As promised in my video comparing SilverTip Lab's DIY Pocket NAS (express your interest here) to the ASUSTOR Flashstor 12 Pro, this blog post outlines how I built a 6-drive M.2 NAS with the Rock 5 model B.
The Rockchip RK3588 SoC on the Rock 5 packs an 8-core CPU (4x A76, 4x A55, in a 'big.LITTLE' configuration). This SoC powers a PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 slot on the back, which is used in this tiny 6-drive design to make a compact, but fast, all-flash NAS:
Pair that with the built-in 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port on the Rock 5, and... could this little package compete against commercial offerings like those from QNAP and ASUSTOR? It's certainly a lot more compact:
Watch the video linked at the top of this post to find out. And if you're interested in a Pocket NAS-style device (the one I tested is just a prototype), express your interest here!
The rest of this blog post details how I set up OpenMediaVault on the Rock 5 to test SMB sharing performance on my network.
Preparing the Rock 5 for OMV (Armbian setup)
- Download Armbian 23.02 Bullseye CLI (minimal) (Go to 'Archived versions for reference and troubleshooting) – the specific version I downloaded was
- Flash the ISO to a microSD card with Etcher
- Insert the microSD card and boot the Rock 5
- Log into the Rock 5 via SSH and follow the first time setup (initial login is
apt update && apt install -y git
- Get the fan set up (see separate instructions below)
- Run updates:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
Set up the PWM fan
- Clone the fan control software to the Rock 5:
git clone https://github.com/XZhouQD/Rock5B_Naive_Pwm_Fan.git
- Switch to root user:
- Enter the fan control directory:
- Copy the fan control binary:
cp fan_pwm /usr/local/bin/.
- Make it executable:
chmod +x /usr/local/bin/fan_pwm
- Set up the fan control systemd service:
cp fan_pwm.service /etc/systemd/system/.
- Reload systemd:
- Start the fan service and enable it at system boot:
systemctl start fan_pwm && systemctl enable fan_pwm
As an alternative to the PWM fan control app detailed above, you could instead use https://github.com/pymumu/fan-control-rock5b.
The last step is to install OpenMediaVault, a nice NAS-style management UI and ecosystem that works great on Arm boards like the Rock 5 model B.
- Install OMV:
sudo wget -O - https://github.com/OpenMediaVault-Plugin-Developers/installScript/raw/master/install | sudo bash
- After reboot, access the IP address of the Rock 5, and log into openmediavault with login
- In OMV, to create a SMB share for testing (make sure you click 'Apply' when it pops up in the UI after each step!):
- Go to Storage > Software RAID, and add a new software RAID device. I chose three drives and RAID 5, but you can choose what you want.
- While the RAID volume is sycning, go to File Systems, and add a new one; I chose EXT4 for mine.
- After the File System is created, it is not mounted. You have to click on it and click the 'Play' button to mount it.
- Go to 'Shared Folders' and create a new one; I created one with the defaults called 'test'.
- Go to Services > SMB/CIFS > Settings, and check the 'Enabled' checkbox. Click 'Save' at the bottom of the settings page.
- Go to Services > SMB/CIFS > Shares, and add a new SMB Share. Select the Shared Folder you created earlier, and configure permissions as you see fit. I enabled full public read/write access for testing.
- Wait for OMV to finish syncing the RAID 5 array (you can monitor progress under Storage > Software RAID).
- Once the array is finished syncing, the 'State' should read "clean"
- On another computer on the network, access the SMB share. On my Mac, in the Finder, I chose Go > Connect to Server (⌘ K), then entered the address
smb://[ip address of Rock 5]/test
Log in using a user account on the system, and you can now copy files to and from the SMB share to your heart's content!
On the Rock 5 model B, I was getting around 100 MB/sec write speeds, and 200 MB/sec read speeds, using a 3-drive RAID 5 volume over my 2.5 Gbps network. Write speeds were an improvement over the Raspberry Pi CM4 NAS I built last year, but not double or triple the speed as I was hoping. And SMB read speeds could hit about 1.9-2.1 Gbps but still couldn't saturate the Ethernet connection. So... good, but not as marked an improvement over a slower and older Pi as I was hoping.
For more details, and a full comparison, watch the full video on the Pocket NAS and Flashstor 12 Pro.