Pinned Which energy efficient ARM platform to choose?

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    • tkaiser wrote:

      But you won't be able to use your 'Pi Drive' with it (only as external drive). NanoPi NEO2 and Orange Pi Zero Plus are more or less the same. The only real difference is voltage regulation for the CPU. NEO2 is limited to 1.1V while OPi can switch between 1.1V and 1.3V which allows the latter to increase CPU clockspeeds up to 1.2 GHz (due to Dynamic voltage scaling depending on CPU Vcore voltage to reach higher clockspeeds).
      Yes, the Pi Drive (along with the RPi itself) will probably become part of a Retropie gaming console. Thanks again for all the detailed information!
      Working with computers since the days when unboxing and set-up required 3 weeks with a soldering iron!
    • tkaiser wrote:

      cnx-software.com/2017/12/14/mo…ransformer-xl-odroid-hc2/

      cnx-software.com/2017/12/05/li…gb-ddr4-ram-crowdfunding/

      Especially reading the comments can be enlightening (for example why Micro USB for DC-IN is such a crappy idea)
      Haha, just when I think I have a solution picked out, you post something like this! Or, I.m just discovering something like this, either here or on the Armbian site, or elsewhere, now that i know where else to look.

      Along with power concerns you mention above, do you have an opinion on if eMMC (like on Rock64), is a useful/preferable option for OS in "permanent" 24/7 installations like NAS? I'd think eMMC would fix the occasional (frequent with some as it turns out reading up on it) issue with SD cards failing or loosing contact. I've not had a problem myself yet using only Samsung EVO, but it seems like its an issue for many.
      Working with computers since the days when unboxing and set-up required 3 weeks with a soldering iron!
    • Personally I consider using eMMC for an OMV OS drive a waste of resources. Just buy a quality card, check for counterfeit stuff, optionally do a full erase with SD Association's 'SD Formatter' (sends the card an ERASE CMD38 which is an equivalent to TRIM on SSDs), then burn with Etcher and use the flashmemory plugin (enabled by default on all ARM images).

      All OMV images for ARM (except RPi) use btrfs so it's easy to run a 'btrfs scrub' monthly so you always know when your card starts to get bad.
    • tkaiser wrote:

      BTW: I don't know whether the 'Pi Drive' supports UAS (USB Attached SCSI) but in case it does not (needs both host and drive support and of course Raspberry Pi is NOT UAS capable since RPi folks are plagued by ignorance) any native SATA disk combined with one of the UAS capable USB-to-SATA bridges (see link above) will do a better since slightly more performant job. Also CPU utilization will be lower when switching from the anachronistic bulk / mass storage protocol to UAS.
      Just in case anyone comes across this thread and is wondering...yes, the Western Digital PiDrive does support the UAS protocol. In fact, its also USB 3 (even though the RPi itself isn't). According to Western Digital, the drive is tweaked for lower power draw than their standard bus powered external drives with USB controller integrated into the PCB. They don't, however, elaborate on what those changes are.
      Working with computers since the days when unboxing and set-up required 3 weeks with a soldering iron!
    • tkaiser wrote:

      Darkplatinum wrote:

      i heard people talking about how energy efficent a Rpi is.
      At least this thread is not about this but about way faster and more reliable alternatives to Raspberry Pis since an awful lot of users aren't aware that there exist a lot of other energy efficient ARM boards out there that unlike any Raspberry Pi make up for a really nice lowend NAS.
      How about Odroid boards, or the Tkiner board? I dont have any of them, but they have 2GB ram, 1.8Ghz processor. Slightly faster than the pi 3.
      Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, Quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM.
    • Darkplatinum wrote:

      How about Odroid boards, or the Tkiner board?
      ODROID HC1 and HC2 are nice NAS devices, the XU4 which is based on exactly the same components and 100% software compatible suffers from USB problems (just visit my signature). The Tinkerboard is just a bizarre fail (way too powerful for the crappy Micro USB DC-IN connector, way too hot for the provided mini heatsink, stupid USB2 setup, NAS performance at the same level as a cheap Orange Pi Zero Plus or a NanoPi NEO2)

      Extra amounts of RAM are more or less only useful in one situation: storage slower than network and writes from clients to server happening. Only then you see somewhat better performance since the more DRAM the more data can be buffered in memory before being flushed to disk later. But this has very limited effect and it's also easy to simply avoid those platforms with slow storage (USB2 bottlenecked especially in case of crappy USB2 setups like on Raspberries or the Tinkerboard where all USB receptacles have to share bandwidth since behind an internal USB hub).

      Here in this thread you find already a lot of links to suitable ARM boards for NAS use cases and when looking at boards not mentioned here it's always important to focus on the relevant stuff:
      • Reliability: can the board be powered in a sane way or is it using Micro USB for DC-IN? If the latter avoid it.
      • Performance: Gigabit Ethernet or not? USB2 bottlenecked or not? If it's USB do the receptacles have to share bandwidth or not?
      • Slow SATA: All Allwinner A20 devices suffer from the same problem: while their SATA implementation is real it is also the slowest in the world (sequential write performance as low as 45MB/s, usually below 40 MB/s without tuning)
      • Fake SATA: some boards are announced as being SATA capable but are not since it's just a lame USB2-to-SATA bridge on the board. Applies to Orange Pi Plus and Plus 2, Banana Pi M3 and Cubieboard 5. They all use the most horrible USB-to-SATA bridge known: GL830 not only being slow as hell (15/30 MB/s write/read) but also broken since eating the last 2 sectors of every disk
      • Slow network: i.MX6 devices have real Gigabit Ethernet (not USB based) but due to an internal bandwidth limitation they're bottlenecked to around 400 Mbits/sec
      Having the above in mind it's pretty easy to choose devices since it becomes ticking some checkboxes :)

      The post was edited 1 time, last by tkaiser ().

    • Darkplatinum wrote:

      It depends if you have 1GbPs broadband or not. My house only has maximum 50Mbps so i could careless for the gigabytr ethernet
      Interesting. So when a client in your local network accesses your OMV NAS all the traffic is routed through the Internet instead of staying in your LAN (local area network)? Sounds pretty weird to be honest :)

      Anyway: I really don't want to confrontate Raspi fanbois with reality and if you're happy to pay too much for a NAS too slow any RPi is always a great way to waste some money.

      For everyone else it should be easy to get that 40 MB/s NAS throughput is approx 4 times faster than what you get with any Raspberry Pi. The 40 MB/s is what you get for around 15 bucks (Orange Pi Zero Plus or NanoPi NEO2 with USB2 storage).

      But depending on the use case bandwidth/throughput is less important than latency. In my lab a couple of boards do netbooting through NFS. This is all about latency. When the server is forced to use Fast Ethernet client performance decreases and the clients are stuck in IO very often. By switching to Gigabit Ethernet that improves a lot even if the server in question is only equipped with USB2 storage since caching in DRAM happens at the server and just by switching from Fast to Gigabit Ethernet latency improves a lot.

      BTW: for RPi fanbois interested in lowest network latency the smsc95xx.turbo_mode setting is important (and of course it has to be set not in the way one would expect ;) )
    • tkaiser wrote:

      Interesting. So when a client in your local network accesses your OMV NAS all the traffic is routed through the Internet instead of staying in your LAN (local area network)? Sounds pretty weird to be honest :)
      Anyway: I really don't want to confrontate Raspi fanbois with reality and if you're happy to pay too much for a NAS too slow any RPi is always a great way to waste some money.
      xD your funny. BTW what do you mean exactly by it is routed through out the internet? My future NAS (should be up and running if i get the parts within a week) will be a Plex media server that is ported out of my router ( so that it will work anywhere in the world) and a local network storage running SMB.
      Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, Quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by tkaiser ().

    • Darkplatinum wrote:

      what do you mean exactly by it is routed through out the internet?
      You might want to educate yourself about the difference between LAN (local area network) vs. WAN (wide area network). That's necessary to understand why you accessing your OMV box via SMB are not affected by your internet connection at all and why a crappy NAS box relying on a Raspberry Pi is magnitudes slower compared to a good NAS box using for an example a much much cheaper NanoPi NEO2 or Orange Pi Zero Plus (the '2' and 'Plus' are important since the normal NEO/Zero only feature Fast Ethernet -- but have 4 real USB2 ports so even these little 'less than 10 bucks' boards outperform any Raspberry Pi in this world :) )

      Nothing to add since it's really easy to get the difference now that keywords (LAN vs. WAN) are known :)

      And to be really clear: it's almost impossible to find something that is less capable as NAS than a Raspberry Pi. These things simply suck with this use case.
    • tkaiser wrote:

      Extra amounts of RAM are more or less only useful in one situation: storage slower than network and writes from clients to server happening. Only then you see somewhat better performance since the more DRAM the more data can be buffered in memory before being flushed to disk later.
      So how much RAM is enough though? In my case, my NAS won't be transcoding. That's getting done by devices at the other end of a Gigbit wired connection. I'm less worried about the performance of writes to the NAS than I am about a 1080p file streaming to the target system fast enough not to tear or stutter. But, I don't know thew effect RAM has on that and how much RAM I would need.

      I assume more RAM generally means more energy and more heat up to a point, while excess RAM is probably just a waste. But what I don't know is, if a 512MB is enough, or 2GB, or at the other end of the spectrum if 4GB is too much. My old Marvell based NAS was quite capable at doing anything I wanted it to, but it idled at 29w. I know I can do better than that while still "getting the job done", but I don't want to go too energy efficient and have it not keep up.
      Working with computers since the days when unboxing and set-up required 3 weeks with a soldering iron!

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Markess ().

    • Markess wrote:

      I assume more RAM generally means more energy and more heat up to a point
      No. That's negligible and if you really care about energy savings you have to look at the PSU instead. If you use an overkill PSU this thing wastes huge amounts of energy for nothing while a PSU too weak introduces instabilities.

      Wrt amount of DRAM I already tried to explain. If your NAS does not do also other 'foreign jobs' (like being used as Docker container host) 512GB or even 256GB are just fine for home usage and the only situation where more DRAM results in higher performance is when the following criteria are met
      • storage slower than network (eg. USB2 disk and Gigabit Ethernet)
      • amount of data a client writes to the NAS less than amount of physical memory
      Only in this situation more DRAM allows for faster copies from client to server (it's only in this direction!). All the DRAM in your NAS box will end up being used for filesystem buffer/caches anyway but in home situations this is pretty much irrelevant unlike professional servers with hundreds of users or applications that need as much RAM as possible.
    • Before my FX160 i had Banana Pi M1. It had A20 ARM Dual-Core 1GHz, 1GB DDR3 RAM and most importantly SATA III port. I also bought external PSU (from some switch or something like that) which had 12V-2A/5V-2A lines. This allowed me to power both Banana and 3,5" drive without any problems. But unfortunately i didnt do any speed tests and power consumption measures.

      Here some guy used Banana with JMB321 SATA expander (5 ports) from Alliexpress with 5X SSD drives. He used them for power saving factor, not for speed. (you need to throw link into translator Polish->English)
      dobreprogramy.pl/cyryllo/BanaN…r-NAS-z-Raidem,61214.html


      Offcourse they are not power efficient setups but just interesting examples of what you can do with ARM platform.


      But overall i just want to say tha i would never consider Raspberry PI or any ARM with only USB2 ports as NAS build. USB transfer speeds are just ridiculous! You need SATA or USB3 ports in the first place to even think about building a NAS.

      //edit
      Yes, i do have Raspberry PI2, but it has LibreELEC installed and its my media player for my old Panasonic TV.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by doman18 ().

    • doman18 wrote:

      Banana Pi M1. It had A20 ARM Dual-Core 1GHz, 1GB DDR3 RAM and most importantly SATA III port
      Unfortunately wrong. A20 has only a horribly low performing SATA II implementation. Here one guy described what to expect: linux-sunxi.org/Sunxi_devices_…_image_on_NAS_performance (my tests back then were all made with overclocked settings and I can consider myself lucky that my A20 worked at 1.2GHz since the majority of other A20 I tested later did not reliably)

      Here and here some guy tells why using those crappy JMB321 port multipliers attached to the crappy SATA port of a Banana Pi is dangerous and a guarantee for even lower storage performance than A20's crappy SATA performance if disks are accessed in parallel. Every Banana Pi owner thinking about making this mistake and buying such a PM should think about that in addition to the SATA port there are two nice USB2 ports on A20 that provide a much better overall performance compared to those crappy SATA PMs.

      doman18 wrote:

      just interesting examples of what you can do with ARM platform
      Here some more interesting examples when stopping to use incapable hardware like A20 and using better ARM devices and peripherals: forum.armbian.com/topic/4845-m…sed-4-ports-mpci-sata-30/

      doman18 wrote:

      i would never consider ... any ARM with only USB2 ports as NAS build. USB transfer speeds are just ridiculous!
      In fact an USB2 NAS built with an Orange Pi Zero Plus or similar boards is faster than a Banana Pi even if the latter is equipped with 'native SATA'. It's very easy to test this (been there, done this multiple times) but no one else seems to do this since people focus on specs and wordings and not on reality. A20 SATA is slow as hell, A20 Gigabit Ethernet is also slow. Both in one direction more than in the other so one bottleneck in each direction results in A20 boards being slower than USB2 equipped NAS boards in reality (not talking about Raspberry Pi here, this device should always be avoided of course).

      When talking about 'speed' it's obviously more about feelings than facts :)
    • Wow! Its true, that i didnt do any tests with banana and i had it for very short time, just before i bought Dell. But ive never imagine that SATA can be slower that USB 2.0! I knew that JMB321 is slow, and it was main thing i blamed when ive seen those 5 SSD setup tests (26MB/s). But i thought that is purely chinese controller fault not SATA itself!

      Now i understand why they don sell it anymore!

      The post was edited 1 time, last by doman18 ().

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