The Zimaboard is a new “Single-board Server” based on The Intel N3350 or N3450 Processor. Actually there are three units in the range – the Zimaboard 216, 432 and 832 models. I’m inclined to suggest sticking with the 432 or 832 models – so in some ways you could compare these to Raspberry Pi (if you could actually GET a Raspberry Pi) but they are not the same.
I’m lucky enough to be be sitting in front of a Zimaboard 432 model – which uses the N3450 4-core 2.2Ghz “Apollo Lake” chip with 2MB of L2 cache. For graphics, the boards use Intek HD Graphics 500. This board has 4GB RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. Power consumption is quoted as 6W. ZimaBoard is described as the “World’s First Hackable Single Board Server”. and below you see the total of what I received. At this point I’ve only “opened and used” the server and power supply.
The PSU comes complete with multiple power adaptors – I used the EU adaptor.
I’m not going to go heavily into specs as they are readily available – but the unit (board with base and heavy-duty heatsink)…in common with other two, has two sATA 3.0 6Bb/s ports, two GbE Lan ports,two USB 3.0, one PCIe and a mini-displayport which can handle 4K video out. I also received the 12V 3A power supply.
Zimaboard and the ready-installed CASAOS was designed by Team IceWhale.
So, what have I done? I opened the parcel, plugged the board into my network using one of the two built-in Ethernet sockets at random, plugged the board into power (noting the little red light coming on) and armed with the small English-language manual, opened Chrome browser on my Windows PC.
The manual said that CasaOS would appear as http://casaos.local – well, I know enough to know that my router doesn’t use local for local devices, instead it uses .lan
I punched in http://casaos.lan and lo, the unit came to life in my browser. That’s it, I’ve not missed out any steps. A dialog popped up to ask me to enter a new username and password – I selected admin and one of my many regular passwords. Straight in.
Doesn’t get much easier. The very first thing I did was go to settings and upgrade the OS online to the latest version. I then checked the pre-installed APPs and noted the Jellyfin video server – I tested the supplied (commonplace as it is free) movie then went on to upload one of my own 4K movies – worked perfectly, no stuttering – great interface.
The Zimaboard can support all sorts of alternative operating systems (not supplied) and I’ll talk more about this soon as well as the extra hardware I have – for now you can get all the details from their website.
As a media server this seems on a par with a top end RPi (minus the second video output) fitted out with some kind of media server software, but I’ve already noted that their “App Store” has lots of stuff available for home control and other applications including my favourite tools Node-Red and Grafana. The APP Store is part of CasaOS and has a very familiar look about it – all at the end of a mouse-click.
I have the Zimaboard 432, the power adaptor (both now in use), SATA Y cable for Zimaboard, MiniDP to HDMI adaptor and PCiE to NVME SSD adaptor. More on those extras later. Hmm, I’ve not yet figured out how to SSH into the board….oh yes I have…. usename and pass as in the docs – user name casaos and password casaos – right- that password is getting changed…. DONE. This looks very familiar…. what fun…
Finally I just installed TAILSCALE VPN on the board…. SSH into the board then:
curl -fsSL https://tailscale.com/install.sh | sh
I noted a load of other stuff on the Tailscale site but that’s all I had to do, then on the board…
sudo tailscale up
I’m out now, using my mobile and accessing the board’s CASAOS graphical interface to get to movies etc., I could see quite me transferring my stuff to this SBC. Just got to check on the backup/cloning situation, first thoughts, it has no rpi-clone as that’s for Raspberry Pi…. but we’ll soon see.