Help me decide on SBC's for Kubernetes

As part of my job, I need to become familiar with kubernetes. What better way than to containerise my projects and tools?

So currently I run my projects on raspberry pi’s, bare metal. I have a raspberry pi 1 b, 2 b, and a 2b+. Now in retiring the pi 1 b for obvious reasons. But that leaves me with only 2 pi’s, and considering I want to dedicate one to steam link, I need to expand my sbc portfolio.

Now I would just buy a whole lot more pi’s. But considering the local price for a pi b+ is 40usd+ with bad exchange rates, I would like to look at cheaper options. But also potentially more memory and processing power.

Now bare minimum, they need to have 4 cores and 1GB of memory. Don’t care for gpu though gigabit Ethernet and 2+ usb ports are desired. Support for rasbian or armbian required. So far, I have found 3 options that could fit the bill.
Orange Pi PC2
Orange Pi One Plus
Pine A64+

All three come in at $19-20. Half the price of a raspberry Pi locally. While with the same or better performance, minus done features and support.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what is the best price to performance sbc that fits my requirements? I don’t mind if it doesn’t have USB or Ethernet ports as long as it has the headers available for those ports. These will be rack mounted so separating ports from the pcb is something I can work with.

The only thing that comes to mind is the FriendlyElec NanoPi offerings. The Allwinner H3 and H5 boards have separate USB lanes for everything vs the pi running things off a single USB lane. They have smaller and larger boards very similar to the Orange Pi versions with more or less RAM, Other options like eMMC, and most of their boards have Armbian images. The A64, Neo2-LTS, or perhaps the K1 Plus might be interesting options if you can get them locally for a reasonable price.

The Pine Rock64 is another good price to performance board, but if you don’t need the CPU and USB3 then something like the Pine64 or some H3 or H5 board will work.

You could hold off on the Steam Link Pi box until the next generation Pi comes out next year. It should be a substantial upgrade, so I know I am going to wait before buying any more boards for a few months.