TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

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donzoomik
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TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by donzoomik » Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:40 am

Hi

I'm planning to replace my aging HP MicroServer and QNAP NAS seems to be a reasonable replacement hardware-wise (quieter, smaller, lower power use, reasonable performance and price). However I'm not interested in QNAP OS, I want to install my custom OS.
Earlier units had standard BIOS based startup that was customizable via VGA/HDMI so you could install custom OS (I've seen some custom OS references for x09, x59, possibly x69).
However there is no firmware recovery guide (yet) for TS-x51/x53 and I couldn't find any images about boot progress from Google to confirm BIOS presence. My concern is that some other manufacturers use custom bootloaders even for x86 hardware and newer QNAP's might have gone down the same route.

My target OS would be Windows Server 2012 R2, VMWare ESXi (Bay Trail-D seems to be capable of 16GB RAM despite claims of only 8GB by Intel) or Debian. I'd probably replace DOM with larger one or use off-the-shelf USB stick (DOM seems to use standard 9pin USB header) and Install OS on it. If that turned out to be problematic, I'd probably use it as rootfs (or Windows bootloader) and do actual boot from HDDs. I do work as senior system administrator so hacks and complicated workarounds do not frighten me :)

Just to prevent offtopic talk, I'm not interested in running my OS in VM. I'm not interested in (semi)custom ITX hardware (probably more expensive, not as compact, probably higher power use etc...).
I do not expect it to be supported by QNAP (and I would expect my warranty void after such mofification), I'd just like the information prior to purchase.

1. Do TS-x51/x53 use industry standard BIOS to start up?
2. If present, is BIOS accessible via HDMI and USB?
3. If present, is BIOS UEFI aware (2TB+ drives, GPT boot...)?
4. If accessible, is BIOS customizeable enough to boot custom OS installer.

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QNAPJason
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by QNAPJason » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:45 pm

Hi donzoomlk,
You can use TS-x53 Pro's Virtualization Station to install Windows OS. It's one of QNAP's exclusive technology compared to other NAS vendors.
1. QNAP uses custom BIOS.
2. You can access the BIOS via HDMI & USB keyboard
3. yes, it is UFEI aware
4. yes, the BIOS is able to boot custom OS installer such as Windows

donzoomik
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by donzoomik » Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:17 am

Great, seems like you've won a new customer!
I'll report back experiences for other tinkerers :)

javierin
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by javierin » Sat Aug 09, 2014 9:27 pm

Hi donzoomik.
I am REALLY interested in x51 ability to manage 16GB RAM via 2x8GB sticks.
Would you be so kind to report experiences on that when you set it up?

Thanks in advance

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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by schumaku » Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:38 pm

javierin wrote:I am REALLY interested in x51 ability to manage 16GB RAM via 2x8GB sticks
Nothing QNAP can do - the max DRAM is limited to 8 GB by Inhell -> http://ark.intel.com/products/78866/Int ... o-2_58-GHz

Memory Specifications
Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type) 8 GB

The same applies to the TS-x53, too -> http://ark.intel.com/products/78867/Int ... Hz?q=J1900

Would be nice if users do some basic homework before asking about the impossible.

donzoomik
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by donzoomik » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:27 am

schumaku wrote:
javierin wrote:I am REALLY interested in x51 ability to manage 16GB RAM via 2x8GB sticks
Nothing QNAP can do - the max DRAM is limited to 8 GB by Inhell -> http://ark.intel.com/products/78866/Int ... o-2_58-GHz
Memory Specifications
Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type) 8 GB

The same applies to the TS-x53, too -> http://ark.intel.com/products/78867/Int ... Hz?q=J1900
Would be nice if users do some basic homework before asking about the impossible.

Same back to you.
http://www.rkblog.rk.edu.pl/w/p/buildin ... ron-j1900/
Not supported does not mean impossible. Many systems can operate beyond manufacturer's claimed limitations. If the memory controller can work with 16GB on another manufacturer's board, proper operation on QNAP's embedded board is very likely. I'd expect it to be more picky with RAM modules though.
As I said before, I don't expect anything to be officially supported - for tinkerers only. :wink:
I'm on vacation right now, but I'll try to find a x53 unit as soon as it really comes available in EU.

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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by schumaku » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:53 pm

donzoomik wrote:As I said before, I don't expect anything to be officially supported - for tinkerers only. :wink:
Intend to say not supported with the impossible of course - sorry. I'm aware some earlier Atom (similar to the ones in the TS-x69 Pro/L) can be operated with more DRAM then what Intel spec'ed.
donzoomik wrote:I'm on vacation right now, but I'll try to find a x53 unit as soon as it really comes available in EU.
I think that's a good choice. Happy Holidays!

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sWORDs
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by sWORDs » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:50 pm

It's possible to run ESX or Windows on Qnap, for ESXi 5.5 you need to add the Marvell Controller device id with a VIB to the ISO, or install to USB/eSATA and install the VIB from SSH to get access to your bays (for the models with more then 4 bays this will only give you access to the uneven bays). Do not use the Marvell for vSAN as it will not work, in the current ESXi release nor will the Intel (eSATA). The QNAP boot's from USB which you can easily change in the bios and let it sit untouched or remove the device.

Please note that I would not recommend x51 or x53 for a virtual platform as they are basically dual and quad atom's, the new atom's do support out of order execution, but don't support 16GB (x70,x79,x80) and 32GB (x70U/x79U/ECx80) as some others. There also is no support for AES-ni, so watch out if you want to do encryption, your transfer rates will be low and even less cpu will be available for VM's.

Also note that with Virtualization Station support only one VM on x51 and only two on x53. These max vm settings can be hacked, but they don't set it for no reason, they are just to slow to do more and still be responsive for other tasks, x70, x79 and x80 are unlimited.

Single Threaded:
Atom D2700 Cedarview 10W 345 (x69, NM10 chipset)
Celeron J1900 Bay Trail-D 10W 534 (x53, SoC)
Celeron J1800 Bay Trail-D 10W 553 (x51, SoC)
Celeron G550 Sandy Bridge 65W 1326 (x70, H61 chipset)
Core i5 3570T Ivy Bridge 45W 1664
Core i3 2120 Sandy Bridge 65W 1681 (x79 pro, C206 chipset)
Core i3 3220 Ivy Bridge 55W 1759 (x70 pro, H61 chipset)
Xeon E3-1265L v2 Ivy Bridge 45W 1787
Core i5 3470T Ivy Bridge 35W 1839
Xeon E3-1225 v2 Ivy Bridge 77W 1879 (ECx79u, C206 chipset)
Core i7 3770T Ivy Bridge 45W 1946
Xeon E3-1245 v3 Haswell 84W 2093 (ECx80, C226 chipset)

Multi Threaded:
Atom D2700 Cedarview 10W 813 (x69, NM10 chipset)
Celeron J1800 Bay Trail-D 10W 1086 (x51, SoC)
Celeron J1900 Bay Trail-D 10W 1942 (x53, SoC)
Celeron G550 Sandy Bridge 65W 2300 (x70, H61 chipset)
Core i3 2120 Sandy Bridge 65W 3872 (x79 pro, C206 chipset)
Core i3 3220 Ivy Bridge 55W 4218 (x70 pro, H61 chipset)
Core i5 3470T Ivy Bridge 35W 4588
Core i5 3570T Ivy Bridge 45W 5414
Xeon E3-1225 v2 Ivy Bridge 77W 6847 (ECx79u, C206 chipset)
Xeon E3-1265L v2 Ivy Bridge 45W 8187
Core i7 3770T Ivy Bridge 45W 8220
Xeon E3-1245 v3 Haswell 84W 9542 (ECx80, C226 chipset)
TS-870 upgraded with i7 3770t and 16GB F3-1600C10D-16GSQ kit, replaced LAN-1G2T-D with Intel I350-T4.
6x 2TB Samsung HD203WI in RAID 5 with Samsung 480GB MZ7WD480HAGM-00003 as SSD Cache.
NAS firmware 4.2.0 Build 20150716.

javierin
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by javierin » Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:35 pm

donzoomik
As you may remember I was quite interested in the 16GB RAM setup for this systems. Have you been able to test it?
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donzoomik
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by donzoomik » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:21 pm

I finally got around to ordering TS-251 (a good deal at ~360€ with shipping, TS-253 would be at least 550-600€ - not worth it).
Today i plugged in 2*8GB RAM... drumroll... and it seems to work!
Image attached.

As for custom OS boot, I'll get a Kingston Windows-To-Go USB stick for testing today and try to make it work with onboard 9pin USB header.
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bunjicat
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by bunjicat » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:34 am

Please share which memory modules you purchased. Thanks

donzoomik
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by donzoomik » Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:32 am

I didn't buy anything, I just pulled 2 sticks from my laptop (random ones I got ~2 years ago) :)
Images included.

I didn't get WTG in time so i threw something together at home for proof of concept.
I forgot that my HP ZR24w monitor doesn't have HDMI in and my TV doesn't like BIOS resolutions so I currently can't see BIOS (until I find HDMI-DVI converter, should have one at work somewhere...). I still got Ubuntu to boot by disconnecting DOM (Hot glue - why, QNAP?) and connecting USB boot media. I pulled 9pin to USB from some old PC, connected USB3-SATA bridge and an old SSD.
Image when installing to SSD for proof of concept.

Edit: I can't get the USB-SATA bridge to boot and I don't have enough USB sticks arond so the Project is on pause until I can see POST messages.
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bj2001holt
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by bj2001holt » Fri Oct 17, 2014 5:22 am

I just bought these, should have them on Saturday to test on a TS-853 Pro.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007B5 ... UTF8&psc=1

donzoomik
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by donzoomik » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:11 am

Some observations.

BIOS is quite barebones. I made some pictures, attached. Quality is quite low as my HDMI-DVI cable seems to be faulty, a lot of artefacts.
Boot seems to be UEFI only! There is no option for CSM. Maybe CSM support is implied, I'll test it later.
I didn't notice anything about Secure Boot. I'll try to boot something non-signed later.
BIOS is quite picky about possible USB boot devices and seems to filter them out based on USB flags. Current results (still haven't got a hold of WTG drive...):

Stock DOM - Boot OK
USB Capability flags: 90 CM_DEVCAP_UNIQUEID, CM_DEVCAP_SURPRISEREMOVALOK
USB3-SATA Bridge - No boot
USB Capability flags: 14 CM_DEVCAP_REMOVABLE, CM_DEVCAP_UNIQUEID
Kingston DataTraveler 100 G3, Some random Kingston USB stick - Boot OK
USB Capability flags: 94 CM_DEVCAP_REMOVABLE CM_DEVCAP_UNIQUEID CM_DEVCAP_SURPRISEREMOVALOK

Boot from SATA drives is possible.
Windows 2012 R2 sees a lot of unknown devices, I'll take a look at them later. AHCI, USB3, Ethernet seems to work fine though.
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bj2001holt
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Re: TS-x51/x53 and custom operating system

Post by bj2001holt » Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:02 am

FYI, the 16GB Crucial memory that I purchased (link in previous post) works just fine. Booted up without issue and recognizes all of the memory in the "System Information" under system status.

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