Farming Hardware: Odroid-U3

Odroid U3 from Hardkernel - 1.7GHz Quad Core, 2GB eMMC RAM, 10/100 Ethernet, 3x USB2.0, XUbuntu 13.10 or Android 4.x (supplied on the eMMC flash RAM)

Power consumption: “about 1A [5W] in most cases”


Options (all include shipping, box and PSU)

  • $100 ( 2G eMMC RAM)
  • $139 (16G eMMC RAM)
  • $179 (64G eMMC RAM)

Add RTC battery backup for $2.5 !!!

HDD / SSD: Possible via USB according to Hardkernel FAQ


very interesting to further tweak hardware for power efficiency!

But don’t push too hard for power-efficient disk-only systems. If I can help it, distributed computing will sooner, rather then later be put on top of the SAFE network. Then we need those power draining CPUs close to the stored data ! :))

So hooray also for the old-fashioned multi-purpose desktop :)))

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I guess at some point the nodes will be ranked for different tasks, so everyone is welcome! :slight_smile:


You are going to want fast storage access. I don’t think a USB port is going to cut it. We need SATA or PCI. iSCSI might work, but not over a 10/100 port.

@oillio it depends what you are trying to achieve, and in the early days how to achieve that won’t be known. It will also vary as the network grows. For my application the Excito B3 and Odroid will be interesting candidates, and in fact seeing how they perform is part of the exercise - and fun. I don’t think there is much point building a high-spec server unless you know that’s what you want / need. What are you planning to use?

I plan to use my already existing file server to start.
I wouldn’t consider SATA a high-spec machine. Almost any computer will have it. I’m sure there are low priced boards out there that can support such a thing. Also, the least expensive hard drives will be SATA.

What is your particular application? If you are building a dedicated farming box, I would assume your goal is to achieve the highest rate of safecoin production for the least amount of capital investment and maintenance.
As you said we have no idea what will affect safecoin production rate, so this is all speculation at this point.

I hope there will be a difference between USB based storage and SATA based storage. USB will add at least 10ms of latency. If the network can’t tell the difference in 10ms access times, I fear it will be a slow network indeed. I hope safecoin production rates will be affected by such things.

Maidsafe is the ultimate random access scenario. We will be constantly reading/writing 1MB blocks off the drive. Sustained read/write performance won’t matter at all (your hard drive will never be slower than your network). What will be important is how fast you can find and begin streaming. So, you will need just enough RAM to cache whatever metadata the node needs to keep around, and just enough CPU to handle the communication and encryption efficiently. The important thing will be latency, how fast can you turn a request around into a stream of data.

In the future I can see farming specific node software being built with integrated filesystem drivers. A lookup table between the maidsafe ID and the hard drive block will be stored in RAM or an SSD. The goal would be to reduce the hits to the hard drive to the bare minimum, only calls to read/write chunks should ever make it to the slow bulk data medium.

If I was looking to build a farming box now, I would look in the media-center space. My specs would be:
Small, low power, efficient PSU - electricity input will be important
Internal bays for storage - no need for expense of an external box for hard drives
SATA - low latency and cheap
ethernet - 10/100 will do unless I have a Google fiber account or something
hard drive(s) - find the cheapest per GB. The question will be how much space is best
RAM - depends on what the optimum cache size ends up being
bandwidth - the most important factor, but not relevant to building the actual box


@oillio fascinating thanks!

I think the are too many variables be sure latency is the key, though you may be right, or that an HDD is the solution etc.

I’m not aiming to be a commercial farmer, I want to play at farming as much to be involved and help others as anything so I’m interested in both finding a new use for my old Excito B3, and if I can’t get that working, having fun with some new piece of kit such as the Odroid.

I won’t be too bothered if I don’t turn a profit, and certainly not trying to compete with pros.

I am interested to see how the Odroid with 1.2MHz quad core processor and 64G RAM will do, and maybe then adding an SSD via USB. (So don’t try too hard to get the B3 going @Ross :wink: Then compare this at around 5W with other setups, such as you have in mind. We can make a big table and put it on Wikipedia :slight_smile: It will be fun!

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We are actually running Continuous Integration tests for all modules on Ordroid U2 . Results are good with this one. I am sure U3 will be good improvement.

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Sounds good. It will be interesting to see how different specs affect performance.


Either I just purchased the last Odroid-U3 available for now, or they’re limiting to one per person.

I’d be interested to know which, so if anyone would like to go to the Odroid Store and try adding an Odroid-U3 to your basket, let me know if it adds or says “Out of stock”.

We ordered 20 the other day I think for the internal test network. Sorry Mark, it may be our fault.

Don’t apologise, you saved me $200! :wink:


Interesting discussion.

I have a question;

If I would have the Odroid-U3 (or similar) with a 2TB Sata disk and a lightweight secure linux distro and install the vault software on it and basically donate the full 2TB to the nework (e.g. farming), will it be fast enough to actually do the encrypting bit?

I am concerned about all these ARM based deviced that are proposed.
At home I have a fairly new x86 intel atom based NAS with a usenet downloader on it but it struggles to download at full speed because of the SSL encrypted connection. The problem is that the encryption routines will max out the CPU.

So I am wondering if ARM based devices can cope with the load that the maidsafe encryption trows at them.

Does anyone know more about this?



The answer is almost certainly yes, but @Ross can give you a more definitive response as he’s looking after the family of twenty Odroid-U3’s being used in the test networks.

In any system there will be a bottleneck somewhere - either bandwidth, or processing, or RAM etc - so there is not perfect system. My suggestion is that we gather what we learn together and publish it to help each other and others decide what mix of hardware to deploy.

The early farmers will learn more from doing the “spade work”, but will no doubt make bigger “errors” than those starting with the benefit of what we learn.

Hi happybeing,

from what I can read it seems that farming starts in few months… It appears that you guys started already? did i miss something…


Farming hasn’t started. Maybe you mean that some people already have MaidSafeCoin?

If so, this was either bought during the crowd sale or since then on an exchange.

Farming won’t happen until the network goes live (yes, probably a few months), and everyone will start in the same terms, but those with MaidSafeCoin will be able to convert that info SafeCoin for use on the network.

AFAIK there are two exchanges trading MaidSafeCoin, masterXchange and poloniex but volume is significant so I expect more will follow.

You can also trade directly on the Mastercoin protocol, using a suitable wallet, but personally I’m wary of that because the software is so new.

Thanks… I bought MaidSafeCoin from masterexchange… It’s just seating there… Yep I did read somewhere that the wallet is in alpha release. So I’m leaving my MaidSafeCoin masterexchange…

I am very optimistic that MaidSafeCoin/safecoin will be the next thing as it provides service more than a currency… I like that the CEO is upfront about the fee for the core developers.

With so many coins popping out like mushroom its really hard to find the one that will stay for long… I just hate the pump and dump stuff… almost all coins are like that, I cant keep up…

Cool… Thanks for the info… see you around.


UPDATE: I have now successfully built on two Odroid-U3 with 64G eMMC using WiFi dongle for internet over mobile hotspot. Also, on a 4TB USB3 drive connected to Odroid-U3 (by USB2 :-(). All powered by solar. Hah!

More here: How to build MaidSafe on Odroid-U3 (Ubuntu 14.04 LTS)?


Excellent Mark, I love this, how many other coins can be created with a solar power rig :slight_smile: This is exactly the kind of thing we need. Brilliant!

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Good point. We (ok, I) should do some Watts per GB, and Watts per Safecoin calculations when we’re live. It’ll know the stuffing out of bitcoin et al.

Plus the fact that the costs are marginal, distributed, and the profit socialised.