Update 3-4-2012:

The solution that I would choose this moment is the CuBox, it is not available in every country yet. If it is available, it will be added to the list.

I am using the Linksys NSLU2 with SlugOS installed. See my posts in Dutch about the NSLU2 arjanwooning.nl/tag/nslu2/.

The pros of the NSLU

  • Reliable
  • Low power consumption (5W)
  • Inexpensive
  • No problem to run 24x7, it does not get hot
  • Fanless
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • Multi-functional (with SlugOS)

The requirements for the NSLU replacement

It is not easy to find a replacement for the NSLU. Of course the specifications needs to be better.

I made a Home Server (sorry again in Dutch) with the Point Of View Atom 330 ION Mini-ITX board. This solution is consuming 6 times more than the NSLU (30 Watt). And after all I need a small server board and no display connection.

For a long time I was searching for a solution like the NSLU, but with the following extra requirements:

  • 1 Gb network interface
  • > 256 MB RAM
  • Processor > 1 GHz
  • SATA interface
  • Power consumption < 10 Watt
  • Price < $150,-

It is not easy to find something like this and meet all requirements. I made a sheet and compared the boards/systems that I found.

The following table contains some interesting low-power boards/systems which I want to share.

Board type ROM [MB] RAM [MB] CPU [GHz] Type Network Flash disk HDD USB Display Power [W] Price

BeagleBoard-Xm DM3730 256 512 1,0 ARM Cortex-A8 100Mb uSD - 4 DVI-D ?
Guruplug-Server Plus 512 512 1,2 ARMv5TE 2x 1Gb SD eSATA 2 - 5 $129
OpenRD Ultimate 512 512 1,2 ARMv5TE 2x 1Gb uSD eSATA+ SATA 7 VGA 7 $249
Sheevaplug eSATA 512 512 1,2 ARMv5TE 1Gb SD Yes 1 - 5 £97
Seven Conga-QA6 32G 1024 1,6 x86 1Gb - SATA 8 Yes 5 €282
Pogoplug V2 128 256 1,2 ARMv5TE 1Gb - - 4 - 5 $99
ALIX.1D - 256 0,5 x86 100M CF IDE 4 VGA 6 $166
Plug-pc LXP-2310 256 128 0,5 RISC 100M - - 4 DVI-D 3 $195
Fit PC 2 - 1024 1,6 x86 1Gb miniSD SATA 6 DVI-D 6 $294
Based on my requirements the Guruplug-Server Plus, OpenRD-Ultimate, Sheevaplug eSATA and the fit-PC 2 are matching.

I choose the Sheevaplug eSATA from these, it is not expensive. Good value for money. The OpenRD-Ultimate and the fit-PC 2 are nice, but a little to expensive for my needs. The Guruplug-Server Plus was originally my choise, but it is not fanless. And has a lot of temperature problems. This is not good for 24x7 operation.

If you have a board/system which fits my requirements, please react with a comment. I really will appreciate it if you good a good tip!