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Maybe Eat Other Pi?

I really like Raspberry Pi. The concept is great - a hobbyist device that has almost everything you could need to prototype lightweight electronics, all in one convenient bundle for a really cheap price.... at least until the pandemic and post-pandemic supply-chain woes. Scalper pricing on RPis is hitting 2x to 3x the price (or more)

I happened to come across a Youtube video from Retro Gamer Guy talking about the shortages. I thought his coverage was mostly fair. There are some comments that throw me off a bit - and I see the same thing where the Raspberry Pi has been adopted by any given niche audience of hobbyists (in my case, 3d printing).

The RPi is a small computer driven by an ARM processor with a number of useful ports (USB, HDMI). The key here is - it is a small computer. In my case, when installing Klipper and Mainsail, everything is so heavily tilted toward RPi support for documentation that people seem to be forgetting that you really don't need an RPi to accomplish getting a Klipper/Mainsail setup up and running.

My TronXY X5SA conversion is using a mini Intel Celeron system. At $110, it was cheaper to pick up the mini Wintel box and dump Linux on it than buying a bare RPi. I put Ubuntu server on it and it is off to the races.

One advantage to having the RPi - you still have most of the ports you might need at some point in time. But for general use cases, a mini Wintel box is equally workable. You don't need much memory to run everything and, if you're brave enough, you can run it headless (no gui). I SSH to my box running Ubuntu server, no gui at all. 

You even have the option of flashing little Android TV set top boxes from china - boxes you can pick up for $25-$30. 

This article was updated on 8 Oct 2022