Hardware to put HA on

Hi, I know its probably a never ending topic, but searchnig through the forum didn’t really give me an answer:

What hardware would be appropriate to smoothly run HA on? I am redoing my setup for not only smarthome and need to purchase new hardware (since I repurposed the pi 3b on which I ran homebridge) and have no experience with HA yet. I wanted to include the pseudo-necessary stuff like some form of a zigbee communication, MQTT server, NodeRed to make automation easier, maybe something else (only regarding home-automation however, Kodi, NAS etc will have separate boxes).

I found contradictory commentaries whether or not a raspi (i would probably use a 4b 4g) is good enough for it - could you please provide me with some insight?

To be honest there is no one answer that suits everybody’s needs.

You need to make the decision of how important stability is vs. monetary investment that you’re willing to make.

Personally, I purchased an i5 NUC on eBay for about two hundred bucks and decided that was worth it in order to run my entire home and office automations off of.

You’ll have to decide where your trade-offs are and what you’re willing to spend and what it’s worth for performance and stability.

There are probably hundreds of threads here that will further allow you to delve into anybody’s opinion on what other options may or may not be better for you…

Good luck!

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Thanks for the reply! I get that its not really straight forward question, as ofc i realize if I wanted 100% stable system I could go with supermicro board and some xeon, but what I was curious about was more like “what to expect at what level”.

To be completely honest, if all you want to run is Home Assistant, then an older used Pentium or Celeron based NUC will run it quite well for very little cost.

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This is a VERY loaded question and largely depends on what you are using HA for, but from personal experience, I’ve run it on pretty much everything I could from an old rPi2, a rPi3, and a rPi4. I’ve had it running on an old Windows laptop from 2010 to my own dedicated Linux server (Intel i7, 64GB RAM, RAID5 SSD drives, etc). I currently have my instance running on a rPi4 (2gb) on an external SSD and have had zero issues. I use NodeRed on another rPi4 for most of my automations and have ~450-500 entities (Zigbee devices, Z-Wave devices, WiFi devices, cameras (along with image processing), etc and have yet to ever have the CPU get higher than 35%. I also have a MQTT broker running on it along with my sonos-api and my harmony-api (node.js apps).

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The answer is “it depends”

If you can afford to go NUC or other SFF system from the start I would do so.

If you can not then using a rPI4 should not stop you from the joys of HA :wink:

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I also depends on the time you want to spend on it. I started on a Pi 3 with Hassio on a SD card, but then I got SD card corruption and moved to an old laptop running Ubunu and then Hassio in docker. It worked fine, speed was more or less the same, but the admin time I got was competely different - now I need to maintain an entire OS / server instead of just a Pi running only Hassio.

I therefore moved back to the Pi and then purchased an application grade SD card, and then time will tell if it lasts :slight_smile:


I don’t see why an RPi4 booting from an SSD wouldn’t be sufficient for the majority of use cases. That’s what I use and haven’t ran into any issues. I use Docker for everything (HA, NodeRed, Mosquitto, InfluxDB, and Grafana) and run an Aeotec Z-wave stick (through an USB hub because Aeotec doesn’t implement the USB standard properly).


How did you get a rPi4 to boot from SSD? The Raspberry devs haven’t released a USB/SSD bootable kernel yet, have they?

Thank you. If Imay ask, why (and how) would you run nodered on a separate raspi?

Because I run other things in NodeRed besides just HA automations (for instance, all my Harmony activities and devices are exposed to Alexa using NodeRed instead of through HA). So, if I need to reboot my HA box (or it’s down for whatever reason), then it doesn’t affect the rest of my things running in NodeRed. Running everything on a single device is a single point of failure and my WAF would drop to zero if everything stopped working at the same time. :smiley:

I install NodeRed the old fashioned way (no Docker and no Hass add-on). :wink:

bash <(curl -sL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/node-red/linux-installers/master/deb/update-nodejs-and-nodered)

I had to implement a workaround. The RPi4 technically boots from the SD card’s boot partition but then it points to the SSD where the rest of the filesystem lies.

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Usually a i5 NUC should be more than adequate to run several devices including deconz, MQTT server and NodeRED without any issues. Probably viewing a few cameras too.

I’m currently running mine on a Rpi 3B with ESPHOME, pi-hole, 10 add-ons through HACS, Mosquito MQTT server, etc and haven’t had any real issues. The only consistent issue I have is viewing cameras, which I knew from the start it would be problematic. But that only happens if you’re viewing all the cameras together.

Saying that I should also mention I had a SD card corrupted in the beginning but invested on a better card for high reads/writes and haven’t had any issues in that department since. Of course, I am also looking at investing into something more substantial since I want to expand my setup

Been looking into ODroid N2 perhaps or potentially a second hand server since I plan on running several other things as well (NAS, HassIO, CUPS, pi-hole, BlueIris, etc)

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Oh, I see. I discovered a workaround for GAF, as bringing flowers/small gifts following downtime of smarthome increases acceptance significantly, strongly reccomended.

Since you are running a system simmilar to what I have in mind, I wanted to ask - what is the USP of Home Assisstant over say simple Homebridge? I thought I will switch to HA for the automation part (and maybe companion app, I really like the concept of notifications, though native IOS home app is going to remain the default), however if I put all of the automation into node-red (which makes sense to me), what is a reason to go for HA?

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LMAO… What’s funny is that my wife cares more about a working smarthome than she does gifts. She’s the one that actually pushed me into getting enterprise networking gear (Unifi) because her phone was “slow”. I think I have a weird (read: GREAT) wife.

I don’t have any iDevices, so I don’t use HomeKit/Homebridge. However, in my environment, HA is basically the master record of devices and services and their respective states; Everything, at some point, informs Home Assistant of it’s state. Since I have a TON of different Zigbee, Z-Wave, and WiFi devices, having one master controller over all of them is pretty much required. Using other tools to supplement HA is really what I am doing; NodeRed for my more complex automations and routines; MQTT for connecting and sharing disparate information through devices that normally would never talk to each other; InfluxDB+Grafana for metrics tracking, etc. All of those talk to HA to get to their respective devices (mostly) and information in one form or another.

I think (remember, not a Homebridge user here), in your case, Homebridge could easily pull in devices from HA and vice-versa while NodeRed would handle automations and notifications. This way, HA is your master record when it comes to routing information to various devices and services and keeping things in sync. When you purchase a new device, you add it to HA first. Then, that device should flow to Homebridge and NodeRed.


Ahhh, gotcha. Yeah, that’s what I’m doing as well. I really wish they would just release a USB bootable firmware already! :smiley:

Got it, in my case the requirement is usually “make it faster/better please”, problems start when experiments are happening and I break it (i.e. whenever I’m having fun with it).

Ok, now that makes sense, however since there is a homekit addon directly to HA I don’t really think I will go for multipe apps to maintain, instead i will probably just put in the plugin and I really like the idea of maintaining all devices and services through HA… apart from pihole and unifi controller - prefer to have them completely separate on locked down VLAN.

EDIT: BTW thank you very much for the time!

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Hello all,

I actually have the same question.
But the answers in this message go in all directions.
I understand that it is indeed an ‘it depends’ story.

I am investigating what I need to convert my current setup (Fibaro HC2) to a Home Assistant installation.
The reason for this is that my Fibaro HC2 only does Z-wave and you can control other things with certain plugins, but then you are always waiting for when something like that is made.
I also see more and more zigbee products coming on the market at a reasonable price. Take the IKEA tradfri line, for example.

As mentioned, I have a Fibaro HC2 controller / hub (first generation since 2012), which consists of the following hard ware components:

  • Intel® Desktop Board D945GS
    • CPU: Intel Atom Dual Core 1.6Ghz (Intel ® Atom ™ CPU N270 @ 1.60GHz)
    • Mem: 1 GB DDR (Support for DDR2 533 MHz SO-DIMMs)

I have never had performance issues with the above configuration.
I have around 43 z-wave physical devices (around 75 virtual / slaves) and various scenes (LUA) to automate things.

I also looked at the specifications of the Athom Homey Pro.
This is not much more if the Fibaro has HC2.
The Homey Pro runs on:

  • CPU: SolidRun C1000DL (= Dual Core ARM9 1Ghz (1.2Ghz))
  • Mem: 64bit, 1GB DDR3 @ 800Mbps

My question now is, why does Home Assistant need so much CPU power and is there (also on the Home Assistant site https://www.home-assistant.io/docs/installation) for a NUC with an i3 to i7 referenced if you want some more.

What in Home Assistant requires so much CPU power.
For example, I can understand that you want a bit more memory in it so that all intergration runs in memory, I cannot place the CPU piece.

Who can help me understand the necessity of these reasonably powerfull CPUs?

Thank you very much.

Who says that home assistant uses a lot of CPU power? It runs on a RPi 3 without any problems and I wouldn’t call this a powerful CPU. The CPU load is determined by the addons / additional software / amount of devices you use in your system. If you use object detection, multiple cameras or any other high-resource things, you are of course going to need more resources.

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Exactly my point…
That’s why i’m asking…
In what scenario do you need an NUC i7 ?
Or is CPU a non issue and is for example a NUC with a celeron (with enough memory) quite enough.