Project Beema - Building the cheapest possible "new" x86-64 hardware appliance for IPFire							046,79 EUR				029,99 EUR	(N/A on Alternate)			024,73 EUR								009,29 EUR	008,09 EUR	007,99 EUR

Shipping costs:																						006,99 EUR
Final price:																						133,87 EUR				049,99 EUR	029,98 EUR								023,21 EUR		009,28 EUR						008,07 EUR						007,98 EUR

Shipping costs:																												008,99 EUR
Final price:																												137,50 EUR

Just ordered it and will be building it for fun. The CPU is basically a GX-412TC with only 2 cores/threads. In the specifications it says it has AES, I guess it does not have AES-NI but I won’t use VPN anyway.
DDR3 RAM voltage is 1.5 V but will be undervolted to 1,25 V by the board. It’s also only single-channel.

Too old: ASRock N100DC-ITX ab € 139,95 (2023) | Preisvergleich Geizhals Deutschland

I anticipate the performance being adequate. I’m running an A6 quad-core 1 GHz.

Main thing to check, after installation of IPFire is “spectre-meltdown-checker”. I have an earlier E1 board, that does not mitigate for Spectre 4, although that appears to be a BIOS limitation.

As the latest BIOS is from 13.12.2022 I’m hopeful it has mitigations for Spectre and Meltdown.

My ipfire is running on a GX 420CA
HP Thin client 620 plus model.
Not new, but all vulnerability mitigated.
Both CPU are similar to the one used in the
Mini appliance.

That’s the most powerful embedded processor from the Jaguar family.

The Jaguar family had much longer support though (I think it ended just recently) than the Puma family (mid-2015).

Found out it actually has AES-NI according to this table:

Two packages arrived today, I’m gonna assemble it over the weekend.

Asembling the parts

Unwrapping the case:

Parts included in the case: screws, rails (3.5 HDD), speaker, rubber feet:

Mounting the SSD upside down under the floppy bay:

Putting the RAM into the mainboard:

Putting the I/O shield in the back of the case:

Mounting the mainboard and connecting the front panel, audio headers & the speaker:

Plugging in the additonal PCIe NIC (just noticed it’s an RTL8111E, that’s newer than the advertised RTL8111C):

Plugging in all power cords: ATX 24-pin, +12V CPU, SATA power and SATA data:

Mount the PSU and just put all the power cables into the drive bay :blush::

Side view:

Case cover mounted again and back view:

Peeking through the optical drive bay and lower tray open (USB3 front panel is not attached because the connector does not fit to the USB2 headers on the board but we don’t need it anyway):

Last step: Attach the rubber feet:


Updating the BIOS

POST message is looking fine, except for the CMOS fail, probably an empty CMOS battery from laying on the shelf for 3 years:

Fancy boot screen:

Updating the BIOS image:

New BIOS version from 2022:

BIOS is looking fine, both NICS are detected:

Something is wrong, the PC always shuts down after about 5 minutes. First I thought it was some kind of GPU energy saving setting because the monitor turned black. But then I looked the the H/W monitor and saw the CPU temperature:

It shutdown again at about 113 °C. :see_no_evil:

I have to find out the cause, either the heat paste dried out (but then it still shouldn’t get this hot because there is zero load on the CPU) or Biostar lied about the mainboard and it really needs active cooling on the passive heatsink.

I guess the easiest solution to this problem is buying a fan that fits on the heatsink. Until then the project is on hold. :frowning_face:

I think I found the problem, looking at the photos of the BIOS I took I noticed the CPU is running at only 1,2 GHz instead of 1,35 GHz and the RAM voltage is at its default 1.5 volt when it should be at 1.25 volt, maybe this is causing stress on the CPU. I’m gonna try if I can set down the RAM voltage manually.

Sorry I did not read this more carefully before, but your really need a NIC with at least two LAN ports for IPFire.

it is way easier to separate traffic from RED and GREEN that way, and if you have 3 or 4 ports, adding Blue and Orange to the equation it also pretty straight forward…

CPU is not as important as a good NIC chip and enough RAM.


He does have two nics.

One is on the motherboard and the other is a pcie card.

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ops, sorry , missed that one …

never mind then :upside_down_face:

Undervolting the RAM did not fix the issue, although 1.35 volt was the lowest setting. Temperature still steadily went up from 49 °C to over 90 °C before I turned it off again.

Funnily somebody else had the same experience and posted it on this product site:

But according to the many downvotes it seems to be either a rare issue or they voted him down because he didn’t buy at this retailer. But I doubt 143 people bought this board.

The other question remains: Why does the CPU run at 1.2 GHz and not 1.35 GHz. I’m gonna ask Biostar but the support wasn’t very good. When I asked if the BIOS has a mitigation for Spectre and Meltdown they replied:

this model is just for word processing,and if use it as normal way it won’t meltdown.

It could be down-clocked to 1.2 GHz, to reduce power consumption and heating.

Passive heatsinks still require airflow, of which there might not be much in your layout. Does your power supply draw air from underneath ? Alternatively, does the case have front fan ?

The fan from the PSU is directly above the CPU (well maybe 50% as you see in the side view). It has an 80 mm fan that should suck in the air above the CPU and blow it out the rear. Unless the fan is mounted in the wrong direction and it blows out warm air from the PSU onto the CPU. There are no other mounting points for fans in the case. I don’t think it’s downclocked because of the temperature as it already starts with 1.2 GHz when it is only 49 °C.

The processor used in the Biostar board is said to be the GX-412TC which is the same as used in the Lightning Wire Labs mini appliance (based on the PC Engines apu4).

In the mini appliance it is run with a 3mm aluminium heat spreader to the enclosure and there is no fan and the case size is maybe around 1/3 of the one shown here. A difference is that the power supply is an external block on the mini appliance so no heat from that.

My mini is showing around 55 degs C from the K10 sensor. The case feels warm to the touch but definitely not hot. I can hold my fingers on the case with no problems. What I would call lukewarm temperature.

So the board should be able to work in a fanless mode and shouldn’t be getting to over 100 degs C.

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Re the frequency issue, the base frequency for the GX-412TC is 1.0GHz with a boost frequency of 1.4GHz if the bios has been set up to enable it.
Does the bios have the boost frequency enabled?

Also I see that the bios screen says Dual Core Running. If the Bios is only using two cores that seems a waste of the four core capability of the chip and maybe the bios is also not using all the frequency capability of the chip.

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It is only a dual core CPU from the Puma series, it has a fixed frequency of 1.35 Ghz without turbo boost:

Maybe Biostar downclocked it because of the passive heatsink, but it isn’t mentioned in the specifications.

The GX-412TC from the PC Engines APU is from the earlier Jaguar series:

But this video also shows only 1.2 GHz in the BIOS:

Notice how it is already at 67 °C without a case.

Been reading more on the specs from the Biostar usa web site and looking at the manual.

What made you think it had the GX-412TC chip as I read that from your first post.

That chip is not mentioned as being supported in the manual and the website of says the chip is an AMD E1-6010 which does just have 2 cores and a base frequency of 1.35GHz and a higher TDP than the GX-412TC

The motherboard manual also mentions a cpu fan connector on it and mentions that this should be used to operate the cpu cooling fan. Nothing is said about running either of the supported chips in passive cooling mode.

Maybe this chip on this board is not really designed for passive cooling.

I see on your first post you are saying that the E1-6010 is basically a GX-412TC with only two cores but I was confused because you didn’t explicitly reference the E1-6010, it is only by inference so I misread it to be saying that it was a GX-412TC with only two cores being used.

The overheating and shutting down is the real problematic issue and shouldn’t be happening and as it was sold with a passive heatsink then I think your best bet is to contact the supplier for input and maybe a replacement motherboard.