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I have been working, for the past few years, with armv7 SOCs and have a number of servers working.

Intel, etal are catching up with ARM and I have seen ones like:

I am looking for a low power (this is 10W) x86_64 board that has at least 2 core and 2GB memory. A single LAN port, a few USB and sata (not mSata) that supports a 1TB drive (2.5″, 5V is just fine).

Oh, and for ~$100 :)

Case is not necessary, as I can put it in my rack like these:

(goal is to replace that SFF to the left).

It looks like Qotom might have one. It is a bit challenging to figure out which units have what.

thanks for any pointers.

14 thoughts on - Mini PCs

  • Hello Walter,

    This might become off-topic with my reply, but I’m curious: is there any specific software you’re running from CentOS on your zbox in order to manage the rooter features?

    I currently use, between my xDSL box and my LAN machines, an ATX-format box running a pretty old GNU/Linux system with a Jay’s Firewall setup but I’d like to replace it w/ a fanless small barebone like the Zotac CI327: minimum hardware and cost but it has 2 LAN connectors – that’s my point for rooting at home: WAN < -> xDSL modem < -> rooter-linux-box < ->
    LAN < -> local machines.


  • SSH?

    this zbox has in comparison to the CI323 a different CPU, which I don’t know if this is supported by CentOS
    (I didn’t mention, that I use CentOS 6 …)

  • Hello Walter,

    I think I’ve been unclear, sorry about that! I wanted to ask if you use something, any helper installed on this rooter box, on top of firewalld/iptables, in order to setup and administrate the NAT/rooting
    (and eventually proxy) rules?

    That’s a good point to check, you’re right, support for this CPU in either CentOS6 or 7.


  • I’ve configured it quite simple …

    ifcfg-eth0 and ifcfg-wlan0 have this: BRIDGE=br0
    ifcfg-br0 is LAN (Dual-Stack)
    ifcfg-eth1 is WAN (IPv4only)
    ifcfg-sit1 is an HE IPv6 tunnel (IPv6only)

    /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf has this:

    /etc/sysconfig/ip(6)tables have at the last lines this:

    # Log all other
    -A INPUT -j LOG –log-prefix “IP(v6)[IN]: ” –log-level 7
    -A FORWARD -j LOG –log-prefix “IP(v6)[FWD]: ” –log-level 7
    -A OUTPUT -j LOG –log-prefix “IP(v6)[OUT]: ” –log-level 7

    there runs a cronjob every hour, which sends an email like this:
    dmesg |grep -e “IP(v6)\[” |

    for DNS a BIND is configured as caching DNS, and as authoritative master for my domain …

    an Apache is configured only for some status pages like output of
    ‘ifconfig’, ‘df’, ‘free’, ‘ip(6)tables -L -n -v’, ‘uptime’

    I programmed some simple network diagnostic:
    – traceroute(6) and ping(6) to a given dns/ip-host
    – nslookup of a given dns-name

    this is only reachable from LAN side; as I have a VM that runs a squid with SSL-interception, I made a mini-CA, the root is installed on my computers, one intermediate CA is used by squid, the other intermediate CA is used for signing a SSL certificate which I use on LAN side of my zbox or on my intranet (e.g. squirrel)

    to reach my squirrel, the apache does proxying …

    when there is the need of changing firewall rules, I manually edit the files and reload ip(6)tables …

    it is somewhat very individual, I’m thinking of sending SMS messages on special situations, e.g. the WAN IP address has changed (this happens about 2-3 times in a year)

    that’s all

  • Thanks, Nux!.

    But a few hours late. I just purchased:

    Zotac has been in the mini/nano PC business for a number of years, and this is a good price for the AD12.

    I will probably swap the 320Gb drive out for my 1Tb drive, but as the unit comes with eSATA, I have to decide to perhaps get an eSATA adapter for the 1TB or what. My backup drive is USB, but I have had some I/O
    problems with it (my earlier post), so I may switch my backup drive to eSATA.

    I will post power and other numbers here when I get the unit.


  • The data I have found shows it varying from 10W idle to 26W under load.

    Once I get it up, I will put it on my kill-a-watt and get a reading and average consumption.

    The HP dc7600 pulls 84W idle. So at $0.165/KWH, I am forecasting a 12mo ROI (paid $100 refurbished).

    Plus the lower heat and thus summer cooling.

    Plus the longer run time on my UPS, if needed.

  • If it had two (or more) network ports, I’d be all over it. A single gigabit nic is a bit limiting for me.

  • I was fed up with Intel NUC’s, and after one of them died ultimately, I
    replaced it with:

    Admittedly, it somewhat bigger, somewhat heavier, but it is built like tank, it has more than one ethernet port, has room inside for 2.5 inch drive/SSD, and has two mini-PCI slots (can accept mSATA drives). And I am happy about that box ever since.


    Valeri Galtsev Sr System Administrator Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics University of Chicago Phone: 773-702-4247

  • The Nano AD12 arrived today. Swapped out the 320GB drive for my 1TB
    drive, plugged it into my kill-a-watt and booted up to do the install.

    On idle I am seeing 10W. So far, disk I/O (plus whatever processes run for the install) did not push it past 15W.

    So my power goal seems to be met by this unit.

    Will see how it goes.