My Raspberry Pi 400 Desktop Computer

Raspberry Pi 400 Desktop Computer

A Raspberry Pi 400 desktop computer is my newest computer. I've owned several desktop computers and several laptop computers since I got into IBM-PC compatible computers in 1994. Most of them became obsolete long before they wore out.

I still have the laptop computer I'm currently using (obviously) as well as another with similar specifications sitting in the master bedroom of my house in the Philippines. When I bought this one in 2018, I sent the other one home with other things in a balikbayan box.

The Raspberry Pi and Other Single Board Computers

I noticed the Raspberry Pi single board computers when I was researching alternative computing platforms in 2019. There were choices I hadn't considered before. I found mini-computers and stick computers among them.

The mini computers came with no peripherals and weren't as inexpensive as they should have been. The stick computers didn't seem to have enough memory or power to do what they were designed to do, at least with the latest Windows operating system.

I kept telling myself I would probably buy the Raspberry Pi 4 once it was available with eight gigabytes of memory. Well, I didn't. I put it off because I had other things demanding my attention at the time. When the Raspberry Pi 400 came out, I put some serious thought into it before deciding to buy.

Buying the Raspberry Pi 400 Desktop Computer

I did a lot of research and I watched a lot of YouTube videos about it, including ways to make it better (for me). That was in November 2020. I broke down and bought the kit in July 2021 and then bought other items to go with it from other sources. The one thing I didn't buy was a monitor. I have two monitors collecting dust at my house.

I bought a PNY 120 gigabyte solid-state drive and an external drive enclosure. Since both of those monitors lack HDMI ports, I bought an HDMI to VGA adaptor. I should be able to use it for the computer speakers that are waiting for me as well, since it also has an audio jack. If it doesn't work, I have plenty of Bluetooth speakers available.

I bought two EAFU portable chargers (power banks) because they have 3 amp outputs and the Raspberry Pi power port is USB C and uses 3 amps. Two power banks means I can last for an entire day before recharging either one. Plugging one directly into the computer instead of using the power supply means I don't have to worry about brownouts causing me to lose anything.

I bought a wireless mouse to replace the one with a wire because I don't like mice that have to be plugged in. The total cost was under $200 for everything, including tax and shipping.

Testing and Upgrading

I borrowed a spare monitor from my older son, Joe, and I was able to get everything done that I needed to get done in only a couple of hours. My oldest grandson is now using that monitor with the gaming computer Joe recently bought him for his birthday.

I plugged in one of the power banks, and then I plugged in the solid-state drive. After I booted up using the micro SD card, I installed the rpi-imager program and copied the operating system to the solid-state drive and rebooted. Everything worked as it should.

The true test will come when I hook everything up in the Philippines. It's now in another balikbayan box I'm waiting to ship. I'm planning to return to the Philippines in January 2022. I'll have several boxes to unpack when I finally get there.


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