Odroid H2 Net card: With 4x additional 2.5 Gb/s

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Hard Kernel continues to strengthen its Odroid H2 (+) by adding a string to its bow, which will appeal to fans of home network solutions: a daughter card with no less than four RJ45 ports at 2.5 Gb/s. The manufacturer takes the opportunity to review its official boxes.

The Odroid H2 saga continues. After a “+” version equipped with a new Intel processor and two 2.5 Gb/s network ports, Hard Kernel has discreetly put a new accessory on the market in January: a 4x 2.5 Gb daughter card allowing to set up a real small router: the H2 Net Card.

Odroid H2 + with x86 CPU and 2x 2.5 Gb/s: at 161 euros, the perfect card for a home NAS?

Sold for 47 dollars (excluding postage), it comes with its share of limitations. The first is that it is based on the same Realtek RTL8125B which is only natively supported under Windows 10. Under Linux, you usually have to compile a driver by hand or rely on third-party repositories. Hard Kernel specifies that version 9.003.05 is to be preferred because the latest one poses some performance concerns during concurrent access.

Then, do not expect to use this card with just any machine. It was designed for the Odroid H2 (+) and only works with them according to the manufacturer. An update of their BIOS (1.22) is also necessary for the card to be functional. We can then switch to 2x 1 Gb/s + 4x 2.5 Gb/s on the Odroid H2 and 6x 2.5 Gb/s on the H2+.

Finally, note that this H2 Net Card connects to the M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x4) port on the motherboard. BIOS 1.22 allows this to be used for something other than an SSD, such as four PCIe x1 lanes rather than an x4 group. For storage, it will therefore be necessary to fall back on the eMMC or HDD / SSD S-ATA (requiring a special power cable).

But according to the iPerf3 reports published by Hard Kernel, it’s worth it: up to 11 Gb / s (or 1.4 Gb/s) by cumulating all the ports. Enough to encourage the company to offer new dedicated boxes, allowing access to four additional RJ45 ports. Three models are available: Type 5, Type 6 and Type 7. This is not yet the case at KKSB, whose case we tested for Odroid H2 (+).

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