Inside this article, the word "Raspberry Pi" will be replaced by "rπ" because I'm not gonna bother to type it out everytime.
rπs have been recommended as the ultimate cheap beginner (in IT) solution for a couple of years now.
The issue is that that's not true:
- rπ prices skyrocketed due to "shortage" and all the demand around them
- rπ specs are really bad for the price (PinePhone syndrome)
- rπs only give you a subset of computer experience, they have you flash a pre-installed "OS" on an SD card. Now compare that to flashing an USB, trying to boot it for the first time and installing a Linux distro manually
- Most people that buy those already have "old laptops" in their closets
Let's say you're willing to buy a rπ 4 Model B, that's the specs you'll get:
- CPU: ARM-Cortex-A72 4 x 1,50 GHz
- WLAN-AC, Bluetooth 5
- 4 x USB
- 2 x Micro HDMI
And that you want to get the best model with 8GB of RAM in it, that'll cost you ~85.30 euros (mean of all French resellers, copy and paste in URL bar) at the current prices.
Now, let's look at the server I bought used for 80€, the HP ProLiant DL360 G7 :
- 2x Intel Xeon(R) CPU E5645 @ 2.40GHz
- 24GB of RAM
- 170GB HDD (that I replaced later on with 2x 500GB HDDs from Bargain Hardware)
- 4x Ethernet (5 if we count the iLO port)
- 1x VGA
I have to admit that I was indeed lucky to find this offer for such a low price in my town. I paid in cash, so taxes were evaded 🧐
Since French government applies 20% of VAT on every purchase you do, if it was listed on eBay for the same price, it would've cost me 16€ more and likely ~10€ more for shipping. (106€ in total)
So, the moral of the story is : if you're worried about power consumption, buy a shitty rπ that has a weird architecture, if you're not, buy a used server with boss x86_64 power.