At what point would you recommend a NUC over a pi4 for HASS?

I’m curious more than anything. I would guess that one would want to use a NUC if they were doing motion detection (by video analysis), but is there anything else where the performance improvement would be noticeable? What has been your experience with either?

By motion detection I take it that you mean by video analysis?

I don’t do that. My catalyst for change was nothing more than the annoyance of +5 minute restart times on the pi3 and continual warnings that integrations were taking longer than 10 seconds to set up.

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In my case, I already had a nuc acting as file server for the house with a photo database, and music server. Adding home assistant there made the most sense.

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I don’t know, unless you already have another server readily available, I never really understood the need of a NUC or similar for what essentially amounts to a home automation control hub. I always felt this to be totally overpowered for the tiny amount of work there actually is to do for the system.

I have HA running on a Pi for a long time now, with a fairly complex HA setup. I never felt the need to change it. It just works. My CPU is usually at below 3% most of the time. Automations are instant. Both Lovelace and the websocket API are very responsive. The system is rock solid. I don’t see what additional value a NUC would bring, other than maybe the geek factor and implicit placebo of “wow it’s so much better now” that inherently comes with it.

Of course you have to manage the DB if you’re on a Pi. I have it on an external NAS. You can also use an SSD, a cloud provider, whatever. Keep the amount of writes to the SD card down.

So what would a NUC change for me at least ? It would make HA restart faster. I don’t know how often you restart HA, but I do that maybe once a month. This is an actual in-use system, not something I tinker with all the time. I’m fine waiting a couple of minutes for a restart. History would be faster on a NUC too. But then again, how often do you really need to look over your entire sensor history ? Do you even do it for anything other than temperature or humidity ?

Some people do things like security video processing, ML like Tensorflow / Frigate without external TPU, software NVR and stuff like that on their HA system. Those would all be valid use cases for a NUC. But this is not a pure home automation system anymore either then.

I like to keep things separate. So yeah, I’m staying with my Pi for HA :grinning:

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Just remembered I wrote this:

Things have changed a lot since then. Home assistant is more efficient and reliable, but my system has out-paced those advances due to growth of things I monitor and control. So still very glad I made the move to a more powerful platform.

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the ducks guts

Is that like the bees knees? :joy:

It’s the Australian version. :duck:

I might look for the script I used to count those devices tomorrow and see how much it has actually grown.

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I have always run HA on a Pi,
Started on a 3b, upgraded to a 4b, because I needed the 3b for a Picore player (well it was one or the other) took the opportunity to get away from uSD cards.
Now run with a 200GB ssd
Restarts take about 2.5 minutes mainly due to z-wave restarts (a soon to be released update on that will leave z-wave running in its own docker (ie not needing restart unless at reboot) )
My system is moderately large (though by no means the biggest) with over 1100 entities
And runs at 1% cpu usage
Why would I bother ?

Truth is I ‘want’ to upgrade but have to be honest in that I really don’t need to
:man_shrugging:

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I must confess that I ran HASS on a Orange Pi Zero. When I started this hobby with only two yeelight colors that turn green when the kids are allowed to get out of bed, my home automation started to grow. I expanded with Shellies around the house, and now things were a bit more serious.

When the OPI crashed for the third time, probably because I used micro SD, I realized that since we now use the automations more often, the system should be reliable.

A colleague at work had a core 2 duo laying around with 4 GB ram (a dell optiplex I think). Total overkill, but it was a good decision. Works a lot better, and can run other services (like openvpn) easily as well.

These PC’s are almost for free on ebay, so if you don’t want to spend on a NUC and you have enough room, this might be an idea too.

I upgraded from a Pi3 to an old ex-demo Celeron NUC and even that was a massive improvement in terms of reboot speed and Config Checker speed, both of which I used to hate on the Pi.
I later upgraded the Celeron NUC to an i7 because the Celeron processor was sitting kinda high due to processing a few full HD CCTV streams, motion detection and recording. Unfortunately even the i7 was having CPU temperature issues at low CPU usage which I found out was being caused by the video software (MotionEye). I now have a dedicated NVR looking after the motion detection and recording but the streams are still viewed in HA.
Config check takes a few seconds and a restart takes less than a minute. I have a decent size system with quite a few devices across wifi, zigbee and z-wave.

To give you an idea of how quickly a system can grow the numbers in red are the increase over the last 18 months (compared to the post above):

05b60b895b21e523c5fec178ff796a0e5ed38f17

The reduction in scripts is mainly down to me trying to rid myself of the hideous tyranny of IR remote control (no state feedback in nearly all cases is the issue). Only three devices to go…

I am using my NUC also on windows 10 as Media Server and File Server and in VM from the built-in of windows running Ubuntu sever with Hass.
Running already more then 1 year without a problem.

I’m not using a NUC, but a Zotac Zbox ID89-Plus, which I got fairly cheap on Ebay (~85€), which has a core i5 with 8GB RAM and 500GB SSD. The power consumption is higher, but the performance is way better.

I’m running supervised edition on Debian 10 on this machine + some other docker containers.

Hi Tom, have you got the template for grabbing those counts handy?

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after losing 2 SDCARD

best thing I did

At the point that you plan to start using Home Assistant, start using a NUC. Buy once, cry once. Spare yourself the anguish of broken sd cards, stupid drive adapters, slow startup, limitations, etc.

If you’re wanting video analysis I would suggest frigate with a google coral. I am running it on my i5 nuc and it works pretty darn well.

I run my HA in docker container on QNAP NAS, it lacks the convenience of a supervisor based install, but I’ve been running it like that for a very long time now, and I’m too lazy to switch. It does save me the SD cards fuss and backups all the way to the cloud are much easier. I run quite a bit of containers on the NAS, but none of them are too heavy, the more resource intensive ones (like InfluxDB where I keep all HA historical data) started on QNAP, but had to be moved to my old Skull Canyon NUC - QNAP was running out of memory (I only have 8GB there and my NUC has 32GB). Obviously, running influxdb on Pi is a non-starter, unless you have very small amounts of data. I also have Pi running more basic stuff - like dnsmasq and nodered. And cameras run on a Synology in VM on the NUC as well.

The idea is that Pi handles low level stuff that has to be always-on, same as router, and NAS and NUC provide higher level functions where I can tolerate some downtime. So Pi is rebooted once every 10 months or so (when there is a power outage longer than UPS can handle), NAS is up for about 2-3 months in a row (mostly going down for FW updates) and NUC can reboot anywhere from once a week to once every 3 months. However, significant part my smart home is KNX based, so HA is not really mission-critical (it’s not like I cannot switch on the lights if HA is down). If I had to depend on it for my home to operate properly I’d consider moving it to a dedicated Pi.

Bottom line, I wouldn’t go buying a dedicated NUC just for HA, but if you have other resource-intensive use-cases, or simply want a convenience of a home VM lab - you’ll enjoy it more and you’ll be able to run other related tools (like influxdb) on the same machine.
As an intermediate solution - if you already have NAS, you can run HA in docker or in VM on it - not as powerful as NUC for related tools (though it depends on your NAS, I guess), but more than enough for HA itself and more convenient. Plus NAS tends to be always on anyways, so there is minimal-to-none impact on energy consumption.

I have actually been thinking the other way around. I run my installation on enterprise server hardware as I have it already for several other services. It runs really well most of the time and I’m happy to have what you guys mention; quick HA restart times, quick loading of history, instant reaction on switch presses etc. But sometimes when other services run crazy on the server, could be a bug in another software like nextcloud last month (a service like dropbox you host yourself) when PHP was spawning uncountable threads pulling all resources, then HA was left so unresponsive. Buttom presses took 2-3s or more. This has me thinking maybe I should move my installation to a raspberry pi to have a dedicated system. Today it is also so easy to run 100% from external SSD without using an SD card at all.
Of course one can play with recourse management, settling limits for different services which I do. But it would be nice to not have to. Then again if I was thinking HA alone on this hardware it would be no problem of course, but also a waste of muscle.

I’ve recently bought a new house and want to setup HA for my smart devices/sensor and automation. Im also planning on having some security cameras together with Frigate running on the hub.
What would be best in this scenario?

  • RPI 4 8 GB with SSD and Google Coral
  • NUC without Coral? (or should I use Coral in both cases?)