HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 (2017)
I absolutely adore this little thing. If I wanted, I could change nearly any part (except the CPU) in the next 30 seconds, with no tools. It is a marvel of design, even though HP, and its enterprise arm, are not particularly known for their design. In such a tiny box, they fitted four disk bays, an optical disk bay, two RAM slots, two low-profile PCI-E slots, two Gigabit Ethernet cards, two USB in the front and two in the back. There is also a HPE-branded pen-drive stuck in an internal USB port if you want to use it and/or the port for whatever reason – like sticking a USB TV tuner inside! Oh, and there is a VGA and HDMI output if you want to make it a home entertainment centre. I love that one special place where spare HDD screws are screwed in. No more scrambling to find a barely-fitting screw!
Now, the downside. 4-core AMD Opteron X3421, which I have in my SKU, is not particularly powerful, but I found it more than enough to run two virtual machines and 10-20 Docker containers with some spare. There is 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM by default, but you can easily expand it to 32 GB – I promptly did that. On the other hand, the power consumption is incredibly low. It is around 33 W/h (source). It is important in the times when electricity prices in the UK went absolutely crazy, lol! Unless the CPU usage is maxed out, it is also very quiet, what is great considering it runs from my windowsill.
Overall, I recommend the server wholeheartedly. I bought it when it had been on the market for three years but I imagine you will be able to get some amazing deals on this little machine in the coming years. It also can give you a warm, fuzzy feeling of having your e-mails stored next to you instead of on the secret Google/Microsoft/Apple/whatever servers. 9/10.
Lenovo ThinkPad T495s (2019)
Oh God, that has been a catastrophe. The great keyboard is there, so is the touchpad and the signature nipple mouse. Despite all that, it is simply unreliable – it overheats so much, with the fan not turning its speed up when needed. The battery life after a couple of months fell below 2 hours. The USB controller is… funky, with Plug and Play failing from time to time on all kinds of Linux distros.
On the plus side, the performance of Ryzen 7 3400U is awesome – as long as you use external peripherals as not to fry your hands and lap. I even created this tiny widget to relieve my organs. I have learnt some GTK in the progress, so that's a plus, I guess?
I will be re-selling this one once I find a suitable replacement, and it is probably the end of buying ThinkPads for me. 3/10.