp -> Panasonic RP-HT770
Power Supply Dell-branded LiteOn AC adapter
Mouse Steelseries Rival 310
Keyboard Cherry G84-5200
Software TBD Linux (microSD) & DragonFlyBSD 6.4 (SSD)
Look, you can own more than one computer.

Just because a person runs Windows 11 on one computer doesn't mean that A.) they can't own a second device, nor B.) that second device needs to run the same operating system.

I have a Mac mini 2018 running macOS Monterey. In the past I have also had Windows running VirtualBox VM instances. I have a few PCs in the house, some are running W10, one runs W11. One's an Intel-powered notebook PC that I only use on the go (i.e., outside my house).

Then there are devices in my house that run a Linux kernel. My RPi4 for sure, as well as my Super NES Classic. Probably my DSL router.

HP OfficeJet, LG smart TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Nintendo Switch? No idea.

Could I use my iPad mini running iPadOS as a primary computing device? If I really wanted to, sure.
Your LG smart TV almost certainly runs webOS (yes, the one that used to run on the HP/Palm smartphones in the early 2010s), which is Linux-based.
 
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Look, you can own more than one computer.

Just because a person runs Windows 11 on one computer doesn't mean that A.) they can't own a second device, nor B.) that second device needs to run the same operating system.
True, and I use multiple regularly. I got the impression that Shrek was hoping to replace his primary system with a RPi.

Also, someone mentioned he was using Linux, I was just pointing out his specs.
 
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System Name HP Compaq 8000 Elite CMT
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Storage 2TB Seagate Firecuda 3.5"
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Power Supply 12V HP proprietary
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
True, and I use multiple regularly. I got the impression that Shrek was hoping to replace his primary system with a RPi.

Also, someone mentioned he was using Linux, I was just pointing out his specs.

That was my thought, although it is not looking like a good idea; that is the beauty of this site, I can figure things out without learning the hard way.

My main machine at the moment is Windows 10 at home, and a Mac at work.

@Shrek I cannot imagine that it would be an improvement over the Compaq you have already.

I agree

You can't run Windows nor macOS on an RPi4

There is a project to run the ARM version of Windows on a Raspberry Pi 4
How to Install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi 4 [Full Guide] (partitionwizard.com)
but that is not the sort of 'fun' I am after at the moment.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 21, 2021
Messages
1,898 (3.20/day)
System Name daily driver Mac mini 2018
Processor Intel 3.2 GHz Core i7 (I7-8700B Coffee Lake - 6 cores, 12 threads)
Motherboard Apple proprietary (with Apple T2 Security Chip)
Cooling Apple proprietary
Memory 16GB 2666 MHz DDR4 PC4-21300 SDRAM
Video Card(s) integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 + Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB (via Sonnet eGPU Thunderbolt 3)
Storage Apple proprietary 1TB SSD + various external HDDs
Display(s) LG 27UL850W (4K@60Hz IPS)
Case Apple proprietary
Audio Device(s) Apple proprietary
Power Supply Apple proprietary
Mouse Apple Magic Trackpad 2
Keyboard Keychron K1 tenkeyless (Gateron Reds)
Software macOS Monterey 12.6 (including latest patches)
Benchmark Scores (I have a number of desktop Windows PC builds but I use the Mac the most.)
That was my thought, although it is not looking like a good idea; that is the beauty of this site, I can figure things out without learning the hard way.

My main machine at the moment is Windows 10 at home, and a Mac at work.

You are accustomed to a better desktop computing user experience than what Raspbian offers.
 
Joined
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Messages
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System Name HP Compaq 8000 Elite CMT
Processor Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
Motherboard Hewlett-Packard 3647h
Memory 16GB DDR3
Video Card(s) NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 GDDR5 (fan-less)
Storage 2TB Seagate Firecuda 3.5"
Display(s) Dell P2416D (2560 x 1440)
Power Supply 12V HP proprietary
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
I am convinced; some of my ideas can be a bit silly at times.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 21, 2021
Messages
1,898 (3.20/day)
System Name daily driver Mac mini 2018
Processor Intel 3.2 GHz Core i7 (I7-8700B Coffee Lake - 6 cores, 12 threads)
Motherboard Apple proprietary (with Apple T2 Security Chip)
Cooling Apple proprietary
Memory 16GB 2666 MHz DDR4 PC4-21300 SDRAM
Video Card(s) integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 + Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB (via Sonnet eGPU Thunderbolt 3)
Storage Apple proprietary 1TB SSD + various external HDDs
Display(s) LG 27UL850W (4K@60Hz IPS)
Case Apple proprietary
Audio Device(s) Apple proprietary
Power Supply Apple proprietary
Mouse Apple Magic Trackpad 2
Keyboard Keychron K1 tenkeyless (Gateron Reds)
Software macOS Monterey 12.6 (including latest patches)
Benchmark Scores (I have a number of desktop Windows PC builds but I use the Mac the most.)
LOL, maybe on April 1st next year I'll change my System Specs to my Raspberry Pi 4 for the day.

See if anyone takes the bait...

:):p:D
 
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