Hardware Recommendation


I am running my Freedombox since 2016 (just checked the invoice of my hardware) with an Olimex Lime with 512 MB. Using ZRAM and an USB memory stick for SWAP allows me to have it running more or less stable.

However, I think it is time for an upgrade. As I want to be future proof, I want to skip 1 GB RAM and go directly to 2 GB. Silent operation, so no fan.

I am living in Germany, thus would like to have a European distributor.

According to the wiki there are a couple of suitable devices:

  • PC Engines: pretty expensive with 180+ €. Any experience, recommendations.
  • Cubieboard: German distributor Pollin just sells spare parts. Any experience with cross-border shipments in Europe?
  • Pine A64-LTS: just direct shipment from US. Any experience with customs in Europe?
  • Pine Rock and Rockpro: same

I have seen some people using Raspberries as well. I would prefer staying with standard Debian as basis, thus no Raspian or so.

Are there any recommendations?


The original official site for Pine64 (pine64 dot com) ships directly from China, not the U.S. (I have purchased a PinePhone, Pinebook Pro & accessories from that site). They also have a new EU store: (pine64 dot eu/shop/) with less stock, which I haven’t tried yet.

It’s about 30-50 days to the EU with their standard shipping, including customs clearance time, Express shipping is more expensive, but a lot quicker.

Edit: from the main website, you’ll have to pay import charges, which is figured out at the time of importation. My last order of accessories was about 79€ and I had to pay another 40€ for import charges.

I would avoid FedEx for the express shipping option and go with GLS or similar; FedEx problems are another topic.

I have had no issues with my Pine devices, been using them daily going on 2 years now and would definitely recommend the products, if you are an advanced Linux user (read the disclaimers on their website & forum (forum dot pine64 dot org) before purchase.

It would be great if Olimex would update their boards, I love their products and they deliver promptly to the EU without issues; I was just thinking about buying another FreedomBox and external drive from them.

yes, getting parts from Olimex was always easy and they are very supportive.

Just discover the A64-OLinuXino based on Allwinner A64 with 2 GB RAM. Will this allow Freedombox?

PS: Pine64 is still on my watch list for the phone or pinetab2. However, I once had to do with German customs years ago, they were hell of complicated.

About two months ago, I switched to the built-in Olinuxino Lime 2 with 512 GB SSD, with a 5A power supply not from Olimex. I moved everything except /boot to the SSD. So far, I did not notice any issue (no crash, no interruption of service, everything running fine).

I have a RockPro64 on which I once tried to flash U-boot on the SPI without success. I’ll try again. However, I am 100% happy with my current Freedombox so I may not use this to make a Freedombox.

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I recently purchased a cubietruck on Willhaben.at There’s always offers there on an irregular base. Didn’t convert yet, since it still works well with the olimex HSK.

To receive even more adequate reccomendations I geuss it’ll be beneficial to describe what services you run and what are the limitations you face with you current hardware/setup.

Keep in mind that A64-OLinuXino-2Ge8G-IND does not have SATA port but audio and video hardware that you probably won’t benefit from. Also beware that some Pine boards are shipped without SPI chip - read carefully before purchase if you go that way. There are great aluminium boxes for fanless operation for some of the boards.

I’m not sure that just the amount of RAM will rectify the stability problems. I’m aware that 512MB of RAM is a limiting factor for some usage scenarious but do keep in mind that there is no CPU cooling system whatsoever.

Aside from that my recommendation would be for A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-s16M. I would recommend against the HSK since it uses older board variant (to me the main limitation of that board is inability to move the /boot to the SATA drive). Aside from 1GB RAM you’ll get GB ethernet port from which you will or won’t benefit depending on usage. Running Home Assistant in Docker on one of those devices the used RAM lays at 468 MB.

Hi Stoyan,

I am using now

  • bePasty: only occasionally, not mandatory
  • calibre: also rarely used, not mandatory
  • Cockpit: of course
  • ikiwiki: currently my home page, which I want to replace by Wordpress for the more professional look. I am about to set up my own tech (not IT) business
  • gitweb: again only occasionally, but probably heavier in the future because it is a nice revision control tool
  • Matrix: no practical usage as no one I know uses it, still working on convincing people. Bridges to Telegram and Signal would be helpful for a heavier use. Usecase: up to 15 people per group
  • privoxy: mandatory
  • radicale: mandatory, a fix member of my digital live
  • searx: unreliable search results (mostly 0), thus rarely used
  • syncthing: mandatory to sync between computers and mobile phones etc.
  • (mediawiki: used to be my DIY wiki but it collides with radicale, only either works, thus removed)

I would also like to install

  • Janus: video chats
  • Shaarli: sync bookmarks between computers
  • Tor relay: would be nice, but probably the hardware requirements are too heavy, thus actually not on the nice-to-have list

When I ran it with 512 MB RAM only, the box was unresponsive e.g. during updates (but also without any understandable cause) due to heavy swapping. Therefore I installed ZRAM (thanks for the discussion in this forum) which improved the situation a lot, but did not resolve it entirely.
Thus I placed a 2 GB memory stick to the USB port and configured it as SWAP (I know Flash memories as RAM is not a good idea. Maybe this stick has an issue). The box became much more stable. But still it often happens that it is unresponsive for a day or so. E.g. heavy updates take more than 3 hours (they start at about 6 and I cannot sync my mobile phone at breakfast (7) nor later in the morning at 9, but often in the evening). As these symptoms are identical to what I observed before I installed SWAP I believe it is due to too little RAM.
This often does not happen for 1 or 2 months and then again 3 times a week. Only solution is a cold restart (unplugging power cord and plugging in again).

How about an Orangepi 5?

I’m just starting with Freedombox…
I think i just use thin client HP t620 have few lying around, had added 16GB ssd and 4GB RAM will also add USB as storage (has 2 x usb3 and 2x internal usb)so I should be ok

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Im using a Raspi4B - 8GB. I installed FBX from the image provided on freedombox.org - no need for Raspian. I have a passive cooler on my Pi, avg temp does not exceed 50C. Ive also aded 2 external disks for booting and nas purposes.

In my country you cant access open hardware, so I had no choice but to go with raspi. If you dont mind the binary blobs at boot, its been working extremely well for me.

Ive got most of the FBX apps, a pleroma server, a photo album app and a geneology app ony my server. On standard operation, ram usage doesnt exceed 2-3GB.

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Same here. I added a SSD as boot partition and everything works for me for over a year now…

Sorry for the late reply, the last months were a bit chaotic here.
Eventually I decided to try the Raspberry Pi 4B, 8 GB (easiest to get in Germany, does not require an IT university degree - I hope). It should arrive next week. I will report my findings.

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