My new NAS: Odroid HC2 and Seagate Ironwolf 12TB.

  • BTW: Software support is also an issue with really energy efficient x86 designs (to be used as SBC). Recently checked situation with my old UP Board using an Intel Atom:…formance-compared-to-arm/

    HC2 is far from being perfect (both network and storage are connected via USB3 which puts a bit of an unnecessary load on the system. Also I would prefer a 64-bit ARM design these days). But HC2 simply works as performant and pretty compact NAS and very important: it avoids common hardware hassles people would otherwise have (see my signature).
    Helios4 software support is excellent due to Armada 38x SoC used there being... an older design ;)

    God - I am so torn over this issue.

    For my particular needs, I think the Helios4 has the slight edge.

    However, I also hate fans. Just thinking outside the box, how easy would it be to somehow use the Helios4 with a 140mm PWM instead?

    Is it possible to turn off PWM fans completely when not needed?

  • I have some pictures and additional comments.

    I have also talked about the setup in other threads on the forum. See for instance:

    File managing within network to server
    Is the following idea worth setting up?

    I decided to put my HC2s in a bookcase, but I had to make sure there could be some air circulation for cooling. So I figured I could use a "chimney" through the book shelves. Hopefully the extra heat would be enough to give sufficient passive air circulation from the "chimney effect".

    So I got some PVC ventilation pipes. And halved them and split them to allow me to mount them in my book case.


    Then I drilled holes through most of the shelves. I figured a tall chimney would improve the "chimney effect" and improve the passive ventilation. So the HC2s goes on one of the lower shelves. Many big holes... A lot of saw dust... It is an IKEA Billy book case with glass doors and extra shelves.

    I put the holes in the back of the shelves. That way it is still possible to put books on the shelves to hide the pipes. Here are the pipes mounted in the book case:

    Next I installed the HC2s, the switch and the PSU. And a lot of cables. I tried to keep down the cable lengths. I use 25 cm long network cables. The downside of this is that the cables obscure the view of the blinking LEDS. Oh, well. I might get longer cables in the future and improve the looks with better cable management. Short cables are nice in themselves. Also I might use custom narrower shelves and/or some custom stand. But this works fine.

    Unfortunately my idea to use a chimney to get passive cooling without fans didn't work. With the glass doors closed the temperature became too high for my liking, even though there is a gap of a few mm around the doors and there is some passive cooling. But not enough. So I had to install a fan to improve the ventilation. I got an expensive ultra low noise 120 mm Noctua nf-a12x25-uln fan and installed it. Running at the lowest/most quiet speed of 900 rpm it provides more than enough cooling for all the HC2s while scanning media files and running all the backup scripts at the same time. And is inaudible one meter from the book case.

    Everything is run from one PSU. All the HC2s, the switch and a Asus Lyra WiFi mesh unit on top of the book case. So there is only one single power cord from the book case. But a lot of 12 volt cabling inside the book case... Here is the PSU:

    I'm not all that pleased with the looks of the setup. It could be improved. But at night it looks great with the blinking LEDs. Nice geek-factor, I recon. :D

    Be smart - be lazy. Clone your rootfs.
    OMV 5: 9 x Odroid HC2 + 1 x Odroid HC1 + 1 x Raspberry Pi 4

    Edited once, last by Adoby ().

  • what SD card you are using for OMV?

    He's using SanDisk A1. Grab those with best capacity/price ratio since the larger the card the later it wears out. Even if OMV will only utilize 8GB on an SD card one with e.g. 32 GB will last ~4 times longer compared to a card with just 8 GB.

    Some information on why A1 is important:…

  • I started off using Transcend 16GB Premium microSDHC Class 10 UHS-I. Then I figured out I needed at least two cards per HC2, for backups, and got some better Sandisk Ultra 32GB microsSDXC Class 10 U1, A1, FFP cards.

    Both types of cards works fine. I have seen several recommendations to only use A1 cards... The cards are hardly utilized at all in my setup, For ctrl I only use the boot-partition and have the root fs on the SSD.

    I have one case, but it is not in use. Since I have my HC2s behind glass doors in a book shelf they are pretty well protected. If I had them out in the open then a case (really just a lid) might be useful. I stack my HC2s so they act as lids for each other.

    I recommend that you get a very big good quality 24/7 NAS HDD for the HC2 as well. 8TB or more. HC2 with a huge HDD makes much more sense than with a small HDD. If I was to add another HC2 or if a HDD fail, I would most likely add a 14TB HDD. Most likely 3 years warranty, not 5. So perhaps a Seagate Ironwolf or similar, depending on price at the moment, but not a Seagate ironwolf Pro.

    Be smart - be lazy. Clone your rootfs.
    OMV 5: 9 x Odroid HC2 + 1 x Odroid HC1 + 1 x Raspberry Pi 4

  • That is great - thanks for that.

    Really good idea to get two identical SD cards - once everything is set up, I shall clone the second one. Is it advisable to periodically swap them over?

    When looking at which HDD to get, is it worth considering power usage? I am planning to have it spin down, when not in use, but it seems that there is quite a difference, between models, in terms of active and idle wattages.

  • Sure, power is important. I even reduced the clock speed on nas1-nas4 a little. They can still fully saturate GbE. With a lower clock speed the HC2 uses a little less power. And run a little cooler. I got this from some posts by @tkaiser. ;)

    But for ctrl I run at full speed...

    Be smart - be lazy. Clone your rootfs.
    OMV 5: 9 x Odroid HC2 + 1 x Odroid HC1 + 1 x Raspberry Pi 4

  • I've given names to my HC2s.

    ctrl has a 512GB Samsung SSD and runs Armbian and is used to run various software and access media and other data from nas1 and nas2.
    nas1 and nas2 both have 12TB Ironwolf HDDs and are used for media, documents and snapshots of other clients.
    nas3 and nas4 both have 8TB HDDs and are used for backups of important folders on nas1 and nas2.
    The shares on nas1-nas4 are named nas1-nas4. And IP:s are for ctrl and 101-104 for nas1-nas4. Makes things easy to keep track off...

    Cards <= 32 GB really are SDHC with fat32. Cards >32GB really are SDXC with exfat. So I think Amazon (and I) are wrong to call 32GB cards SDXC...

    This is the A1 cards I use:

    They were the chepest 32GB A1 cards I could find at the time. Ultra Plus A1 or Extreme/Extreme Gold A1 most likely are better...

    Be smart - be lazy. Clone your rootfs.
    OMV 5: 9 x Odroid HC2 + 1 x Odroid HC1 + 1 x Raspberry Pi 4

    Edited 6 times, last by Adoby ().

  • Problems along the way...

    Today my setup is very stable. I just check the snapshot folders on nas3 and nas4 to verify that everything is backed up OK.

    But there were some nasty problems along the way.

    There were problems with the SATA firmware. There were nasty clicks and clanks when the HDD was parked. And a bad counter in SMART were increased every time.

    This was fixed by updating the firmware for the USB/SATA bridge. Now I believe that new HC2s already has updated USB/SATA firmware.

    Also I had tons of problems in the beginning with disappearing HDDs. I almost gave up... This was connected to changing the HDD physical parameters in OMV. Parking/APM and so on. By not touching this at all everything was fine. But if I tried to modify disk parking time, for instance, then the disk disappeared. And I had to reinstall OMV from scratch. It was terrible. I started to backup the SD card before trying anything. Totally paranoid before any little change! That was how I discovered that the HDD physical params were a problem. It seems that some HDDs are incompatible with hdparm.

    I still wanted my HDDs to spin down. This can be set while reflashing the USB/SATA firmware. So there may be no need to reflash the USB/SATA firmware to update it to the latest version, but only to set the disk spin down time.

    Odroid hc2 diskparking on OMV4

    Be smart - be lazy. Clone your rootfs.
    OMV 5: 9 x Odroid HC2 + 1 x Odroid HC1 + 1 x Raspberry Pi 4

  • Perfect - thanks very much for this.

    I have ordered the HC2 (with a lid), and a couple of the cards you linked above.

    As soon as I get it, I am going to try it with a spare 1TB Samsung F3 Spinpoint, to make sure everything is working properly, before swapping this out for the 6TB WD Red that is currently in my main server.

    Hopefully, things will be find - if not, I know who to ask :).

    Thanks again.

  • Sorry, could I just ask one more thing, please?

    I should have said that I intend to install TVHeadend on the HC2.

    Is this going to cause unnecessary wear to the SD card?

    At the moment, in my current server, the OMV runs off an SSD.

    I use a webgrabber for my EPG (from Schedules Direct), which includes quite a bit of information - is this going to be a problem?

  • You should avoid using the SD-card for data that can change a lot. Like metadata for media, downloads, EPGs or databases.

    It is usually possible to change settings in the apps so that they store downloads/database/logs or other often changing stuff, in a folder on the HDD.

    If it is not possible to change the settings in the app, it is usually possible to figure out where the app store variable data. Then you can move that folder to the HDD and place a link to the new location instead of the moved folder. As far as the app is concerned, the data is where it is supposed to be.

    To link folders like this is also a good way to keep down the size of the root filesystem and remove the need to back it up between major re-configurations of the server. You try to just keep the system, settings and apps on the root filesystem. Data you keep on a separate HDD, possibly using linked folders, that you back up often.

    Many apps store their data somewhere under /var/lib or under /opt.

    The apps themselves can remain on the SD card, it is just the data that may need moving.

    But this is a little theoretical. I don't know how long a high quality SD-card can be expected to last if you abuse it with databases, downloads and often updated metadata. For instance a 32 GB Sandisk Ultra A1. It might last years? Or just weeks? If the card is very big, perhaps 128GB it might last longer. But is much more expensive... Could be a fun experiment...

    Be smart - be lazy. Clone your rootfs.
    OMV 5: 9 x Odroid HC2 + 1 x Odroid HC1 + 1 x Raspberry Pi 4

  • For instance a 32 GB Sandisk Ultra A1. It might last years? Or just weeks?

    Impossible to answer without knowing the storage write pattern. If 'Write Amplification' is rather high the same amount of data to be written at the block device layer can result in 1,000 times more data to be written at the flash layer. A rather simple example:…findComment&comment=50833

    When doing such an experiment with flash storage I would choose an SSD that provides the appropriate SMART attributes. Some SSD expose the amount of data the host sent and also the amount of data that had to be written in reality. With such a SSD you can easily examine how high Write Amplification with a specific application will be.

    Some rather expensive SD cards support SMART and eMMC specs provide an attribute reading out 'device health'. With all the eMMC I checked this attribute was always set to the starting value no matter how much has been written to the eMMC.

    TL;DR: don't redirect heavy write activity to low-end flash storage like SD cards, USB pen drives or eMMC but only SSDs that provide the relevant SMART attributes to check for real wear out (there are three different layers involved and we as users can only look at the two rather irrelevant ones if the flash storage product does not expose its internals).

  • Thanks for that - would it perhaps be possible to instead run OMV off an SSD, connected to the USB port on the HC2?

    Sure, that might work. You still need the SD-card for boot and it may be a bit fiddly (= I wouldn't even consider trying) to move the root filesystem from the card to a USB drive.

    But I advice against it if you can move variable data from the card to the HDD instead.

    USB is not very reliable. The connectors may get bumped by mistake. You might need an extra power supply for the SSD in order to avoid problems with low power. It looks ugly. 8|

    ...and you may want to use the USB port for external backups.

    Be smart - be lazy. Clone your rootfs.
    OMV 5: 9 x Odroid HC2 + 1 x Odroid HC1 + 1 x Raspberry Pi 4

    Edited once, last by Adoby ().

  • Bit of an update - from my research, it would seem that TVHeadend mainly operates in RAM and users have noticed little impact on their SD cards.

    One other thing I forgot to mention is that I also use my current server to host a MYSQL database, that is shared by all my Kodi clients, to sync watched statuses.

    I am guessing that this is going to have negligible impact on the SD card either.

  • Backup the root file system / SD card.

    I had problems with drives that disappeared when I asked OMV to use hdparm to set physical disk properties like spindown time. It appears that some HDDs are not compatible with hdparm.

    Anyway I couldn't figure out how to recover so I ended up reinstalling OMV again and again. That was a serious drag. So I decided to backup the SD card before any changes. That way I could pinpoint the hdparm problem rather quickly.

    To make backups of the SD card I remove it and plop it into the card reader on my Linux laptop. And run a script. To restore I do the same.

    Details are in this thread: New to OMV and Linux

    (As I answer questions I have answered before, about how I use my HC2s, I write a short post here, with a link to that other post. That way this thread becomes more of a reference for me and hopefully other HC2 users as well.)

    Be smart - be lazy. Clone your rootfs.
    OMV 5: 9 x Odroid HC2 + 1 x Odroid HC1 + 1 x Raspberry Pi 4

  • Hi, Adoby

    You mention somewhere that you are/were using a single power supply for all your devices. Can you please share which model you are using and anything particular about this set up?

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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