Starting strategy hardware and config

Hi all.

My first post here.

Ive been playing with home automation for 5 years now. Started with some Hue, and got addicted.

I then progressed to smart things, but quickly moved on to Hubitat. Im now finding limitations with HE and have decided to try HASS.

i have just short of 100 smart devices, mainly zigbee then a few wifi / zwave and use Alexa in all rooms.

I would like to get my setup and config as close to how ill want to use it in the long term and would appreciate any input on my research so far.

ive done some googling and think id quickly outgrow a raspi (if i could get one) and decided on a dell 3040/50 for cost/performance/energy use ratio.

im thinking of a i3 with 8gb of ram 128gb ssd to start with and will use the machine only for HASS. obviously this box is easily/cheaply upgradable and so i can grow with it if/when i decide to stick with HASS.
thinking of installing HASS OS to start with, though ive seen vids that say container is more flexible. If i do this and decide later that i want to move to container, will i be able to port an existing setup?

Ive also been told that node red is best for setting up automations and was going to start with that.

Sonoff zigbee dongle.
zwave dongle , yet to research.

all input, much appreciated.

I am using the Sonoff zigbee 3 dongle and the SiLabs UZB-7 (firmware updated to 17.2). So far both Zigbee and Z-Wave devices are pairing great. I did run into one glitch where was having trouble pairing stuff and discovered at least for Z-Wave you really need to get the hub in as central a place in your location as possible. If it’s down in the basement or somewhere on the edge then the ZW 4 hop limit really starts to cause issues. At least it did for me.

In terms of Node-RED… Well I’m definitely a big fan but there is a lot you can do with the local automations as well so am not sure it’s the “best” - all depends on the use-case. I prefer my rules engine to be as platform agnostic as possible that way I can change systems (like from the Hubitat Elevation to Home Assistant and vice versa) without impacting my rules…

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