Alix 2D3 board, part 1

Left-to-right: serial, 3xnetwork, USB, power. Note no graphics.

I bought an Alix 2D3 from LinITX. These are interesting little single board computers, featuring a slow AMD Geode processor, VIA chipset, no graphics, three 100 Mbps network ports, and a serial port. They boot from a CF card and cost around £100 including VAT and delivery.

I’ve installed Debian on the CF card, and had to deal with a Connector Conspiracy which has prevented me from mating my laptop with the serial console. Why Debian? Fedora is too bloated because of all the desktop/Python/*Kit crap that comes by default, whereas Debian can boot comfortably in 256 MB of RAM. Or indeed much less — in my previous job I used to install Debian virtual servers by default with 64 MB of RAM, and sometimes 32 MB. That’s more than an order of magnitude smaller than the minimal Fedora install. Second choice was FreeBSD which has a much more streamlined and visibly faster kernel than Linux, but Debian seems to be working out so far.

More to follow …



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7 responses to “Alix 2D3 board, part 1

  1. Debian

    Debian has a kFreeBSD port now, so you could get the best of both worlds.

  2. axet

    there is no fan?

  3. Jens Kühnel


    as an owner of couple of these boards. I have to tell you the networkports are only 100MBit.

    If you want to use it as a firewall, have a look at, great OpenSource Firewall based on FreeBSD, with a nice webbased Frontend.


  4. Interesting. I have a Soekris single board computer that I’ve used as a firewall for about 5 years, but they’re expensive and have to be imported from Belgium to UK. I see this has proper serial console, so it might be a decent alternative.


    • rich

      They’re relatively cheap, and getting Debian on to it was very easy. I just used debootstrap from a Debian machine, mostly following this guide.

      Performance-wise it’s not too bad at all really. Although the processor is quite slow, the solid-state hard drive seems to make up for it. It certainly “feels” faster than my other Geode-based server which has a 40 GB HDD.

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