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Excito B3 Mini ARM Powered Server

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  • Excito B3 Mini ARM Powered Server

    Phoronix: Excito B3 Mini ARM Powered Server

    Many interesting things come from Sweden whether it is Tunnbrödsrulle to Glögg to IKEA, but how well are these wonderful people able to create compact, home servers? After reviewing the CodeLathe TonidoPlug and PogoPlug, Excito, a company from Limhamn asked if we would be interested in checking out their new Linux-based home server, the B3. With that said, here is the review of the Excito B3 home server, which is actually a rather exciting device with its capabilities ranging from being a Bit Torrent download server to a home router with web serving capabilities.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=15405

  • #2
    Originally posted by phoronix View Post
    Phoronix: Excito B3 Mini ARM Powered Server

    Many interesting things come from Sweden whether it is Tunnbrödsrulle to Glögg to IKEA, but how well are these wonderful people able to create compact, home servers? After reviewing the CodeLathe TonidoPlug and PogoPlug, Excito, a company from Limhamn asked if we would be interested in checking out their new Linux-based home server, the B3. With that said, here is the review of the Excito B3 home server, which is actually a rather exciting device with its capabilities ranging from being a Bit Torrent download server to a home router with web serving capabilities.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=15405
    Is the boot loader unlocked? granted if it's running vanilla debian there isn't much need to reinstall. Also is the clib, uclibc or glibc?

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    • #3
      no "phoronix approved" mark???

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      • #4
        Wifi chipset?

        Can you provide more info about the Wifi controller? Model, brand, and manufacturer, please.

        I'm also curious if this can be configured as an access point (wifi router) or station (for bridging local LAN with another LAN wirelessly). My first assumption is that the wifi is used to connect the server to a wifi router.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jakubo View Post
          no "phoronix approved" mark???
          they don't pay for it

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          • #6
            Hi,

            Let me start of by saying that I work for Excito.

            Originally posted by cynyr View Post
            Is the boot loader unlocked? granted if it's running vanilla debian there isn't much need to reinstall. Also is the clib, uclibc or glibc?
            The bootloader, u-boot, is indeed unlocked. The problem is most likely more the problem reaching it. (It's available on the serial console.)

            B3 uses a regular glibc as shipped by the Debian folks.

            /Tor

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            • #7
              Originally posted by box of rox View Post
              Can you provide more info about the Wifi controller? Model, brand, and manufacturer, please.
              B3 as shipped today uses an Atheros chip, AR9280.

              I'm also curious if this can be configured as an access point (wifi router) or station (for bridging local LAN with another LAN wirelessly). My first assumption is that the wifi is used to connect the server to a wifi router.
              The Wifi on B3 is used in AP mode to support the built in router. (One could of course configure it in station mode from the command line. But the UI only supports AP mode.)

              /Tor

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              • #8
                This looks really nice. I'm using an old computer that consumes at least 10x more power for most of the tasks that this little server can handle. The only thing that is missing is the possibility of installing 2 hard drives. If it allowed this and there was an option for buying it without any drives at all it would be the perfect server. I already have 2x500gb HDDs on my current server, and these would go to waste.

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                • #9
                  I purchased this summer a Sheeva plug, which is quite similar in the specs and connectivity (just one less ethernet and no wifi). But it definitely fulfills my needs, even though it's more of a development kit than a final product. So I use Webmin to administrate it.

                  What is missing on the Sheevaplug is a power button, I like to shut everything down when I go to sleep and put it on when I wake. With my internet box and shared usb printer it makes around 50W, and I see no use keeping it on. So its more convenient to have a power button to shut it down without a computer.

                  What about NFS ? I configured both NFS and samba on my plug, NFS has the advantage to have damn small overhead, and I reach great throughput like 50-60MBps symmetrical. Samba is more around 40MBps, but I've only spent small time configuring it. Even though NFS is not that interesting in home conf, it can be preferred to some, and it would be interesting to see some benchmarks.

                  Can the wifi be totally disabled, and save some wattage like on laptops ?

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                  • #10
                    Looks real nice, but for $400, my dual atom server was just over half the price for, at worst, the same specs. I can appreciate the form factor and DC power pack as a cause for the price premium, however.

                    I like that you can get root access. Is the OS running off the hard drive or some sort of embedded flash? I'd be worried about borking the install somehow and having no recourse to reloading the OS.

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                    • #11
                      I wonder how the performance is compared to the cheap Via thin clients available. Around the same cpu freq, but x86, and rated around 15-25W.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by curaga View Post
                        I wonder how the performance is compared to the cheap Via thin clients available. Around the same cpu freq, but x86, and rated around 15-25W.
                        Actually had a VIA Eden I was going to compare the performance to, but I may have killed the B3 this morning from overheating after running 12 hours worth of compiler tests on it... Still investigating.
                        Michael Larabel
                        http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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                        • #13
                          Wow! This looks really interesting, although I never heard of the company!

                          Going with Debian and allowing full control of the software stack is always highly appreciated and builds up trust towards the manufacturer. (Also does when an employee comes to Phoronix to answer questions.)

                          I have only one problem, though. Provided that I am looking for a file server / AP combo it looks a nice solution, but how do I connect several disks to it? For example I would like to use 4-5 HDDs, then I can use the eSata and USB ports, but I still need lots of external drive cases which means a huge amount of (unnecessary) plugs. So what I would like to see is this device with a much bigger case for lots of HDDs.
                          Or am I missing something?

                          Originally posted by Michael View Post
                          Actually had a VIA Eden I was going to compare the performance to, but I may have killed the B3 this morning from overheating after running 12 hours worth of compiler tests on it... Still investigating.
                          You really are crazy!

                          But unfortunately I think that this also means that I should not install BOINC on it... pity.

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                          • #14
                            Does it support a SATA multiplexer?

                            http://www.addonics.com/products/hos.../ad5sapm-e.asp

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by locovaca View Post
                              Looks real nice, but for $400, my dual atom server was just over half the price for, at worst, the same specs. I can appreciate the form factor and DC power pack as a cause for the price premium, however.
                              I agree. For about $500 (mostly due to the cost of buying raid harddisks ~ $200) I was able to get a Atom d525 (dual core, 64-bit chipset, server motherboard), 500GB RAID (2x500GB), a big case (only bad thing about the server), and 2 GB ram. So the only advantage this machine has over the one I build is that it is tinny (good for a home server).

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