Revamping My Home Lab: Hardware Upgrades and the Quest for the Perfect Dashboard

A Much-Needed Hardware Upgrade:

Nothing beats the thrill of a hardware upgrade, especially when it’s both a bargain and a significant boost. For just $110, I managed to acquire an Intel Core i7-6700 Quad-core 3.40 GHz Processor and 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3/DDR3L 1600MHz RAM. These were destined for my steadfast HP ProDesk 600 G1, which, while reliable in its stock configuration, was ready for some new muscles.

Here’s what these new additions bring to the table:

  1. Enhanced Multitasking: The quad-core i7, coupled with the 16GB RAM, means my mini PC can handle multiple virtual machines or containers with ease. This is like turning your reliable old sedan into a turbo-charged sports car.
  2. Improved Performance: With faster processing times, I can expect snappier responses, reduced latency, and overall more efficient operations. Essential attributes for a server role.
  3. Future-Proofing for the Interim: This upgrade is my bridge to the future. While these enhancements will significantly boost my home lab’s capabilities, they’re also a placeholder. They’ll tide me over, ensuring seamless operations and exploration until I can invest in a dedicated, full-fledged server.

Dashboard Dilemmas:

CasaOS, while intriguing, didn’t quite hit the mark for me. So, I pivoted towards Homarr, having heard rave reviews about its utility for home labs.

Setting Up Homarr:

  1. Docker on Ubuntu: My first step was setting up Docker on my Ubuntu server VM. Docker simplifies software deployment, ensuring a consistent environment.
  2. Installing Homarr: With Docker in place, installing Homarr was straightforward. Using docker and docker-compose, I had the Homarr dashboard up and running in no time.

On the Horizon: More Dashboard Experiments:

As my home lab journey continues, I’m keeping my eyes open for the perfect dashboard. Heimdall, an old favorite, is back on my radar. Then there’s Homer. No, not the Simpson. Homer is another dashboard solution, easily confused with Homarr, but distinctly different. I’ll be test-driving these dashboards, evaluating their features, aesthetics, and utility.


Upgrading hardware and software components in a home lab is like refreshing one’s workspace. The new processor and RAM breathe new life into my server, while the dashboard experiments promise a more streamlined and efficient management experience. As I continue to tinker and test, one thing’s for sure: the quest for the perfect home lab setup is a journey, not a destination.