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  1. #1
    Senior Member Pale Blue Ego's Avatar
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    Odroid HC1 as a server

    I am evaluating one of these as a headless LMS server. So far it seems ideal. The HC1 has an 8-core arm CPU and 2GB of DDR3 ram + GB ethernet. For thermal stability, the entire HC1 frame is a large aluminum heatsink. What makes the HC1 superior to the Raspberry and many other small systems is the full-speed SATA connection for a 2.5" SSD or spinning HDD. I chose an SSD for total silence. The drive slides right into the heatsink/frame with no cables or mounting hardware needed.

    HC1 stands for Home Cloud 1, a basic but powerful system meant to be used as a server; there is no video, no audio, no wifi and only 1 USB port. Odroid also makes the Home Cloud 2, which is the same hardware but the heatsink/frame is large enough to hold a 3.5" spinning SATA drive or a 2.5" SSD or 2.5" spinning drive. I like the much smaller size of the HC1 and I do not wish to invest in any more spinning drives if I can help it.

    A microSD card is required for booting, but it's possible to move the operating system from the microSD to the SSD, so that's what I did. I'm using Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS on a 16GB partition of the 2TB SSD. LMS was easy to install with the dpkg program. I used the 32-bit version for arm devices.

    My library is a bit over 1 TB, so it fits on the 2 TB SanDisk SSD with lots of room to grow. There are about 35,000 tracks, mostly FLAC, so it's a reasonable test for the hardware.

    LMS runs very well on the Odroid. The web interface is downright snappy. As a stress test, I streamed hi-res music (24/96) to all 3 of my players at once. The CPU usage for the server was around 11%. If I stream hi-res to the Touch only, CPU usage drops to about 2%. If I stream 16/44.1 audio to all 3 players (no conversion required on the server) the CPU usage is around 5%.

    Total system memory usage has been steady at only 210-215 MB. It did spike to about 315 MB during a scan, but with 2GB of ram I have plenty to spare. The system draws less than 5 watts of power, so it's perfect for a 24/7/365 server.

    Price of the Odroid hardware is $49 + $13 for a power supply, $5 for a case, $8 for a microSD = $75.
    The 2 TB SSD was just under $200.

    I really like the low power draw, the small size, the reasonable cost and especially the silence.

    I did a "clear library and rescan" on my old server as well as on the Odroid. The music library is the same on each system.

    On my big noisy Intel i3 server with 8GB RAM, it took 18:03.
    The Odroid completed the scan in 9:17! Wow!

    I'm guessing the Odroid was helped a lot by scanning an SSD while the Intel i3 had to scan a spinning drive. Also, on the Odroid I'm running the LMS server and scanner processes at higher than normal priority levels. I gave more resources to LMS since it's really the only thing I will be running on the Odroid except for a firewall and Samba. But the higher priorities almost certainly gave the Odroid an edge during the scan.

    I monitored the CPUs on the Odroid during the scan. 2 of the "big" cores were handling the scan, running about 50% each, and the other 2 "big" cores were loafing along at 2-3%. The 4 "little" cores were idle. I would estimate overall CPU usage at around 15% during a scan. I will be tweaking the performance even further as I go, but for now I am very pleased.

  2. #2
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    I discovered the hc1 a couple of months ago and can confirm that it's very snappy.

    Mine has a 4Tbyte hdd and runs Armbian - otherwise pretty much the same.

    My collection is a bit smaller, currently just over 27000 tracks. These are the stats I got adding some new albums:

    Discovering files/directories: /media/music (27325 of 27325) Complete 00:00:09
    Scanning new music files: /media/music (154 of 154) Complete 00:00:03
    Discovering playlists: /media/playlists (4 of 4) Complete 00:00:00
    Building full text index (7 of 7) Complete 00:00:11
    Find updated coverart files (847 of 847) Complete 00:00:00
    Pre-caching Artwork (5 of 5) Complete 00:00:02
    Database Optimize (2 of 2) Complete 00:00:05

    The server has finished scanning your media library.
    Total Time: 00:00:30 (Tuesday 23 July 2019 / 4:33 PM)

    About 4 - 5 times faster than the Wandboard Quad i was using before.

  3. #3
    Senior Member SpiderJon's Avatar
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    The Odroid HC1 sounds very interesting. I'm currently using a Pi 3 B+, and am considering a Pi 4; at least, once the USB-C issue is sorted out, which will need a hardware revision, so probably not any time soon.

    But, from what I've read, the Pi 4 does seem to run very/too hot, and really needs a fan. And I very much like the idea of a full-speed SATA connection.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pale Blue Ego View Post
    Also, on the Odroid I'm running the LMS server and scanner processes at higher than normal priority levels. I gave more resources to LMS since it's really the only thing I will be running on the Odroid...
    If LMS server/scanner are pretty much the only processes the Odroid runs, does upping the process priority actually make any difference? (It would if there were various competing processes, but since there aren't LMS will get all the available CPU cycles anyway.)

  4. #4
    Senior Member Pale Blue Ego's Avatar
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    I think the extruded alloy full-frame heatsink is a brilliant solution to the heat problem, and thermal stability was one of the strong selling points. The HC2 would be even better thermally since there's a lot more metal there. Note that we're seeing heat-related issues with the new Pi4. Even my Pi3b+ gets fairly toasty. It is currently 113F while the HC1 next to it is 104F. I think more companies should follow Odroid's lead. I have an Odroid N2 (4GB ram) which also uses the full-frame heatsink, and it compares well performance-wise to the new Pi4.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pale Blue Ego's Avatar
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    Here's my rescan. Not too bad with a library this size:

    Discovering files/directories: /mnt/music (44494 of 44494) Complete 00:00:15

    Removing deleted files: /mnt/music (12 of 12) Complete 00:00:02

    Scanning new music files: /mnt/music (16 of 16) Complete 00:00:00

    Discovering playlists: /mnt/playlist (2 of 2) Complete 00:00:00

    Building full text index (7 of 7) Complete 00:00:46

    Find updated coverart files (85 of 85) Complete 00:00:01

    Pre-caching Artwork (163 of 163) Complete 00:00:04

    Database Optimize (2 of 2) Complete 00:00:21

    The server has finished scanning your media library.
    Total Time: 00:01:29 (Tuesday, July 23, 2019 / 11:16 PM)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pale Blue Ego View Post
    I think the extruded alloy full-frame heatsink is a brilliant solution to the heat problem, and thermal stability was one of the strong selling points. The HC2 would be even better thermally since there's a lot more metal there. Note that we're seeing heat-related issues with the new Pi4. Even my Pi3b+ gets fairly toasty. It is currently 113F while the HC1 next to it is 104F. I think more companies should follow Odroid's lead. I have an Odroid N2 (4GB ram) which also uses the full-frame heatsink, and it compares well performance-wise to the new Pi4.
    I agree with that - mines never got more than slightly warm to the touch and I think much of that is coming from the HDD.

  7. #7

    SSD Options for Odroid HC1

    I'm evaluating the Odroid HC1 too for an efficient, silent server for LMS but in my case using DietPi.

    I've struck a problem with two different Samsung EVO 860 SSDs not working using DietPi on the HC1. I have a Seagate Ultra II SSD which does work properly with the HC1 and DietPi.

    If you are evaluating an HC1, could you please report back on which SSDs are working well for you - or any that didn't work - and what OS you are using.

    Thanks, Steve.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Agnew View Post
    I'm evaluating the Odroid HC1 too for an efficient, silent server for LMS but in my case using DietPi.
    I've struck a problem with two different Samsung EVO 860 SSDs not working using DietPi on the HC1. I have a Seagate Ultra II SSD which does work properly with the HC1 and DietPi.
    If you are evaluating an HC1, could you please report back on which SSDs are working well for you - or any that didn't work - and what OS you are using.
    While I don't have the HC-1, I'm thinking about buying one, so I'd be keen to understand where these issues come from (according to the hardkernel homepage, it should work with any disk except some (obscure) dell model).
    What are the symptoms? Does it recognize the SSD at all? Anything interesting in the output of dmesg?
    Have you tried with a different OS (the official Ubuntu, or Armbian (the latter includes a HC1-specific DTB (see here), not sure if DietPi does) ?
    Various SW: Web Interface | Playlist Editor / Generator | Music Classification | Similar Music | Announce | EventTrigger | LMSlib2go | ...
    Various HowTos: build a self-contained LMS | Bluetooth/ALSA | Control LMS with any device | ...

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