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Author Topic: Bitcoin Node on NUC device?  (Read 186 times)
dkbit98 (OP)
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December 25, 2021, 09:23:17 PM
Merited by LoyceV (6), NeuroticFish (5), DaveF (2), YOSHIE (2), HeRetiK (1), ETFbitcoin (1), Pmalek (1)
 #1

Do you think it's possible to run full Bitcoin full node on old NUC device (Next Unit of Computing) small-form-factor barebone computer?
I found good deals and very cheap devices that I consider using only for this purpose, because it draws very little power, it's small and it doesn't take much space.
Some modifications are needed with original device, like adding bigger hard drive, installing light version of Linux OS, and maybe cleaning up from inside and replacing fan.
I hear this devices are famous for spending very little power that could compare only with Raspberry Pi.

Here are specifications for one Intel NUC kit NUC5CPYH from 2015/2016:

- 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron N3050 Dual-Core Processor
- 4gb ram DDR3
- SSD 120gb
- TBP (Thermal Design Power) 6 W



Note that I have decent internet connection (for now) including download and upload so it should be no issues with that.
I would just have to replace that 120 SSD and add new 1 TB hard drive and I think this would work just fine.
Not sure if I could do anything else except, maybe adding Lightning Node or installing few more wallets like Wasabi, but it should be strictly crypto related device.

I found one in one article on internet with similar device Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYKH using Celeron N2820 processor,
but this was few years ago when blockhain size was around 150 GB and it was a bit easier to run that.


Anyone owns one of this devices or tried running Bitcoin node already, I would appreciate any feedback and suggestion?



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December 25, 2021, 11:00:16 PM
Merited by Pmalek (1), dkbit98 (1)
 #2

I had one running on an old laptop with that CPU.
8GB & SSD Was not great. I really think the RPi 4 nodes I have are faster.
But, it did work.
The 2 core / 2 thread is the real killer. Core does this / OS does that and then the next think waits till there is free processor time.

Not sure where in the world you are but this for $95 even though it's an older CPU would be faster:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/234350767732
Would still need more RAM & larger drive.

-Dave

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December 26, 2021, 03:54:36 AM
Merited by DaveF (3), ETFbitcoin (2), Pmalek (1), dkbit98 (1)
 #3

NUCs are generally faster than RPis, if you're comparing the latest ones with each other. If they are one or two generations apart, then a NUC would be faster, but also more expensive and consumes more power. If you were to get the one with the specs that you've described, it will work but a RPi 4 would be faster than the NUC.

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December 26, 2021, 09:07:28 AM
Merited by DaveF (2), ETFbitcoin (2), dkbit98 (2), Pmalek (1)
 #4

Do you think it's possible to run full Bitcoin full node on old NUC device (Next Unit of Computing) small-form-factor barebone computer?
I'd say go for it!

Quote
- 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron N3050 Dual-Core Processor
My laptop is older than this, and I checked a CPU benchmark: your CPU is 50% slower. But I use my laptop for everything, and Bitcoin Core doesn't bother me in the background (with 16 GB ram).

Quote
- 4gb ram DDR3
In my experience, more ram is better, especially for the initial sync. But my estimate with SSD would be you can sync the full blockchain in a few days, so again: just try it Smiley

Quote
I would just have to replace that 120 SSD and add new 1 TB hard drive and I think this would work just fine.
HDD or SSD? I have my blocks directory on HDD, but chainstate on SSD. I've had both on HDD in the past, and that terrible for performance.
If you want to make it low-budget, you can consider testing with blocks on an external HDD, and the rest on the internal SSD.

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December 26, 2021, 01:33:32 PM
 #5

Do you think it's possible to run full Bitcoin full node on old NUC device (Next Unit of Computing) small-form-factor barebone computer?
I'd say go for it!

Quote
- 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron N3050 Dual-Core Processor
My laptop is older than this, and I checked a CPU benchmark: your CPU is 50% slower. But I use my laptop for everything, and Bitcoin Core doesn't bother me in the background (with 16 GB ram).

Quote
- 4gb ram DDR3
In my experience, more ram is better, especially for the initial sync. But my estimate with SSD would be you can sync the full blockchain in a few days, so again: just try it Smiley

Quote
I would just have to replace that 120 SSD and add new 1 TB hard drive and I think this would work just fine.
HDD or SSD? I have my blocks directory on HDD, but chainstate on SSD. I've had both on HDD in the past, and that terrible for performance.
If you want to make it low-budget, you can consider testing with blocks on an external HDD, and the rest on the internal SSD.

The NUC he pointed out only has space for 1 drive. So I would go with SSD.

You are 100% right in the fact that it could be done, and is quite doable. BUT I will still say that if the machine you are looking at is $60 and the one I pointed out is $100 even at close to twice the price you are getting more 'machine' and it just will make doing things better instead of bogging down. Not to mention since a larger drive and more RAM is needed anyway the drive the price delta is smaller.

@LoyceV what CPU do you have is it 2 or 4 threads. That will make a bigger difference then raw speed.

The downside is the faster NUC is more power hungry.

I have said it before, living in the US distorts how I see things when it comes to this stuff.

-Dave


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December 26, 2021, 01:48:59 PM
Last edit: December 26, 2021, 02:34:19 PM by LoyceV
 #6

@LoyceV what CPU do you have is it 2 or 4 threads. That will make a bigger difference then raw speed.
Mine has 2 cores (and hyperthreading), but I included that in the 50% estimate already (and I really need to upgrade).

Since we're suggesting alternatives: Is a cheap laptop an option? Second hand they're quite cheap, get one with low TDP CPU, and you might get much more performance for your money.



Slightly off-topic so I won't spend another post on this:
I think that it will be even more power hungry. And may not like to run 24/7, that usually not what laptops are designed for. Still, I don't deny it, there's a pretty good chance it will actually work.
If I compare battery capacity with how long it lasts, many laptops don't consume much energy. Especially with the screen turned off.
In my experience, laptops break from travel or pulling cords, not from keeping them powered on.

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December 26, 2021, 01:53:33 PM
Merited by dkbit98 (1)
 #7

You are 100% right in the fact that it could be done, and is quite doable. BUT I will still say that if the machine you are looking at is $60 and the one I pointed out is $100 even at close to twice the price you are getting more 'machine' and it just will make doing things better instead of bogging down. Not to mention since a larger drive and more RAM is needed anyway the drive the price delta is smaller.
It is actually a little bit inaccurate to compare them solely based on the number of cores / if HT is enabled or not. The fact is that because Core is dependent on so many factors to synchronize, certain variables can affect the speed of it. For example, if you were to compare a DDR3 NUC vs a LPDDR4 RPi4, then the RPi4 could potentially be faster because the speed at which the cache in memory can be accessed would be faster. Same goes for CPUs (IPCs?), HDD (depends on the interface), too many factors to consider.

It is important to identify the bottleneck of each devices; be it your drive, ram, CPU. Anyways, I think the topic is about whether you can run it, not how fast it would synchronize. The answer is yes, it can be done just increase the size of your drive.

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December 26, 2021, 02:16:46 PM
Merited by LoyceV (4), Pmalek (1)
 #8

Since RPi 4 is not really available in my country now (I mean at the official resellers, not re-re-re sellers with double+ the price) I was also looking for this kind of solution = second hand NUC or similar.
I've been eyeing some Fujitsu Esprimo mini PCs with i3 gen 2 to 4. And I'm having the same dilemma: won't it be significantly more power hungry than a RPi 4?
Would this be a good alternative? I've seen them cheaper than the NUCs...

I would add that these Esprimo have processor name ending with a T, like I3-4170T; I don't know which is more hungry, a T or a Celeron.

Since we're suggesting alternatives: Is a cheap laptop an option? Second hand they're quite cheap, get one with low TDP CPU, and you might get much more performance for your money.

I think that it will be even more power hungry. And may not like to run 24/7, that usually not what laptops are designed for. Still, I don't deny it, there's a pretty good chance it will actually work.



I see many see the initial sync a problem. I think that's not. I think that OP can get a HDD too and use it well, if he has at home another computer with some SSD.
What I mean is that one can easily do the initial sync on a general purpose computer - whether directly on this new HDD if no other choice, whether on that computer's HDD, clearly with blocks on SSD, and then transfer/use this blockchain later on for the new node to be.

On the other hand, I don't know what are the minimum requirements for a Bitcoin node and I guess that's not only the bitcoin node that'll go onto that computer - maybe electrum and LN too - and those all need resources and they may also need to be "started up" (like electrs tens of GB database). So take my words as an idea, not as a clear solution.

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December 26, 2021, 02:43:23 PM
 #9

I've been eyeing some Fujitsu Esprimo mini PCs with i3 gen 2 to 4. And I'm having the same dilemma: won't it be significantly more power hungry than a RPi 4?
Would this be a good alternative? I've seen them cheaper than the NUCs...

I would add that these Esprimo have processor name ending with a T, like I3-4170T; I don't know which is more hungry, a T or a Celeron.
Since we're suggesting alternatives: Is a cheap laptop an option? Second hand they're quite cheap, get one with low TDP CPU, and you might get much more performance for your money.
Running a node isn't like mining. The high power consumption will not be sustained, even if the TDP is designed as such. Your processor should only use as much as it requires, though a full fledged board would likely have additional components that require constant power. If you were to get an older inefficient laptop, then the TDP doesn't matter because it is inefficient.. It is only a metric used to determine the thermal output (and even so, there is some discrepancy for reporting) but it doesn't account for the efficiency at computational operations.

If you care about performance for money, then older laptops might not be the most cost effective because you also need to factor in the cost that goes to the miscellaneous components a node wouldn't need. If you don't have any other choice, then you should look at those old refurb desktops instead.

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December 26, 2021, 05:19:03 PM
 #10

The 2 core / 2 thread is the real killer. Core does this / OS does that and then the next think waits till there is free processor time.
I expected this could create a problem and make it slower down the road, and I am testing it now CPU is at 100% at idle, but it came with wiNdOws 10 preinstalled, so this would probably be a bit better with some linux os xfce de.
Price for this used NUC model is around $70 and for same money I could get new Raspberry Pi 4 or 400  with 4GB RAM and quad core processor (it's not always easy to find it in stores).
I have to say that I love how small this NUC is, it fits the palm of my hand with dimensions 115 x 111 x 52mm.

NUCs are generally faster than RPis, if you're comparing the latest ones with each other. If they are one or two generations apart, then a NUC would be faster, but also more expensive and consumes more power. If you were to get the one with the specs that you've described, it will work but a RPi 4 would be faster than the NUC.
I tried to find some benchmarks comparing this NUC with Raspberry Pi but I couldn't find anything exact.
All I could find is this youtube video comparing it with older version Raspberry PI 3, but NUC had 8 GB of RAM and 250 Samsung SSD:
https://youtu.be/1S6pfz7xQbc

My laptop is older than this, and I checked a CPU benchmark: your CPU is 50% slower. But I use my laptop for everything, and Bitcoin Core doesn't bother me in the background (with 16 GB ram).
16 GM ram is a huge difference and I don't think ram can be upgraded on NUC devices.
I would probably mix HDD and SSD like you did, price of SSD did go down a lot but 1 TB models are still holding the price.

The NUC he pointed out only has space for 1 drive. So I would go with SSD.
But there is a bunch of empty USB ports and you connect one or more external drives and it should work.
In theory I could even add some larger MicroSD card, because there is one port for that.

The downside is the faster NUC is more power hungry.
I have one of those power meters, and when I tested NUC consumed around 13W on regular use (not with Bitcoin core), idle is bit less and when shutdown it was 2W for this model.
This is decent and less than my older Netbook with power plug, but probably more than Raspberry Pi would consume.
One thing that I like about Rpi is that it can be totaly silent (especially Pi 400), and for NUC I can still hear that little fan buzzz, but nothing terrible.
I read that you can reduce power for Rpi even more when you disable wifi and Bluetooth, and I don't need that anyway.




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December 26, 2021, 07:26:47 PM
 #11

Running a node isn't like mining. The high power consumption will not be sustained, even if the TDP is designed as such. Your processor should only use as much as it requires, though a full fledged board would likely have additional components that require constant power.

You're right. I was thinking to the fact the NUC will probably have some more USBs to power and so on and also the processor using more than the Pi when should not do anything.
Maybe it's not much, but it adds up and it also matters as noise (more power use unnecessarily = more heat).

In theory I could even add some larger MicroSD card, because there is one port for that.

I've read that MicroSD cards can get hot if used continuously, hence can get damaged (or at least this is how I remember it). I'm not convinced they're a worthy option.

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December 27, 2021, 01:37:29 AM
Merited by LoyceV (4), NeuroticFish (1), Pmalek (1)
 #12

I have an old NUC and I've tried running pretty much everything with it, and it works great. I've even run some miners there just for fun and they have run with no problems.

At least my NUC has required a lot of maintenance over the years as some hardware parts have broken down (I think it's almost a decade old or so), but I've managed to keep it running fine, for example the disk connection in the motherboard died, but I was able to just connect the drive through USB and run it like that Grin

I see no reason why you couldn't run a Bitcoin Node there, it's a very versatile machine, small and super quiet.

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December 27, 2021, 10:13:03 AM
Merited by NeuroticFish (2), Pmalek (1)
 #13

The downside is the faster NUC is more power hungry.
I have one of those power meters, and when I tested NUC consumed around 13W on regular use (not with Bitcoin core), idle is bit less and when shutdown it was 2W for this model.
This is decent and less than my older Netbook with power plug, but probably more than Raspberry Pi would consume.

Correct, even Raspberry Pi 4 (without any USB device) consume about 7 watt during high load. Official Raspberry Pi blog made good article about it at https://www.raspberrypi.com/news/thermal-testing-raspberry-pi-4/.

One thing that I like about Rpi is that it can be totaly silent (especially Pi 400), and for NUC I can still hear that little fan buzzz, but nothing terrible.

But for 24/7 usage i would use active fan, especially if i use case or place it on room with high temperature (above 25C/standard room temperature).

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December 27, 2021, 07:16:37 PM
 #14

I've read that MicroSD cards can get hot if used continuously, hence can get damaged (or at least this is how I remember it). I'm not convinced they're a worthy option.
MicroSD cards are similar like other flash storage devices we have and they are even used for all Rapsberry Pi devices OS, so I am sure they can be used combined with other hard drives without any issues.

I see no reason why you couldn't run a Bitcoin Node there, it's a very versatile machine, small and super quiet.
You didn't say if you actually run a node on that device or not.
I had to ask this question because requierments for running Bitcoin nodes are getting bigger along with the hard drive space.
Not sure what exact model of your device is but everyone is now recommending to run node with minimum 4GB RAM of modern processors, and celeron is not exactly modern Smiley
 
But for 24/7 usage i would use active fan, especially if i use case or place it on room with high temperature (above 25C/standard room temperature).
No need for fan on Raspberry Pi 400 because it has massive passive cooler built inside keyboard case.
I am not sure if adding fan is even possible on that machine, and temps are much much cooler than on reguler Pi 4.

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December 28, 2021, 09:09:45 AM
 #15

But for 24/7 usage i would use active fan, especially if i use case or place it on room with high temperature (above 25C/standard room temperature).
No need for fan on Raspberry Pi 400 because it has massive passive cooler built inside keyboard case.
I am not sure if adding fan is even possible on that machine, and temps are much much cooler than on reguler Pi 4.

It's true, but i was referring to Raspberry Pi 4 which is more common option for running full node since it's cheaper and you usually don't need additional accessories (keyboard, mouse, HDMI cable) to run full node (since you usually use VNC/SSH).

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December 29, 2021, 04:37:56 AM
 #16

If you can replace the internal SSD, that would be more ideal than attempting to add an external disk.

Or maybe, what you can do is create a Samba or NFS file share with some other machine, connect the NUC to the same (ethernet) network, mount the folder, and then direct the NUC to store the .bitcoin folder on that network share.

Disk performance will depend on your internal network's speed, of course. So increasing the dbcache will help in that regard.

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