- AllWinner A20 ARM Cortex-A7 Dual-Core
- 2GB DDR3 RAM
- HDMI & VGA connector
- 10M/100M/1G Ethernet
- SATA 2.0 interface
- Storage: NAND,MicroSD, TSD+ MicroSD or 2 x MicroSD
- 2 x USB HOST
- Power DC5V @ 2.5A
- 54 I/O pins with I2C, SPI, CVBS, UART, PWM, IRDA and more
And this is what it looks like with an 60GB SDD on top:
Although the ‘case‘ that was included (3 acryllic plates) won’t help much to protect the board from dust, it does look kinda cool 😉 The package also contains a SATA cable, DC jack, heat sink and some USB cables. All you need is a 5V power supply, screen, keyboard and off you go.
BTW, power usage with the SSD attached is about 2.3~2.4W; not bad! The Cubietruck comes with Android pre-installed, but that’s not what I bought this board for; Linux is much more suitable for what I’ll be using this board for, so I downloaded Lubuntu Server and PhoenixSuit. The latter one is a Windows tool to flash the Cubietruck. Flashing the Lubuntu image was a breeze and within half an hour or so I had Lubuntu running. It’s all relatively easy and there are tutorials in case you get stuck. Furthermore, the Youtube channel of ProgramOften contains some very good footage: high quality video and very informative; they helped me moving the operating system from NAND to SSD.
After installing ssh I could remove the keyboard and screen and continue my work with Putty. It seems that some (not all, cause mine doesn’t) Cubietrucks change MAC address after a reboot, which can result in a different IP address when the interface is set to DHCP – it’s better to configure a static IP address in that case.
The Lubuntu server OS comes with MySQL & Apache installed and those 2 services are automatically started at boot. I disabled the automatic part and went on installing the stuff I’ll need: primarily Node.JS and a whole bunch of modules for it, some tools (Monit), prepared backup to my NAS and started tinkering with it.
You can really notice the difference between a Raspberry Pi and the Cubietruck (duh) ; compiling Node from source, installing packages, it all runs much faster. For example, where it took the Raspberry Pi half an hour to fill a LevelDB database on the SSD with >1M entries, the Cubietruck only needed 8 minutes for that.
So, why this Cubietruck, aren’t Raspberry Pi’s good enough anymore? Yes they still are, but I think I’ll need a more capable machine to host my website, maybe weblog too, take care of the historical data and still get a speedy response. For that I wanted to have a board with SATA and the Cubietruck seemed like the right choice. Time will tell..
In the next couple of weeks I’ll be doing some tests to see if I made the right choice: I’ll have a look how LevelDB performs on the Cubietruck, I’ll build some webpages with Node & AngularJS, produce some charts on those webpages with Highcharts, things like that. Just to see where all this is going to; did I make all the right choices, any bumps down the road I didn’t foresee? Will I manage to get my system running this way, or even better than it runs now? On those ‘scary little boxes’ as my wife called them a few weeks ago? (she’s used to seeing big-tower sized servers…)
First item on the list: LevelDB. I’m going to perform some tests in which I’ll try to push it to the limit (within the boundaries set by what I’ll be using it for, of course). Exciting!