Breast Expansion Archive Forum

Miscellaneous => Computer Tech Help & Info => Topic started by: NotElvis on March 21, 2018, 03:10:41 AM

Title: So, anyone have experience with using a Raspberry Pi, Pine64, etc as a Linux PC?
Post by: NotElvis on March 21, 2018, 03:10:41 AM
I realized my "slight" backstory is WAY too longwinded - so, the quick question is, does anyone have any experience with these and similar devices?  Build quality, and, will they be able to handle my needs? (listed below)

Alright, slight (rambling, verbose) backstory.

I have a main PC - Windows 10, has most of my apps, Steam and video games, etc.

I have a secondary PC, that, while it has Windows 10 on it as well, is a dual boot with Lubuntu.  I use it for using VPNC with Remmina to use my work PC remotely, while using Firefox locally on it, predominantly reading the news, **24**, and occasional YouTube videos.  Also, for yuks, I installed Heroes of Might and Magic III complete using PlayOnLinux.

Any which way, hardly demanding tasks, though, admittedly, having multiple **24** tabs open simultaneously will tax the 4GB of RAM and Haswell era Pentium CPU.

So, I somehow became fascinated with saving space.  At first, I was considering a NUC, until I realized that it may well cost as much as a regular desktop/slim tower PC.

Then a friend mentioned Raspberry Pi, also mentioning that it used SD cards more or less like a hard drive, and you could literally swap whatever you were doing with it just by swapping SD cards.  So I was intrigued.  Admittedly, the thought of a credit-card-sized board that drew minimal power practically hanging off the end of the HDMI cable and handling what I used to use an entire PC for was pretty fascinating.

I get it, it's a low powered, but I don't think what I'm doing would overwhelm it.  The only potential problem I see is that even the current Pi 3+ only has 1GB of RAM.  A browser viewing FB pages could theoretically overwhelm it.... FB is, uh, not well optimized.  And by "not well optimized" I mean "makes me wonder why even some simple tasks on it should slow down things so horribly."

Additionally, my monitor is 3840x1600.  About 75% of 4K, if you will.  Even the Pi 3+ technically doesn't support this resolution, though I've come across some references that say the Pi 3+ can be made to work at 38402160 @ 15 Hz.  My existing desktop PC (with whatever built-in Intel video it has) supports that resolution at 30Hz, smooth enough for most things, but occasionally with what resembles video-game vsync tearing during video playback.  I imagine that even if I could get that resolution to work at 15Hz on the Pi 3+, it would be... trying.

Hence why I took notice of the Rock64 (one of the Pine64 variants), as it comes with 2GB RAM at the same price (downgrading to 1 or upgrading to 4 GB optional), and with a better video chip, though the tech details on their page don't actually go into much detail (states "4K60P HDR digital output" - does that 60P mean 60Hz?  States a "RK3328 Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53" without specifying speed, etc).

All that longwinded backstory aside, here is what I'd like to do:

- Primary project - Minimal Linux install: Desktop Environment, use VPNC, Remmina (RDP), Firefox.
- Secondary project - DOS install simply for an old, DOS version of MAME (alternately do that on Linux install)

What do you recommend or what guidance can you offer, and will such a system be able to handle my primary use needs?

Thanks in advance - sorry if I seem clueless about this, but until last week, I'd only known enough about such systems to be able to spell them, and realize the original creator(s) must've been fond of desserts.