Years ago I bought a fairly simple 1U rack mount for four Raspberry Pi Model 4B computers. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and for years it wasn’t possible to find Model 4B’s with 4G or 8G of RAM at less than scandalous scalper prices. So the inexpensive rack mount sat for years collecting dust.
This month, June 2023, I was finally able to buy four Model 4B Raspberry Pis with 8G of RAM, at retail price ($75 each). Hallelujah.
I also bought four of the PoE+ HATs. Which IMHO suck compared to the v2 version of the original PoE HATs; the efficiency is terrible at the tiny loads I have on them (no peripherals), they consume a lot more power and waste it as heat. I don’t need to repeat what’s been written elsewhere by those who’ve published measurements. There also appears to be a PoE to USB-C isolation issue, but fortunately for me I won’t have anything plugged into the USB-C on these Pis.
The plan is to put these four Pis in the wall-mounted switch rack in the basement. They’re mostly going to provide physical redundancy for services I run that don’t require much CPU or network and storage bandwidth. DNS, DHCP, mcrover and mcweather, for example.
I am using Samsung Pro Endurance 128G microSD cards for longevity. If I needed more and faster I/O, I’d be using a rack with space for M.2 SATA per Pi, but I don’t need it for these.
I’ve loaded the latest Raspberry Pi OS Lite 64-bit on them, configured DHCP and DNS for them (later I’ll configure static IPs on them), and started installing the things I know I want/need. They all have their PoE+ HATs on, and are installed in the rack mount. I’ll put the mount into the rack this weekend. The Pis are named grover, nomnom, snoopy and lassie.
Separately, I ordered 2 more Raspberry Pis (same model 4B with 8G of RAM), two more PoE+ HATs and 2 cases: an Argon ONE v2 and an Anidees AI-PI4-SG-PRO. Both of these turn a significant part of the case into a heatsink.
The Argon ONE v2 comes with a fan and can’t use the PoE+ HAT, but can accept an M2 SATA add-on. I’m planning to play with using this one in the master bedroom, connected to the TV. It’s nice that it routes everything to the rear of the case; it’s much easier to use in an entertainment center context.
I believe the Anidees AI-PI4-SG-PRO will allow me to use a PoE+ HAT, but I’ll need extension headers which I’ll order soon. I’ve liked my other Anidees cases, and I think this latest one should be the best I’ve had from them. They’re pricey but premium.
It’s nice that I can finally do some of the work I planned years ago. Despite hoping that I’d see RISC-V equivalents by now, the reality is that the Pi has a much larger ecosystem than anything equivalent. It’s still the go-to for several things and I’m happy.