Stop Buying Raspberry Pi’s

They are wonderful pieces of tech. The possibilities are endless and there is a wide range of projects that are well established which utilize these amazing chips. Sometimes we can’t help but gaze at the setting sun and day dream of an Octopi or home media server. Perhaps you want to sail the high seas and run Kodi from your Pi and mount it to the back of your TV. Who am I to judge? But what I want to suggest here is to slow down there a bit and think about the goals of what you’re trying to achieve.

Afterall, Raspberry Pi’s aren’t as cheap as they used to be.

Sure… a basic board will cost you $80 (before tax and shipping). Maybe you already have a 3D printer to produce a case. For anyone else though you may be looking at one of these starter kids for $155+. This is really the point where you need to ask yourself what are you wanting to do? What are you REALLY looking for here?

The Gold Standard

Let me introduce you to what I consider the “Gold Standard” for Linux laptops… but also low-key the gold standard for home servers.

Le Thinkpad

What year is it from? Nobody knows…

While the fundamental design of these things has hardly changed since the early 2000s, the hardware certainly does. I would argue that the design is utilitarian and doesn’t need to be changed. Personally I own two thinkpads, a T420 (my home server) and a T460s (my laptop).

Personally I prefer the older T420 because it has a little lamp on the top instead of a backlit keyboard, but really that’s irrelevant. The praise for the Thinkpad is well-known these days. Everyone knows about the all the plugs, ease of repair, reliability, etc. One important note is that they boast great Linux compatibility.

Thinkpad > Raspberry Pi

Absolutely, in many cases it is superior. For one. Look at these prices.

For these low low prices you gut a computer that is far more powerful than a raspberry pi, they can be upgraded, include their own built-in keyboard, mouse pad, battery backup, and are compatible with much more software due to their CPU architecture. As a bonus they can also be stacked in laptop trays like this!

Some other great contenders are machines such as Dell Latitude laptops

My understanding is that they have similar benefits to the thinkpads. I believe you can also purchase them with Linux pre-installed from Dell which implies that they have great open source software support.

These little Dell or Lenovo Mini PCs are great too!

The small Lenovo or Dell mini PCs can also be great options but you lose the keyboard, mouse, battery in favor of better ventilation and more internal space.

Stay Away from HP

Perhaps this is anecdotal, but I’ve hard terrible luck installing Linux on HP machines. They seem to always have issues with drivers.


There are specific applications that call for the use of a Raspberry Pi. Usually it is tasks involving 3D printed cases for some specific application. For those roles the Pi shines brightly. But for any normal server task, these days you are generally better going of with some used laptop. Don’t overlook old Thinkpads!

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