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)
Name Raspberry Pi model B Hackberry CuBox Ordroid U2 sheevaplug
CPU Arm11 @700 Mhz (Armv6) Arm Cortex A8 @1200Mhz (Arm v7) Arm PJ4 @800 Mhz (Arm v7) Quad core Arm Cortex-A9 @1700 Mhz Arm9e @1200Mhz (Arm v5)
Speed compare to Pentium 2 300Mhz / Via C7 Atom n230 ? core 2 duo @1200Mhz Pentium 2 300Mhz / Via C7
Ram 512 Mb 1 Gb 1 Gb 2 Gb 512 Mb
Network 10/100 Mbps 10/100 Mbps + Wifi n 10/100/1000 Mbps 10/100 Mbps 10/100/1000 Mbps
USB 2 2 0 2 2 1
SD / MicroSD Sdcard Sdcard MicroSD MicroSD Sdcard
(Micro) HDMI Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Audio (RCA/Jack) Yes Yes No Yes No
eSata / Sata No No Yes No Yes
Others RCA for video Composite, Serial Spdif, microUsb microUsb microUsb
Supported OS Debian, archlinux, RiscOS Debian, Android Debian, archlinux, ubuntu, Android Android, Ubuntu, Fedora, community Debian Ubuntu, Debian, Archlinux
Idea of usage OpenVPN, Domotic, small web server Webserver, domotic, OpenVPN Nas with additional services (search, upnp, etc.) Strong Webserver Nas with simple additional services (upnp, etc.), domotic
Where to Buy http://www.kubii.fr https://www.miniand.com http://www.solid-run.com/ http://www.hardkernel.com https://www.globalscaletechnologies.com
Original price 37.99€ $65 $119 $89 $99
Full price with Case and power supply 56.06€ No case $119 $98 $99
Final Full Price 64.71€ 99€ 174€ 149€ 144€


Here come 2 new challengers (edited on 08.03.2013):

Name cubieboard pandaboard
CPU Arm Cortex A8 @1000Mhz (Arm v7) Dual Arm Cortex A9 @1200Mhz (omap 4)
Speed compare to Atom n230 little less than atom z530
Ram 1 Gb 1 Gb
Network 10/100 Mbps 10/100 Mbps
USB 2 2 2
SD / MicroSD MicroSd Sdcard
(Micro) HDMI Yes Yes
Audio (RCA/Jack) Yes Yes
eSata / Sata Yes No
Others microUsb, 1 IR microUsb
Supported OS Ubuntu, debian, android Ubuntu, debian, android
Idea of usage webserver, domoticr good webserver
Where to Buy http://www.aliexpress.com http://tigal.com
Original price $49.9 149€
Full price with Case and power supply $72.9 200€
Final Full Price 85€ 211€

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.