Minisforum BD770i problems and homelab use

I wanted to upgrade my old NAS and choose bd770i as it is only fitting in tight case with decent cooler and power.

My plan was simple. Buy m2 to sata 6 port controller. Second m2 populate with big ssd. Put a nvme riser for 4 more ssds in x16 slot, may be get some from Asus to make hw raid from them. This setup was a fool proof and future proof plus gives me a balance fast pool and massive pool. In addition cpu was efficient enough for zfs and a number of vms/containers to use as host for my lab.

Troubles that I get so far:

  1. system is pretty hot sometimes. I get 120x15 Noctua fan and it working on high sometimes and cpu tp rise to 91 C. In idle it is about 50 C. Some users suggest change thermo interface but I’m experimenting and l suggest to use 120x25 for better cooling (my case don’t allow that).

  2. m2 to sata controller based on ASMedia ASM1166 chip (9/10 of such adapters use it), and this one should load its bios after mb bios. But it don’t. Bios don’t detect controller and don’t allow to boot from it. After that OS (Proxmox based on Debian) detect controller, but it don’t recognise any connected drives. OS detect 32 slot (!!!) controller but chip only limited to 6. I tried Windows same story controller detected by OS as “Basic SATA AHCI controller”, I found drivers that detect it right. But still don’t recognise any drives. I tried TrusNas (freebsd and linux versions), Fedora, Ubuntu, clean Debian. Same result controller with 32 slots detected and no drives. So NAS part failed so far. I see reviews of AR900i and it have such issue, no workaround for this. I don’t see any issue mentioned with bd770i/bd790i so I may be first.

  3. Pcie sata controller. I bought same controller but with pcie x1 connector (plan to pull out wifi card and get adapter to use other controller) and put it to pcie x16 slot. And this blow everything up. On start my bd770i lost ethernet adapter (OS stop detect it, as result Proxmox can’t make bridge with wifi card (I tried it many times, it only stick to ethernet card) and all VMs lost network). Big fail again. I tried another controller. same result, I lost some onboard device on a boot. Proxmox and Windows same result. In windows some devices marked as disconnected. It was a last chance for me to make a NAS

  4. iGPU 610M. It is decent but hardware encoding of screen streaming on Parsec and Sunshine don’t support HDR, AV1, HEVC so to pull decent performance you need good networking. Forget about connecting outside of home WIFI/LAN. Proxmox gpu bypass have some issues (IGPU don’t detach from VM properly in most case, it is AMD issue for many years and hacks work on big GPUs but don’t work on iGPU). So mix results, but looks ok.

  5. GPU. Tried Intel Arc a380 and Nvidia Tesla P4. Same as controller or riser cards. If I put in gpu card I get onboard devices disconnection. I lost ethernet adapter. One time I lost audio. I tried to switch to ext GPU and make it main. Tried hybrid setup. With main boot on Proxmox if I lost network, all VMs and containers lost internet networking. Because I passthrough iGPU to one of the VMs Debian disconnect iGPU from main OS and I don’t see anything after 2 initial lines of kernel boot, so console is useless. Without networking I can’t connect to VMs so I don’t see anything.

  6. ACPI. Sleep modes and power modes are working, but I don’t see any sensors. No CPU, GPU temp. Somehow lm sensors detects onboard NVME slots. No Fan control over PWN (only from bios). No other sensors. As result pyrometer is only option to find out that CPU temp too high. This is very strange and disturbing.

  7. BIOS. It is minimalistic at best. Fast, support modern tools like TPM 2, but you can’t fine tune it and so far I don’t see any updates.

  8. WIFI is great. It is M2 E-key slot and not a lot of room for anything else. only problem that back panel is pressed to place by wifi Athena nuts. It is annoying on setup without decent tools. Another problem it took a while to connect to network, like 30s. For me it is slow. In case you want to change card, check original card size, because wifi card covered with metal case. if you new card too small or don’t fit, you will have to stick with original card.

  9. CPU, Memory, NVME performance is good. I don’t compare to desktop, but for my dev tasks it is decent. Only problem with memory slot format -SO-DIMM. Memory is cost more and you limited to 64Gb instead of 128Gb with full size DIMMS. I tried several packs with 96Gb, not one was detected properly.

So what do I have in result:

  1. NAS is not an option unless I can find workaround on ASM1166 on any Linux.
  2. PCIE 5.0 x16 slot may be useful, but anything you can connect to if conflicting with onboard devices (lan card, sometimes wifi card), so it breaks my Proxmox. May be it share some PCIE lines with onboard controllers and than anything put into slot it disconnecting onboard devices.
  3. Overall performance is good, power efficiency is good.

It may be ok for SFF desktop, but with connectivity issues it is not suitable for small NAS or homelab server. I waiting for support from Minisforum, and you help can useful to elevate user concerns about their products.

My biggest problems right now is x16 slot issues and m2 controllers.

Do you actually need to boot from a drive attached to the m.2 or pci? Sadly that box doesnt even look like it has a single sata port, but you could go sata-> usb and just boot off that. Your boot drive should be minimally used anyways. I used to do that with proxmox for a while, boot off a usb disk.

Figured Id come here to help as I have built a truenas scale server on this board and not really experienced these issues… but then I dont try and boot from that m.2 to sata adapter you are using.

If it helps my setup is as follows:
1x boot volume on the m.2 wifi slot (using an m.2 A+E to nvme adapter)
6x sata hard disks as a ZFS pool using probably the same chipset adapter as you
1x m.2 as an app volume (no redundancy)
PCIE slot is free right now, but debating on putting a 10gig ethernet adapter in there in future.

Regarding your temps, that does seem a bit extreme… mine seem to average around 33C the last few days… im using a Noctua Chromax NF-F12 fan, and its built in a Fractal Node 304 case… pretty happy with it all tbh

Maybe I can help in some way?

This might be helpful…

https://forum.odroid.com/viewtopic.php?t=47707

(In case you miss it, there are firmware and instructions for flashing)

Warning: this might brick your card.

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