Cheap and Unusual Home PC Setup

1. Dutch Home PC Setup

The software description you van find here: Combining Virtualbox and ZFS for Ubuntu & FreeBSD
I have some typical Dutch (parsimoniously :slight_smile: ideas for home automation, because:

  • All my β€œwork” has been moved to virtual machines (VM). For me it is feasible, because I have modest gaming wishes. This approach has the following advantages:
    • You completely separate HW issues from your Use Case requirements. No compromises!
    • You can completely separate financial stuff from browsing the world wide web and so minimize the chances on infections of your financial stuff.
  • The hardware is cheap and a mix of a modern low cost PC and ancient reused PCs. The main characteristics of my hardware are:
    • The desktop, an own build from April 2019 with a Ryzen 3 2200G, 16 GB and 512 GB nvme-SSD (USD $350) and 1.5 TB of reused HDDs.
    • The laptop, an ex-lease HP Elitebook 8460p from Dec-2011 bought in May 2017 during my family visit in Belgium (β€Žβ‚¬193) with an i5-2520M, 8 GB and a 1 TB SSHD (€64);
    • The Back-up Server, a build based on the remains of a 2003 HP D530 SFF with a Pentium 4 HT, 1.25 GB and 4 leftover HDDs together 1.2 TB (2 x 2.5" SATA-1 and 2 x 3.5" IDE). Costs: DOP 1000 ($20) for an 3rd-hand Compaq Evo Tower (designed for Windows 2000/98) and a new 500W iTech power-supply.
    • My 2014 Samsung S5 phone with a 64 GB SD card used as backup for all my music, videos and photos. I consider it to be my last resort and off-site backup :slight_smile:
  • The main characteristics of my OSes are:
    • The host-OS for the Ryzen is a minimal install of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on ZFS.
    • The host OS for laptop is Ubuntu Mate 20.04 LTS on ZFS.
    • The OS for 32-bits Pentium is FreeBSD 12.1 on ZFS.
  • My laptop and desktop do run exactly the same virtual machines and every week I sync all changes in data and virtual machines from desktop to laptop and backup-server. Because I run all my work in the VMs, I have exactly the same up-to-date environment at home (desktop) and on the road (laptop).
  • This combination of software allows excellent performance, even inside a Virtual Machine. For example all Linux-VM boot times are between 7 and 13 seconds and the response times are instantaneous. The Ubuntu VM even boots faster than the Ubuntu Host, ~13 seconds vs ~19 seconds.

In the middle the Ryzen Desktop on the right the Pentium Backup Server
on the left the Avtek 1200W Surge Protector

2. Future Plans

  1. I intend to upgrade the Ryzen 3 2200G to a Ryzen 5 4600G (Zen-2, 6-core APU) at a good price somewhere in 2021.
  2. For the Pentium 4; I consider buying 1 or 3 cheap 1 GB DDR sticks.
  3. The laptop SSHD gets fuller, so somewhere in the future I might have to do something about the laptop SSHD;
  • Upgrade to a 2 TB SSHD;
  • Replace the DVD by a caddy with a SSD;
  • Move part of the SSHD data to a USB 3.0 HDD, currently my largest spare HDD is 160 GB (2.5”), so that will not last very long. So I would need something new.
  1. For the laptop; I bought in June 2017 for ~$194, I consider either
  • do nothing and buy a new 15” ex-lease laptop in 2022/23 or
  • upgrade to 16 GB DDR3 (1600 MHz) now and replace the i5 by an i7, but I would still be on 14” :frowning: It would double memory and the i7 would almost double CPU performance close to the level of the Ryzen 3, but it would cost ~$100 for each addition or
  • buy 16 GB DDR3 (1600 MHz) now and another newer 15” ex-lease laptop in 2022/23, since memory and storage can be reused.

Any suggestion or remarks?