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    Recommendations for a new Automation PC

    My 11 year old automation PC/space heater decided to die, conveniently the night before I started a 3 week stretch where I had exactly one day without work/travel/other commitments. FML . Today was the day so after taking care of all the housework that had piled up, I got a chance to go downstairs and look at it. It boots, crashes, and then goes into automatic repair mode, during which it asks what keyboard layout I want to use. Problem is the keyboard doesn't work so I can't make a selection. It's a Windows problem, as the keyboard works fine when playing around with BIOS options. This brings up the question though, is it worth the time trying to resurrect the old unit?

    Currently the PC runs (or more correctly DOESN"T run) HS, Blue Iris, and a weather logging program. I'm considering moving HS and the logging program to a newer PC, something that is much less power intensive. The network equipment, NAS, and automation PC each has its own UPS. The network is good for 3+ hours, while the NAS is not far behind. The space heater is only good for around 20 minutes on a 1500VA UPS

    Any recommendation for a new(er) box? Something powerful enough to run Windows 11 while being frugal enough to run on UPS power for a couple of hours? Probably something from one of the places selling refurbs from corporations that have upgraded. It would be nice if it's a rack mount unit since the old unit is, but in the price/performance/looks decision, looks comes out far in back.
    My system is described in my profile.

    #2
    If you are happy to run Win 10 or Ubuntu (could be tricked to use Win 11 but not recommended), take a look on eBay for the Lenovo M93P Tiny (also search the board here for 'M93P'). Great small business PC that runs Homeseer perfectly, low power and never fails. This assumes you will not be running Blue Iris!

    For Blue Iris hardware, best to take their advice here: https://ipcamtalk.com/wiki/choosing-...for-blue-iris/

    Another option to consider is to use a laptop (there are several forum members here that do) which does not need a UPS and would run for several hours on its internal battery.
    Jon

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      #3
      For Lenovo, Dell, and HP Refurbs in the US, take a look at TigerDirect.

      Edit: I agree with Jon to stay away from Windows 11.

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        #4
        Curious to know why you guys want to stay away from Windows 11?

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          #5
          Originally posted by Demusman View Post
          Curious to know why you guys want to stay away from Windows 11?
          Software is like wine and cheese. You want it to "age" a while before consuming it. For me, I prefer the frequency of patches to be minimal for my base OS.

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            #6
            Originally posted by kenm View Post

            Software is like wine and cheese. You want it to "age" a while before consuming it. For me, I prefer the frequency of patches to be minimal for my base OS.
            You're gonna wish you switched earlier.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Demusman View Post
              Curious to know why you guys want to stay away from Windows 11?
              11 is just fine, there is no reason to avoid it.

              HS4 Pro, Windows

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                #8
                I have used Supermicro servers because I really like to have IPMI for remote operations. With IPMI you can work with every aspect of the server remotely, even to the point of remotely installing an O/S or other software.

                They have also been very reliable, with the only hardware problem I’ve had with several dozen servers over the last couple of decades is a couple of Samsung SSDs.
                HS4 Pro, Windows

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Demusman View Post
                  Curious to know why you guys want to stay away from Windows 11?
                  My comment only related to the fact this older hardware does not support Windows 11. Although there are ways around TPM and Processor type, you never know when Microsoft could stop this, hence my recommendation not to use it.
                  Jon

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by randy View Post
                    11 is just fine, there is no reason to avoid it.
                    As a base OS for HS4 I don't see an advantage to 11.

                    What features does 11 provide for an HS4 host? I'm open to learning.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by randy View Post
                      I have used Supermicro servers because I really like to have IPMI for remote operations. With IPMI you can work with every aspect of the server remotely, eve to the point of remotely installing an O/S or other software.

                      They have also been very reliable, with the only hardware problem I’ve had with several dozen servers over the last couple of decades is a couple of Samsung SSDs.
                      Here using a SupermicroServer X12SPM with 6 1GB ports, 2 10GB ports, 1 IPMI port, 2x SSD, 128GB memory.

                      Using Proxmox as type 1 Hypervisor.

                      I like the ease of use. Only connections ever used are power and ethernet. You could set-up everything without a monitor connected.

                      I have a Proxmox cluster of 3 servers, which makes this part High Available. Unfortunately not all Supermicro servers. I realy like these Supermicro servers.

                      Still need to invest in my network to support High Availability.
                      ---
                      John

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by kenm View Post

                        As a base OS for HS4 I don't see an advantage to 11.

                        What features does 11 provide for an HS4 host? I'm open to learning.
                        It has nothing to do with being a base OS for Homeseer. If that was you're reasoning you would've stayed with 7. Still the best Windows version.
                        it has to do with "things" being put back to where you'd expect them to be and not having to use the search bar on Win 10 to find the where they hid all the most common used settings and such. It has more of a Win 7 feel to it.

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                          #13
                          I just installed HS4 on this mini PC with Windows 11, and so far so good. I chose it because 1) it was relatively inexpensive, 2) i5 is more than enough power for home automation and more really is better, 3) I needed 2 com ports and plenty of USB for my connected devices, 4) my experience is that you want at least 16 MB memory for Windows 10 or 11. I do have a slight concern about the odd Chinese brand, but almost every mini pc or its components come from mega factories in China anyway. As for Windows 11, it really is not that much different than 10 - actually I find 11 Pro to be back to basics without the annoying "features" of 10.

                          I am using the Kingdel to replace a Homeseer Hometroller (Windows 7). It was OK, but had some odd quirks that caused me issues, notably the Grundfos boot system. It was also a little slow when HS got busy.
                          Amazon.com: KINGDEL Mini Gaming PC 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U Windows 11 Pro, 16G DDR4 RAM 512GB SSD, HD(4K@60Hz) Outputs 6xUSB 2xCOM, HD VGA Support Two Screen,Intel UHD Graphics 620 : Electronics
                          Mark

                          Hometroller S6 w/ HS3Pro, Way2Call
                          BLAB8SS, BL Backup, Easy Trigger, HSTouch, Open Sprinkler, SONOS, Ultra1Wire3, UltraM1G, WeatherXML, Z-Wave

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by randy View Post
                            11 is just fine, there is no reason to avoid it.
                            I absolutely agree here. I have two PCs running Windows 11, and I have had no problems whatsoever. They are perfectly stable. I have a third PC running Windows 10, only because it is too old to support 11, and I powered it up yesterday. Of course, it took hours for it to download and install all the MS Update patches, and when it was done, the UI is now unfamiliar to me, and I had some momentary confusion finding stuff. The only reason I needed that machine was to use a device with crappy old software that doesn't support Win 11.

                            A PC that cannot be upgraded to Windows 11 will become a security/privacy risk after Oct 14, 2025, when MS stops supporting Windows 10.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              "A PC that cannot be upgraded to Windows 11 will become a security/privacy risk in two years, when MS stops supporting Windows 10."

                              This is why I ran Windows 7 until I was forced to upgrade to 10 due to a hardware failure. I'll likely take the same approach for Windows 11 since the system I have now will not support 11.

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