Frugal Web

The hardware & software used by Bradley Taunt (for web development)

You can get up-and-running with this same setup for less than ~$270

Hardware

Raspberry Pi 4B (Kit)

$99

The Raspberry Pi 4B with 4GB of RAM is more than capable for my personal day-to-day development needs. The Labists kit also ships with 3 heat sinks and a small fan - perfect for avoiding high temperatures under heavy load. A great little SBC package.

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External SSD (240GB)

$39

This item is technically optional if you prefer to not use BerryBoot and instead boot directly from your microSD card (not the greatest for performance mind you). Overall, any reliable SSD will do.

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MK235 Keyboard & Mouse

$29

This has been my go-to keyboard and mouse combo for roughly 3 years now. It's wireless, doesn't take up too much space on my desk and has solid build quality for a "cheaper" set.

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21.5" Acer Monitor

$89

Great HD monitor for it's cost, although some might find the 21.5" a little small for daily use. I'm also a fan of the included VGA port for older hardware. Works just fine for me!

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Software

Firefox (ESR)

Built-in privacy, account sync features and constantly improving devtools makes using Firefox an absolute must for web developers. Stay away from Chrome - Google does not have your best interest at heart. (Or at least use Chromium)

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install firefox-esr

Code OSS (VSCode)

This is a fork of the official VSCode open source version built specifically for Chromebooks, Raspberry Pis and other ARM and Intel systems. One of the best editors out there.

. <( wget -O - https://code.headmelted.com/installers/apt.sh )

Figma

Those who originally designed on a Mac with Sketch will feel right at home with Figma. Free (unless you need teams) and entirely web based. Fantastic application.

Launch Web App

Photopea

Great web-based Photoshop replacement. Obviously not as robust as Adobe's software but it gets the job done and it's free.

Launch Web App

Notes on Performance

To overclock and disable WiFi simply add the following to the config.txt BerryBoot settings:

over_voltage=6
arm_freq=2000
gpu_freq=750
dtoverlay=disable-wifi

A good portion of my daily work involves developing local WordPress builds, FTP usage, git workflows, designing in the browser with Figma/Photopea, and tackling emails. The Raspberry Pi 4 handles all of these tasks pretty easily. Obviously if your web development process requires a lot more heavy lifting, your experience might not be as smooth.

Temperature
Running a basic terminal temperature command throughout a regular work day gives an average of 53°C.
(Mostly thanks to the small fan and heat sinks)
Speed
Most work items feel pretty snappy on Raspberry Pi OS. Starting up apache to run a local WordPress site, pulling and pushing repos through git, connecting to live servers via FTP all work as you would expect. Less intensive tasks like basic web browsing or watching videos is also solid.
Size
The entire setup uses barely any space on my work desk. This comes down to personal preference, but I'm a sucker for minimal workstations.

No one-size fits all

Not everyone can afford the latest and greatest hardware. Others just like to see how far they can push cheaper, low-end devices. Either way, this project serves as a reference for those looking for an incredibly cheap option when getting started with web development.