Build your own StorJ node (2/9) - Best OS for your node and which SD card to use

By DanBlock | Tech Projects | 26 Apr 2020

Best OS for your node and which SD card to use

Welcome back to this series of articles on how to build your own super efficient StorJ node, the summary of this series can be found here.

When I was looking on which Operative System (OS) to use I wanted something very stable, fast and with as little overhead on the hardware as possible.

I was planning to use a Single Board Computer (SBC) with ARM chipset, so I wanted the OS to be specifically designed from the ground up for ARM and not retrofitted.

There were several options available but the best OS I found for stability, features, speed and very low overhead on the hardware is Armbian.

The above qualities are very important since I'm going to use the SBC as a server, I need as much as the resources as possible to be available to the applications running on it and not by the OS just doing random stuff and consuming precious RAM or CPU!

The community and developers are very active and new versions with improvements and support to new SBCs are released all the time:

Armbian is a great OS specifically designed for ARM chipset and compatible with several SBCs, the image is tiny at about 260 MB and available in two base versions. After you head to the download section and select your SBC, you will be presented with a download choice. The one on the left is based on Ubuntu (currently Armbian Focal) and the one on the right is based on Debian (currently Armbian Buster).


Debian is notoriously a very stable distribution and we will use this version in our project.

The SBC we will use is fully supported by Armbian which means all hardware components are immediately recognised and all drivers pre-installed.

SD Cards for your SBC

I already wrote an article on SD Cards which you can find here:

For our project, we will select the best SD card possible that is supported by our SBC. We will go into much more details on the SBC I have selected in a later article.

The specific board I've selected includes a Micro-SD slot supporting UHS-1 compatible micro-SD cards up to 128GB/SDXC. We won't need that much storage for the OS, therefore, a 8 GB or 16 GB micro SD card will be more than enough.

We will also need a card certified for a minimum speed of 10 MB/sand a minimum 1500 Read IOPS, we are then looking for a UHS-1 card certified V1 and C10 or V1 and U1.

SanDisk Ultra or Sandisk Extreme are very good cards which I recommend and you can find a new card very cheap nowadays.

At the time of writing a SanDisk Ultra 16 GB microSDHC certified A1 and U1 costs less than £6 or $7.5

You will also need a Micro-SD to USB adapted to burn Armbian OS into the Micro-SD card. You can find one for £6.5 or $8

In case you chose an SD card that was already in use before, please consider resetting it back to ‘factory default’ performance with SD Formatter before burning Armbian to it.

Write the OS into the SD card

Now that you have the right SD card and OS image you need to write the OS image into the SD card.

To do this, you need two things, the software to do it and an SD card reader. For the software I highly recommend using Etcher which you can download here

If your computer doesn't have an SD card reader, you can easily find an USB to SD Card reader online on Amazon for cheap


Keep reading and go to the next article of this series:

Get the best 2.5 inch HDD for your node

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