Cheap SBC with Ethernet

Hi! I’m looking for a SBC that is cheap and has Ethernet port and ideally internal storage (even if little). Basically I just want to run NodeRed instance on it, that’s the only service it’ll run.

Ideally with low power consumption and/or usb powered.

Any suggestions?


Here a list of SBCs (from chat-gpt, so there are maybe newer SBC already) with Ethernet port, eMMC slot and DietPi support:

  • Odroid-C4
  • ASUS Tinker Board
  • Pine64 RockPro64
  • FriendlyELEC NanoPi M
  • NanoPi NEO4
  • Rock Pi 4
  • Orange Pi 4 (not sure about DietPi support)

All statements without guarantee :smiley:

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  • Rock Pi S
  • ZeroPi
  • NanoPi NEO, NEO2, NEO Plus 2,…
  • NanoPi R1, R2, R2S,…
  • NanoPi M1, M1+, M2,…

Please take into account that for some boards, the supplier dies not maintain the Linux kernel any more (e.g. NanoPi M3, NanoPi Fire3).

Just look on the DietPi homepage download area for boards.

One more thing to take into consideration: Some of them have ARMv7 CPU (e.g. ZeroPi), which is 32bit, and 32bit software support get’s more and more dropped, so I don’t listed them in my posting.
I also didn’t count SD card slot as internal storage (e.g. NanoPi has no eMMC / flash).

But if you are fine with a SDcard as storage, a NanoPi NEO3 would be suitable: supports 64bit and has a gigabit ethernet port, one USB 3.0 port and costs only around 40€, including power adapter and one SanDisk Ultra 32G Class 10 card.

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Is it safe to buy those from AliExpress? How about pi zero 2w?

I personally would never recommend to buy anything from ali express, there is just too much scam on the plattform.
A pi zero 2w has no ethernet port, so you would need an adapter to get ethernet via the micro USB port. And it has also no internal storage, just external via SDcard.

Buying something to cheap, means buying something twice.

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It’s not true with SBC for single task.

Try this: Arace Tech

Ohhh we already had quite a number of people who get a cheap Chinese SBC and afterwards start complaining about missing overlays, missing GPIO support and missing kernel features and vendors did not maintain kernel.

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If you buy from a “Store” not a user it’s much safer

I got a FriendlyElec NanoPi R4S for my OpenWRT router and it works a dream…6 core, and can easily be expanded with a USB…and it can do full gigabit routing thru it without a hitch

I order this one…(SET 5) and it came in about 2~ weeks

OPi02W is a neat little box…but without the expansion board (thru a small cord) it is almost unusable…plus the only USB is supports is USB 2.0…so read/write speeds are restricted (it does work) [I 3D printed an enclosure for the board and expansion board…it DOES need a fan though]
With the 4 core CPU and 4 gigs of RAM it has plenty of oomph, only OS I could find for it was the stock “chinese” build…and I really don’t trust it…wish we could get a build here running a native Debian kernel and repositories

> warhawk@orangepizero2w:~$ neofetch
>        _,met$$$$$gg.          warhawk@orangepizero2w 
>     ,g$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$P.       ---------------------- 
>   ,g$$P"     """Y$$.".        OS: Debian GNU/Linux 11 (bullseye) aarch64 
>  ,$$P'              `$$$.     Host: Orange Pi Zero2w 
> ',$$P       ,ggs.     `$$b:   Kernel: 5.4.125 
> `d$$'     ,$P"'   .    $$$    Uptime: 7 hours, 55 mins 
>  $$P      d$'     ,    $$P    Packages: 614 (dpkg) 
>  $$:      $$.   -    ,d$$'    Shell: bash 5.1.4 
>  $$;      Y$b._   _,d$P'      Terminal: /dev/pts/0 
>  Y$$.    `.`"Y$$$$P"'         CPU: (4) @ 1.512GHz 
>  `$$b      "-.__              Memory: 211MiB / 3901MiB 
>   `Y$$
>    `Y$$.                                              
>      `$$b.                                            
>        `Y$$b.
>           `"Y$b._
>               `"""

I did get a BMAX mini computer…with the X86 processors it runs circles around most SBC’s and uses only like 15~ Watts (but did have some really weird BIOS issues)

Also…I got one of those HP 1L mini desktops SFF, spent a few hundred upgrading it and it’s a beast
In fact my “production” home lab PROXMOX box is running this
HP Compaq Elite 8300 SFF
8 x Intel(R) Core™ i7-3770 CPU @ 3.40GHz (1 Socket) <-upgrade from an i3
32GB RAM <-upgraded from like 4 or 8 can’t remember)
A cheapo PCI-X SATA 4x card and an ICYDOCK 4x 2.5" drive bay in the 5.25 CDROM location (with 4x 2TB SSD’s)…passed thru the card, have 4 VM’s running

my PiHole/DNS stuff on Debian
TrueNAS Scale (for backups of my audiobooks and other NAS things) [crazy fast writing to SSD’s even in RAIDz1]
A DietPi Instance (for testing and fiddling about)
An OMV instance for small NAS shares and junk

I have an OrangePiPC with an external 2.0TB [powered enclosure] running ARMv7…yes it’s VERY limited on what it can do…but it’s happily slamming along running my transmisison torrent server

warhawk@orangepipc:~$ neofetch
      █ █ █ █ █ █ █ █ █ █ █      OS: Armbian (23.11.1) armv7l 
     ███████████████████████     Host: Xunlong Orange Pi PC 
   ▄▄██                   ██▄▄   Kernel: 6.1.63-current-sunxi 
   ▄▄██    ███████████    ██▄▄   Uptime: 1 hour, 7 mins 
   ▄▄██   ██         ██   ██▄▄   Packages: 1366 (dpkg) 
   ▄▄██   ██         ██   ██▄▄   Shell: bash 5.1.16 
   ▄▄██   ██         ██   ██▄▄   Resolution: PAL 
   ▄▄██   █████████████   ██▄▄   Terminal: /dev/pts/0 
   ▄▄██   ██         ██   ██▄▄   CPU: Allwinner sun8i Family (4) @ 1.296GHz 
   ▄▄██   ██         ██   ██▄▄   Memory: 363MiB / 997MiB 
   ▄▄██   ██         ██   ██▄▄
   ▄▄██                   ██▄▄                           
      █ █ █ █ █ █ █ █ █ █ █

it is running Armbian though [nice thing is…and a bad thing for LAN transfer] is that it’s only a 10/100 network connection and I can leave it running wide open and it can’t saturate my outbound from my ISP that limits me to 250mb/s outbound ;(

warhawk@orangepipc:~$ df -h
Filesystem     Type         Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
sysfs          sysfs           0     0     0    - /sys
proc           proc            0     0     0    - /proc
udev           devtmpfs     426M     0  426M   0% /dev
devpts         devpts          0     0     0    - /dev/pts
tmpfs          tmpfs        100M  7.1M   93M   8% /run
/dev/sdb1      btrfs         58G  9.1G   45G  17% /
securityfs     securityfs      0     0     0    - /sys/kernel/security
tmpfs          tmpfs        499M     0  499M   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs          tmpfs        5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
cgroup2        cgroup2         0     0     0    - /sys/fs/cgroup
pstore         pstore          0     0     0    - /sys/fs/pstore
bpf            bpf             0     0     0    - /sys/fs/bpf
systemd-1      -               -     -     -    - /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc
mqueue         mqueue          0     0     0    - /dev/mqueue
debugfs        debugfs         0     0     0    - /sys/kernel/debug
tracefs        tracefs         0     0     0    - /sys/kernel/tracing
fusectl        fusectl         0     0     0    - /sys/fs/fuse/connections
configfs       configfs        0     0     0    - /sys/kernel/config
ramfs          ramfs           0     0     0    - /run/credentials/systemd-sysusers.service
tmpfs          tmpfs        499M  4.0K  499M   1% /tmp
/dev/mmcblk0p1 ext4          15G  5.3G  9.1G  37% /media/mmcboot
/dev/mmcblk0p1 ext4          15G  5.3G  9.1G  37% /boot
/dev/sda1      btrfs        1.9T  160G  1.7T   9% /home/warhawk/hdd
binfmt_misc    binfmt_misc     0     0     0    - /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc
/dev/sdb1      btrfs         58G  9.1G   45G  17% /var/log.hdd
/dev/zram1     ext4          47M   38M  5.7M  87% /var/log
sunrpc         rpc_pipefs      0     0     0    - /run/rpc_pipefs
tracefs        -               -     -     -    - /sys/kernel/debug/tracing
overlay        -               -     -     -    - /var/lib/docker/overlay2/9af92ac20bc518f32daca52e81e23032be0ac8f508574efec01163a573a1f728/merged
overlay        -               -     -     -    - /var/lib/docker/overlay2/f1de025a89664c37ec402a4ac0a5d4a37d34eca0787e30dd8a26a4a16d4517cb/merged
nsfs           -               -     -     -    - /run/docker/netns/77277476a236
nsfs           -               -     -     -    - /run/docker/netns/8f696887cbea
overlay        -               -     -     -    - /var/lib/docker/overlay2/6f1db29d0c85977686701594f15aad2df465d40fa1208366d11a0fe0c4cba6dd/merged
nsfs           -               -     -     -    - /run/docker/netns/0094152172bf
tmpfs          tmpfs        100M   68K  100M   1% /run/user/1000
total          -            2.0T  189G  1.8T  10% -

Zima Board…

TONS of videos of reviews and setting up different services on YT and online

Does a Zima board still count as cheap? :see_no_evil:

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Not too long ago…they were cheaper than some Raspberry Pi’s…

For a single node red instance it’s purely overkill.
Probably a RPi zero 2 w with an USB to Ethernet adapter would be enough.

The NanoPi NEO3 should be quite cheap and has a very small form factor. But it runs quite hot in its default case. The R2S works nice here as well, and has a great default case which keeps it cool. But its a little larger and probably more expensive.

RPi Zero 2 W with USB Ethernet adapter is probably a nice choice as well, and has definitely great long-term support from RPi Ltd, while the others, with mainline Linux, have a higher risk that something breaks in the future, hardware support-wise.

I wouldn’t by those old 32-bit NEO/NEO2/R1 etc either, since the issue with them losing support is even bigger. The ROCK Pi S is 64-bit, but it has very volatile kernel support as well, so I wouldn’t recommend it ether.

The RK3399/RK35xx boards seem overkill for a single Node-RED indeed, and are move expensive, of course.

And I wouldn’t buy via Aliexpress either. You usually also need to take care customs there as well, hence higher price in the end and sometimes the packages are juat stuck, without the vendor taking responsibility.

more than likely…you can even slap in a Sandisk Ultrafit 32 or 64GB, and use dietpi-config to install the root directory to the USB…not only will it boot faster and have slightly faster read/writes, the USB drive will be a bit more resilient than SD cards

It does have enough oomph to run many apps…and even docker…so sure…would probably be just fine
and they are dirt cheap

If you 3D print an enclosure…make sure you put a small 40mm fan on it…because they do run a wee bit warm

Me too, and if we hadn’t made this mistake we wouldn’t be here thanking you today (not only for the images that DietPi provide – I found better and more updated than those of the Chinese manufacturers –, but also for the advice on the forum). I’ve bought all the Raspberry Pis except the last one, and it’s definitely better in support, but it’s no longer what I need. I don’t want SBCs to cool that require a 27W power supply to run connected to an external drive.

I see that many feel the need to have a computer, or rather, a second or even third computer to use Linux, and in that case the one you already have is fine.

If I need non-energy-intensive hardware to carry out individual tasks, on the basis of software put together or written by me, a microcontroller would also be fine for me, and I have purchased many of these too.

DietPi for StarFive VisionFive 2 is the best on the market and also works perfectly on Mars | Milk-V . To be honest, I have to write that the RISC-V SoCs I tested are not as performing as the ARMs. Now it seems slower than the previous one with the graphical environment.

Even the Mango Pi MQ Pro (Nezha D1), starting from the Vasco image, updated up to DietPi 9 (with a little sweat and a USB-C network card for the first steps) works better than any other distribution tested , even Ubuntu, at least until you try to install FFMPEG which I do not recommend for now.

Therefore, do not underestimate your contribution as true masters of the Terminal. Thanks and congratulations.

I found many similarities between Raxda’s ARM SBCs and Milk-V’s RISC-Vs (both with Ethernet), they have some identical connectors and components and in the same positions on the PCBs, although I have not tested I2S and other expansions it seems to me that the hardware is advisable, the software is not updated on manufacturers’ sites but at least they don’t provide snapshoots like Milk-V which I will avoid in the future (also because I had to enlarge the holes in the case for Rapberry Pi).

I also bought some passively cooled mini PCs with Intel processors, but I don’t know what to do with Windows, I want a compatible Posix Terminal without having to install WSL2 and Ubuntu and if I don’t reward those who produce different hardware, tomorrow I’ll keep the laptops with the BIOS locked and the operating system chosen by the manufacturers.