Cheap server: Rock Pi 4, accessorized, vs. refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad X230

I’d like to set up a Discourse server of my own (not for the purpose of discussing Linux). I don’t think a Raspberry Pi 4 is industrial-grade enough: CPU is too weak, MicroSD card for the OS is too easily worn out, and the mass storage would be over a USB3 connection, which seems a bit too Mickey Mouse.

I like the idea of something decently cheap and durable, spending a bit more. Like I would like this rig to last for like 3 years.

I priced out a RockPi 4 (board alone in my parts is $74 USD), and once fully accessorized (heatsink, rtc battery, m2 expansion board, power supply, power supply cable, 16GB eMMC, emmc to uSD adapter), minus an actual M.2 drive, the price ballons up to $140 USD. This is all before shipping.

I spec’d a Lenovo Thinkpad X230, which also has 4GB RAM, and the price is virtually the same: $142 USD. It comes with a spinning rust 320GB 2.5" SATA, so let’s assume an SSD would take it’s place (which is an additional cost, just like the M.2 drive is an additional cost left out above for the RockPi 4).

So what do you think? Which would make the better server for a home-cooked Discourse forum?

I would say it would depend on what power consumption you are looking for.

The laptop will draw more power than the Rock Pi.
The Rock Pi is also way smaller and noiseless.

The laptop does have an x86 CPU, which means it’s more powerful. But I don’t think CPU power is what Discourse needs, it’s more like RAM.
The Rock Pi uses LPDDR4 RAM, don’t know what type of ram the laptop uses.

Personally, I would take an ARM board over a Laptop for server use cases.

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