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Limited Computing

People are always shocked to discover my main computer is from 2017 and is an i3-powered fanless desktop. Limits force me to focus on what's important.  Just the software and compute power I need to get the job done. Would it be nice to have a faster computer at times? Sure. Do I want to waste the time to find, build, and re-install everything for those few times? No.

My main desktop is my old repurposed firewall. The full details are available online.

screenshot of neofetch
current desktop

I use FreeBSD because it's clean, neat, and just works. Run BSD. Previously, and previously.

My prior desktop was a Raspberry Pi 4B+ and a Pine64 RockPro64 SBC. Here's how the CPU performance compares from the RPI 4B+ to the current desktop.

From my perspective, my desktop is now 3x faster (well, 2.76x), but overall it feels lightning fast. I use a hardware encrypting external drive to store all my data. And with ZFS filesystem, it's a fantastically fast, reliable, and portable setup. I can saturate the 1 Gbe interface, and with the embedded GPU, enlightenment runs flawlessly. Overall, it's really nice hardware. Having it fanless is a bonus. If I need real compute horsepower, I can rent it from altcloud providers like 1984, linode, digitalocean, vultr, etc. It costs about $5 to rent a 96-core system at linode for the few minutes I need it. I can also use Sourcehut's build servers, too.

I consider doing upgrades, but will take my time and figure out something that should last another 7 years or so. For now, this works and will continue to work for me. Your experience may be different.

Comments Welcome


I'm experimenting with two new features here,

  1. AVIF files for images and comments via email. Now that AVIF is a standard and supported by 93% of browsers, the increase in performance by the reduction in page size is worth it. Plus it reduces page size and load speeds, dramatically.
  2. The comments via email is an experiment to see what happens.