Pinned Which energy efficient ARM platform to choose?

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    • richprim wrote:

      Many of us, we use the Raspberrypi because of its low power requirements.
      For a home server, running 5 watts when the drives are asleep is great.
      Like running a night light.

      Rich Prim
      I get it Rich. I have an R-PI too. I also like the idea of a device that can actually function as a server, drive and all, on about 12 watts. I also call it "Night Light" power.

      But I also enjoy a bit of fun with "tk" (tkaiser) because he, um,, doesn't see any merit in the R-PI/OMV "use case". On the other side of that coin, he does outstanding work with R-PI OMV images. With that in mind, he has a right to his opinion and since he does exceptional work supporting SBC's, I'm going to happily listen to those opinions. :)

      If the competition in SBC's were either a bit cheaper or a little more popular, I'd consider a change because tk is right about other offerings being better. But, until they're cheaper or a bit more popular, I'll hang onto the R-PI.
      Good backup takes the "drama" out of computing
      ____________________________________
      Primary: OMV 3.0.99, ThinkServer TS140, 12GB ECC, 32GB USB boot, 4TB+4TB zmirror, 3TB client backup.
      Backup: OMV 4.1.9, Acer RC-111, 4GB, 32GB USB boot, 3TB+3TB zmirror, 4TB Rsync'ed disk
      2nd Data Backup: OMV 3.0.99, R-PI 2B, 16GB boot, 4TB WD USB MyPassport - direct connect (no hub)
    • richprim wrote:

      running 5 watts when the drives are asleep is great.
      I would call 5W 'way too high' in such a situation but what do I know? :)

      Just kidding, the problem with those Raspberries is that they're not only slow as hell (IO/networking is a joke) but also way too power hungry! The only chance to get any Raspberry in an OMV capable state (active networking) below 1W idle consumption is to use the RPi 3, switch off USB/Ethernet, switch on Wi-Fi with powermanagement enabled. Performance will suck horribly of course in this mode. Detailed numbers and the necessary settings how to save some energy with Raspberries here.

      With other SBC that are as slow as Raspberries but not that energy hungry you can go below that value even with active Ethernet and even constantly serving contents. My Orange Pi Zero busy as 'Armbian torrent seeder' is connected with Fast Ethernet, serves off an 128 GB SD card and consumes connected to the Internet less than 700mW on average!
    • flmaxey wrote:

      If the competition in SBC's were either a bit cheaper
      That's funny :)

      I am not able to call Gigabit Ethernet equipped NanoPi NEO2 or Orange Pi Zero Plus expensive especially since 4 times better 'OMV performance' compared to any Raspberry. But since this here was an announcement thread about OMV improvements all this babbling now should go to another thread please.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by tkaiser: Moved to an own thread from original RPi announcement thread ().

    • tkaiser wrote:

      But since this here was an announcement thread about OMV improvements all this babbling now should go to another thread please.
      OMV improvements :?: This thread is titled: Which energy efficient ARM platform to choose?
      It has become the right thread to babble about (energy efficient) R-PI's, and other less frequently used ARM devices.


      Thanks for doing that, BTW.
      Good backup takes the "drama" out of computing
      ____________________________________
      Primary: OMV 3.0.99, ThinkServer TS140, 12GB ECC, 32GB USB boot, 4TB+4TB zmirror, 3TB client backup.
      Backup: OMV 4.1.9, Acer RC-111, 4GB, 32GB USB boot, 3TB+3TB zmirror, 4TB Rsync'ed disk
      2nd Data Backup: OMV 3.0.99, R-PI 2B, 16GB boot, 4TB WD USB MyPassport - direct connect (no hub)
    • flmaxey wrote:

      It has become the right thread to babble about (energy efficient) R-PI's, and other less frequently used ARM devices.
      Yeah, let's talk about the way more interesting ARM devices compared to Raspberries :)

      Challenge: (less than) 5W idle consumption with disks spun down and of course way better 'OMV performance'

      1) Around 1W:

      NanoPi NEO2 or Orange Pi Zero Plus: pretty inexpensive, both based on Allwinner H5 SoC, both with 4 real USB2 ports (no internal USB hub used, no bandwidth shared, 2 ports on pin headers), both with Gigabit Ethernet, both able to be combined with useful, inexpensive and performant NAS add-ons (NAS Kit v1.2 for NEO2, NAS Expansion board for Orange Pis). 'NAS performance' 4 times better than Raspberry Pi, when playing USB RAID (never recommended!) it's even 7-8 times better. Since storage here means USB2 the problem is consumption of the used USB-to-SATA bridge (which needs some juice even if the disk behind is sleeping/standby). The trick to get at 1W is to switch Ethernet from GbE to Fast Ethernet (saves ~350mW) and to use the GPIO pins + a MOSFET to also switch off a connected USB-to-SATA bridge if device is not needed.

      2) Less than 2W:

      One of my favourites: Olimex A20-OLinuXino-LIME 2. Features somewhat slow but real SATA (so no USB-to-SATA bridge used here that consumes power on its own), the power design of the board allows the whole thing with a connected 2.5" disk included to be powered by a LiPo battery (no expensive and incapable Raspberry UPS needed, simply attach any 3.7V battery you like, with the cheap 6600mAh battery we use with our Lime2 servers the board runs +20 hours 2.5" disk included from battery. NAS performance 4~5 times better than Raspberries. Also nice on this board: both USB2 ports provide switchable power so you can easily power connectec consumers on/off (we use this for USB2 2.5" backup disks connected with Y-cable to both ports)

      3) less than 3W:

      ROCK64 with their 'SATA cable' based on the superiour JMS578 USB-to-SATA bridge. NAS performance is 8-9 times better than Raspberries, local storage performance even 10 times when combined with a fast SSD. Supports like the two devices listed in 1) ARMv8 AES crypto extensions so can also deliver almost Gigabit Ethernet performance with FDE (full disk encryption)

      4) less than 4W:

      ODROID-HC1 combining a beefy octa-core ARM SoC (AFAIK capable of HW accelerated live video transcoding with emby) with the same JMS578 as some of the devices above. NAS performance is 8-9 times better than Raspberries, same with local storage performance (when using a fast SSD). Soon there will be another variant called HC2 suitable for 3.5" HDDs which is 100% software compatible but comes with higher overall consumption of course.

      5) around 5W:

      Helios4, a kit relying on a real NAS SoC (Marvell Armada 385) with ECC DRAM (!), Gigabit Ethernet and 4 real and amazingly fast SATA ports. NAS performance is 8-9 times better than Raspberries, local storage performance depends on the setup you use, with double redundancy (RAID6) write performance exceeds 110 MB/s and read performance is even a lot better. Since I don't like the anachronistic RAID modes that much I played on a similar device (also with Armada 385) with ZFS/raidz and after some minimal tuning got similar results. So even a setup that provides maximum data integrity (ECC DRAM) and maximum redundancy (up to 2 disks wasted) can idle at around 5W with sleeping disks.

      Somewhere in between the cute EspressoBin should have been listed (using another Marvell SoC, low power, high performance, Gigabit Ethernet with integrated 3 port switch, one real fast SATA port, one PCIe 2.x lane exposed as MiniPCIe so you could even attach 4 more SATA disks with an appropriate SATA controller like the one in the middle of this picture). But I've to admit that I never measured consumption so far (and don't even find the board currently since mislayed somewhere recently).

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

    • petrus wrote:

      About RPi 2, with a low cost wattmeter plugged before 220V converter to USB RPi
      Though already posted above in post #3 again: forum.armbian.com/index.php?/t…nperformance-comparisons/ (all measurements there without PSU's own 'consumption' included). Like on many other boards on Raspberries consumption can be decreased by shutting down the internal USB but since Ethernet is also part of this combined USB hub + network chip then the Raspberry isn't accessible any more.
    • @tkaiser Do you still experiment with the espressobin? I was following the discussion on armbian forum and I saw the overheating and crashing issues. IMO the espressobin is the best value for money if one is looking for a low-end RPI/clone replacement. The Helios4 feels severely overpriced, however, it looks good with 4 sata and ecc.

      I hope espressobin is gonna get more OMV support in the future.
    • scuub wrote:

      Do you still experiment with the espressobin?
      Me personally not since I've 'lost' my EspressoBin somewhere (it's must be in a box here or there) but that shouldn't matter since also in the past the real 'board bringup' work has been done by fellow Armbians.

      There's one annoying issue with GlobalScale/Marvell: they don't want to partner with 'small entities' like us so the support promise in the beginning turned out to be one individual from their team not in sync with product management. Unfortunately the latter seem to not understand where the majority of work has to happen --> below the distro layer (u-boot, kernel, settings).

      But there's progress, simply follow forum.armbian.com/index.php?/t…velopment-efforts/&page=7 as in the past.

      The heat issues seem to be resolved (most probably a dual voltage issue with serial console connected backpowering also 5V into the board) and once Armbian basic support is ready it's just another 15 minutes to build an OMV image since all the stuff we did since early April to optimize OMV on ARM devices are part of the respective installation scripts (either customize-image.sh when building from scratch or armbian-config --> software --> Install OMV on any Jessie or Stretch Armbian images)
    • petrus wrote:

      Are there somewhere some bandwidth benchmarks already done ? I'm interested to know how those little boards can work with Gigabits LAN + USB HDD attached to them.
      Already written above. If you read 'NAS performance is 8-9 times better than Raspberries' then multiply 10MB/s (Raspberry baseline) with 8 and 9 and you get the 80-90MB/s the specific combination is able to provide. Depending on which storage hardware on the server, which filesharing protocol you use and which client OS version the '80-90MB/s' will then sometimes even be +110MB/s and sometimes just 60MB/s (small and almost full 2.5"HDD that is a lot slower on its inner tracks for example).

      There are a couple of potential performance bottlenecks involved with setups 1) and 2) (eg. USB2 bandwidth limit of ~40MB/s, or SATA storage limits with A20 SoC) but if you're coming from a Raspberry which is just the definition of 'slow as hell' due to Fast Ethernet (also sitting on the same single USB2 data line the SoC has) you shouldn't be concerned that much since it's in any case at least 3.5 to 4 times faster. I can't imagine what you could do wrong that it's not at least these '3.5 to 4 times faster' as long as you choose a board with real Gigabit Ethernet (not hanging off an USB2 bus internally -- such crap exists too of course).

      You find a lot more details both here and there (if you're in a hurry just scroll through and check the LanTest screenshots with explanations eg. how different settings and different kernel version matter and are responsible for performance increases of 100% or even more)
    • But you should have in mind how HDDs work especially when you want to use 2.5" HDDs. They all use ZBR (zone bit recording --> storing more data on the outer tracks than on the inner which results in being faster when emtpy compared to a full disk) and if you happen to use an old/slow 2.5" HDD as soon as you fill the disk the possible bandwidth might easily drop below 60MB/s or even 50MB/s or less.

      Numbers and explanation: forum.armbian.com/index.php?/t…findComment&comment=15319
    • tornadox wrote:

      linux-sunxi.org/LinkSprite_pcDuino3_Nano is a good option if you intend to use sata instead of poor USB 2.0 speeds.

      No, it's not since Allwinner A20 SATA is slow SATA: forum.armbian.com/topic/1925-s…findComment&comment=34192

      And especially in OMV context NAS performance of A20 devices like pcDuino or Banana Pi is more or less at the same level as those USB2/UAS equipped boards since A20's Gigabit Ethernet implementation is also limited and you end up with similar performance numbers than more recent quad core ARM boards with USB2 only.

      And all the many USB3-SATA NAS boards that are now spreading easily outperform any A20 board out there. If A20 today then only from Olimex since there you have full UPS functionality if you add a cheap LiPo battery and can power on/off USB ports individually (useful to switch on/off a backup disk connected to USB2 ports)
    • tkaiser wrote:

      1)Around 1W:
      NanoPi NEO2 or Orange Pi Zero Plus: pretty inexpensive, both based on Allwinner H5 SoC, both with 4 real USB2 ports (no internal USB hub used, no bandwidth shared, 2 ports on pin headers), both with Gigabit Ethernet, both able to be combined with useful, inexpensive and performant NAS add-ons (NAS Kit v1.2 for NEO2, NAS Expansion board for Orange Pis). 'NAS performance' 4 times better than Raspberry Pi, when playing USB RAID (never recommended!) it's even 7-8 times better. Since storage here means USB2 the problem is consumption of the used USB-to-SATA bridge (which needs some juice even if the disk behind is sleeping/standby). The trick to get at 1W is to switch Ethernet from GbE to Fast Ethernet (saves ~350mW) and to use the GPIO pins + a MOSFET to also switch off a connected USB-to-SATA bridge if device is not needed.
      Thanks for that great run-down on options. I wish I'd had such a thorough review when I did my most recent OMV setup.

      I wanted to ask if there was anything to recommend one of these two over the other? I'm currently using a Raspberry Pi3 with a Western Digital PiDrive to keep a small number of files, along with some rotating downloaded television content, readily available. The single drive solution works for me, as its all non-critical. But, as noted above, throughput over the 10/100 Ethernet is an issue.

      The NanoPi NAS kit looks like a more elegant solution for my needs, but shipping to my location almost doubles the price. So thought I'd ask if there was anything else that distinguishes or recommends one over the other.
      Working with computers since the days when unboxing and set-up required 3 weeks with a soldering iron!
    • Markess wrote:

      The NanoPi NAS kit looks like a more elegant solution for my needs
      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).

      So with the OPi you get a slightly faster system and if shipping is less expensive I don't think you need to evaluate anything any more?

      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.
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