I’d like a RISC-V workstation, just to not have an Intel system. The Unmatched board looks quite good (the update to 16 gigs is a huge plus imho), but still quite underpowered for a “real” day to day workstation, at least for me.
I was considering setting up a mini-cluster as you suggest as well. Five boards along these lines:
- Firewall node with 4 port ethernet PCI.
- GUI node with HDMI PCI.
- Three compute nodes.
The GUI and compute nodes all plug into the firewall 4-port ethernet, so they can’t get in/out without any traffic going thru that. I’d put OpenBSD on the firewall. On the other nodes, Debian (PureOS?). Then you have the GUI node that boots up with X, and when you launch processes you kick them off to the compute notes (e.g. run your browser on the compute nodes and view on GUI node).
You can also add a lot of storage via all the M.2 slots that are available…
Case is tough. There are innumerable Mini-ITX cases, but few that mount multiple boards (let alone the odd number of 5). There are some rack mount cases I’ve seen in the past that can hold multiple Mini-ITX boards. The other option I was looking at was doing it along the lines of what the blockchain GPU miner community does. They build a lot of open rigs out of t-slot extrusion and similar. Power supply is another issue…(unless you just get 5).