Noob question: NUC Win/Linux, RP4, Docker..? Best way forward based on my requirements?

As someone who just started investigating I’m attempting to figure out best way forward. Based on my current lack of understanding I’m afraid of spending time and money on something that’s not really a viable solution longterm. Yes, I want to commit and I’m confident in my general technical abilities. I want something I can depend on.

Relevant hardware I want to integrate/automate:
About 40 zigbee lights, sensors, switches and outlets
Tado v3 with several radioator thermostats (ideally get away from cloud, but first just integrate.)
Airthings Wave Plus (which among other parameters measure Radon). BT only.
Roborock S6
HeatIt Z-TRM2fx thermostats (Z-wave)
Mill wifi oven
DD WRT as a possible source for presence
(TV’s, Chromecast, HEOS speakers and other gadgets that might be relevant to integrate…)

After reading the first guides I came across I expected what I need is a RP4 with an SSD drive. After some more reading I was quite sure what I need is a NUC with Win10 (quite sufficient at MS OS, not so much at Linux) and HA running in a VM or container. Quite randomly stumbled upon information that BT is not supported if using Windows, hence I wouldn’t be able to fetch data from the Airthings Wave Plus? I plan on using the Radon data as input for to-be-installed Z-wave ventilation. BT, Zigbee (not decided which implementation yet) and Z-wave (euro) are all needed from the get-go.

I would really appreciate a few pointers on expected best starting point based on hardware and requirements. I’ll figure it out from there as I’m no hurry to finish. RP4 with SSD? Win10 NUC sounds pretty ideal if BT, Zigbee and Zwave all are possible. Docker, VirtualBox, Hyper-V, VMware or something else? What about scaling? I suppose all solutions would likely work well without delays as it’s not that large of an environment? I just want to get going without later having to radically change direction :slight_smile:

Unless you have plans to run a 4K Plex server, or do 24/7 CCTV recording on the HA machine, a Pi3 would be adequate to control lights, switches, fans, etc. HA itself is not super resource heavy.

Using Windows as the OS and running a VM is not a preferred option, although many people successfully run in this way. I would steer clear.

No one needs a NUC, but it is nice to have a super fast machine. It comes down to budget and what you foresee your system being. You may save yourself money long term by getting a machine now that will allow you to expand what you can run in the future instead of spending money on upgrading in a year.

I myself use an old Dell Optiplex 990, which including a RAM and SSD upgrade, I have about $200 in. It runs multiple VMs using Proxmox, is used as a 24/7 DVR and happily runs Plex, so you can achieve a lot with cheap hardware. Like I mentioned, you don’t need a NUC.

If you have the budget, get whatever you like, if you don’t have a lot to spend, look at the 2nd hand workstation market, like Dell, HP etc. You can get very competent machines for very cheap, or a Pi3/4 will work equally as well for most tasks.

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If you choose to purchase a NUC, look for a gently used Celeron-, Pentium-, or Core i3-based system. There is absolutely no reason to go for an i5 or i7 in a NUC for Home Assistant.

You actually have a lot of questions there about a lot of components. The stuff that works with a built in integration are listed here:

I would go for the PI4/SSD or a moderately powered PC - can be NUC, doesn’t have to be.

I would not run windows. Funny that you seem to be prepared to run linux on a pi, bit not an PC?

Thanks for honest answers. And, yes, sorry about a confusing post. I mentioned the components in case the need for Z-Wave, Zigbee and BT indicated a specific way forward.

I don’t mind dedicating a PI, but I would prefer to use a PC for more tasks. I have an old fanless Win10 Beelink Atom based mini-PC hooked up to my TV and hifi that’s used for Roon, Spotify connect, video streaming, room correction through equilizer APO and a few other tasks. I’m going to replace it as it can’t stream in 4k. It suddenly seemed logical to me to scale up the replacement a little bit to run a VM/container with HA rather than having an additional PI. Due to the other tasks I will use it for I would prefer to keep it Windows. (The old unit to be replaced could perhaps be used for HA, but it’s already past expected lifetime and I no longer trust the disk in it. I would prefer something new and trustworthy for HA.)

I suppose MS might not be the best choice as both replies indicate it not to be. Especially if I can’t get BT support for the Airthings appliance…

only cos its not lol… whatever you choose you are going to need some linux skills and they will grow pretty quickly.
You could also look on alibaba etc for a mini-pc nuc clone… they are pretty inexpensive and personally I would think a Pi - well you will outgrow it sooner or later… theres always more thins you will find you want to do.
When I migrated from a Pi it was to the latest cheapest Celeron powered NUC I could find but I did subsequently get a XCY (?) mini PC to play with VM’s and Proxmox etc. I do have a Win10 VM on there as well as Linux and one running HassOS…

I have been using an Intel celery nuc for about a year now and it has been flawless. I upgraded from a pi3b. I got the nuc used on ebay for $80 and already hd an SSD. I bought 4GB of ram off ebay for $25. I went that route because a Pi4 would have cost me about the same with lower specs.

Is that related to the cabbage nuc?


Yeah and it goes great on a salad also :wink:

I find silicon a little crunchy :hot_face:

Just to add as it seems to be important…

You can’t use native Bluetooth on a Proxmox VM.
Unless, and I hope they will, someone tells me I’m wrong.

I believe there is no problem plugging in a USB BT (but then it will only be available to one VM)