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lanefu

What's your favorite board(s) and why?

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Ex: I'm still smitten with the opi 2e. It's so perfect for playing with docker clustering. I use the onboard emmc for /var/lib/docker

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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pc+ 2e is nice, but the processor is slow. NanoPi M3 is fast, but only has 1G ram and no eMMC. Geekbox is the only board I currently have running a 64 bit kernel, but the SOC is not as fast as the M3 and the geekbox kernel is barely functional. XU4 is a really solid board but relatively expensive for the performance and runs hot (I need to have another go at the heatsink/fan combination for that board).

 

I like them all, I guess if I had to pick a favorite right now it would be the NanoPi M3, especially if we can get a 64bit kernel & userspace up and running, but none of the boards I have currently tick all my boxes for fast processor, min 256MB ram per core, gigabit ethernet and eMMC.

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(edited)

My own interest (especially after being spoiled by the eMMC NAND storage on my C.H.I.P. device) is for one of the Orange Pi 'plus' devices with eMMC storage.  I am having a hard time deciding which one to purchase, but right now the best bang-for-the-buck seems to be the 'Orange Pi PC Plus' for about $35 CDN.  What I want is an eMMC-based device with wifi -- my C.H.I.P' gave that to me for about $15 CDN, but that particular model is no longer being sold :(  Thoughts anyone?

Edited by darethehair
Correct NAND on C.H.I.P. instead of eMMC

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The CHIP is a cool little board.   Ive got a pocketCHIP which is always surprisingly fun to use as a SSH remote control.

 

i gotta give nextthing credit for completeness.

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22 minutes ago, TonyMac32 said:

Well, if the under-powered hardware is the talking point, I used my TRS-80 model 100 portable as a linux terminal just to prove it could be done...

 

haha.. My dad was a reporter so he used his TRS-80 model 100 until like 1999 or 2000.   He'd always go back to it for writing his final copy.    "6 hours of battery life on 4 AA rechargeables" 

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1 hour ago, martinayotte said:

OrangePiPC+ is way much better than CHIP. One of the reason is that CHIP doesn't use eMMC but plain NAND.

 

Thanks for pointing that out!  A follow-up question: overheating was/is not a problem for my C.H.I.P. (though power consumption during boot is sometimes a hassle, since a plugged-in USB webcam sometimes causes the boot to fail soon thereafter), but does an Orange Pi PC Plus *really* require separate heatsink?

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27 minutes ago, TonyMac32 said:

Well, if the under-powered hardware is the talking point, I used my TRS-80 model 100 portable as a linux terminal just to prove it could be done...

Wow!  I remember while working a co-op job in computer science in 1983, that one of my senior co-workers brought in one of those -- totally impressed me at the time :)

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Just for fun, its clearly the Sharp Zaurus sl-5600, with a additional wifi card no web encrypted wlan was safe (only on a 'academical test' :D). For doing the stuff that I'm doing at the moment it's the opi zero. I'm sure there are more powerful, more stable or in general better boards on the market, but it does the job. All my IoT stuff works on it, I don't need more power for that, so why should I have more power. It's like a 'Volkswagen diesel':D - not as clean as it should be, it claims a little bit more than it can, but it does a god job on the things I expect from a IoT headless server.  

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10 hours ago, lanefu said:

The CHIP is a cool little board.   Ive got a pocketCHIP which is always surprisingly fun to use as a SSH remote control.

 

i gotta give nextthing credit for completeness.

The PocketCHIP was cool, but I was attracted to the original CHIP just for IoT usage.  Great device, with a 'full-meal-deal' variety of features (including LIPO battery support!), but I have started to get annoyed that I couldn't do some of the things I wanted to do e.g. turn off the serial output so that it would not interfere with a GPS attached on the UART.

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1 hour ago, darethehair said:

e.g. turn off the serial output so that it would not interfere with a GPS attached on the UART.

That's because you used the debug serial. You should use another serial than that one, but unfortunately, it seems that the CHIP has only that one exposed on header.

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1 hour ago, martinayotte said:

That's because you used the debug serial. You should use another serial than that one, but unfortunately, it seems that the CHIP has only that one exposed on header.

So, then, it is a hardware limitation rather than a software one, at least in the case of the CHIP?  What confuses me is that the R Pi (I think) is similar, but there is a boot setting that suppresses console messages on the serial port -- so programs like GPSD don't get confused by extraneous stuff -- at least that is how I eventually got a GPS working on my R Pi (but not CHIP). Yes, I can see the advantage of multiple serial ports on Pi devices :)

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1 hour ago, martinayotte said:

Nonne of my OPiPC+ has one ...

 

Good to know!  That clears my last question before going ahead of purchasing one (plus power supply/case) from FastTech (matches lowest price I can find, and I think includes faster shipping)...

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Re heatsinks on PC+, I guess depends on your use case - all of mine do, plus a fan :) It's probably overkill, but I had the parts to hand for the higher power boards and I prefer the simplicity of not getting into thermal throttling (I mostly run benchmarks looking for performance improvements or regressions). I also run overclocked, which perhaps isn't very smart.

 

With heatsinks but the fan turned off it will gradually climb into the 60 to 70C range, which would be fine.

 

1.54 GHz 0.000V 69.0C fan off
1.54 GHz 0.000V 68.0C fan off
1.54 GHz 0.000V 70.0C fan off
1.54 GHz 0.000V 70.0C fan off

1.54 GHz 0.000V 71.0C fan off

 

Without the heatsinks it will certainly be into throttling with this workload (scalar, mostly integer, no gpu).

 

Putting the fan back on holds the temperature in the 40s (it's a 12v fan running on the 5v line, so only very light flow and little noise. I use 12v supplies for the fans on the bigger boards)

 

1.54 GHz 0.000V 47.0C fan on
1.54 GHz 0.000V 46.0C fan on
1.54 GHz 0.000V 47.0C fan on
1.54 GHz 0.000V 48.0C fan on
1.54 GHz 0.000V 47.0C fan on

 

Idle temperature (with the fan off) is typically in the low 30s (depending on ambient of course). The fan comes on and off automatically at a threshold I pick to be a bit above idle temp for each board.

 

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So far, CubieBoard2 is my favourite.  :)

It's running as a NAS, Web-server and other servers.

I even connected two harddisks via a port-multiplier (though I know I shouldn't, as it's possible I'll get my data corrupted).

It's not extremely fast either, but gets the job done and does not use much power.

Sometimes I also give it 'background jobs', such as letting it download files for me in order to keep the load on my desktop computer down. Sometimes I build Cortex-M code on the CubieBoard2, so I can quickly stress-test the code (qa).

Also I like this board, because it was easy to get it working with Linux (compared to Lamobo-R1 and CS918).

 

As mentioned elsewhere, I'm thinking about purchasing either a bunch of MiQi boards or Yoka-KB2 TV-boxes.

Those would be used for a build-farm (cluster-compiling - see MiQi for more info about making a low cost build farm).

If I end up getting the TV-box, I'll get those with 3GB DDR4 RAM (it has Gbit Ethernet). I also plan on getting a MacchiatoBIN as a 'build-master', since it has 2 x 10Gbit Ethernet and can be used as both a router and a NAS.

 

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Just dug this up.

 

What do you think is the "best bang for the buck" in 2018 for NAS and / or Webserver (Owncloud, etc.)?

 

H5 / A64 / RK3328 or a 32 bit board? 

 

Of course "buck" is also important < 50$ maybe? 

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The rk3399 looks like the hot item this year, prices look like they're starting around $60 (it's an expensive SoC).  Assuming everything works reasonably well (PCIe / etc), I think it would be hard to beat.  For something with more "miles" I'd opt for an Odroid XU4 or one of its cloud variants.  

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On February 5, 2018 at 2:01 PM, xnyle said:

What do you think is the "best bang for the buck" in 2018 for NAS and / or Webserver (Owncloud, etc.)?

Of course "buck" is also important < 50$ maybe? 

I'd say EspressoBIN. It has native 6G SATA (only one port, but I'm pretty sure a port-multiplier would work fine).

If that's not enough, you could add a Mini-PCIe SATA card with 4 additional SATA ports (see the download page for compatibility).

As for NAS performance, you'd probably not find any small SBC that has a 2.5Gbit network capability AND 6G SATA other than this board.

The CPU is a 1.2 GHz dual core Cortex-A53. That might sound like it's not fast, but I bet it'd be faster for most server and NAS tasks than any board that has only a single Gbit port or a non-native 6G SATA.

In addition, pfSense is on its way to EspressoBIN, so you'll soon be able to convert it into a serious router. =)

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1 hour ago, Jens Bauer said:

I'd say EspressoBIN. It has native 6G SATA (only one port, but I'm pretty sure a port-multiplier would work fine).

If that's not enough, you could add a Mini-PCIe SATA card with 4 additional SATA ports (see the download page for compatibility).

As for NAS performance, you'd probably not find any small SBC that has a 2.5Gbit network capability AND 6G SATA other than this board.

The CPU is a 1.2 GHz dual core Cortex-A53. That might sound like it's not fast, but I bet it'd be faster for most server and NAS tasks than any board that has only a single Gbit port or a non-native 6G SATA.

In addition, pfSense is on its way to EspressoBIN, so you'll soon be able to convert it into a serious router. =)

I'm terms of performer for my use case, my rock64 is faster than my espressobin. I use it mostly as a reverse proxy doing SSL/TLS termination. It's got more cores at a higher clock. Espressobin has a hardware crypto accelerator that is useless at the moment since there is no Linux support for it. Support from globalscale is pretty lack-luster.

You won't get more than 1gbit from it either, it doesn't have that hardware to support it. There is a single 1gbit link from the soc to the switch. The only way to get faster network would be a PCIe card.

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On February 8, 2018 at 7:14 AM, chrisf said:

I'm terms of performer for my use case, my rock64 is faster than my espressobin.

 

Yes, if the task require fast computation, the rock64 would be more interesting. ;)

-I'm not planning on doing any CPU-intensive stuff on my EspressoBIN (except from some queued compiling and probably distributed build offloading).

On February 8, 2018 at 7:14 AM, chrisf said:

I use it mostly as a reverse proxy doing SSL/TLS termination. It's got more cores at a higher clock. Espressobin has a hardware crypto accelerator that is useless at the moment since there is no Linux support for it. Support from globalscale is pretty lack-luster.

I don't have the need for that, but I wouldn't mind if the software could take advantage of the hardware.

-That could increase the use-cases for me.

On February 8, 2018 at 7:14 AM, chrisf said:

You won't get more than 1gbit from it either, it doesn't have that hardware to support it. There is a single 1gbit link from the soc to the switch.

If that's the case, it's a bit sad - I understood from what I've read elsewhere on the net that the Topaz switch was connected via a 2.5Gbit SerDes. Did you get the information from Marvell or GlobalScale ?

(As far as I understood, the Armada 3720 has two 1Gbit/2.5Gbit connections that can be connected to a switch or PHY - and one of those must be used to connect to the Topaz, which is capable of 2.5Gbit as well. So I would have expected that this was just a question of initializing hardware registers to select 2.5Gbit instead of 1Gbit - I'm only guessing here though).

On February 8, 2018 at 7:14 AM, chrisf said:

The only way to get faster network would be a PCIe card.

For this one I would respectfully disagree, though. ;)

There's of course the option to use a Mini-PCIe that gives you 2 GbE ports, or even using a Mini-PCIe splitter to utilize four GbE cards; however that's not the approach I'll try first (I may want to try it at a later point, just to see if it'll work).

My attempt will be to use the Ugreen GbE adapter, which has a built-in USB 3.0 hub and then use a few extra Ugreen GbE adapters (which work with Armbian's Debian Legacy) to get more ports and hopefully saturate the USB3.0 as much as possible.

I've heard from others that the GbE adapter with 3-port USB3.0 hub work with the EspressoBIN precompiled Ubuntu, so it might work with most Linux distros.

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On February 8, 2018 at 7:14 AM, chrisf said:

Espressobin has a hardware crypto accelerator that is useless at the moment since there is no Linux support for it. Support from globalscale is pretty lack-luster.

 

Seems it's on it's way according to this post.

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13 hours ago, Jens Bauer said:

If that's the case, it's a bit sad - I understood from what I've read elsewhere on the net that the Topaz switch was connected via a 2.5Gbit SerDes. Did you get the information from Marvell or GlobalScale ?

(As far as I understood, the Armada 3720 has two 1Gbit/2.5Gbit connections that can be connected to a switch or PHY - and one of those must be used to connect to the Topaz, which is capable of 2.5Gbit as well. So I would have expected that this was just a question of initializing hardware registers to select 2.5Gbit instead of 1Gbit - I'm only guessing here though).

Nothing official about the link speed.

It's reported as 1Gbps.

 

The 3720 has 3x SerDes lanes. One is used for the SATA port, one is used for the USB3 port, one is used for PCIe slot. There is none left for the switch. If you look at the schematic, it's connected to the RGMII port on the 3720

As far as I'm aware, RGMII is only 1Gbps. To get a 2.5G connection to the switch you'd need to use SGMII, which takes up a SerDes lane.

 

I'd love to be corrected if I'm wrong.

34 minutes ago, Jens Bauer said:

Seems it's on it's way according to this post.

I'm hoping the 4.16 kernel goes well. My Espressobin is due for a re-install soon anyway, it's booting on an SD card with rootfs on SATA. Now that Armbian supports SATA boot properly I'll have a spare SD card.

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ALL of the boards supported by Armbian are attractive, but alas can only try a few ;]

 

My joy so far has been the XU4. Was a bit disappointed in the Cloudshell, but the case has ended up being workable once I modified that huge cable and fixed the connectors. But withe the Boom Bonnet thingie it really works fine as my main desktop.

 

I found Armbian because of my Odroid XU4. It has become my daily desktop and dev unit. I've learned a TON of linux details because of it. Can't wait 'till the XU5 or whatever Hardkernel calls it is released. It not only set me free of the MS world but the x86 world as well.

 

Also got into the Clearfog Pro, although it is getting a bit old and I think someone else is going to make a board better. This one has become the candidate for our classroom server project and it looks like we're going to succeed in 95% of our design goal mainly through the support of the Armbian devs and community. Real SATA cards exist for JBOD and various RAID levels so it's a real plus with the GB switch. The 2.5 GB port on the Espressobin is attractive but the Clearfog has SFP and they are coming out with stuff for that all the time.

 

All of the Orange pi devices perform exemplary, and we use them for everything. Bananas are good but some of the politics shyed us away.  We will be trying some of the newer boards aimed at NAS / NFS as well soon.

 

Long live eMMC ...

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8 hours ago, Technicavolous said:

The 2.5 GB port on the Espressobin is attractive

If you're referring to the PCIe slot, sure...

But if you're referring to Ethernet, no. Espressobin doesn't have 2.5G ethernet. There is only a 1G RGMII connection between the Armada SOC and the Topaz switch. The 3 serdes lanes are used by SATA, USB3 and PCIe. There is no high-speed link left for them to connect to the switch via SGMII.

 

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