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$85 dev server

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by ForestForTrees, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. ForestForTrees

    ForestForTrees Well-Known Member

    For $37, you can get an Odroid C1 from their official North American supplier (or other site). Some specs:
    You have to supply your own power supply ($6 from same supplier), microSD or eMMC card, HDMI cable, microHDMI adapter, case ($5 from same supplier), and clock battery ($3, for when the power goes out). Plus shipping.

    I'm planning on getting the next level up, the U3, pre-installed XUbuntu 14.04 on a 32gig fast eMMC card. It's got 2 gigs of ram and weighs 50g.

    I don't know if it can really run XF for real, and I'm mostly just getting it to have a linux box to play with. I'm thinking of running it without a display and just programming and installing software via SSH. But I'm pretty tickled by the overall deal. Even with the case on, the dimensions will be 87 x 52 x 29mm, and power consumption is on the order of 2-4 watts.

    Anyone tried this? Thoughts?
    eberkund likes this.
  2. rainmotorsports

    rainmotorsports Well-Known Member

    Heh i was just thinking the other day id grab the cheapo ($60) version of my windows tablet to act as a server if it wasnt for the fact that I cant remove windows from it. But yeah i think some people for some odd reason like to take Raspberry Pi like devices and run them as servers. For a real dev environment I prefer to have it on my laptop instead.

    http://www.microcenter.com/product/439773/TW70CA17_Tablet_-_Black I mean you can get a 10,000 mah usb battery from OnePlusOne (not yet) as a battery back for $15. Would be fun but once again cant really run only linux. Windows is stuck on it.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  3. ForestForTrees

    ForestForTrees Well-Known Member

    Wow, from a hardware perspective, that pretty much blows me away, with a 1.3 GHz quad core CPU, a full gig of ram and a touch screen for just $60. I think that it is the mobile explosion that is driving the pretty amazing deals on the Linux single board computers. Basically, they use the cheap and amazing components designed for tablets or phones and slap Linux on it. ... works for me: cheap, low power, and fast.

    Performance-wise, the odroid seems to blow the Raspberry out of the water. Here are some stats from the manufacturer about the U3:
    There are a bunch of third party benchmarks out there, and the sense I get is that the Odroid is amazing on the CPU performance, but poor on graphics. That works just fine for me, as I expect to be accessing it primarily through SSH.

    I'm just thrilled to have a play machine that I don't depend upon that I can make radical changes to without a second thought. I've got so many apps on my laptop that I know and depend upon that I'm not quite ready to switch to Linux. Perhaps when I'm ready to get a desktop, I'll do that. Even so, it'll be nice to have a fairly capable second machine. It has twice as much RAM as the VPS I got my first two million XF pageviews on. And it fits in my pocket. :)
  4. ForestForTrees

    ForestForTrees Well-Known Member

    BTW, thanks for replying, @rainmotorsports.

    For anyone interested, I found a super simple review that I trusted of the $37 version on Reddit:

    The reviewed unit is the $37 quad core one with 1 gig RAM (I'll be getting a more expensive one with 2 gig ram).

    Also found on Reddit, entitled, "My Odriod U3 running archlinux turned into a webserver (also lets me do ssh tunneling)"
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  5. ForestForTrees

    ForestForTrees Well-Known Member

    I just thought I'd provide an update. My ODROID just arrived and I absolutely love it.

    It boots to the Lubuntu graphical desktop in 20 seconds and it can do pretty much whatever a regular low-spec desktop computer can do. I'm posting this from within the GUI using Chromium and everything feels pretty snappy. Load is averaging between .2 and .8, depending on what I'm doing.

    But it's about the size of my hand, so it doesn't take much desktop space and runs on several watts of energy, so I don't mind leaving it on all the time. Specs: 8 ARM cores, 2gigs ram, 32 gig eMMC5 SSD, 64gig SD card, USB3, HDMI:

    Hardware-wise, it's similar to a Samsung S5 phone. The 8 cores are in a big.LITTLE configuration running at 1.8Ghz(A15) & 1.3Ghz(A7), respectively. That means that it can swap jobs from the faster processor to the slower one when it wants.

    So far, I've got sshd, x11vnc and nginx/php-fpm running on it. I'm terribly impressed with nginx's performance, but I'm off for a week's vacation and terribly busy, so it'll be a while before I can install my full site on the ODROID to document it's performance via a screencast. (we're talking a month at least.) My hope is to use my PC to surf the local version of my mediawiki/xenforo site while running TightVNC in another window monitoring htop on the server and recording everything using Screencast-O-Matic on the PC's screen. Then I can hammer the server via my browser and see how htop responds.

    So far, I'm really impressed with these ARM-based computers. I wouldn't be surprised if this tiny little thing could handle my 120,000 pageview/month main XF/mediawiki site in production. Sure, things might be a bit slower, but the performance I've seen so far has really impressed me.

    BTW, my unit is probably 2-4 times faster than the new $35 Raspberry Pi 2 that came out today. They and they are marketing that as a legitimate desktop computer as well:

    Speaking to The Register last week, foundation head honcho Eben Upton said: "I think it's a usable PC now. It was always the case that you could use a Raspberry Pi 1 as a PC but you had to say 'this is a great PC in so far as it cost me 35 bucks'. We've removed the caveat that you had to be a bit forgiving with it. Now it's just good."
  6. ForestForTrees

    ForestForTrees Well-Known Member

    Here's a htop screenshot from Tightvnc:

    It looks a little distorted since I haven't had a chance to tweak x11vnc yet (it arrived right before a vacation, so everything is rushed).

    Load is up at .87 presumably because x11vnc is running now. But none of the cores are at more than 8.8% and 3 are just idling.

    Time to fill those cores up with nginx and PHP processes.... :)
  7. Sheratan

    Sheratan Well-Known Member

    Quad core? So it's ARMv7?

    RaspberryPi is 1 core (correct me) ARMv6 700mhz 512MB RAM

    2nd gen Raspberry Pi is quad core ARMv7 900mhz 1GB RAM
  8. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

  9. ForestForTrees

    ForestForTrees Well-Known Member

    Yup, that's my understanding.

    The ODROID XU3 lite that I purchased has 2 gigs of RAM and 4 cores at 1.8 GHz and 4 cores at 1.3GHz. I'm quite impressed with it, but I don't know as much about the Raspberries because I decided early on that I wanted a more powerful one that would more closely approximate 2 gig VPS that my forum and other sites run on.

    I ended up getting an ODROID XU3 lite. It's System On a Chip (SOC) is a Samsung Exynos5422. That includes a Cortex-A15 quad core CPU (1.8GHz) and a Cortex-A7 quad core CPU (1.3 GHz). Both of those CPUs use the ARMv7-A architecture. Visit this link for more details:
    It costs $105 and I absolutely love it.

    Earlier in the thread I also mentioned two other boards from ODROID, but I didn't buy them. Those boards cost less than the XU3 lite that I ended up getting. Like I said, I got the XU3 lite, with specifications above.

    The Raspberrry Pi 2, which is popping up on the news recently since it was launched today has a single Cortex-A7 quad core (9oo MHz). You can read more about the Raspberry Pi 2 here:
    It costs $35
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015

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