Looking at hardware upgrade advice

Hi all,

Looking for some advice on where to take my home assistant set up. There’s a few options, so I’m a bit confused about the best route to take for performance / cost / longevity.

I kicked off my home assistant journey a couple of years ago by buying a rpi4 and installing HAOS. Mostly the idea was to bring my various smart devices (a few lights, controllers, smart plugs, and some irrigation controllers at that point) under one umbrella. I could see a lot of potential for automations, but only if the devices could actually talk to each other propoerly. I really caught the bug, and a couple of years later, I’m running a zigbee network with 75+ devices in Zigbee2MQTT, a handful of wifi devices and some ESPhome based stuff… and heaps of automations with a full custom dashboard.

I’m not particularly technical, but there’s so much good info online in the community that I’ve managed to iron out most of the problems I’ve encountered, and for the most part I’ve found my devices and automations to be really solid. I do very ocasionally have some automations seem to ‘fall off’, where it seems like they trigger in HA, but actions aren’t performed (when previously it was working), or in some cases they don’t seem to trigger at all when criteria are met (when previously they did). This is rare though, and for the most part everything is working well. Not sure if these issues can be tied to the pi or something else.

I still have lots of plans in the pipework from full presence detection in each room, to automating garage doors and backyard gates, as well as incorporating some cameras where I hope to get frigate up and running with AI detection and recording locally. It’s mainly this last one that has me worried about the stability of my system on the little rpi4. I do already have two camera feeds coming into to my HASS dashboard at the moment, but no dection or recording is happening yet.

So here’s where I’m looking for advice, as there’s a few options I could go down.

Option 1:
Originally, I was planning to just upgrade the pi. Get a Coral, powered hub, and and an SSD, and then potentially look at a NAS for storage of the video with frigate. But looking at the costs (AUD) of those things, I’m looking at something like Coral $150, SSD ($50-100), SSD case/USB adapter ($15-30), NAS ($0-200+?). Looking at somewhere close to like $500 AUD to do this, and then I’m still stuck with a pi4 processor which may or may not be enough to run 4+ cams through frigate with detection and recording + growing list of devices and automations? Or are there more economical options here to upgrade the pi to achieve what I’d like?

Option 2:
For that price am I better off finding a good deal on a mini PC of some sort? It’s a large world, am I’m not super confident I know what to look for, but ultimately, I’d be looking for something that can handle 4 or 5 cameras without having to also grab the coral tpu. Also will I ultimately need to get more local storage than provided onboard, and likely need a NAS anyway? Assuming this option is roughly similar price, but probably more future proofed.

Option 3:
I weirdly also have inherited a HP ProLiant MicroServer (it was in the grarage abandoned when we bought the house). It looks to be a N54L Gen 7 (specs at bottom), but I’m not 100% sure. It already has 4x2tb HDDS in it. There is the potential for this to be a NAS for the above two options I assume (?), but I’m wondering if it’s worth persuing as an option for the full HA install as well? Possibly it’s a bit power hungry and loud neither of which are a concern if it’ll become the NAS for another option anyway? Looks like it takes ECC RAM and I could upgrade to 8gb for about $90. I’m still expecting the processor to be the bottleneck here, but maybe it could be paired with a coral tpu for a relatively economocial way to achieve what I’m after? Assuming I’d need to move to a Docker type install as well.

Would love to hear thoughts on these options, or if there’s any others I haven’t thought of. Also wondering how diffcult it will be to use the sonoff zigbee dongle-P on a mini pc or the HP proliant. Will it be as easy as plug and play?

HP ProLiant MicroServer N54L Gen 7 specs. Which I’ll need to double check once I can get into the OS. But looks like it’s:

AMD Turion II Dual-Core 2.2 GHz
150W power supply
8TB across 4x 2TB 3.5" spinning disks in there now.
More details in the link.