Feature / Changes requests for future Helios64 board or enclosure revisions


Feature / Changes requests for future Helios64 board or enclosure revisions  

40 members have voted

  1. 1. Physical changes

    • Enclosure handles for transportation
      4
    • Standard PCB dimensions
      6
    • Front USB-C port
      11
    • More HDD slots
      18
    • Better HDD sliders !
      21
    • A full redesign for 2.5'' disks.
      0
    • Active CPU cooling separated from the disks
      7
  2. 2. Hardware (electronics) changes

    • Higher USB-A current for HDD
      3
    • More RAM options
      22
    • ECC RAM
      24
    • More powerful CPU (like RK3588)
      20
    • Low power CPU
      5
    • M.2 NVMe port
      14
    • Working Wake on LAN
      8
    • 10GB Ethernet
      14
    • PCIe port (may be used for NVMe)
      10


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Hi everyone !

I'm really happy with my Helios64, running fine with no major issues.

BUT

This product can obviously be improved with future revisions, while keeping the same base. The Kobol guys told me to open a thread here to discuss what would be great improvement or new features.

 

I'm starting with things off my mind, but please ask me to add things to this list. An explanation would be great in the comments.

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(Some explanations to my votes : )

 

* I printed handles that directly screw with the fan screws on the back side. That's way easier to transport this way !

* The CPU is great, but 4GB of Ram is not enough for some purposes.

* The shared SATA between sata1 and the m2 port ain't great. Would an NVMe port be possible ?

* A standard PCB dimensions would not be difficult to do (only screw positions have to change) and would make a precedent for other SBC.

* I've had low current issues on the USB-A ports for some usb hdds.

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  • ECC RAM is all I could ever wish for, I have admit, mainly for better data integrity / ZFS.
  • Better Sliders to insert those HDDs with (instead of the original pink ones); the original ones scratch when you insert then and are rather tough to insert in the first place as well.

 

(EDIT: voting appears to have required a comment in this thread... works now.)

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From my wishlist:

  • Wake on Lan - yep, I know that Helios64 supports WOL, but practically it is still not working
  • a properly wired 2.5 GB connector - yep, I know, but it is frustrating anyways, especially due to the warranty handling of kobol (send it back on your risk, wait 2 month, send a replacement back, wait another 2 month, hope it works)
  • standard SATA connectors - my ZFS fails rather often due to checksum errors, this seems to be related to bad cables. With the shipped non-standard cables, this is however hard to solve. If the enclose / board had standard connectors, I could simply use one of the 1000 cables laying around here.
  • more RAM - or support for standard ram modules
  • and yes, the sliders for the disks need a redesign, too (color is cool, but they are rather "cheap" and you need a lot of power to push them in / pull them out)

 

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- I don't see the point of baking a m.2 or any future nvme PCI-e port on the board honestly. Instead I would love to see a PCI-e slot or two exposed. That way end user can pick what expansion is needed. It can be an nvme adapter, can be 10gbe network, or SATA or USB or even a SAS controller for additional external enclosures. It will probably be more expensive for the end user but will open up a larger market for the device. We already have 2 lanes/10gbps worth of PCIe not utilized as is (correct me on this).

- Absolutely more/user upgradeable and ECC ram support.

- Better trays, you guys they are a pain right now lol. ( Loving the black and purple though )

- Some sort of active/quiet cooling on the SoC separate from the disks, as any disk activity over the network or even a simple CPU bound task ramps up all the fans immediately.

- Most important of all, please do not stray too far from the current architecture both hardware and firmware wise. Aside from everything else, we would really love to see a rock solid launch next time around. Changing a lot of things might cause most of your hard work to-date to mean nothing.

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On 1/20/2021 at 6:39 PM, deucalion said:

(EDIT: voting appears to have required a comment in this thread... works now.)

Weird, that's not something I decided when setting up the post.

 

 

 

On 1/20/2021 at 6:58 PM, Alexander Eiblinger said:
  • Wake on Lan - yep, I know that Helios64 supports WOL, but practically it is still not working
  • a properly wired 2.5 GB connector - yep, I know, but it is frustrating anyways, especially due to the warranty handling of kobol (send it back on your risk, wait 2 month, send a replacement back, wait another 2 month, hope it works)

Well I'll just add "support announced features" ;) Also the 2.5GB connector is already fixed in batch 2.

 

On 1/20/2021 at 6:58 PM, Alexander Eiblinger said:

standard SATA connectors - my ZFS fails rather often due to checksum errors, this seems to be related to bad cables. With the shipped non-standard cables, this is however hard to solve. If the enclose / board had standard connectors, I could simply use one of the 1000 cables laying around here.

I have a zraid (4 HDD), never had an issue. You may need to contact Kobol on this.

 

7 hours ago, clostro said:

- I don't see the point of baking a m.2 or any future nvme PCI-e port on the board honestly. Instead I would love to see a PCI-e slot or two exposed. That way end user can pick what expansion is needed. It can be an nvme adapter, can be 10gbe network, or SATA or USB or even a SAS controller for additional external enclosures. It will probably be more expensive for the end user but will open up a larger market for the device. We already have 2 lanes/10gbps worth of PCIe not utilized as is (correct me on this).

True, I didn't think of that. Thanks.

 

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I am very interested in purchasing a version half case size for 5 SSD/2.5" with the same raw design :wub: (I'll take 2 of them !:lol:)

or

half height backplane for the Helios64 exclusively SSD/2.5" between 5 disks in width (10cm) by 8cm in height.

Divulgation

Next gen I think RK3568 would be a good replacement and will correct the weaknesses of the current SoC

 

"The perfect card" 

Ram ECC

2 Eth PHY. >= 1Gbase-T

 

PCIE v2.1

Slot M.2 available with sim slot (AP)

 

PCIE v3

Line0 

JMB585 (NAS)

 

Line1 (In order of preference) 

1. Slot M.2 available with Pin Power Supply

2. USB-C 3.2 10G (DAS)

3. Ethernet 10G (SAN)

 

USB-C DP HDMI 2.0b

 

Optional
USB-C 3.1 with power supply 3-5A (Sync and Charge)

USB-A 3.0 with power supply 1.2-2.1 A (0.8A low for the hub USB or External Disk)

 

Divulgacher

I like the idea of a motherboard with no predefined function, only 2 or 3 M2s available and everyone can put the module they want on it.

the possibility to evolve in the range over time while keeping the mini PCIe modules I'm interested in or change them to improve interoperability with other products.

 

There is already a multitude of adapters available on the market
M.2 Ethernet

M.2 Radio
M.2 SATA
M.2 USB3.1
M.2 Nvme
M.2 SFF-8643
M.2 Slot Pcie
M.2 Cable 30cm Ext

... 

Why not Module Made by Kobol?


Your customers can define the orientation of Motherboard DAS, SAN, Router, AP...

 


Please Kobol Team ... draw us a NAS :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Whilst i'm satisfied with my Helios64 as well, i would have liked:

  • the original RK3399Pro as the NPU would have been useful in tensorflow for Photoprism (as a Google photos replacement). RK3588 would be even nicer but everyone is waiting on that chip
  • more RAM, once Photoprism indexes photos, it easily runs out of memory. I limit the memory in docker now but its not ideal. Granted, there is an issue on their code so i just keep the container restarted each night
  • NVMe for fast disk access
  • Better HDD trays (already mentioned)
  • the screw eyelets for the backpanel (1st pic below) not to be directly aligned with the eyelets for the backplane (2nd pic below) for easier assembly.
    assembly_pic32.png
  • assembly_pic30.png
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15 hours ago, clostro said:

We already have 2 lanes/10gbps worth of PCIe not utilized as is (correct me on this).

RK3399 has a single PCIe 2.1 x 4 lanes port, you can't split the lanes for multi interfaces unless you use a PCIe switch which is an additional component that would increase a lot the board cost.

 

15 hours ago, clostro said:

- Most important of all, please do not stray too far from the current architecture both hardware and firmware wise. Aside from everything else, we would really love to see a rock solid launch next time around. Changing a lot of things might cause most of your hard work to-date to mean nothing.

That's clearly the intention, we don't want either to restart form scratch the software and documentation :P

 

6 hours ago, hartraft said:

the screw eyelets for the backpanel (1st pic below) not to be directly aligned with the eyelets for the backplane (2nd pic below) for easier assembly.

Yes this will be fixed, it was a silly design mistake. We will also make the back panel bracket holder with rounder edges to avoid user to scratch their hands :/

 

15 hours ago, clostro said:

Some sort of active/quiet cooling on the SoC separate from the disks, as any disk activity over the network or even a simple CPU bound task ramps up all the fans immediately.

We will post soon how to manage fan speed based on HDD temperature (using hddtemp tool), that would make more sense than current approach.

You can already find an old example : https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/499409/adjust-fan-speed-via-fancontrol-according-to-hard-disk-temperature-hddtemp

 

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If these two things were added I would definitely get another one would be:

- a transceiver / SFP+ port with onboard wiring supporting 10gbe and/or 25gbe. (10gbe ports are too big / expensive / hot for them to work cheaply on a board like this.)

- A dedicated lane for the m2 SSD, or replace it with a dedicated 4x nvme slot.

 

The machine works just fine as is otherwise, especially with the new 2.5gbe fixes. (It bodes well for the remainder of the unfixed issued. :))

 

(Having two would mean I could mirror the enclosure to an offsite location, though that's be pricey for the drives as I loaded mine with 4 10TB reds zzz)

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The design is awesome so I'd definitely not change it!

I would have liked to have WoL working, that is an important feature for those who don't plan on having it on 24/7. (I know, a NAS is intended to be on 24/7, but to have something more environmental friendly, the ability to turn it off and on without physically touching the device is a must)

 

Other than that, I'd also add the option to disable or at least deem the front leds (can't place it in a visible place it near the TV). 

and ECC ram would also be very welcome.

 

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19 hours ago, alanjames said:

a smaller ssd-focused version of the case would be great, if a bit niche, but the only thing strong me from buying is the lack of availability

 

Yes, either a smaller SSDs focused version - or a solution to fit more SSD or 2.5 drives with a SATA port multiplier on the same space as the 5 drives, to increase storage density.

If later revisions of the main CPU board or newer boards can be retro fit into these cases, it would make for a smooth and straight upgrade path.

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I've go a Helios64 and a Helios4 with oled display, on the H4 I can configure a number from 0 to 255 on just how bright I'd like the display to be, it would be awesome if a similar software option could be found for controlling just how bright those led's on the H64 needs to be - because I don't need to land an airplane by guiding it in by the led's on my H64.

 

Apart from the non adjustable led's the H64 is pretty perfect for what it is.  Low power. Low noise. Linux based. What's not to like?

 

An SFP+ port for versatility might be nice.

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@dieKatze88 Yes this is already been announced here and there that we will replace the wire harness by a proper PCB backplane. There will still be wire tough connecting the main board to the backplane since we don't want a board that can only be used with a specific backplane. But these wires will be normal SATA cables, so easy to buy new ones anywhere if replacement is needed.

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16 hours ago, gprovost said:

@dieKatze88 Yes this is already been announced here and there that we will replace the wire harness by a proper PCB backplane. There will still be wire tough connecting the main board to the backplane since we don't want a board that can only be used with a specific backplane. But these wires will be normal SATA cables, so easy to buy new ones anywhere if replacement is needed.

 

Honestly this is fine and was what I was hoping for. Makes it a lot easier to account for different board revisions/hardware changes.

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My comment might be late to the party - if there was a possibility to add an optional display and a few user-configurable buttons to the Front Panel, that would be great.

I know it would mess a bit with the airflow, but it could be used for system monitoring and few other specific use cases.

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