Single-Board Computers (Raspberry Pi, CHIP, Bananas, Mojitos)

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fu
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Single-Board Computers (Raspberry Pi, CHIP, Bananas, Mojitos)

Unread postby fu » Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:44 am

are you guys familiar with those tiny things?

i’m looking for one to pack a credit-card-size router/wifi/vpn/sftp/cardav server. reading online i see that:

-the raspberry pi has the most dedicated/helpful community and they actually develop drivers for the tiny thing.

-there’s a gazillion of other makes/names, they all run some bastardized version of lunix and most likely they won't be fun for anyone who cannot write his own driver.

i can do all of the router/wifi/vpn/sftp/cardav server with openwrt on my router and i was once able to install irix on the crybaby o2 in half an hour but no i cannot write my own device driver.

my confusion started with hardware and the associated specs. my router’s specs are:

Code: Select all

Architecture:   MIPS MIPS 74Kc
Vendor:   Qualcomm Atheros
Bootloader:   U-Boot
System-On-Chip:   AR9344 (MIPS)
CPU/Speed   560 MHz
Flash-Chip:   Spansion FL064KIF
Flash size:   8192 KiB
RAM:   128 MiB
Wireless No1:   Atheros AR9340 2.4GHz 802.11bgn
Wireless No2:   Atheros AR9582 5GHz 802.11an
Switch:   Atheros AR8327N Gigabit Switch
USB:   Yes 2 x 2.0 (GL850G chip - 4 ports capable)


and it does all i need the small box to do. all 3 routers are up and running for years, never had any problem so far. however, to my understanding, those single-board computers are more computer-esque rather than router-esque in terms of OS optimisation (or whatever you call it). so the ones that won’t run openwrt out of the box, will most likely come with some full-blown version of lunix: gui, bells, dinosaurs and that 1GB ram limit will likely start behaving funny.

my requirements are:
  • small-size (must fit in the backpack with the basics),
  • durable case (this will spend most of its life outdoors),
  • 2 network interfaces (1 eth / 1 wifi),
  • muscles to handle openvpn/ssh tunnels,
  • compatible with openwrt (i can manage this myself just fine, yay!).

what would you suggest?


update: baseline specs + requirements
Last edited by fu on Sat Mar 26, 2016 3:31 am, edited 2 times in total.

robespierre
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Re: New MIPS desktop

Unread postby robespierre » Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:26 am

fu wrote:i’m looking for one to pack a credit-card-size router/wifi/vpn/sftp/cardav server.

PC Engines APU.1D running pfSense. All industry-standard hardware, no special drivers needed. It is slightly bigger than a credit card...

-the raspberry pi has the most dedicated/helpful community and they actually develop drivers for the tiny thing.

As a router?? ethernet performance is horrible

-there’s a gazillion of other makes/names, they all run some bastardized version of lunix and most likely they won't be fun for anyone who cannot write his own driver.

Some are running mainline distributions. It depends on cluefulness of the vendor.
This one is $9 and runs Debian (no ethernet though, but it's the same situation with RPi, you are forced to stuff ethernet through USB)

i can do all of the router/wifi/vpn/sftp/cardav server with openwrt on my router and i was once able to install irix on the crybaby o2 in half an hour but no i cannot write my own device driver.

I don't really see the issue. All the pico-computers come with functioning linux systems or can run standard installs. If you were trying to do this on an ESP8266 or Tiny I could see how you'd have a problem.
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Re: New MIPS desktop

Unread postby fu » Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:46 am

@robespierre thanks heaps man, again :)

as long as it’s a standard install + some kind of written instructions/manual, i can boogie.

i read that the new pi sports a 64bit cpu but it actually runs on 32bit code. same for other makes, and that’s when i usually ask nekochaners for advice.

i’m talking to a good friend about this, trying to figure out the hype and the real. for all i know in order to dive into the greatness and wideness of 64bit you gotta have more than 4gb of ram. now every new tiny board jumps on the 64bit hype but they come with either 1gb or 2gb or ram.

i mean, is there any way (masturbating to specs aside) that this makes sense? did things get so optimized?



@ivelegacy nice flair juggling your fading stickers, Cinecittà used to be a home for me. asa nisi masa

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Re: New MIPS desktop

Unread postby robespierre » Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:04 am

64-bit integer math can be an advantage for some programs, and the x86-64 instruction set is more regular, which helps optimization.
For example, you can compute an offset into a >4GB file without gyrations (and even do it in regular C code).
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Re: New MIPS desktop

Unread postby fu » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:09 pm

^ check; till i get my head around it

and while looking around:

this is known to work reliably: http://tinyurl.com/na7akp2

and this is the "new" 64bit: http://tinyurl.com/zvnhpjg

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Re: New MIPS desktop

Unread postby fu » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:36 pm

ivelegacy :lol:

you gonna play nice and explain things to me or i open the bag of tools and send you down the rabbit hole

asa_nisi_masa.png

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Re: New MIPS desktop

Unread postby robespierre » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:49 pm

ivelegacy wrote:mini epiphany cluster, 4 Parallella boards stacked on MPI

I was pretty much beside myself laughing when Andreas showed off his 10x Parallella "supercomputer" in 2014. That's right kids, just take a pile of boards and hook them up to a Netgear switch, and you've got yourself a supercomputer!
Just when you thought you could wash the taste of "Beowulf" out of your ears! I even heard it "smokes" a Cray!

Extra irony because his chip/board does have low-latency interconnect/fabric. But even the inventor can't figure out how to make it work in small-scale MMP or ccNUMA is pretty damning.
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Re: New MIPS desktop

Unread postby fu » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:58 am

@ive welcome aboard young dadaist, i had a hunch we’ll reach an understanding :)

since you might be wandering:

we used to have members here from all backgrounds, i once wasn’t the only one who couldn’t write his own driver.

a decade later there’s a bunch of people here that i trust their opinion and i ask for their advice. i grew up on paint, canvas and film they grew up on soldering irons, machinery and processors. they give me honest feedback for my rather simplistic needs; i do the same when they ask me about a camera to take with them while travelling. i’d go and test some tiny cameras if possible, i’ll never recommend the latest thing just because it comes with more megapixels.

if for reasons of taxonomy (you mention MIPS vs ARM) you’d prefer the last posts split in a different topic, please ask a moderator to do so. i wasn’t aware that they belong to a different family, sorry about that.

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Re: New MIPS desktop

Unread postby dexter1 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:25 am

The posts are still focused on MIPS desktops, but if one would compare these against other (ARM) architectures, i would suggest making a new topic discussing this.

EDIT: topic split from viewtopic.php?f=8&t=16730474

And don't worry fu :)
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Re: New MIPS desktop

Unread postby fu » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:59 am

@dex, please split the posts after my first question to a separate topic and move it to wherever you see fit

i usually miss the technical terminology; and this time didn’t start a new topic because of ivelegacy’s mention of the other tiny computer in this thread.

mea culpa

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Re: Single-Board Computers (Raspberry Pi, CHIP, Bananas, Mojitos)

Unread postby fu » Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:22 pm

@ive thanks

since you develop your own software take a look @this forum. it’s mostly dev-talk about the xu4: patching, hacking and funking around with the board.

after reading some in there i see that heat brings lots of them to an end, and that 4-week guarantee doesn’t look promising either. of course, you could cook things on your own, stretch+flex hardware around so ymmv.

me being me i should get a pi but robespierre is right everyone complains about the speed of the ethernet port and having usb-2-ethernet adaptors spaghettified left+right of the tiny case breaks the compact credit-card-size solution i’m after.

gonna research some more and come back with further findings.

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Re: Single-Board Computers (Raspberry Pi, CHIP, Bananas, Mojitos)

Unread postby guardian452 » Fri Mar 25, 2016 4:37 pm

I want to like the rpi, I really do, but I have yet to purchase one. For most of the recommended use cases I am old-school and cling to a trusty AVR or similar mcu. If there's something that can't be done with an 8-bit chip, may as well haul out a real computer. (E.g. For routing, why not buy a real router. Media streaming, an apple tv or chromestick or embedded plex box or games console. Etc)

It's squeezed on both sides (MCU and PC) for me, both sides which already have an overlap.

If they made a rpi with built in gsm modem, I would be all over it. But even then, it couldn't possibly compete with a lumia 635 or an even cheaper android. As it is, I see the newest models have finally added wifi/ble :lol:

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Re: Single-Board Computers (Raspberry Pi, CHIP, Bananas, Mojitos)

Unread postby fu » Sat Mar 26, 2016 3:44 am

oh c’mon syb, we didn’t meet yesterday

guardian452 wrote:For most of the recommended use cases I am old-school and cling to a trusty AVR or similar mcu. If there's something that can't be done with an 8-bit chip, may as well haul out a real computer. (E.g. For routing, why not buy a real router. Media streaming, an apple tv or chromestick or embedded plex box or games console. Etc)


you know i’m like that and pretty strict with the damn tools or out of the window they fly. i’ve found out that a real router like the one @home/office ain’t portable and the really small ones won’t handle the openvpn tunnels. so i started looking at those single-boards.

the Pi has the most helpful community/documentation, i’d have gotten one but everyone says that its eth port is crippled to the point that routing lots of packets is a terrible idea.

thanks to the man behind the great firewall, i’ve finally gone for a board called cubietruck, the only one to sport a metal case, meet the requirements and in stock right there. currently in transit, it will get tested on the road and on ancient locations this summer :)

on the software side, here’s a recap of what i’ve found so far:



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