OpenBSD Journal


Contributed by jose on from the small-is-beautiful dept.

anonymous writes:
"Haven't seen this here, but have been offline for some time and search turned up nothing.

This looks pretty neat as an alternative to soekris, especially for us europeans, if anyone knows other expandable micro-pc's with multiple network interfaces please post."

"OpenBrick is a very small (180x118x40mm) and light (about 900g) and completely silent open platform which can be used as a micro-server, as a router or as a thin client. It contains a fanless 300 Mhz x86 compatible 300Mhz Geode processor and 128 MB SDRAM.

Default OpenBrick systems contain 128 MB SDRAM and a 32MB compact flash.

Options include :

  • bigger compact flash (up to 640MB)
  • 2.5" hard disk (from 10GB to 60GB)
  • PCMCIA card (Ethernet, Wireless LAN)
  • dual onboard LAN
The OpenBrick E is the "entreprise" version of the OpenBrick, based on the VIA C3/Eden platform to provide more CPU power. It includes 3x RJ45 LAN connectors.

OpenBrick E is a small ( 220 x 165 x 42 mm ) and light (about 1200 g) and completely silent open platform which can be used as a powerful server, as an advanced router or as an active thin client. It contains a fanless 533 Mhz x86 compatible VIA C3 processor and 256 MB SDRAM. " (dmesg for obsd 3.1)"

This is actually quite tempting to replace my large, clunky, and slow firewall I use at home.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I wish I could see something like this already in Canada (Calgary, AB). Might cost a fortune with exchange, duties, shipping, taxes, etc.

  2. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Take a look at Mynix Technologies they are in Canada; Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. They sell mini pc(s) and IPC

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      kewl! Do they sell the cases too, or show how the small cases look like?

    2. By Anonymous Coward () on is based out of BC. They like to push their PC104+ stuff, but they carry a lot of other vendors as well.

  3. By zil0g () on

    533MHz C3 "a powerful server", oh please...
    I'd choose my 400MHz k6-II anyday.

    1. By Matt Ostiguy () on

      The point of the c3 is power and heat. I can't find accurate figures for the 533mhz c3, but the 733mhz c3 max uses 11.6 watts. A 733mhz Celeron max uses 19.1 watts.

      A 400mhz *mobile* k6-2 can consume max 16-17W. A desktop one maxs at 22.7W.

    2. By He who cannot be named () on

      There wasn't much info in this web site. What I could glean from the specs of their little boards is that they still take ATX power supplies to make them go.

      From living with a router in my living room, it's the power supply that makes most of the noiss (that, and the noisy, but dependable, WD hard drive).

      The Transmeta board looked very cool, but it is not ready to go out of the box. For example, many of the boards only had pin headers for RJ-45, keyboard & mouse, and USB connectivity. I don't even know where one would get these connectors with the right pin sockets. I'd rather they were on-board.

      Having dual LAN at all is a definite plus, though. This leave the PCI slot open for something else. I'm not sure what I'd use the PCMCIA card for.

      I wonder if one could salvage a power supply from an old laptop to use? Of course, there are always the quiet PSUs from PC Power and Cooling.

      1. By zil0g () on

        about the sound; if you're not worried about breaking insurance and warranties - mod the PSU ;)
        I didn't have any suitable resistor at home at the time I "sent my fw to sleep" so I just used 3 standard 1N4148 diodes in series, gave me like 12-0.6*3 or some 10 volts to the fan, it's quiet now :)

        except when that biatch seagate logs a nmap -T5 ...

    1. By rlotz () on

      emBSD is dead, it hasn't been worked on in at least a year. Check out instead.

    2. By Anonymous Coward () on

      emBSD uses soekris boards.

  5. By rlotz () on

    Check out for another small formfactor alternative. IIRC you can get a system with board, proc, memory and case for around $300. They come with a standard PCI socket and some cases have room for a 3.5" HDD.

    1. By Fuper () on

      I chose the mini-itx to use as my firewall. I'm happy with that decision, and very happy with OpenBSD's support for it. The system is:
      iBox with 800 MHz VIA C3 cpu and thin cd-rom
      512MB Crucial SDRAM
      60G Seagate Barracuda IV IDE drive
      SMC Dual port ethernet nic
      Total cost was $365, not incl the hard drive, giving me a small filtering router / web server with three ethernet ports --- that fits in a briefcase, draws 20 watts and can run off a 12-volt battery!
      The Oct 2nd snapshot of OpenBSD 3.2 installed without a hitch from my home-made cdrom (using floppy32.fs, cdrom32.fs crashed) and recognized all hardware. It now remains to learn enough BSD stuff to get the third ethernet port configured and pf running.

  6. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Have also a look at Same price range, National Semi @ 300MHz, Compact Flash, pre-installed stock OpenBSD. Can be used as (filtering) bridge or full firewall/NAT + IPSec. No moving parts, fast, secure.

  7. By Art () on

    When will people learn that CF is just more trouble than it's worth? Harddrives are cheaper, have more space and are more stable.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Harddrives are cheaper, have more space and are more stable

      and make noise, take more power, arent as durable to shock.

      i havent noticed any stability issues w/ my cf devices.

      1. By art () on

        Shock only matters in your mp3 player or if you expect your servers to survive an earthquake. More power is just mariginal. If you want low power consumption, start by changing the cpu. And there are some really good disks out there with very low noise levels (of course you loose performance on low noise, but that's nothing compared to the performance you loose with CF).

    2. By Fred () on

      Exactly what troubles do you have with CF? Detail it out, please.

      1. By art () on

        In my last job I was (among other things) responsible for the filesystem layout and filesystem handling on the routers we were making. We had constant trouble with our CF devices that were corrupting data, losing data if not powered down correctly (correctly means: "perform magic, wait, more magic, wait, more magic, wait, wait, wait, some more magic, wait and pray"). This didn't happen that often, but when you're making hundereds of machines and reboot them often in the lab, it gets visible after a while.

        CF are simply not reliable. We tried many different manufacturers, some had more trouble (Sandisk were the worst), some had less (Kingston was the best), but all of them gave us problems sooner or later.

    3. By Anonymous Coward () on

      ....and contain movable parts. See if one of your hard drives will last an Illinois summer and winter inside an outdoor box.

  8. By Will () on

    How many of these have supported sound in OpenBSD?

    Not that it's super important, but I was looking for one of these type boxes for an auto-pc...


  9. By anoymous howard () on

  10. By djm () on

    Avoid them - they are slow and unstable


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