Tag Archives: gigabyte

New home gateway router (part 2) — the Gigabyte Brix

As explained in the previous post I’m building a new home gateway router, and for this I chose the Gigabyte Brix GB-BXBT-2807, the lowest end product in Gigabyte’s Brix range.

brix

It was a bit of a saga to get it working. The main problem was the RAM that I bought was faulty, but I didn’t know that at the time since all you get is a blank display. The Brix uses strange low voltage SO-DIMMs and it’s unlikely you’d have any lying around — I certainly did not. Guessing that it could be the RAM, I ordered more which took another two days, and that worked.

Suggestion for Gigabyte: solder a minimal amount of RAM on the motherboard (eg. 256 MB) so that the Brix at least boots to the EFI shell with no SO-DIMM inserted.

Disassembling and reassembling the Brix is fiddly, but I got there in the end.

Without an operating system installed, it boots into the EFI shell. Booting with a RHEL USB key boots straight into the RHEL installer.

The dual core 64 bit Celeron is pretty nice given that the whole system cost me £137.

lstopo looks like this:

brix-lstopo

and /proc/cpuinfo like this:

processor	: 0
vendor_id	: GenuineIntel
cpu family	: 6
model		: 55
model name	: Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU  N2807  @ 1.58GHz
stepping	: 8
microcode	: 0x811
cpu MHz		: 981.246
cache size	: 1024 KB
physical id	: 0
siblings	: 2
core id		: 0
cpu cores	: 2
apicid		: 0
initial apicid	: 0
fpu		: yes
fpu_exception	: yes
cpuid level	: 11
wp		: yes
flags		: fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx rdtscp lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good nopl xtopology nonstop_tsc aperfmperf pni pclmulqdq dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm sse4_1 sse4_2 movbe popcnt tsc_deadline_timer rdrand lahf_lm 3dnowprefetch ida arat epb dtherm tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority ept vpid tsc_adjust smep erms
bogomips	: 3166.40
clflush size	: 64
cache_alignment	: 64
address sizes	: 36 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
power management:

processor	: 1
vendor_id	: GenuineIntel
cpu family	: 6
model		: 55
model name	: Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU  N2807  @ 1.58GHz
stepping	: 8
microcode	: 0x811
cpu MHz		: 1831.644
cache size	: 1024 KB
physical id	: 0
siblings	: 2
core id		: 1
cpu cores	: 2
apicid		: 2
initial apicid	: 2
fpu		: yes
fpu_exception	: yes
cpuid level	: 11
wp		: yes
flags		: fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx rdtscp lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good nopl xtopology nonstop_tsc aperfmperf pni pclmulqdq dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm sse4_1 sse4_2 movbe popcnt tsc_deadline_timer rdrand lahf_lm 3dnowprefetch ida arat epb dtherm tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority ept vpid tsc_adjust smep erms
bogomips	: 3166.40
clflush size	: 64
cache_alignment	: 64
address sizes	: 36 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
power management:
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New home gateway router (part 1)

router_blur

For about 12 months I’ve been using the ASUS RT-N16 + OpenWRT as my gateway. But you know what? It sucks — I hate that it’s not a real Linux distro, that it’s difficult to upgrade, that it randomly reboots itself, that it only kinda manages IPv6, that it uses a half-assed packaging system, that I can’t run regular tools, and that it’s insecure.

And since I switched over to VDSL @ 80 Mbps which uses PPPoE (ie. no need for DSL terminated at the gateway), it’s time to switch to running a real distro on a real computer.

The first step is to choose a small form-factor PC, crucially with two ethernet ports. Unfortunately Intel still don’t sell NUCs with two ethernet ports. Also Intel NUCs are really expensive. So I’ve settled for a much cheaper alternative:

Total cost (including tax and delivery): £137.87

Note that I already have a spare 2.5″ SSD, but you would need to add the cost of a SATA HDD/SSD if you don’t have one already.

It’ll be interesting to see how fast the USB 3.0 ethernet adapter is in real life, because it’s the obvious weak spot. However I only need the router to be able to forward at 80 Mbps, and even a Celeron and a weak ethernet adapter surely should be able to handle that.

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