One of my hobby projects lately has been trying to move away from Intel/x86 as much as possible for personal use.
I’m less than happy with Intel lately, as their microarchitecture leaks, badly, if you look at it wrong. They can’t reason about their chips anymore, which is concerning (and probably another topic). The alternatives are getting better, so may as well experiment with them.
I’ve been pushing the bounds of Raspberry Pi desktop use for a while, starting back with the Pi3B and 3B+.
Lately, though, if you can get over the somewhat slow graphics performance, the Raspberry Pi 4 8GB is just… easy mode. Toss the OS on a USB SSD, and you’ve got a legit desktop for most use cases.
Maybe toss the CPU governor over to “performance” and keep the clocks ramped up (I clock my Pi4 at 2GHz with an extra 100mV, in a good heatsink case), but it just… works.
I’ve also been experimenting heavily with a PineBook Pro. This is a little $200 ARM laptop, and other than the software ecosystem being a mess, it’s actually a usable little laptop - though there’s still a lot of rough edges, kernel hacking, etc. The lack of a centralized group managing software does make it a bit harder to deal with than other solutions, but it’s a good step forward in portable ARM hardware.
Unfortunately, I’ve not yet figured out a good solution to x86, at least, for servers. One can host small things on a Pi, but if one want a good bit of disk, and good IO, there’s no alternative to x86 yet for home users.
The software ecosystem for ARM varies wildly. A lot of stuff works, and some surprising stuff doesn’t (Node/Electron stuff is likely to fail for various reasons).
Anyone else working in this direction/interested in moving this direction?