Thursday, December 29, 2022

Next Up in the Never-Ending Quest for My Ideal Desktop Machine ...

... is the ATOPNUC Mini PC. About $105 including tax and a $10-off coupon at Amazon (not an affiliate link). That's for the model with Ubuntu instead of Windows 10, and with 8Gb of RAM instead of 4. Call it my Christmas present to myself, although it won't be here until next week.

I've been using the Raspberry Pi 4B as my "daily driver" desktop machine since August of 2021 and I can't say I'm terribly unhappy with it.

But what I really want is: An 8Gb Chromebox that doesn't cost several hundred dollars.

Why? Because other than an occasional game of a Connect 4 clone, I don't really use the operating system.

I've gone through 32-bit Raspbian, 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS (which was buggy and kept freezing), Manjaro Linux in both KDE Plasma and xfce desktop editions. And all of them are just more operating system, using more resources, than I need. I use 1) the Chromium or Chrome browser, and 2) a text editor that's a Chrome/Chromium extension. Or, to put it a different way, I'm using the features of a Chromebook or Chromebox, with a bunch of other resource-consuming crap just taking up space and CPU time.

Last week, I tried installing the Raspberry Pi build of ChromiumOS, and it was just dreamy -- except that some things simply didn't work, and I was unable to successfully troubleshoot them.

I'm hoping that ChromiumOS (or ChromeOS Flex, if there's a build for this  AMD 9400 CPU , which there may or may not be) will work on this new machine.

It's got a small physical footprint, which I like.

It's got two HDMI out ports, so I won't need adapters, etc. to use it with my two monitors.

I am a little worried about its power consumption. Its power supply is 12 volt/3 amp, so it could conceivably draw up to 36 watts, while the Pi hardly ever breaks 10 watts even under load, and I'm trying to run entirely from solar power via a 160-watt panel and 300 watt-hour power station.

I guess we'll see. Worse comes to worst, it will end up as yet another project machine for my son to turn into a weird retro gaming box or something. But I'm hoping for the best.

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