John Guan - Sep 18, 2023
In this series of blog posts, we have the privilege of sharing the remarkable journey of D. Rowland, a loyal community member who has been with us since the crowdfunding stage of ZimaBoard two years ago. He purchased three boards, each with a unique application scenario. In this series of blogs, we will delve into his experiences with these boards and how they have become invaluable tools in his tech arsenal.
In this installment of our series, we explore the versatility of the ZimaBoard 832 as a portable PC companion. D. Rowland’s journey takes us from the unexpected acquisition of a second 832 unit to a meticulously configured portable powerhouse. Discover how this compact SBC seamlessly integrates into everyday tasks, from coding and note-taking to web browsing and even light gaming.
- ZimaBoard 832
- 480GB SSD
- Void Linux
- Openbox Window Manager
- A collection of essential programs and tools
Acquiring the Second 832
D. Rowland’s journey began serendipitously when he stumbled upon an opportunity in a Discord chat. Someone was looking to sell a couple of ZimaBoard 832 units, and curiosity got the better of him. He reached out, engaged in a discussion, and before he knew it, he had purchased one of the units. Little did he know how this acquisition would lead to a remarkable portable PC setup.
Void Linux and Openbox
Initially, D. Rowland experimented with Arch Linux on his newfound 832. But a chance encounter with Void Linux on Reddit changed the course of his project. Void Linux, known for its simplicity and minimalism, piqued his interest. To maximize efficiency and keep memory usage low, he decided to forgo a full desktop environment and instead opted for his favorite window manager, Openbox.
The result? A Void Linux and Openbox configuration that not only matched his requirements but also showcased his technical finesse. He masterfully fine-tuned the setup, adapting to changes in the Linux ecosystem since his last Openbox installation. Overcoming unique challenges specific to Void Linux, D. Rowland crafted a PC that catered to his every need.
A Versatile Workhorse
D. Rowland’s ZimaBoard 832 portable PC is more than just a novelty. It’s a practical, versatile workhorse capable of handling a wide range of tasks, including:
- Python Coding: With Code-OSS, D. Rowland seamlessly engages in Python coding projects.
- Note-Taking: Obsidian, a powerful note-taking tool, keeps his ideas and thoughts organized.
- Web Browsing: Thanks to Firefox, he enjoys uninterrupted web surfing.
- Light Gaming: Steam enables him to indulge in light gaming sessions, with titles like Dead Cells taking center stage.
With his portable PC, D. Rowland enjoys the same computing experience as he would on a traditional laptop, all packed into the compact form factor of the ZimaBoard 832.
But what truly sets D. Rowland’s setup apart is its mobility. He ingeniously repurposed a cable organizer from his laptop bag’s glory days, turning it into a dedicated ZimaBoard 832 carrier. Inside the bag, he keeps essential accessories, including:
- a female HDMI to mini-DP adapter
- USB to Ethernet adapter
- A Mini-DP to HDMI cable
- USB webcam
- PowerA game controller
- USB hub with a wireless USB adapter
- and, of course, the ZimaBoard 832 itself
This portable arsenal allows him to tinker with his ZimaBoard wherever the opportunity arises. Whether it’s a visit to his parent’s home, a slow day at work, or any occasion where a monitor or TV is available, D. Rowland is always ready to unleash the power of his portable PC.
Gaming on the Go
For gaming enthusiasts, the ZimaBoard 832 doesn’t disappoint. D. Rowland has curated a selection of low-resource games that run smoothly on his portable PC. His gaming roster includes favorites like Dead Cells, FTL: Faster Than Light, Hammerwatch, Mark of the Ninja, Minecraft Bedrock, Northgard, Stardew Valley, Vampire Survivors, and Windward.
Additionally, he’s ventured into testing Morrowind using the OpenMW engine, opening up a world of possibilities for gaming on the go. With a treasure trove of games and potential adventures, the ZimaBoard 832 is more than just a portable PC; it’s a gaming companion.
In our next installment, we’ll explore D. Rowland’s third ZimaBoard, the 216 model, which serves as a lab gateway, bridging the gap between networking and innovation. Stay tuned for more insights into the limitless possibilities of ZimaBoard.
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