Copy/pasting directly from SN #892 shownotes
(I just ordered one with the additional Y SATA cable):
What I think I’ve found here, with this ZimaBoard, is Steve’s Dream SBC –
Single Board Computer.
(podcast video timestamped here
It is 100% Intel chipset with the exception of its dual Gig network adapter, which is a Realtek
8168 chip. That’s perfect for my development needs, since I have DOS network drivers for that
chip. It has a pair of 6 gigabit SATA 3 connectors with a cable to provide power for one drive.
And it has a pair of USB 3.0 ports. So SpinRite will be able to run drives attached to either. And
it has a single PCIe x 4 connector for the expansion of anything else. That could be a PCIe to IDE
adapter if SpinRite needed to repair any older IDE drives, or an NVMe adapter if SpinRite needed
to be run on NVMe drives once that’s supported. It has built-in video through a mini DisplayPort
which can do 4K video at 60hz.
And critically, the ZimaBoard offers both UEFI and traditional BIOS support. It has a very
comfortable Award BIOS with all of the bells and whistles, drive boot order and so forth, so that
SpinRite v6.1 will be able to boot FreeDOS and run without trouble. It could boot from an
attached USB thumb drive if you wanted to leave the Debian-derived CasaOS Linux that’s
shipped with the board in place, or FreeDOS and SpinRite could be installed onto the board’s
built-in roomy 16GB eMMC drive. That’s what I’ll be doing. Either way, I’ll be able to use the
same platform for SpinRite’s future development under UEFI. So it’s perfect for both now and for
There are three ZimaBoard models which vary in speed and size, but the smallest of the three is
what I purchased. I have two of them, one for each of my locations. As I mentioned, the
smallest of the three contains a 16 gig eMMC drive which is preloaded with a Debian Linux
variant which they call CasaOS. The board is broadly compatible, able to run any Intel OS, Linux,
Windows, pfSense, OpenWRT, NAS software and anything else.
If you click on the “Order Now” button on the home page, and then again on the page that
comes up, you’ll get to the place where you set the quantity and model number you want. If you
scroll down that 3rd page to the bottom, you’ll find a “BUY ONE GET ONE FREE” offer that
explains “Buy ZimaBoard and get a free 12V/3A Power Adapter!” which you’ll need. So that’s
what I would recommend. There’s also a 10% off discount coupon available but you probably
cannot use both. As I mentioned, the ZimaBoard comes with cabling to supply power to a single
SATA drive. But there’s an optional dual SATA cabling, for $4, that you may want if you intend to
power two SATA drives from the board. That’s also what I’m doing.
So I now have a terrific answer to the often asked question “What does GRC recommend for
running SpinRite standalone.”
ZimaBoard is world's first hackable single board server. It is a hybird of micro server and SBC (single board computer). It's designed for building a low cost NAS, media server, and software router as your home automation and entertainment center.