Share, discuss interesting computer hardware

There are a few threads on hardware on the forum, but most are specific. This one is open to discussing any general computer hardware that might be of interest to the community.


I’m excited about this platform. Sure many laptops have upgradability to some extent or another - this one takes it to a new level.

company website:


I bought a couple raspberry Pi 4 models to use for Safe … but saw this last night and thought could be a better option - Same size as Pi zero, but much more powerful hardware.

This SUper tiny Single Board computer destroys the Raspberry Pi Zero!
This is the all-new Radxa Zero with 4GB of Ram and 32GB of onboard EMMc storage but it can be configured up to 128GB and it can output 4K 60Hz. It has a quad-core 1.8GHz CPU AC wifi


On the other end of the spectrum: Practical, scalable photonic quantum chips. Demonstrated for some quantum problems like molecular shell calculations, working on extended quantum for .e.g. Shor’s algorithm. Turns out though that even the initial versions are 5x faster and 30x more energy efficient than Nvidia’s best for NN and AI calculations. And they can be purchased. The first practical step towards next gen AI and quantum calculation?

The paper:

The hype:


Photonics are definitely the future of most all computing … only a question of how long it will take before we are all using them. With companies like Neuralink, we might have them as implants down the track. Or maybe we skip all of that and just jump to the “upload” phase of evolution!!

whether we like it or not…

So much of the laptop is the harddrive… the OS and the storage, is most of the experience.

Having had a laptop fail recently and booting from USB I wondered about modularised options… would be good to have better options to fix bits that still work to make use of those. :+1:

On a related note… the number of hard drives I’ve had fail over the years it not worth talking about…

So, I’m always on the lookout for what is reliable and while I don’t Apple but they do centre on good hardware and stock this which has done me well … reformats easily for Linux and just works.
=external hard drive USB 3.0 / USB-C

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I wonder what BIOS is supports… We need open systems running with 2FA on init.


So not yet, but they want open source firmware in the future and coreboot is something they are looking at.

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Raspberry Pi 4 Hi-res Audio Case. Moode Audio test.

Basically a board with a high-spec audio chip and a case that fits the board and your Pi-4. Allows the build of a nice hi-fidelity home audio player.


Coreboot is almost open, from what I’ve read here.

"Coreboot is not entirely free software. It has binary blobs in it for some platforms. What Libreboot does is download several revisions of coreboot, for different boards, and de-blob those coreboot revisions. This is done using the linux-libre deblob scripts, to find binary blobs in coreboot.

All new coreboot development should be done in coreboot (upstream), not libreboot! Libreboot is about deblobbing and packaging coreboot in a user-friendly way, where most work is already done for the user."

I say this as a happy Libreboot user. Had planned to get an old thinkpad and put it in myself for a little project, and then found this guy and just ordered off him instead: X200 thinkpad ibm libreboot free software lenovo - Informatique all I’ve done is upgraded the ram to the max, of 8GB. Everything works like a treat.

Then you install Pure OS if you like apt, GNU Guix if you like functional systems, or Parabola if you like pacman, and you’ve got free software all the way up, for about 200 total, depending on the RAM.


Here’s one a bit similar to the Framework one above, but lower specs and far less hype TERES-A64-BLACK - Open Source Hardware Board this is a very DIY laptop that comes unassembled, with instructions to throw it together, for 240, which I am considering ordering one of these days for a little project.

I found this website and this laptop originally from looking through threads here on the forum about single-board computers, and came across @jonas’s excellent recommendations linking to the same guys who make the TERES. Any new hardware tip-offs Jonas?

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The TERES-I is a fun DIY kit - me and my partner each has one, that we assembled individually.
Just beware that it is a far less powerful machine than any contemporary x86 laptop.

Not sure how much of my ramblings you’ve already seen elsewhere, but in case you don’t know, I maintain install images for easy installation of pure Debian here:


To the best of my knowledge, nothing else similarly free as the TERES-I exist on the market today.
If I become aware of other options, I will update my notes here.

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There is harddisks and there is branding of harddisks.
Apple does not produce harddisks!

I would buy a hig quality Samsung or Intel SSD disk and separately buy a nice casing for it.

I much respect opinions by Russel Coker - he blogged about harddisks recently: Some Ideas About Storage Reliability « etbe - Russell Coker


Very good to know about the install images, I’ve bookmarked for when I get around to ordering one to play with. Thanks, and cool work there, a nice project

“Freedombone is a home server system which enables you to run your own internet services, individually or as a household. It includes all of the things you’d expect such as email, chat, VoIP, wikis, blogs, social networks, and more. You can run Freedombone on an old laptop or single board computer. You can also run it on an onion address. Reclaim the internet, one server at a time.”

Similar to freedom box. Website is nicely done, lots of info clearly presented. Some sort of mesh network thing comes with the install but haven’t looked into it much. Yet another option for future Safe Network farmers.


Using Phones with No-SIM Cards and Other Privacy Experiments

We will test out various technologies that allow us to communicate on the phone without using a SIM card – in other words, no cell service. We will also check out other solutions like VoIP. This will result in several privacy and security benefits. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a De-Googled phone without a SIM card, an LTE Modem/Router, a VoIP Hardware solution, and a VPN router.


Although I am a noob, this is a very interesting topic to me! Maybe you could create a separate thread just for this phone stuff?

Rob Braxman suggests the following:

Netgear M1 Mobile Hotspot 4G LTE Router MR1100-100NAS

Ooma Telo Air 2 (with Handset)

De-Googled Phones and BraxRouter (My Store)

That last page doesn’t seem to contain anything useful, though.

Would it be possible to combine the SIM card modem, an ATA adapter, and a router running open source software into one device?


I looked briefly at routers a few months ago but their power consumption and cost seemed excessive. For £35 you can buy a 4G phone (e.g. Alcatel 1 on eBay) with hotspot, probably with lower power consumption.

If you rooted the phone you could probably run a node on it as well but I don’t know how effective this would be. My guess is it would be a good option for some.