The Raspberry Pi 4 is the most powerful single board computer from Raspberry Pi so far, with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 processor and support for up to 8GB of RAM. It’s capable of performing as a halfway decent desktop computer… or as a low-power server.
But if you plan to use the little PC that way, you might want to make a few changes — like putting all the ports on one side, adding support for things like SATA storage devices, and maybe putting everything together in an attractive case.
Enter the NODE Mini Server V3.
Hardware hacker/designed NODE has a history of releasing Raspberry Pi-based projects. Last month saw the introduction of the Zero Terminal 3 modular handheld computer powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero. And last year NODE designed the Mini Server V2 with a Raspberry Pi 3 at its heart.
Version 3 of NODE’s Mini Server is more powerful and more modular — instead of making modifications to the Raspberry Pi board itself, NODE developed a series of add-on boards that make it possible to extend the ports so they all face the same side and describes how you can use an off-the-shelf solution to add mSATA drives.
The fully assembled Mini Server V3 measures about 3.6″ x 3.6″ x 1″ and features a 3D printed case with an open bottom, support for up to two fans (or no fans at all), and an extender that lets you put a microSD card at the bottom of the device.
If you want to build your own version of the Mini Server, you can find a list of components at the NODE website, as well as links to all of the project source files and PCB files. Everything is open source, but NODE says there will probably be dev kits available for purchase in the future for folks that want to buy everything at once and assemble it themselves.
While the project has “server” in the name, you could theoretically use the fully assembled system as a desktop computer. But it would also make an interesting home media or file server, VPN, or Pi-hole. NODE also envisions this sort of device working as part of the decentralized web, allowing users to set up low-power, internet-connected servers that could be used for blockchain applications or other uses that involve peer-to-peer, distributed computing projects.