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Posts Tagged ‘sata’

Zotac CI327 Nano Apollo Lake Fanless mini PC Features HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, and VGA Video Outputs

April 23rd, 2017 5 comments

While many Apollo Lake mini PCs have been launched, few support 4K @ 60 Hz video output, but Zotac CI327 Nano mini PC does even better than that thanks to HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 outputs allowing for dual 4K UHD @ 60 Hz setups, and it also adds an extra VGA port to enable triple display setups.

The rest of the specifications are not too bad either with three models CI327 Nano (windows / no windows) and CI327 Nano Plus with slightly different hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron N3450 quad-core  processor @ 1.1GHz / 2.2GHz with Intel HD Graphics 500
  • System Memory
    • Nano with Windows and Nano PLUS – 4GB DDR3L (one slot occupied, up to 8GB)
    • Nano – 2x 204-pin DDR3L-1866 SO-DIMM slots (up to 8GB)
  • Storage – 1x 2.5″ SATA 6.0 Gbps SSD/HDD slot; 3-in-1 (SD/SDHC/SDXC); Nano with WINDOWS only: 32GB M.2 on-board SATA SSD
  • Video Output
    • HDMI 2.0 up to 3840×2160 @ 60 Hz
    • DisplayPort 1.2 up to 4096×2160 @ 60 Hz
    • VGA up to 1920×1080 @ 60 Hz
  • Audio – 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks, lossless bitstream via HDMI
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 type C port, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Connectivity – Dual Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 ac WiFi + Bluetooth 4.2
  • Misc – Power button, Kensington lock, Power/HDD/WiFi LEDs, VESA mount
  • Power Supply – 19V/40W AC adapter
  • Dimensions – 127 .8 x 126.8 x 56.8 mm

The mini PC ships with a WiFi antenna, an AC adapter with power cord, a warranty card, a user manual, a quick install guide, a driver disc, and a VESA monitor mount (with 4 screws). Nano with Windows version also comes with a O/S recovery DVD. The only operating system listed as supported is Windows 10 Home 64-bit, so it’s unclear whether you’d be able to install Linux distributions.

The barebone version – Zotac CI327 Nano – sells for as low as 172.13 Euros in Germany. You’ll find a comparison of the three models on Zotac website.

Via FanlessTech

Zidoo X10 Android & OpenWrt TV Box with 3.5″ SATA Bay Sells for $229

April 11th, 2017 8 comments

Zidoo has sold two TV boxes based on Realtek RTD1295 so far with Zidoo X9S and Zidoo X8, and the company has done a pretty good job based on my review of Zidoo X9S. Both models run Android 6.0 with HDMI input recording and broadcasting functions, as well as OpenWrt for NAS functions, with X8 model relying on USB 3.0 storage, and X9S adding an external SATA port. It would be nice to have a model with an internal SATA bay, and it’s exactly what Zidoo X10 brings to the table.

Zidoo X10 specifications with highlights in bold showing differences with Zidoo X9S:

  • SoC – Realtek RTD1295 quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 32GB + SATA 3.0 bay for 3.5″ hard drives
  • Video I/O – HDMI 2.0a output up to 4K @ 60 Hz (23.976 and 29.94 Hz supports) with HDCP 2.2, AV output, and HDMI 2.0 input with HDCP 2.2 input (recording and streaming up to 1080p @ 60 Hz)
  • Audio I/O – HDMI in and out, 1x S/PDIF output, AV port
  • Video Playback – HDR, 10-bit HEVC/H.265 up to 4K @ 60fps, VP9 up to 4K @ 60 fps (rather 30 fps based on my tests), H.264 up to 4K @ 24 fps, automatic frame rate switching
  • Audio Features – 7.1 channel audio pass-through
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 (Realtek RTL8821 module) with two external high-gain antennas
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, VFD display, cooling fan
  • Power Supply – 12V/3A (more power for the 3.5″ drive)
  • Dimensions – 197 x 197 x 65 mm (aluminum alloy enclosure)

All differences are related to the SATA bay which requires a larger & heavier device, a beefier power supply, and a cooling fan. Firmware-wise I’d expect all the features I documented in Zidoo X9S review, plus new features launched since then such as Blu-ray menu navigation and a new external subtitles system with rich settings and ASS/SSA support.

Zidoo Subtitle Designer

Zidoo X10 has been officially launched, and you can purchase it on Amazon or GeekBuying for $229.00. You may find a few more details on Zidoo X10 product page.

FriendlyELEC Introduces $12.99 1-bay NAS Dock Kit for NanoPi NEO Board

April 3rd, 2017 26 comments

NanoPi NEO is a tiny board with Fast Ethernet and USB 2.0 interface, so in theory it could make a nice low-end NAS as long as you don’t need the best performance. As always the problem is that there was no case for it, but FriendlyELEC changes that as they just launched a 1-bay NAS Dock Kit for NanoPi NEO board selling for just $12.99 (promotional price at launch).

The kit comes with the following:

  • 1-bay NAS Dock expansion board with
    • JMicron JM20329 USB to SATA bridge
    • SATA connector for 2.5″ HDD drive
    • Extra USB host port
    • On/off switch, and dual color status LED
    • Header to connect NanoPi NEO board
    • 12V DC power input
    • Dimensions – 151 x 89.7 mm
  • NS-120 aluminum enclosure (154 x 100 x 47.5 mm, 4141 grams)
  • Heatsink set for NanoPI NEO
  • M3 6mm screws, M2.5 6 mm screws
  • Four rubber pads
  • Front and back covers

The company provides an OpenMediaVault image and all instructions on the Wiki. NanoPi NEO 2 board would be much better for such NAS kit, but the low profile Ethernet jack requires a different side cover, and the company also told me the software is not ready, but a NanoPi NEO 2 NAS kit is coming later this month. Talking about performance, FriendlyELEC gave me a comparison table showing USB to SATA performance for NanoPi NEO (512MB), Raspberry Pi 3 board, and Synology DS916+ NAS.

The USB to SATA speed is actually pretty much as expected considered data is going through a USB 2.0 interface, and somewhat comparable to the values I get doing USB storage tests on Android TV boxes. We can also see the performance on Raspberry Pi 3 is about the same as with NanoPi NEO + NAS Dock, but ovbiously not matching actual NAS with a native SATA interface. Nevertheless, all this does not matter that, as once the 32 MB/s get down to the Fast Ethernet port it has to drop to around 10 MB/s, which is why NanoPi NEO 2 will be a better choice.

Tkaiser of Armbian community also had a look at the hardware and software, and one complain was the lack of UASP support on Jmicron JM20329 chip which would  yield slightly better performance, and the OpenMediaVault image relies on Linux 3.4.39 which lacks many security updates (the latest available version is 3.4.113). If you prefer having a recent Linux kernel, it’s always possible to install Armbian, plus whatever NAS software you’d like to use.

Nevertheless, it’s difficult to beat the price as with $12.99 for the NAS board and enclosure, $9.99 for NanoPi NEO 512MB RAM, and a few extra dollars for shipping you get a complete NAS solution with limited performance, but that should still work as well as current Raspberry Pi NAS solutions on the market. Just add a micro SD card with the operating systems of your choice, a 2.5″ hard drive or SSD, and a 12V/2A power supply, and you’re done.

$100 Qotom Q1900G4-M Nano-ITX Board Powered by Intel Celeron J1900 SoC is Equipped with Four Gigabit Ethernet Ports

March 30th, 2017 21 comments

Qotom Q1900G4-M is a motherboard designed for networking applications thanks to four Gigabit Ethernet ports connected to an Intel Celeron J1900 quad core “Bay Trail” processor. The board supports up to 8GB DDR3 RAM via a SO-DIMM slot, storage through a SATA port and an mSATA connector, and WiFi or cellular connectivity through a mini PCIe slot and SIM card slot.

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Qotom Q1900G4-M board specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron J1900 quad core “Bay Trail” processor  @ 2.0 GHz / 2.41 GHz (Burst) with Intel HD graphics (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 1x SO-DIMM sockets for up to 8GB DDR3 memory
  • Storage – 1x SATA 3.0 port + power (14 & 15), 1x mini PCIe connector for mSATA SSD (16)
  • Video Output – VGA (5)
  • Connectivity
    • 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports (3) with Wake-on-LAN support
    • SIM card socket (17)
    • USB only mini PCIe connector for WiFi, 3G or 4G (18)
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port (4)
  • Expansion
    • Front panel audio header (6)
    • RS232 header (10)
    • USB header (12)
  • Misc – HDD LEDs (2); power LED (7); power button (8); CPU fan header (9); automatic boot jumper (11)
  • Power Supply – 12V DC (1)
  • Dimensions – 120mm x 120mm (Nano-ITX form factor)
  • Temperature Range – -10°C to 50°C

The board comes with a heatsink by default. You’ll find some details about the hardware in the user manual. The board is said to run Windows 7/8/10 and Linux distributions, especially now that Linux 4.11 is almost out with several fixes for Bay Trail processors.

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Since the board is supposed to comply with Nano-ITX form factor, you should be able to find a case for it, but if not, Qotom also sells Q190G4 mini PC based on the board. It reminds me of X29 mini PC, except it comes with four Gigabit Ethernet ports instead of just two, and lacks HDMI and audio ports, as it targets networking applications.

Qotom Q1900G4-M board sells for $99.90 + shipping, while Q190G4 barebone mini PC goes for $120 plus shipping with a 12V/3A power supply and free VESA brackets, and you can optionally add WiFi, memory (up to 8GB RAM), and/or storage (up to 64GB SSD) to your order. I could also find Q1900G2-M motherboard still with 4 Gigabit Ethernet port – contrary to what the name implies – and selling for $91 + shipping. I have not been able to find a difference between Q1900G2-M and G1900G4-M. If you do, let me know.

MeLE V9 4K Android TV Box Comes with a 3.5″ SATA Slot, a Cooling Fan

March 30th, 2017 2 comments

We’ve seen several devices based on Realtek RTD1295 processor. They all come with a SATA interface, either via an external connector like Zidoo X9S, a 2.5″ SATA bay like Beelink SEA I, or a 3.5″ SATA bay as found in Eweat R9 Plus. However, all those devices are fanless, and at least one person expressed concerns when using a device with an internal hard drive without active cooling. MeLE V9 fills that gap, as the RTD1295 TV box features a 3.5″ SATA slot and an active fan for cooling both the device and the hard drive.

MeLE V9 specifications:

  • SoC – Realtek RTD1295 quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + 3.5″ SATA slot + SD/SDXC card slot
  • Video I/O – HDMI 2.0a output up to 4K @ 60 Hz with 10-bit HDR support, AV port, and HDMI 2.0 input for digital signage, surveillance, recording,
  • Audio I/O – HDMI in and out, AV port (stereo audio), 1x S/PDIF output,
  • Video Playback – 10-bit HEVC/H.265 up to 4K @ 60fps, H.264 up to 4K @ 24 fps, VP9 up to 4K @ 60 fps, 3D Blu-ray, 3D MVC  (ISO/MKV) etc…
  • Audio Features – 7.1 channel audio pass-through with support for Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HS Master Audio
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • USB – 1x USB type C port, 3x USB 2.0 ports
  • Misc – Power button, front panel LCD display, IR receiver, 40x30mm fan for cooling
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions – 255 x 165 x 55 mm
  • Weight – 1.5 kg

The box runs Android 6.0, but the company told me it lacked OpenWrt found on some competitor’s models. The device ships with a power supply with UK, EU, US, and AU plug adapter, a remote control, a HDMI cable, and a Quick Start Guide.

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MeLE V9 TV box is now sold for $149.25 on Aliexpress including shipping. Note that the “normal price” is $199, and in the past I’ve seen the company often run short promotion for the device, while keeping the “normal price” most of the days. So if you are quick or patient depending on the price at the time, you should be able to get it for under $150.

CubieBoard6 Development Board Powered by Actions Semi S500 Processor Comes with SATA, LiPo Battery Support

March 24th, 2017 19 comments

CubieTech launched Cubieboard with Allwinner A10 processor in 2012, and while they may not be as popular as some other boards like Raspberry Pi, ODROID, or Orange Pi boards in 2017, the company is still around after around 5 years, and their latest board is Cubieboard6 powered by Action Semi S500 quad core Cortex A9 processor with 2GB RAM, 8GB flash, HDMI, wired & wireless connectivity, SATA, battery support and more.

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Cubieboard6 specifications:

  • SoC – Actions Semi S500 quad core ARM Cortex-A9 processor with Imagination PowerVR SGX544 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3
  • Storage
    • 8GB eMMC flash
    • SATA 3.0 port for 2.5″ HDD/SSD up to 4TB
    • micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output  – HDMI 1.4b up to 1080p60
  • Audio I/O – Via HDMI output, 3.5mm audio output (HP) jack, 3.5mm audio input (MIC) jack
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP6212) with u.FL antenna connector
  • USB – 2x USB host ports, 1x mini USB device
  • Expansion – 2x 48-pin headers with I2C, CSI for camera, FM-IN, ADC, CVBS output, Audio output, RGB, LVDS, MIPI DSI, SPI, HSIC, INT GPIO…
  • Misc – IR receiver, RTC with battery, power and ADFU key (to flash firmware), Power LED, 2x User LEDs
  • Power Supply
    • 5V @ 2.5A via power barrel
    • 5V via mini USB input
    • 3.7V Li-Po battery support via 2-pin header
  • Dimensions – 100mm x 60mm x 18mm
  • Temperature Range –  -20℃ ~ 70℃
  • Certifications – FCC, CE & RoHS

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The company provides Android 5.1.1 and Debian Jessie Desktop with 3D graphics acceleration (OpenGL ES 2.0) and hardware video decoding support. Software and hardware files, as well as documentation is available on MEGA outside of China, and on Baidu for people located in China.

Actions Semi S500 does not support SATA, so it’s important to look at the schematics to see how it was implemented, and while many boards are simply limited by their USB 2.0 interface, CubieTech used the USB 3.0 interface for the SATA implementation, which should lead to much better performance than most non-native solutions on the market. It’s disappointing that networking is limited to Fast Ethernet.

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We’ve see both a USB 3.0 switch and USB 3.0 to SATA bridge (JMicron JMS578) in the schematics in order to provide good performance between the processor and the SATA drive, while also allowing to use the board as an external USB 3.0 hard drive from your computer. Actions Semi S500 is not quite a new processor, and if you want to check out what it’s capable you may want to check out my hands-on posts about Roseapple Pi and Allo Sparky.

You’ll find more pictures and a few extra details on the product page. The official price of the board is $69 without shipping, but Cubieboard6 is only sold on a couple of website, including Amazon US for $98, and an Australian website for $115 AUD. Note that the board is sold as part of kit with several accessories namely USB to power jack cable, USB to mini USB cable, a WiFi antenna, a SATA cable, and a heatsink. There’s also an optional case, but I could not find it for sale yet.

GnuBee Personal Cloud 1 Low Cost Linux NAS Supports Up to Six 2.5″ SATA Drives (Crowdfunding)

March 23rd, 2017 41 comments

Networked Access Storage (NAS) with a large number of SATA bays usually cost several hundreds dollars up to thousands of dollars depending on the features set and performance, but there’s a new a project called GnuBee Personal Cloud 1, or GB-PC1, that delivers a MIPS Linux system supporting up to six 2.5″ SATA drives for less than $200.

GB-PC1 NAS specifications:

  • ProcessorMediaTek MT7621A dual core, quad thread processor @ 880 MHz, overclockable to 1.2 GHz
  • System Memory512 MB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot tested up to 64 GB, 6x 2.5” SATA HDD or SSD
  • Connectivity – Dual Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Serial port – 3-pin J1 connector or 3.5 mm audio-type jack
  • Power – 12 VDC @ 3 A via 5.5 mm x 2.1 mm, center-positive barrel jack
  • Dimensions –  21.6 cm (L) x 7 cm (W) x 14 cm (H)
  • Weight – ~210 g (without drives)

The case is comprised of two anodized aluminum side plates assembled with six threaded brackets and screws, and comes with 24 drive screws (four per drive).

The NAS supports Debian, OpenMediaVault, LEDE, as well as the lesser-known (at least to me) LibreCMC distribution. Source code including Linux 4.9 and U-boot, some documentations, as well as the BoM & schematics (PDF) can be found on Github.  Potential applications include network storage and backup, file server,home media server, download server, web server, or remotely accessible private cloud.

A comparison table has also been provided by the developer with GB-PC1, QNAP TS-431 ($294.22 on Amazon US) and Synology DS416slim ($289.99 on Amazon US).

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TS-431 might have an implicit price advantage with support for 3.5″ SATA drives, as you may need less 3.5″ drives to achieve the same amount of storage as with 2.5″ drives. One clear advantage of GB-PC1 is that you should have better control over the software than the two competing commercial solution. One clear disadvantage however is the mechanical design, as GB-PC1 has been designed to offer as low a cost as possible.

GB-PC1 launched on Crowdsupply a few days ago with the goal of raising at least $75,000. Rewards start at $168 for a diskless GB-PC1, but you may also want to add $19 to get a 12V/3A power supply, and potential $6 for a 2 GB micro SD card preloaded with Debian. Shipping is free to the US, and $12 to the rest of the world, with delivery planned for August 2017.

Via Orange Pi’s Facebook Group

SupTronics X800 2.5″ SATA Drive Expansion Board and Cases for Raspberry Pi 2/3 and ODROID C2 Boards

March 16th, 2017 20 comments

I wrote about SupTronics expansion boards for Raspberry Pi a few year ago. Those add features like WiFi, Bluetooth, RTC, SATA, VGA, S/PDIF, etc… I’ve just stumble upon a new model Suptronics X800 specifically designed for 2.5″ SATA hard drive and SSDs that I found on DealExtreme for $32.73 with a 5V/4A power supply, or $21.43 with just the expansion board and accessories.

 

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SupTronics X800 board features:

  • SATA connector for 2.5″ SATA drivers up to 1TB implemented via GL830 USB to SATA bridge
  • HDMI port – Duplicate Raspberry Pi HDMI output
  • USB – Connects to Raspberry Pi
  • Power Supply
    • 5V via 5.5/2.5 power jack
    • Optional & recommended power supply –  AC 100 – 240V input ~50 / 60Hz, 5V/4A output with US and EU snap plugs
    • Powers the Raspberry Pi, i.e. a USB power supply is not needed
  • Dimensions – 109mm x 85mm
  • Compatibility – Raspberry Pi Model B+, Pi 2 Model B, Pi 3 Model B, and other electrically and mechanically compatible boards like ODROID-C2.

X800 HDD Expansion Board ships with a power connection wire, 4x M2.5 spacers, 4x M3 spacers, 8x M2.5 screws, 8x M3 screws, and 4x M3 screw nuts, as well as an optional 5V/4A power supply. Once you have assembled everything together it looks like the pictures below.

You’ll find the assembly manual on X800 product page.

It’s more compact than a solution using a Raspberry Pi board with an external USB hard drive, but you may prefer getting a case for your Raspberry Pi and its hard drive, and it turns out SupTronics has a bunch of those either for 2.5″ SATA drives, or mSATA drive, with or without stereo to 7.1 audio DACs via their X-Series DIY kits.

The prettiest enclosure comes with their X3000 kits. Made of aluminum allow, it supports mSATA drives up to 1TB, comes with a built-in IR sensor, a touch button for power, a micro USB OTG port to access SATA from a computer, but sadly exposes a mini HDMI instead of a standard HDMI port.

If you prefer a Raspberry Pi case for 2.5″ SATA drives, you’ll have to select a less pretty “black brick” such as their X1000K model.

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One interesting features is the port on the rear panel – which looks like a parallel printer port – and can be used to access Raspberry Pi GPIOs signal using an add-on board part of the kit.

SupTronics X3000 launched last year for around $100 with Raspberry Pi, and it may priced itself out, as none of the stores are selling it anymore. X1000K mini PC kit is still for sale for about $80 and up on DealExtreme, Banggood and Aliexpress.

Categories: Hardware Tags: odroid-c2, raspberry pi, sata