Hardware : which ARM mini-pc to replace an x86 server ?

I actually have an x86 server (based on an Intel Atom N330) that consumes around 40W. As ARM based mini-pc offer is growing, I selected some devices that are eligible to replace my x86 server.

I’m not going to replace my actual server with only one Arm mini-pc : I’m more on replacing each OpenVZ container I use by an Arm device. Even with 3 Arm mini-pcs, I will devide by 2 or more the power consumption with at least the same computing power (if not more).

Bellow is a comparison sheet I made, based on my following ideas and expectations:

  • I don’t look anything with less than 512 Mb RAM (think about flash storage optimization and native linux file cache mecanism)
  • I don’t look anything without an ethernet port (I don’t like wifi for servers, nor usb2ethernet)
  • I tried to estimate the approximate computing power to compare against well known x86 processors (but I know that it really depends on real usage…)
  • A NAS can only be done with a gigabit ethernet and sata/e-sata port (full hd mkv streaming, big files transfert throught dual channel wifi, etc.)
  • Final price should be estimated with delivery cost, local taxes and money (France, Euro)
  • Linux support (at least debian or archlinux)
NameRaspberry Pi model BHackberryCuBoxOrdroid U2sheevaplug
CPUArm11 @700 Mhz (Armv6)Arm Cortex A8 @1200Mhz (Arm v7)Arm PJ4 @800 Mhz (Arm v7)Quad core Arm Cortex-A9 @1700 MhzArm9e @1200Mhz (Arm v5)
Speed compare toPentium 2 300Mhz / Via C7Atom n230?core 2 duo @1200MhzPentium 2 300Mhz / Via C7
Ram512 Mb1 Gb1 Gb2 Gb512 Mb
Network10/100 Mbps10/100 Mbps + Wifi n10/100/1000 Mbps10/100 Mbps10/100/1000 Mbps
USB 220221
SD / MicroSDSdcardSdcardMicroSDMicroSDSdcard
(Micro) HDMIYesYesYesYesNo
Audio (RCA/Jack)YesYesNoYesNo
eSata / SataNoNoYesNoYes
OthersRCA for videoComposite, SerialSpdif, microUsbmicroUsbmicroUsb
Supported OSDebian, archlinux, RiscOSDebian, AndroidDebian, archlinux, ubuntu, AndroidAndroid, Ubuntu, Fedora, community DebianUbuntu, Debian, Archlinux
Idea of usageOpenVPN, Domotic, small web serverWebserver, domotic, OpenVPNNas with additional services (search, upnp, etc.)Strong WebserverNas with simple additional services (upnp, etc.), domotic
Where to Buyhttp://www.kubii.frhttps://www.miniand.comhttp://www.solid-run.com/http://www.hardkernel.comhttps://www.globalscaletechnologies.com
Original price37.99€$65$119$89$99
Full price with Case and power supply56.06€No case$119$98$99
Final Full Price64.71€99€174€149€144€


Here come 2 new challengers (edited on 08.03.2013):

CPUArm Cortex A8 @1000Mhz (Arm v7)Dual Arm Cortex A9 @1200Mhz (omap 4)
Speed compare toAtom n230little less than atom z530
Ram1 Gb1 Gb
Network10/100 Mbps10/100 Mbps
USB 222
SD / MicroSDMicroSdSdcard
(Micro) HDMIYesYes
Audio (RCA/Jack)YesYes
eSata / SataYesNo
OthersmicroUsb, 1 IRmicroUsb
Supported OSUbuntu, debian, androidUbuntu, debian, android
Idea of usagewebserver, domoticrgood webserver
Where to Buyhttp://www.aliexpress.comhttp://tigal.com
Original price$49.9149€
Full price with Case and power supply$72.9200€
Final Full Price85€211€

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