New Gear: Odroid N2+

At one of the CommunityRack.org locations, I housed an Intel NUC for several years. As the Intel Celeron asks for retirement and ARM is all the rage, I started to look at new devices that could replace the NUC.

This project’s main goals were to lower power consumption, be a single-board computer, expandable storage options, and run a stock Ubuntu.

I’ve looked at the Rock Pi N10Odrdoid N2+ and the Rock Pi 4. All good and solid boards but Ben had many good things to tell about the Hardkernel Odroid Boards when we talked about Single Board Computers. Mainly because they can pack a great amount CPU cores onto a small form factor computer.

The Rock Pi4 would have had an M.2 slot to add an SSD, but Ubuntu would only run on the C-Type of the board which was a bit complicated to get at the time of my evaluation. So I went with the Odroid and opted to use a 128G SD-Card with the possibility to move towards an EMMC Storage module later on.

The Odroid setup for now:

  • Board: Odroid N2+ & Plastic Case
  • System “Disk”: SanDisk 128GB A2 – 90MB/s write, 160 MB/s read
  • Storage: Samsung T5 SSD – 1TB
  • Power Supply: Generic 12V/2A Power supply

Getting started was easy and very RaspberryPi like. Flashed the Ubuntu Image found in the Odroid wiki and it booted without any issues.

I ran into the issue that in the Ubuntu Image available back in November some of the Kernel modules weren’t shipped. Therefore, the Docker daemon just failed to start.

I got around this by just symlinking kernels modules into the new place – Docker didn’t start with a few errors on missing br_netfilter and bridge modules. The easiest way to figure out why Docker didn’t start was running /usr/bin/dockerd directly and observing the errors. I think this has been fixed already but if someone else runs into this. That’s one very hacky way to solve the issue.

cd /lib/modules/
ln -s 4.9.236-104 4.9.230-89
modprobe bridge
modprobe br_netfilter

I’m super happy so far with the power usage, which is about 6-7 Watts fully loaded. Having 6 CPU cores if I would need those are also quite impressive for such a small form factor.

I’ll follow up with another article on the challenges I saw going ARM because there are a few gotchas along the way.