Folks have been using inexpensive single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi to create DIY home servers for about as long as inexpensive SBCs have been a thing. But the ZimaBoard is one of the first I’ve seen that’s custom made to be used as a DIY, hackable server.

The ZimaBoard is a small, fanless computer powered by a 6-watt Intel Apollo Lake processor with support for hard drives and SSDs.

It’s now available for pre-order for $80 and up through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and, if everything goes according to plan, it could ship to backers in June.

The ZimaBoard measures 4/7″ x 2.9″ x 1″ and has an integrated heat sink and a decent set of connectors that could come in handy if you’re planning to use the system for a network-attached storage device, personal media server, or roll-your-own Google Docs alternative:

  • 2 x SATA III ports
  • 1 x PCIe 2.0 x4 port
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A ports
  • 1 x Mini DisplayPort 1.2 (4K@60Hz output)

The system features LPDDR4 memory and eMMC storage, and it will be available in two configurations:

  • ZimaBoard 216 with Intel Celeron N3350 (2-cores, 2-threads), 2GB RAM, 16GB storage for $100 (or $80 during crowdfunding)
  • ZimaBoard 832 with Intel Celeron N3450 (4-cores, 4-threads), 8GB RAM, 32GB storage for $180 (or $140 during crowdfunding)

Both models should be able to support a range of operating systems including server-specific options like pfSense, LibreELEC, or OpenWrt as well as desktop (or mobile) operating systems including Windows, various GNU/Linux distributions, or Android.

According to promotional materials, the ZimaBoard comes from the same folks who make the LattePanda line of single-board computers with Intel chips… although I don’t see any mention of the ZimaBoard on the LattePanda website or social media channels.

This article was originally published December 10, 2020 and last updated January 20, 2021. 

via /r/MiniPCs and ZimaBoard (Facebook)

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6 replies on “ZimaBoard is a hackable single-board server with Intel Apollo Lake (crowdfunding)”

  1. Maybe when I run out of old laptops to re purpose, I will look at one of these. Not a fan of emmc when sata is available.

  2. “Hackable” in the sense that I “hacked” my computer using an ordinary OS installer DVD.
    Unless you’re planning to hook up devices to this thing that can be powered exclusively by the ZimaBoard, it’s not much cheaper than building a server out of IBM Compatible PC parts. It’s more compact, but that goes out the window once you connect enough stuff to it. I would imagine the nest of wires could get messy pretty fast.
    What do they expect you to use to power 7 SATA devices anyway?
    Could be good for a server that lives inside your pc case maybe.

    1. Unless you’re planning to hook up devices to this thing that can be powered exclusively by the ZimaBoard

      Which pretty much covers the target market for this tiny computer, I suppose.

    2. “…it’s not much cheaper than building a server out of IBM Compatible PC parts.”

      True – all Amazon sourced, all with “free” Prime 2-day ConUS shipping. Add $25-$30 for a PCIe 4xUSB3.0 or SATA card if you’re building a NAS. HDD/SSD’s allso needed for a NAS. The mobo is fanless, the power supply has a fan. This was priced in August 2020, prices may vary.

      ASRock J4105 Celeron Motherboard & CPU………………………….$75.99
      Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR4 2400 MT/s (PC4-19200) SR x8 DIMM 288….$37.95
      Kingston 120GB A400 SATA 3 2.5″ Internal SSD SA400S37/120G………..$24.99
      APEVIA SFX-AP400W Mini ITX Solution / Micro ATX / SFX 400W P.S…….$29.99
      Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L Micro-ATX Tower……………………$49.99

  3. Cool. But what do they mean by being the world’s first hackable single board server (computer)? Aren’t all single board computers (servers) hackable by definition?

    1. They are just click baiting the title. This is just another to add to the junk pile of sbc with very little and very specific use cases

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