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

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I am convinced; some of my ideas can be a bit silly at times.

Well, a lot of it just comes down to the purpose of the system. One of the advantages of something like a RPi 400 is that it gives you access to a GPIO header for tinkering. But that's the thing with RPi's, they're designed for tinkering and everything else is less of a priority. Regular x86 desktops are much better suited to general tasks and productivity, unlike the RPi's.

I can't remember what I paid for my Model 3B+ but recently the chip shortage has affected stock supplies and prices big time when it comes to SBC's. I was on the lookout for a Maximite computer recently but of course they're out of stock. It's kind of a shitty time right now in the hobby computer space.
 
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I can't remember what I paid for my Model 3B+ but recently the chip shortage has affected stock supplies and prices big time
Rpi 4 are about +125% the msrp when I looked a week ago. My first rpi 4 4gb kit was $90 usd in mid 2020.

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.

I've been running one Rpi on a generic brand SD card for a few years. I would recommend using a UPS with it, since some of my aquaintences mentioned that power outages scrambled their SD cards. Raspberry Pi OS does have a built in SD card clone program that does catch all the partitions so theres not worry there is you install once and clone it.

Is it a good daily driver? I would say no. its very bad at multiple programs. Even just having terminal, browser, and another window open will bog it down.

A lot depends on the OS you want to run. Ubuntu Destop/Server, Raspberry Pi OS, Windows 10, etc. The Rpi is functionally more limited by the processor being ARM64 and weak than the RAM size.
 

Aquinus

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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 take offense to that statement. My tower has had Ubuntu on it for years and unless you're using software that only runs in Windows and doesn't work with something like WINE or Proton, then I don't really see the difference. I play Windows games in Proton all the time and it works pretty darn well. I write software in Linux. I watch video in Linux. I listen to music in Linux. I play games in Linux including Windows titles.

All in all, I find this statement to be incredibly outdated unless the only tool you care about using is Visual Studio, and even with .NET Core, that's changing too. In fact, I'd go so far to say that I can do more with my Linux machine than I can with my MacOS machine (with the main advantage for Linux being Proton in Steam.)

Now with that said, I don't think that using a Raspberry PI as a main machine will be pleasant regardless of the OS that's used. Slow machines are slow. Nothing will change that.
 
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Get a cheap netbook with an Atom CPU.
 
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i mean you can buy used old PCs for like 80 bucks on ebay which are MUCH faster.
 
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i mean you can buy used old PCs for like 80 bucks on ebay which are MUCH faster.
Or something like this:


Just the first one that came up - plenty more where that one came from.
 
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Much appreciated

At this point I think I can finally afford a new machine, so I am starting to look at options. Up till now I have been using what others have thrown away, one PC being dumped on the lawn outside a house to avoid recycling fees.

I think it will be DDR5 for the included error correction.

Will miss the fun of repairing what I find.
 
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Frick

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I think it will be DDR5 for the included error correction.

Universal ECC is fine, and if you're looking at buying a really new system when it comes out, go for it, but it's not worth going that route specifically for ECC. If money's tight I would definitely look at used older hardware if people start upgrading.
 
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ECC on DDR5 is another story. It is only partial and only for the extra errors introduced through the high data rate.
 
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ECC on DDR5 is another story. It is only partial and only for the extra errors introduced through the high data rate.

Most interesting, do you have a pointer to these details that I can study?

If money's tight I would definitely look at used older hardware if people start upgrading.

This is definitely a route that interests me, for fun as much as to save money.

Times have changed and my almost 15 year old Core 2 Quad is still very usable in terms of speed.
 
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This is definitely a route that interests me, for fun as much as to save money.

Times have changed and my almost 15 year old Core 2 Quad is still very usable in terms of speed.

If you're stuck in that No Man's Land where you want to upgrade from a Core 2 Quad but brand new parts are too expensive, the place to go would be a computer recycling centre. I waltzed up to a recycling centre a few years back looking for some hardware, they actually ended up giving me a tour of their facility and let me take home some gear for free. This was in 2019 I think and most of the computers they were handling were only 8 - 10 years old. Mostly Core i3's, Core i5's and such. Depending on how strict the rules are, usually those places are happy to get rid of spare inventory here and there.
 
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From Kingston's website (DDR5 marketing materials):
On-Die ECC mitigates this risk by correcting errors within the chip, increasing reliability and reducing defect rates. This technology cannot correct errors outside of the chip or that occur on the bus between the module and memory controller housed within the CPU.
Yes, it is more protection than DDR4 had(has). However, die to the nature of DRAM, the clock speed gains and voltage reduction of a smaller process node are offset by the errors introduced by electron drift and charge leakage (capacitors do not like being tiny). DDR5 introduces on-die ECC to correct these errors only. True ECC has error correction for DIMM, bus, SoC, etc. as well as the die itself.

TL;DR: the process improvements required for DDR5 performance makes the dice prone to errors, so die-only correction was implemented as standard.
 
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For me a huge selling point for the Raspberry Pi is the non-commercial license for Mathematica
 

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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.

I tried using the RPI 4B/4GB as a main machine and it was not fully up to the task. Mainly, it was unable to playback 1080p youtube videos smoothly (mostly due to crappy hardware acceleration) and drive space was limited. I was booting straight into Ubuntu on a USB drive so performance was much better than booting onto a MicroSD card. It was perfectly fine for browsing/coding small projects though and it only consumed about 5 watts.

Like others said, if the reason you would like to try it as your main machine is budget then you would be better served buying a small form factor PC second hand.
 
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It all depends on use cases. By itself Pi4 is quite beefy, but if you are used to a full-fledged PC experience, it'll be a hard transition. But as a secondary low-power PC (or a nettop) - it's perfectly fine.
Back in a day I ran Cubietruck SBC as a secondary PC. Browsing/email etc was fine, but YT or streaming was pain in the ass due to lack of opensource Mali graphics driver(even 480p was chugging badly), but had an advantage of built-in SATAII port (which was non-existent in competition). Served me well for a few years, until I upgraded to Pi3.
Pi4 is much better in that regard. There are drivers for GPU and video decoding, there's quite a bit of performance under the hood, and distros are relatively stable. Between naked Pi4 and Pi400 I'd go straight for Pi400, cause for some reasons it's much cheaper in most regions than a stock Pi4 and gives you many bonuses as a side effect.

I'm actually in the process of making something similar, but since Pi's are about as hard to find as pink unicorn's ass, I've decided to go with a decent TV box (H96 Max X3). I thing it sells for around $40-45 these days, but I got mine almost for free. Currently running headless ubuntu, but I finally found a distro with GPU acceleration which should work. Amlogic S905x3 4GB DDR3 64GB storage and an SD card slot. Already modded stock cooling with "fancy" chinese graphite tape, better heatsink, and a slim 40mm fan. Also added a little pigtail for UART port which is easy to attach/detach once the ugly top sticker was removed. Also in plans is an external SMA connector for Wifi antenna, and maybe playing around with a clock display to show something useful (there's a driver for it, so you don't have to mess with GPIO on low level).

There are also much beefier boxes that run stock AOSP(not Android TV), which might be even better for the job. I think the most expensive box I've seen so far was around $75-80 for RK3566 and 8/128GB config. Basically a good replacement for a Raspberry Pi or any other SBC, if you don't really care about GPIO.

But if you want to spend your money wisely, I'd rather invest into something like Lenovo M700 Tiny, or Dell 3050 Micro. These cost about the same on the used market as the most "optimistic" price tag for a Pi4, but can do a lot more than playing cat videos. I have an older ghetto-rigged M73p Tiny at the office as a daily, and I'm building an M700-based home server. One of my friends is using my previous maxed-out M93p Tiny for CAD and so far he is super-happy (his older PC was a C2D dinosaur w/ 9600GT which miraculously survived 'till 2022 in his cold, damp, and dirty workshop).
 
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