I have been using a Raspberry Pi 3B as a workstation, connected to an HDMI monitor and keyboard and mouse. I use it for a variety of tasks, as a general-purpose computer.

With accessories it was just over $60. I already had the monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

It actually works well as a workstation. I can browse the web as long as I don't open too many tabs. It only has 1 GB RAM, period.

A bigger concern is the limited lifetime of using the SD card as primary storage.

I periodically save an image of the flash boot card onto my laptop hard drive so if the card fails I can always restore the image into a new one.

But it feels like I am living on borrowed time using Flash memory constantly.

This needs to become my primary Linux computer as I move away from Windows. I need it to be able to do everything: Internet, SSH, cron jobs, or anything else I might want to do on a general purpose computer. With dependability beyond the one I am using now.

So my question is: Can someone recommend a low-cost Linux computer with a HDD and some RAM expandability?

  • This is supposed to be broad. And it worked! The computer I found is a screamer, and a steal at that. Totally general-purpose. I am now no longer Windows-bound for my Linux network of Raspberry Pi sensors placed all over the solar power plant. It lets me remotely program the sensors and create gnuplot graphics and also provides NAS for everything. It is the ultimate data-logger.. The SSD expansion makes it boot in a flash. (pun intended). 8GB of RAM is plenty for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. You can keep this closed if you want, because this one answer is all I needed.
    – SDsolar
    Jul 22, 2017 at 5:51

1 Answer 1


Here's one:


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Seems like an excellent deal for the price. Barely more than a Raspberry Pi.

$38 and free shipping in the USA

It comes with 2GB RAM and is expandable to 8GB. It comes with a 160 GB hard drive.

6 USB ports on the back and 2 on the front. Firewire port on the front and back.

Wireless keyboard and mouse work great with the tiny dongle installed in back. Ethernet port on back works great. WiFi adapter works fine.

The dual-core 3GHz processor is good. Motherboard is made by Intel.

The HDD is a slim 3.5" SATA. The DVD drive is really fast. Lots of other SATA ports on the motherboard (I didn't count but there were at least 6; maybe 7) I have been using one to connect a second hard drive inside the case that I used for backups.

Display output is by DVI or VGA.

The motherboard and CPU cooler are ventilated very well.

Here is the best way to stand it for maximum ventilation whether on the table or under it. Open vents on the left for the motherboard & exhaust fan on top:

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Photo of the motherboard:

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Photo of how the drives swivel out for easy access:

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  • This one is working out very well. I upgraded it to 8GB RAM and a 160 GB SSD. The thing boots in about 5 seconds flat. After login the desktop is ready in another 10. Second hard drive makes it a NAS. It is like nothing I have ever owned. This is the ultimate general-purpose computer for me to make the break from Windows complete. And the price sure is right. Can't beat this one. Less than $200 total investment.
    – SDsolar
    Jul 22, 2017 at 5:48

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