Today I spent more time than I'd like to admit putting a Raspberry Pi 3B through its paces as a web media box (mostly Youtube and Twitch VODs). Running Raspbian it's surprisingly capable; there's screen tearing on anything higher than 720p30, but it's leagues better than the 2011-era netbook I was planning to use for this

Raspberry Pi 4 as netbook replacement 

Thinking about this; one of the bummer aspects of selling my old netbook was recognizing that many aspects of it (the display, chassis, and I/O) are still totally fine, it's really just the parts that'd be otherwise housed in an ITX case that'd have to be replaced. At this point I'm waiting for the Nexdock 2 to come out so I can find out how feasible this actually is for my solderless lifestyle

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Raspberry Pi 4 as netbook replacement 

(in the event that reviews are positive, the plan is to just mount the pi 4 case and an external SSD on the nexdock's lid with heavy-duty velcro strips)

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Raspberry Pi 3B+ as non-Kodi media center 

I'm finding this to work well for Youtube, though I have to copy-paste URLs into a VLC playlist to get a reliable 720p60. I was also able to get Widevine video content working in Chromium (blog.vpetkov.net/2019/07/12/ne), though as expected from a software decoder on an underpowered CPU, there's occasional screen tearing. Still functional enough as a stopgap until I upgrade, at least for online video platforms that don't block Linux outright.

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Raspberry Pi 3B+ as non-Kodi media center 

"Just get a Roku box, Chromecast, or Fire TV stick" Functional solution, but I have an effective counter-argument: No

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Raspberry Pi 3B+ as non-Kodi media center 

I ended up cutting the Noctua fan cable to 30% its original length and connecting the cables to the Pi's GPIO with Dupont jumper wires and Scotchlok connectors. The resulting setup continues to work absurdly well; enough that upgrading to a Pi 4 is more of a "would-be-nice-to-have" at the moment than an absolute necessity. Upgrade path is likely going to be case -> USB SSD -> base hardware, and I'll be doing it incrementally over the next month or two

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Raspberry Pi 3B+ as non-Kodi media center 

The C4Labs case came in and it took one evening's worth of use with the Scotchloks sticking out of the GPIO access port before I decided to snip them off and twist the wires together with electrical tape. And it still works, hooray!

As expected, the fan goes with this case incredibly well. I wonder if they make PCs with woodgrain panels often in Austria, and that's why Noctua fans ship looking like this

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Raspberry Pi 3B+ as non-Kodi media center 

Tried installing Krita on this yesterday via Flathub. It ran at 5FPS, just like my attempt at running Blender, and displayed an entirely black canvas. Still glad to see it can be done, and looking forward to seeing if the Pi 4 improves this at all; if it does (either in Raspbian or desktop Ubuntu), you can bet I'll be taking video of it

"Just use the GNU Image Manipulation Program" Yeah, that's another no from me, chief

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Raspberry Pi 4 as non-Kodi media center 

Had A Day and some holiday cash + store credit, so whoops, both upgrades are in the mail way ahead of schedule. (4GB Pi 4 model + 15W power supply + micro-HDMI cable + SATA-to-USB-3.0 cable, and a Samsung QVO SSD I'll be swapping into my desktop PC so its current 240GB drive can be used here.) The C4Labs case I already have came with Pi 4 fittings and heatsinks, so I anticipate swapping it out with little to no trouble once everything's here/in one place.

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Raspberry Pi 4 as non-Kodi media center 

The Pi 4 arrived today; I threw it in the case, applied a fresh Raspbian install, set it to use experimental GL drivers, disabled the compositor, and now fullscreen web video's doing a lot better in Chromium (both with DRM and without). Success!

(I make the install sound painless, but the Pishop micro-HDMI cable broke and I ended up reconfiguring three different Ubuntu variants before settling once again on the default Raspbian. Still, success?)

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Raspberry Pi 4 as non-Kodi media center 

A shipment arrived today, and now my Pi boots seamlessly into my desktop's former SSD. I can call this fully upgraded, I think -- to the point where it almost seems unremarkable to say what I'm using it for, since while it's an ARM-based SBC, it's also a 1.5GHz computer with 4GB RAM; its main distinguishing factors are its comparatively low cost and low wattage. Still exciting, though, and I'll probably hook the Elgato up and stream it at some point soon.

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Raspberry Pi 4 as non-Kodi media center 

"Low cost" isn't exactly true, also; excluding the monitor (my TV), everything required to run it as it I've got it would cost over $200 off the shelf; this assumes you don't have a spare SSD, keyboard/mouse, USB-C charger, or > 8GB micro SD card kicking around. Those parts (and a few others) will likely outlast this build, though, which I'd consider one of the bigger benefits compared to picking up a secondhand ThinkPad for a project like this

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Tiny Computer Chronicles (RPi4 Saga) 

Settings are currently 720p for anything video-intensive, 1080p for desktop stuff. Videos are ad-free and with a trackpad keyboard the web interface for any video site is far better than anything built to be navigated with a remote or controller

Speaking of, RetroPie isn't out for this yet but I can see myself pairing my Dual Shock 4 to it regardless; Mednafen seems to run games well at the very least

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Tiny Computer Chronicles (RPi4 Saga) 

@Lobst Tiny Computer Chronicles implies a Tiny Stewart Cheifet

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