Cheap homelab cluster?

Could the Simply NUC $200.00 8GB RAM 256 GB SATA box work well as a three-node home lab learning and testing cluster?

. NUC12ZRN Full - Simply NUC



Yep, that should be fine. Though for the price point you may want to look on eBay too atms NUCs and similar small computers are frequently put up for sale in large quantities by companies switching to newer generation hardware.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if you could score a set of used NUCs with 16GB of RAM and similar or faster CPU for the same price.

I am using a Dell XPS 8500. It has i7 with 4 cores (8 threads) and 16GB ram, 2TB spinner. Used they run 3-4 hundred on eBay.

I think cores are as important as ram if you are planning to run more than a couple containers and/or VMs. With ProxMox pve attempting 1 core (2 threads) per container or VM would be cutting it close if you were hosting pihole, Jellyfin and Portainer, for example. Maybe using LXC containers with Incus you could get away with 2 cores/4 threads if you could find a used system at a thrift store or yard sale.

I just looked at the Simply NUC web page and could not find anything below $600 but they didn’t say anything except i5 or i7. The configurator called out the core counts but the cheapest system there was over $1500! Useless web page IMHO. check out Andreas Spiess on youtube. He could not install ProxMox on a a used four core system. HTH