Colossal NAS SBC Shoot Out: Raspberry Pi vs RockPro64

Update here.

Have I mentioned how much I hate the network attached storage industry (NAS)? I really, really hate the network attached storage industry. I mean, in the world of monopolised tech, if not monopolised everything, what is there not to hate? And so…

Why in the world does a NAS have to 1) cost so much and 2) be nothing more than …a fcuking complication? Or? Put another worst-way: Do you know complications, dear worst-reader? I, for one, hate complications. It’s the reason I gave up on watch collecting so many years ago. Too many complications drag down watches, don’t you know. Complications un-brighten them. They force them into a world of complication servitude. By-the-buy, since I’m going this route of worst-analogies, a watch complication is when a watch does more than just tell time–twice wrong in a day. Hence, a second hand on a watch is a complication. A day/date indicator on a watch is a complication. Stopwatch function? Oh yea. And how ’bout them really fancy Swiss watches with stopwatch and moon dials and they even had one that could count a woman’s cycle? Complication galore, eh, dear worst-reader? But, as usual, I’m off worst-subject.

The tech world is full of complications. How else could the likes of Zuckerberg, face-bag, twitty, get/make billions? In fact, allow me to go out on a real wide & mighty worst-tangent here: The reason oligarchs and monopolies rule the world is because, well, stupid people require complications in order to have/find meaning in the meaninglessness of their Digital lives. Hence, face-bag, twitty, #Trump, etc., they all get by with the allure of having mastered complications. Or am I wrong? Then again, as I’ve done a pretty good job so far in fulfilling my new year’s resolution–i.e. having fewer complications in my Digital life–there’s still a hold-out when it comes to un-complicating it all.

Worst-truth faced today: I need a friggin NAS.

For about a half-year now, I’ve been experimenting with avoiding having to buy a NAS. Computers, iPads, iPhones, etc. It’s all just too complicated. Or? But there is reality. I’ve been digital for quite a few years now. There’s lots of data that need be saved. The cheap NAS solution so far has been a Raspberry Pi. Late last fall, though, having faced the bottleneck situation of the RPi, i.e. it has limited bandwidth because its ethernet is dependent on a USB2.0 data bus, I splurged and bought a Rock64/4GB from Pine64. Guess what? That’s right. It didn’t friggin work. That is, after numerous attempts at getting it to work, OpenMediaVault (OMV) didn’t/couldn’t deliver. Boy was I glad that I kept a copy of everything running on my RPi. Should I have known better? Sure. I mean, OMV is still in beta on Pine64 products. Nomatter. What a disappointment.

Which brings me to the next issue of this worst-tech-post. I have a hard time learning from my mistakes. And here’s why/how: There was something about Pine64’s Rock64/4GB SBC. Something about it rocked my world. I know that’s a silly thing to worst-write–but it’s true. I think it was/is the power source Pine64 chose for its SBC. Other than bandwidth and relatively slow hardware, the other fault of the RPi is its power connectivity. Connecting a micro-USB as power source is just plain old flimsy. Then again, the RPi, comparatively, works. Anywho.

Even though as a OMV server the Rock64/4GB failed, I’m currently using it as a Linux headless device running DietPi software. And here’s the real confusing thing about how I fail to learn from my mistakes. The Rock64/4GB just feels better. It feels stronger and more durable than the RPi. Even though OMV doesn’t quite work, the choice of software made available by DietPi amazes–even though I can’t Gert SMB shares to function. The ease of using it at all, though, pretty much gave me the hope that it would/could be a replacement for an RPi. If only THEY could get all the software out of beta-hell. Oh yea. The Rock64/4GB has full, true, gigabyte ethernet. It should be a waaaaay better NAS solution than the RPi. Or…?

Oh yea. Learning from my mistakes. NOT!

Thinking/hoping that Pine64 and the powers-that-be would get all the software that runs on its devices out of beta, I went ahead and splurged once again and bought a RockPro641. The problem is, compared to the RPi, Pine64, of which I have two devices now, just don’t work. At least they don’t work as NAS-OMV devices2. So get this, dear worst-reader. Surprisingly, even with its limited bandwidth, lower hardware specs, the RPi literally blows these great Pine64 products to shreds.

Spec-wise, there’s no competition here. The RPi is not even in the same league as the RockPro64–or the Rock64. As mentioned, the RPi has limited ethernet because it is dependent on a USB2.0 data bus. Ok. The Pine64 devices have full gigabyte ethernet. Wow. But what good is that if, well, the friggin things don’t work? The RPi also only has 1GB ram–compared both Pine64 devices which have 4GB ram. Then there’s the huuuuuge difference in CPUs. The RockPro64 has a gazillion cores and the RPi a half a pint of cores. Yet, and forgive me for being redundant, there’s one thing that sets the RPi apart, even though I hate its micro-USB power connector. The RPi fcuking works. At least, as a NAS, running OMV, the RPi runs circles around my two frivolous and blind-hopeful attempts at replacing it. Which begs the following realisation.

The good news is, I need a real NAS. The bad news is, I’m sick of tinkering with SBCs. With that in mind, I’ll continue to use RPi’s as clients–mostly media clients–and probably sell the RockPro64. And then I have to find another solution for my digital life. And so…

You win monopoly complicated tech world. I’m gonna buy yet another doomed to obsoletism device that cost waaaaay too much. Yea, baby. Consume-to-survive.

Rant on.

-T


  1. Actually, this purchase was somewhat motivated by the fact that I wanted to order something from China–just for the heck of it. I’ve since learned from that mistake, too. ↩︎
  2. They work great as Linux devices to help one learn… wait for it… Linux; they also work great as a WordPress iteration; I’m also using it as a pi-hole DNS server, etc. ↩︎

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