Must-Have Devices to boost your Linux skills (2024)

Originally published at: Must-Have Devices to boost your Linux skills (2024)

Are you ready for a transformative journey that will elevate your Linux skills in ways theoretical learning alone can’t? The devices mentioned in this article offer a great way to get hands-on experience and change how you understand and use Linux skills in practical, everyday scenarios. Table of Contents 4 Linux Devices for Hands-On Learning1.…

I would also like to suggest the EdgeRouter X SFP, it’s cheaper than all the above options on Amazon if you have Prime.

Its EdgeOS that it runs is based on Debian Linux. So you can log in via CLI and practice Linux commands, but most importantly, it can be configured for connecting multiple devices. These days, 5 to 8 port switches cost as little as $20!

In any case, it’s another option. Even cheaper is the ER-X:

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Looking at the cost of the Raspberry Pi 5. It’s starts @ well over $100 for the 8GB model. Pricing will fall over time, but even then, when you consider that you have to buy a power supply, storage, case, etc. It still quite costly. Can easily still cost ~ $100.

I’ve been looking at the Beelink MINI S:

At around $140 USD (usually for the 8GB model), it seems like more bang for the buck.

Will edit the article to reflect this. Any other suggestions for cheaper or good value RPi 5 alternatives?

I’ve been thinking of getting one of these. That said, I have no experience with them. I’m sure I could come up with a use-case for my home network.

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I’m currently using one of the mini pcs of the GMK Tech and I like it. They are tiny, silent, and have better performance than Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately, there is still no ARM version of some applications, so it’s solving that issue too.

The new version of mine is being sold for $140 right now and has Intel N5105, 8GB RAM 128GB Hard Drive specs.

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Hi @Spencer

Welcome to the community. I’ve heard of Orange Pi. I’m surprised that their website does not use HTTPS. @serhattsnmz that’s a really considerable value @ 140.

Very close to the Beelink MINI S which is also $140 and free shipping for Prime members or $150 for the 16GB RAM version.

They are offering up to $50 discount coupons on select Mini PC models direct from their company website:
Bee-Link Mini PC models.

I feel I should add my opinion to this too. I also think USB Security Dongles might also help to grow a person’s Linux skills. It helps to understand encryption better. Mastering it’s usage would build your skills in authentication mechanisms. Logic analyzers could also be helpful to build your insights deeper into hardware and how they communicate.

As you said, Beelink and GMK Tech are priced similarly. Depending on their I/O ports, one of them can be chosen. But the $50 discount cannot be ignored.

@hydn - Chris Barnatt has reviewed the Orange Pi 5 at and placed it at no. 2 in his list of best new SBCs of 2023 (October, so includes the Raspberry Pi 5): Orange Pi is Chinese; maybe that explains the non-secure server!?

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I’ve done most of my Linux learning so far on the Raspberry Pi 3. I now have a Raspberry Pi 5, which is fast enough for daily desktop use, though I am getting some surprising problems appearing (64-bit O/S). One I thought was a hardware issue, but it turned out the audio volume was just turned down on one of the HDMI outs.

Before realising this, I was given a return RMA but had to buy another one to continue using my new setup. As a result, I now have 2 of them, perhaps still with an option to return one. Perhaps I could keep both, or perhaps a mini PC like the Beelink or GMK Tec that @serhattsnmz mentioned would offer better value. I wonder what their performance looks like relative to the Pi 5.

Anyway, you can even run a Linux desktop on a $10 Raspberry Pi. ARM support though is not as great as x86, though building.

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