Pinned Which energy efficient ARM platform to choose?

    • l1nk206 wrote:

      I'm still not sure on what amount of ram is better to have on
      On systems where network is faster than storage (eg. Raspberry Pi 3 B+ or more suited ARM boards with Gigabit Ethernet on an own bus but still only USB2) more DRAM always means higher 'NAS client --> server performance' since network transfers are fast as long as the amount of data written still fits inside filesystem buffers (page cache). So you have a board with Gigabit Ethernet, 4 GB DRAM but just USB2 storage and copy a 10 GB file... The first 3.x GB will be transferred at up to 100 MB/s and once OMV has to start to flush buffer contents to disk it will slow down to USB2 storage performance (slightly below 40 MB/s). With RPi 3 B+ it would be 'around 30 MB/s' vs. 'less than 20 MB/s' and the slowdown will happen already after ~750 MB or maybe even less.

      On boards where storage is not the bottleneck (Rock64 with USB3 for example or some other ARM platforms) you don't need to worry about that. 1GB will be as fast as 4GB.

      With ZFS a lot of RAM is a good idea (but you can run it also on system with less RAM but need to adjust some tunables then, mostly related again to filesystem buffers/caches). But ZFS on ARM is currently 'experts only' at least with OMV. The ZFS plugin is not available for ARM and building the necessary modules in an automated way is also challenging. So better forget about that.

      Wrt plex server... no idea, only used that once to demonstrate how easy armhf software can be installed on an arm64 distro.

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

    • tkaiser wrote:

      OMV test/benchmark comparing 4 single board computers:
      You should put the cost of each board in that chart too :) The udoo x86 (I have one) costs more than the other three combined.
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    • ryecoaaron wrote:

      You should put the cost of each board in that chart too The udoo x86 (I have one) costs more than the other three combined.
      Yeah. But it's hard to beat Rock64 price/performance ratio anyway. The Rock64 board costs $25, $35 or $45 (1GB, 2GB or 4GB DRAM), then you need the 3A PSU for $7 and I strongly recommend to get also their 'SATA cable' for another $10 or this thing to attach even 2 HDD (beware that shipping, VAT, customs all have to be added)

      BTW: Maybe the SATA cable used in the Rock64 benchmark above uses internally a Norelsys NS1068X SATA bridge. If that's the case that would explain the lower performance compared to the Udoo (or x86 in general) since we have to UAS blacklist the Norelsys NS1068X chip on all our OMV ARM images (UAS is broken with this chip, patch arrived in 4.14 kernel so in OMV we use USB quirks to disable UAS with older kernels). In case UAS can not be used performance suffers somehow but at least it works.
    • tkaiser wrote:

      Yeah. But it's hard to beat Rock64 price/performance ratio anyway.
      That was my point. I didn't really expect you to change the chart :) The rock64 is an incredible board and the price would just exaggerate the ratio.

      By the way, have you heard any news about a 3.5" rock64/popcorn hour transformer?
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    • ryecoaaron wrote:

      By the way, have you heard any news about a 3.5" rock64/popcorn hour transformer?
      Nothing heard so far (and the 2.5" transformer they sent me got stuck at customs and then returned).

      Another very interesting RK3328 device, the SwiftBoard, that should be prepared for 3.5" doesn't seem to be available anywhere. Sad since also featuring a real capable wireless solution (dual band and dual antenna!)

      There's another RK3328 board unfortunately with Micro USB for DC-IN (so I expect underpowering issues). Libre Computer who are behind the project did a very nice benchmark overview here: libre.computer/2018/03/21/rasp…-b-review-and-comparison/ (the ROC-RK3328-CC numbers more or less apply to Rock64 too but the latter has only DDR3 DRAM clocked at 1600 MHz so the ROC-RK3328-CC with DDR4 wins here but that's not important unless it's about 4K video display that needs an awful lot of memory bandwidth)
    • tkaiser wrote:

      But I've to admit that I never measured consumption so far (and don't even find the board currently since mislayed somewhere recently).

      tkaiser, now that you have found back the EspressoBin (I assume it's the 1GB variant?), could you update the ranking?

      I would love to see how its power consumption compares to the HC1 in the "idle but with a 2.5 HDD connected in standby" scenario. I'd assume the SoC will consume significantly less, and also there's no overhead coming from the USB-SATA bridge. But the EspressoBin apparently _requires_ a 12V supply, and I don't know how much extra consumption that means (e.g. voltage regulators).

      Anyone has "at the wall" espressoBin consumption figures, with a (sleeping) 2.5 disk attached to it?
    • @tkaiser
      Hi!
      I am considering to create a ARM based NAS with 3,5in HDDs. I'm generally still swaying if I need RAID or not. I guess I don't need it, as 100% uptime is not needed, and I need to create OffSite backups anyway, so in case of water damage/fire not everything is lost. RAID would give me security between new OffSite backups in case of single disk failure, but running 2x 3,5in HDDs also leads to higher power consumption, so not sure it is worth it.

      I am swaying between the Helios 4, coming down to 220€ incl. shipping & taxes and the Odroid HC-2 for 85€ complete with shipping & taxes. I want something in a proper casing (which I don't want to DIY, I am really bad at that :D), so I think those 2 are my best choices. I obviously need to decide on my own if I want 1 or 4 drives. Are there any other good devices for my usecase? I would like to get around 100Mbytes/s e.g. on NFS.

      Now to my question regarding ARM boards. How is their cryptography performance? I will have a LUKS encrypted HDD connected to the NAS. And will mostly use NFS and SSH (depending which device and usecase). I read that the Marvell chip supports hardware accelerated cryptography. Is this the case for the Odroid, too? Did you ever test cryptography performance?

      Thank you!
    • Roxxor wrote:

      Now to my question regarding ARM boards. How is their cryptography performance?

      64-bit ARM CPUs usually support ARMv8 Crypto Extensions (only exceptions: Raspberry Pi since Broadcom / RPi Trading didn't licensed this stuff, ODROID-C2 and NanoPi K2 -- Amlogic's S905 suffers from the same problem, only later Amlogic SoCs support accelerated AES).

      Some SoC vendors also include their own proprietary crypto modules -- with the latter you always have to be very careful when looking at benchmark numbers since whether the stuff can be used in reality (without compiling your own kernel and all basic crypto libs with special switches!) might be a different story. Also whether crypto performance with real world workloads performs the same (often with this proprietary stuff there is a huge initialization overhead so crypto performance with small chunks of data gets horribly slow -- e.g. a VPN use case).
      As you see pretty much all the links end up in Armbian forum so for such special questions this is where to ask.

      Some thoughts on RAID and USB: forum.armbian.com/topic/5464-o…-for-a-nas-configuration/

      And even if I consider this a pretty weird idea it's possible to attach two 3.5" HDDs to one USB3 port (but please never ever play RAID-1 then, it's just a stupid way to waste HDDs for nothing): Which energy efficient ARM platform to choose? (so with a Rock64 for example such a setup can benefit from AES acceleration)

      But honestly if it's more than just one or two 3.5" disks I would always also check how much in your area the costs of a HP Microserver are.

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

    • tkaiser wrote:


      But honestly if it's more than just one or two 3.5" disks I would always also check how much in your area the costs of a HP Microserver are.

      I was actually thinking of getting a single board PC for 2x HDDs, like an ODROID-XU4, but then I saw this: No support for ODROID-XU4 especially in combination with Cloudshells any more! (Or is it just related to the +Cloudshells - and without them the board is fine?)

      Was a sad moment, because it seems like the ODROID-XU4 seems to be the only solid single board PC with 2x USB 3.0 and GbE, according to this Wiki list. Proposed alternative from tkasier is a HP Microserver, but that seems to be a bit too much (cost and performance wise, when looking for a decent 2 bay home NAS).

      Yet: Is there really no other choice for mini PCs and 2x USB 3.0 for 2x external HDDs? Hard to imagine, that there is no mini PC that can handle 2x HDDs at solid speeds... Any ideas here?
    • MrTestOne wrote:

      Is there really no other choice for mini PCs and 2x USB 3.0 for 2x external HDDs?
      This one should be good... indiegogo.com/projects/renegad…i-computer-computers-pc#/


      MrTestOne wrote:

      that there is no mini PC that can handle 2x HDDs at solid speeds... Any ideas here?
      Although a little more expensive, the udoo x86 has three usb3 ports - udoo.org/udoo-x86/
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    • MrTestOne wrote:

      it seems like the ODROID-XU4 seems to be the only solid single board PC with 2x USB 3.0 and GbE
      ODROID-XU4's Exynos SoC has 2 USB3 ports but no Ethernet. To one USB3 port there's the greatest USB3-to-GbE adapter available (RTL8153) connected, to the other USB3 port an internal USB hub. You don't want to have a hub between disks and host (at least not when you're interested in reliable operation).

      In other words: If you love unreliable operation buy just any USB3 hub available and attach it to an USB3 port (but please read through this before). And also please keep in mind that an awful lot of people run in connectivity issues with USB3-A receptacles/cables. Can not wait until a few years when we have USB-C everywhere and this unreliable connector joke isn't used any more.

      RK3399 also features 2 USB3 ports but also native GbE and even PCIe. Boards based on RK3399 are rather expensive for ARM thingies (see overview here) but at least you could attach 2 USB3 disks to two real USB ports without a hub in between and still have GbE connectivity.

      I try to avoid USB3-A where possible especially when receptacles are slightly too large as it was the case with my XU4 (suffering from stupid interconnection issues due to cable/connector problems is something no one needs).
    • Thanks for the tips, just checked them out.

      indiegogo.com/projects/renegad…i-computer-computers-pc#/ looks definitely interesting, but looks like it is still not fully available yet, according to the campaign still may take for production. "manufacturing to be completed and fulfilled by late August"... so from my experience this adds:
      - 1w. for QA,
      - 6w. shipping, probably will go first to the major markets EU and US (so for me in SE Asia will still take more time :( )
      - 2w. channel distribution
      - so around end of Oct. available - unless their industry has some magic processes or they will use air freight (doubt that)


      udoo.org/udoo-x86/, let me explain my experience:
      - I see buy
      - I click buy
      - I see USD 174
      - It hurts my heart (and my pocket) :) - but you've warned me about the price

      ODROID-XU4
      - Internal USB hub? - uhhh ... looks like I missed that (already checked your topics about HUBs, so I fully agree: don't mix HUBs and data...)
      - hardkernel.com/main/products/p…e=G143452239825&tab_idx=2 USB HUB was hidden in the small "details" ;)


      Leaves almost only one choice, a RK3399:
      - RockPro64
      - available on market
      - 2x USB 3.0 (1xType A, 1xType C)
      - GbE
      - below $100
      - got an OMV image... the one linked in the other thread: github.com/ayufan-rock64/linux-build/releases
      - Only criticism (on the picky side): so much unneeded stuff like camera ports, audio jacks, ... :S
      - Hope I did not miss anything... But I assume, this you can only find out once you order it and then start to work on it. Then the moment comes like "f*** I forgot xyz" :D
    • I apologize if this seems to be a repetition, I have tried to read all previous comments on this topic still I feel like I should check back here to see if I correctly understood everything and ask for updates and recommendations.

      I am planning to build a 7/24 home NAS with emphasis on low consumption, low (preferably zero) noise with 2x3.5" SATA HDDs. I do not need RAID. I will run OMV and several other services as plugins or docker containers. I am unsure if any of the boards could do a basic Plex transcoding, as that would be very nice to have. Also I will have two IP cameras attached and recording continuously with zoneminder.

      So far, the options I have found are as follows:
      1. Rock64 with a USB3 to Dual SATA adapter. This looks good in principle, very cheap and I have not read about any issues, but I miss very much a nice case and other bells and whistles of the alternatives.
      2. EspressoBin with a PCI Express to 4x SATA adapter. This is also good but much more expensive and still misses any extras with one important exception: I very much like to availability of a 2nd ethernet port as that would make it possible to function as a firewall/router as well.
      3. Rock64Pro with the same USB3 to Dual SATA or PCI Express to 4x SATA adapter. As expensive as option (2) but without the additional Ethernet adapter.
      4. ODroid XU4 with the Cloudshell 2 extension. This looks to be the best with a nice case, LCD display, controllable fan and others. I have read about issues with the loose USB connectors but I do not plan to tinker much with the box once set up (and I guess these can be fixed with some minor tweaks) and issues with the JMS561 firmware, however I don't need any RAID or JBOD and also do not care much about having UAS as I do not expect that to make any difference with spinning disks (and SMART reading supposedly works for both HDDs with the older firmware).
      (5. Helios4 looks nice but is not yet available, too expensive and I do not need 4 HDD slots)

      All in all, best options appear to be (1) which is the cheapest but very barebone solution or (4) which is a more expensive solution but with lots of nice extras that I like a lot. (2) and (3) are more expensive than (1) without much added benefit.

      Can you please advise if I summarized correctly and all options are recommendable with the comments I made? Did I miss any obvious further options? Also, considering the fact that I will be running quite a lot of services on the NAS (Plex, radarr, sonarr, transmission, zoneminder etc), is there a significant difference between the boards in the overall computing performance? Pure NAS performance appears to be sufficient enough in any case, I do not need to fully saturate the Gigabit Ethernet connection, having 50-60 MByte/sec transfer speeds is fine.
    • Another cheap option is to combine any of the ARM boards featuring native or PCIe attached SATA with a JMB321 SATA port multiplier. My own experiences adding this thing to an A20 board were not that great (search for 'overheating' here) but you'll find a lot of reports on the net talking positive about this el cheapo PM (EspressoBin can even boot from a SATA disk behind the PM).

      The EspressoBin brings up all 3 GbE ports in connected state so no... it's not a router or firewall (since if you power on the board without an OS loaded it's just a dumb switch interconnecting all 3 GbE ports at layer 2). Besides that I would never combine the two roles firewall and NAS on the same machine.

      Two disks attached at the same time to fast interfaces is indeed a problem with ARM boards today. If you know what you're doing and fixate the USB cable Cloudshell 2 is ok too. My take on this is trying to convince a board maker to put one or even two JMS561 directly on the PCB of a suitable board.
    • Thanks for the reply. Indeed, the JMB321 SATA multiplier would be a potential alternative for EspressoBin, but not for the other options I guess. So in case of EspressoBin I could choose from the SATA multiplier, the PCI Express to SATA adapter or the USB3 to SATA adapter. There is not much price difference, is any of these solutions more recommended than the other?

      Also the idea of a SATA multiplier brings in a new option: Odroid HC1/2 or A20-Olinuxino-LIME2, but since it is neither cheaper nor better than Rock64, I would skip that.

      For EspressoBin I understood that with a newer u-boot you can configure the TOPAZ switch to disable routing on powerup (source), but you are right about separating the functions (maybe acceptable for home network).

      In overall computing power, how these devices compare to each other?

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

    • abali wrote:

      is any of these solutions more recommended than the other?
      Avoid USB if possible, avoid port multipliers if possible ;)

      Port multipliers behind an USB-to-SATA bridge might not work (I wanted to test this with JMB321 and HC1 but the appropriate cable never arrived. Ordered 2 times on Aliexpress from different sellers but every time something different arrived)

      abali wrote:

      In overall computing power, how these devices compare to each other?
      forum.armbian.com/topic/7776-b…t-yet-a-research-article/
    • Fantastic thread which I've read well after my purchase, thankfully I went with the HC1 after doing some research and streaming to multiple devices. You can easily stream with Emby to 4+ devices with out little issue. It really depends on what type of video file. 1080p 6+ gb file size with big bitrate will cause stuttering and rely completely on your connection and distance to router. HD rips and 720p files is the way to go for mutiple device streaming. If using DLNA to connect devices CPU and RAM is barley increased and all falls back to your HD. I'm using a 2tb Seagate hybrid, only regret not getting a bigger one which might change when considering full drives.

      Overall the fanboyness for RasPi as a server is insane, I'm thinking of getting one to play around and add a screen leave it in the kitchen connected to the Emby server as a project. But for anything that involves high resource use you be insane to use one.
    • Mr.Grape wrote:

      Not too expensive?

      Don't think so (since customs/VAT seem to be already included). If you fear 512MB would be too low and get NanoPi's at a local shop maybe choosing one of the larger models to be combined with a JMS578 equipped USB enclosure is a better idea?

      RPi 3 B+ is a pretty bad choice due to USB contention issues, Gigabit Ethernet problems (you need a switch with flow-control active otherwise performance totally sucks) and with a recent 'firmware' upgrade they also slowed down all RPi 3 B+ out there to masquerade a QC problem they had on a very small fraction of boards from the first batch (other vendors refund, those arrogant RPi folks think it's better to slow down the devices of all their users out there without even mentioning this anywhere, it needed public complaints to get this behaviour documented somewhere).

      Still they do not fix their documentation and in case someone mentions this posts get deleted and the poster banned. Everything as usual:

      raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=219662 -- not there any more since they censored again. Archived here: archive.fo/UW2wq
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