Re: Or just a bog standard Pi...
"It works so well that, more-often-than-not, I don't bother to power up my desktop machine."
For those who doubt this I've just run remotely a test spreadsheet I use (via X) on a Pi3 in my garage. via a weakish wifi signal. The recalculation of 400000 sines took 6 seconds. Now on this i7 laptop it takes ~1 sec but it shows that running some software even on a Pi remotely can be quite usable.
Using it with a direct ethernet connection with the laptop powering the pi is much better of course esp. for interactive use with graphics as might be expected