Best SBC with a NVMe for a NAS?

I don’t have a lot of experience with the SBC market and it’s tricky to dig up all the options…

If anyone can help i’m looking for the best single board computer for running stock Debian Buster out of the box (not Raspbian or Armbian), boot to an onboard NVMe slot and act as a LAN port connect NAS. Preferably a device without embedded wireless or Bluetooth.

Why stock Debian?
I’m trying to minimize the layers of 3rd party intervention between the OS and the hardware for the sake of security, simplicity and ease of management.

Thank you DLNC,

Edit: Quick note, stock Debian requires a x32 or amd64 processor, i’m open to an ARM solution if the hardware/price ratio is just way superior but amd64 is preferred

I can only think of one option that might fit your bill. Although I don’t know how well Debian Buster runs on it.

I’m thinking of the Radxa Rock Pi 4 Model B.

Here’s some specs of it:

  • RK3399 based SoC (6 cores)
  • Up to 4 GB Dual Channel 3200 MHz LDDR4 RAM
  • 2,4 and 5 Ghz AC wifi and Bluetooth 5.0
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2x USB 3 ports
  • 2x USB 2 ports
  • 40 PIN GPIO
  • M.2 connector with support for 2TB M.2 SSD
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I am not aware of any single board computers with an NVMe slot, but there are lots with USB 3.0. You could get a USB 3.0 to NMVe adapter and plug it in. Most now days seem to have gone to eMMC slot because the boards are getting smaller, or trying to get more stuff on the boards. I have noticed many boards are starting to use the abandoned mini HDMI port now. I say “abandoned” because back a few years ago, many devices like tablets had a mini HDMI port, then they all disappeared from using it.

I am sure it also won’t be long before they start using USB Type C with USB 3.1 due to smaller size port, and faster speed.

For NAS, I would not be using Buster. Instead use the already pre-made OpenMediaVault which is built for all sorts of storage options. It even includes a web interface.

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NanoPC-T4 seems to be a good contender too on the ARM font.

http://wiki.friendlyarm.com/wiki/index.php/NanoPC-T4

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Yeah, that seems to be about the same hardware as the Rock Pi 4. :slight_smile:

The main thing I like about the NanoPC-T4 is the NVMe drive can be installed underneath where the Rock Pi 4 needs a special shield to mount it with an extender.

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I saved OpenMediaVault to check out later, thank you for the recommendation Trent I may pass it on.

The reason I want basic Linux is because all I need is rsync over sshfs so going more extravagant unnecessarily increases my attack surface. This is obviously total overkill but best practice is best when practiced.

@ulfnic, be warned that OpenMediaVault is not a pure Debian. It takes stock Debian, then creates top-level folders that are not DFSG-compatible. It also might do some deep magic with apt-pinning. OpenMediaVault does things Its Own Way. So be wary of any “sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade”. You are placing total trust in any apt-pinning being thought through by an enlightened master, effectively. Backing up the whole OS first is advisable, if you are on an ARM board. For real!

If you really want to use OpenMediaVault, I strongly suggest you stick with AMD64. If your NAS is simpler, and requires only, say, Syncthing, then ARM would be great. I see you only want rsync and sshfs. I would suggest checking out Syncthing, as I’m not too keen on sshfs.

I learned all of the above the hard way (on OMV4), myself, and my learning experiences are on the Armbian and OpenMediaVault forums. Watch out for the “Enlightened DragonSlayer” on those forums as well. :wink: He’s the one who will correct you harshly, if you aren’t as experienced as he is.

I would further advise anyone entering the SBC world of non-Raspberry Pi boards to lurk around in the Armbian forums (amd perhaps others?), to get the current lowdown on any prospective board. Any hardware feature which does not have mainline kernel support should be scrutinized carefully, and doubted by default, IMHO.

Here’s the rule of thumb I use on Armbian’s download page: if a given board is “Supported” (their term), and the kernel version is the latest LTS, and there is a green bar (not orange or red) saying “Stable”, then it’s safe for “non-Dragonslayers” to proceed.

But even then, Armbian is not the pure Debian you were looking for. To meet all your objectives simply, I would just say stick with AMD64 somehow, and pay a little more if necessary.

Nice find. (Edit: upon closer look, I wish Udoo would not have picked Realtek for their GbE.)

At the end of the day, this might be the best option, in the sense of being worth paying more to skip any and all hassles which the ARM world introduces (including all the excruciating investigation which is needed to fulfil “Due Diligence”).

@ulfnic, I think your original list of requirements are praiseworthy, and paying more in order to fulfil that list is to make a statement of the worth of these praiseworthy ideals.

Just bringing this current for anyone else finding this question:

AMD64 SBCs with NVMe:

ROCK Pi X - Intel Z8350 (32/64bit), 1GB/2GB/4GB RAM - specs - shop.allnetchina.cn (thank you Trent)

LattePanda (thank you astronautsupplier)

  • LattePanda Alpha 864s, Intel Core M3-8100Y, 8GB RAM - specs
  • LattePanda Alpha 800s, Intel Core M3-8100Y, 8GB RAM - specs
  • LattePanda Delta 432, Intel Celeron N4100, 4GB - specs

Odyssey X86, Intel Celeron J4105, 8GB RAM - specs

Pine64 ARM SBCs with NVMe:

ROCK PI 4 - RK3399, 1GB/2GB/4GB RAM - specs (thank you Strit)
NanoPC-T4 - RK3399, 4GB RAM - specs
NanoPi M4B, RK3399, 2GB RAM - specs, requires NVMe hat
NanoPi M4V2, RK3399, 4GB RAM - specs, requires NVMe hat

Other ARM SBCs with NVMe:

Banana Pi BPI R64, MediaTek MTK MT7622, 1GB RAM - specs
Raspberry Pi Compute Model 4 using the TOFU Carrier

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I, for one, find the CM4 + TOFU carrier intriguing, however, at this point, one must 3D-print a plastic case.

ZimaBoard 216, Intel Celeron N3350 (Quad core 2.2ghz), 2GB RAM - specs
ZimaBoard 432, Intel Celeron N3450 (Quad core 2.4ghz), 4GB RAM - specs
ZimaBoard 832, Intel Celeron N3450 (Quad core 2.4ghz), 8GB RAM - specs

Requiring an NVMe PCIe card plugged into it’s PCIe x4 slot.

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LattePanda 3 Delta - Intel Celeron N5105 (Quad core 2.9ghz), 8GB RAM - specs
w/ native M.2 B-Key supporting NVMe

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Nice link…

I think the price is right, but no obvious case, and ships from China (importing through customs is cumbersome and expensive).

A new board also popped up recently from Hardkernel.

The Odroid M1.

Onboard M.2 slot for NVMe drive.

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A little note about these.

None of those boards are actually from Pine64.
Rock Pi 4 are from Radxa and Nano boards are from FriendlyARM.

The only Pine64 boards that have nvme capabilities, would be RockPro64 (with pcie adapter), Quartz64 Model A (with pcie adapter) and Quartz64 Model B.

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I picked up one of these recently and couldn’t be happier:

There is a DietPi image for it now, which is what I set it up with (kind of a stripped-down Debian), but there is a stock Debian image for it too.