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Retiring my Raspberry Pi (again)

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And again I changed something in my setup. Now I have turned off the Raspberry Pi 4 again and handed over the tasks to my EliteDesk 800 G1 USDT. But why? Here is my explanation.

Yesterday I happened to discover that a new update for Ubuntu, Ubuntu 21.10, has been released. While with previous releases I always knew beforehand and updated as soon as possible, often while still in beta, that is no longer the case, since I no longer use Ubuntu as my main system. And on my code server or in the WSL2 VMs, I rely on the LTS version.

On my Raspberry Pi, on the other hand, I ran the previously current version 21.04, because only with this was it possible to boot from an SSD. Since the intermediate versions between the LTS versions are also not supported for long, I thought I’d better update the Raspberry already. There won’t be anything going wrong…

But something did go wrong. While the ConBee II-USB-receiver for my smart home worked fine with Ubuntu 21.04, I suddenly noticed under Ubuntu 21.10 that the stick is shown in the listing with lsusb, but is no longer shown as a serial USB device in /dev/. deCONZ to receive the data of my temperature sensors did not work anymore. I tried many things until late in the evening, but could not get the whole thing to work again.

Something like this annoys me. And what annoys me, I have to change.

My code server is running Ubuntu 20.04 and will probably continue to do so for the next few years. Up to now I only used it when I wanted to program or try something or when I needed access to a real Linux machine to read or write Linux filesystems.

The main reasons why I didn’t use it permanently are the power consumption and the volume.

As I measured today, the power consumption at low load is around 15 watts, according to the Internet as much as about three Raspberry Pi 4, but compared to my desktop setup with about 50 watts quite little. My two Internet routers (which I unfortunately have to run in combination) consume about the same amount according to the Internet. Although my goal is to minimize my power consumption, I always turn off the lights when I’m not in the room, and I don’t just put the TV on standby, I’ll have to accept this consumption. After all, at least I use electricity from renewable sources.

Although the computer is quite quiet, it is still audible with good ears and possibly even annoying when lying relaxed on the sofa. So to fix that, I got myself two Noctua fans and replaced the built-in ones with these. The noise problem is solved. The fans are now really barely audible. I had to hold my ears close to the case to verify that the fans are active.

So now that the problems with the Pi have annoyed me, I decided to use the code server not only for programming, but also as a home server. Using Docker Compose I installed AdGuard Home, Home Assistant, deCONZ and restic for backups. Possibly more stuff will be added there in the future.

The EliteDesk 800 G1 USDT (my code server) has the advantage over Raspberry Pis that it has much more power when needed. It is also an amd64 CPU architecture, which makes it much easier in terms of available software. It also currently has 8 GB of RAM and can be upgraded to 16 GB.

What I’ve already noticed is that AdGuard Home shows a much faster average request processing time in the statistics, for example. It is just over 24ms instead of around 30ms on the Pi.

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Jan-Lukas Else
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