update: 2022: another x86x odroid is in the making! https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-h3-plus/ $165.00 Estimated next batch : Middle of January, 2023

the itsec troubles: CPU Intel Celeron Processor J Series is Spectre & Meltdown affected (src)

while Spectre & Meltdown based hack was observed in the wild, going with RISC-V SoC or AMD based SoC (CPUs & Mainboards) might be the better / safer option.

so it is no good hardware for servers or routers or firewalls or gateways…

2018-04: RISC-V CPUs not affected by spectre & meltdown

“No announced RISC-V silicon is susceptible, and the popular open-source RISC-V Rocket processor is unaffected as it does not perform memory accesses speculatively.” (2018-01-05 src)
“If you’re selling an IoT sensor for 1 USD, how can you suddenly triple your costs by integrating secure technology, either forcing your market to bear the weight (if it will), or forcing your own company to vastly decrease its profit margins. None of this is sustainable in an ecosystem where the average ARM Cortex-M0+ costs under 0.60 USD per unit at volume with no trusted element.
My solution? RISC-V. With custom, open source, RISC-V processing technology, we can build secure processors with trust elements at a fraction of the cost of ARM processors. Integrating the RISC-V architecture into Lab Mouse, we can then offer a secure platform that is finally cost-effective.
So, in 2016, I researched the RISC-V architecture and joined the RISC-V consortium. I currently sit on the Debug, Security, and general ISA groups and hope to soon get back to participating more heavily. In 2017 at Hack in the Box Amsterdam, I demonstrated security flaws in the RISC-V processor architecture that are now resolved, proving that I put in the effort to research the architecture to ensure it is resilient enough for use in the Lab Mouse solution.” (src)

Amazing machine! – Streaming Netflix BigBang with 20Watts…


streams 1080p from youtube “effortless”

cpu hits it’s limits with 4k youtube (firefox)

  • as fast as a i5 while using very little energy
    • 10 W idle / 20 Watts during “average” CPU usage / 25 W during 100% CPU usage of all cores
    • run’s pretty cool… no active cooling needed (after 300sec of cpu stress test, cpu heatsink can still be touched with bare hand no burns X-D)
      • if one stress CPU and embedded GPU for a period of time, an active cooling fan is recommended
    • here is the full cpuinfo.txt
  • works perfectly with Debian
    • (yes Netflix is working X-D)
  • can render 1080p Youtube videos in Firefox smoothly at 35% CPU usage
    • (CPUs hit it’s limit with 4k youtube videos)
  • dual LAN = great for building routers!
  • 2x SATA = RAID1 = GREAT FOR building your own NAS! (might not boot from SATA attached harddisks 🙁 )
    • check out this article: 10x SATA disks at odroid h2
    • boot / root device: one does not necessarily need an NvME SSD, the eMMS storage chip is actually nicely fast (not as fast as SSD but sufficient for basic Debian 10 GNU Linux plus the MATE Gnome2 Desktop and Applications)

where to buy (in Europe?):

Hardkernel is SouthKorea based, import tax might apply, currently 130€ @ pollin (should ship all over Europe).


what else will one need:

about the CPU:

(WARNING! could come with a different one! (because of supply problems with intel checkout the odroid h2 forum)

Celeron used to be a synonym for slow… not anymore:

“Celeron J4105 is a quad-core 64-bit x86 desktop microprocessor introduced by Intel in 2017. This processor is based on Goldmont Plus microarchitecture and is manufactured on a 14 nm process. The J4105 operates at 1.5 GHz with a burst frequency of 2.5 GHz and a TDP of 10 W. This MPU incorporates Intel’s UHD Graphics 600 GPU operating at 250 MHz with a burst frequency of 750 MHz.” (src: wikichip.org)

how and what to boot? setup Debian:

  • immediately after power on hit ESC or DEL multiple times to enter bios

  • hit F7 during boot brings up the boot selection menu

  • it will boot Debian 10 (EFI) but not Debian 9 (legacy) or non EFI boot partitions!
  • does not NOT boot from SATA?
  • enable fast boot in bios to have more options and boot devices (should detect Debian 10 boot stick)
  • then use “Boot Override” under “Save & Exit” to manually select (UEFI) boot device:
  • bios version tested:

not completely non-free:

had to use the realtek closed source blob firmware to get network running.

(once can get the firmware here: http://ftp.dk.debian.org/debian/pool/no … -2_all.deb)

and unpack it onto a fat32 stick like this:

https://unix.stackexchange.com/question … repack-deb

(hope they build RISCV board soon and pick a NIC chip that can run free-debian and trisquel without modifications and non free-firmware)



Key Features

  • Intel Quad-core processor J4105 (14nm) with 4MiB Cache, up to 2.5Ghz(Single Thread) or 2.3Ghz(Multi Thread)
  • Dual-channel Memory DDR4-PC19200 (2400MT/s)
  • Total 32GiB RAM Space with two SO-DIMM slots
  • 1 x PCIe 2.0 for one M.2 NVMe storage
  • 2 x Gbit Ethernet ports
  • 2 x SATA 3.0
  • SSE4.2 accelerator (SMM, FPU, NX, MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AES)
  • Intel UHD Graphics 600 (Gen9.5 LP GT1) up to 700Mhz
  • HDMI 2.0 and DP 1.2 multiple 4K/60Hz video outputs

Ubuntu 18.10 and 18.04 x86 64bit OS compatible out of the box. Download the OS image from official Ubuntu homepage.

tested on:

   Static hostname: debian10
         Icon name: computer-desktop
           Chassis: desktop
  Operating System: Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
            Kernel: Linux 4.19.0-6-amd64
      Architecture: x86-64

stress testing cpu and heat:

cpu gets warm up to 70 °C still heatsink can be touched with hand, CPU does not throttle down! (stays at 2.2 Ghz!)

first benchmarks: youtube 720p and 1080p

was a little sceptical at first if the Celeron (which is not known for fast CPU computation) can pack a punch.

But it can 🙂 (almost at the speed of a i5@1.6Ghz!)

flawless! 🙂 smooth playback at moderate cpu usage:

used this sony 4k video to test

cpu via sysbench

time /scripts/bench_cpu.sh 
============ CPU MIPS and FLOPS
model		: 122
model name	: Intel(R) Celeron(R) J4105 CPU @ 1.50GHz
model		: 122
model name	: Intel(R) Celeron(R) J4105 CPU @ 1.50GHz
model		: 122
model name	: Intel(R) Celeron(R) J4105 CPU @ 1.50GHz
model		: 122
model name	: Intel(R) Celeron(R) J4105 CPU @ 1.50GHz
bogomips	: 2995.20
bogomips	: 2995.20
bogomips	: 2995.20
bogomips	: 2995.20
============ CPU BENCHMARK
WARNING: the --test option is deprecated. You can pass a script name or path on the command line without any options.
WARNING: --num-threads is deprecated, use --threads instead
sysbench 1.0.18 (using bundled LuaJIT 2.1.0-beta2)

Running the test with following options:
Number of threads: 4
Initializing random number generator from current time

Prime numbers limit: 20000

Initializing worker threads...

Threads started!

CPU speed:
    events per second:  2196.98

General statistics:
    total time:                          10.0018s
    total number of events:              21978

Latency (ms):
         min:                                    1.80
         avg:                                    1.82
         max:                                   10.09
         95th percentile:                        1.82
         sum:                                39984.86

Threads fairness:
    events (avg/stddev):           5494.5000/35.95
    execution time (avg/stddev):   9.9962/0.00

real	0m10.203s <- this is almost as fast as i5-4200U CPU @ 1.60GHz
nice :)
user	0m39.810s
sys	0m0.031s






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