GnuBee Personal Cloud 2

by GnuBee

A low-cost, low-power NAS for 3.5" drives

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GnuBee PC2 Starter Kit

One fully populated and assembled GB-PC2 mainboard, two anodized aluminum side plates, six threaded brackets and bracket screws, and 24 drive mount screws. Power supply, microSD card, and drives not included. Requires screwdriver for assembly.


GnuBee PC2 Deluxe Kit

All the bells and whistles: one fully populated and assembled GB-PC2 mainboard, two anodized aluminum side plates, six threaded brackets and bracket screws, 24 drive mount screws, power supply, imaged SD card, and USB-to-UART adapter cable. Drives and screwdriver not included.


GnuBee Power Adapter

An energy efficient (level V) global input power supply that puts out up to 8 A at 12 VDC through a 5.5 mm x 2.1 mm center-positive barrel jack. Perfect for powering your GnuBee Personal Cloud 2.


GnuBee SD Card

A 2 GB (or greater) full-sized SD card imaged with Debian. Run your GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 directly from the SD card. Copying Debian to an SSD or HDD is recommended, but this SD card will get you started.


GnuBee USB-to-UART Adapter

Debugging made easy! The GnuBee USB-to-UART adapter comes equipped with a 3.5 mm plug to connect to the GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 (or 1). This debugging method is ubiquitous in the world of embedded systems.


GnuBee PC2 Bare PCB

The GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 bare, unpopulated, printed circuit board for the true DIY'er. Components not included.


GnuBee PC2 Deluxe Kit - Early Bird

All the bells and whistles, at a limited quantity and special price: one fully populated and assembled GB-PC2 mainboard, two anodized aluminum side plates, six threaded brackets and bracket screws, 24 drive mount screws, power supply, imaged SD card, and USB-to-UART adapter cable. Drives and screwdriver not included.


Recent Updates

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"Para ello, permite reducir sustancialmente el precio de un NAS comercial convencional, lo cual es muy interesante para el desarrollo de soluciones a medida y para el ámbito del I+D."

The GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 (GB-PC2) is a network-attached storage (NAS) device specifically engineered to run free, libre, open source software (FLOSS). The GB-PC2 has all the functionality of any commercial, proprietary NAS, but at a much lower cost and with the transparency, reliability, and accessibility advantages that come with using FLOSS.

Personal Cloud 1 vs 2

The GB-PC2 is the big sibling of the GB-PC1 in the sense that it accommodates 3.5" drives instead of 2.5" drives. The GB-PC2 design is based on the GB-PC1 design, but is modified to handle both the larger size and greater power requirements of the 3.5" drives. The chipset and capabilities are otherwise the same.

The GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 accommodates 3.5" drives and 2.5" adapters.

Features & Specifications

  • Processor:
    • MediaTek MT7621A
    • dual-core, multi-thread (Linux kernel sees four cores)
    • 880 MHz, overclockable to 1.2 GHz)
  • Memory:
    • 512 MB DDR3 RAM (maximum amount for the MediaTek chip)
    • soldered to mainboard
  • Storage:
    • SD card slot (tested up to 64 GB cards so far)
    • 6 x 3.5" drives (HDD, SSD, or mix and match; drives not included)
    • recommended RAID levels are 0 and 1 under LVM and MD, and Linux MD RAID 10
  • Connectivity:
    • 3 x Gigabit Ethernet (2 ports can support Ethernet bonding)
    • 1 x USB 3.0 port
    • 2 x USB 2.0 port
    • serial port (3-pin J1 connector or 3.5 mm audio-type jack)
    • 2 x mainboard fan
  • Power:
    • 12 VDC @ 8 A maximum
    • 5.5 mm x 2.1 mm, center-positive barrel jack
  • Dimensions:
    • weight: ~454 g (1 lb) without drives
  • Enclosure:
    • 2 x anodized aluminum side plates
    • 6 x threaded brackets and screws
    • 24 x drive screws (four per drive)
  • Software:
  • Sources & Documentation:

The GB-PC2 holds up to six 3.5" drives.

Why a NAS?

Whether you’re a developer or a digital artist, chances are you have a lot of essential data, from music tracks to application code. So you probably already know that data loss is a fact of modern life, and backing up your data is the surest way to prevent it. You could use an online service for backups, but doing so exposes you and your data to a wide range of privacy, security, legal, and financial risks beyond your control. For example:

  • What are the data limits and how much does more storage cost?
  • Who really owns the data? Does the online provider gain some license to use your data?
  • What kind of security is protecting your data? How can you audit that security?
  • What kind of changes will the online provider make to their terms of use?
  • What people (e.g., employees of the online provider) or organizations (e.g., governments) could also gain access to your data?

All these questions and more make a strong case for using not only a NAS, but a NAS over which you have complete control - a FLOSS NAS! Enter the GnuBee Personal Cloud 2.

The GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 can be used for a wide variety of applications, including:

  • network storage and backup
  • file server
  • home media server
  • download server
  • web server
  • remotely accessible private cloud

The GB-PC2 offers increased information security, easier collaboration, and less administrative mess compared with SaaS solutions and other NAS devices.

The Deluxe Kit comes with a power supply, SD card, and USB-to-UART adapter.


There are hundreds of NAS devices out there, but none of them except the GnuBee PC1 and PC2 are designed from the beginning to be open hardware and run FLOSS. The table below shows two of the most comparable NAS devices and how they stack up against the GB-PC1 and GB-PC2.

TS-431DS416slimGnuBee Personal Cloud 1 GnuBee Personal Cloud 2
ChipsetFreescale ARM Cortex A9Marvell Armada 385MediaTek MT7621A MediaTek MT7621A
Cores222 2
Threads224 4
Speed1.2 GHz1.0 GHz880 MHz (overclocked to 1.2 GHz) 880 MHz (overclocked to 1.2 GHz)
Memory512 MB DDR3512 MB DDR3512 MB DDR3 512 MB DDR3
Drive Bays4 x 2.5" or 3.5"4 x 2.5" up to 12.5 mm drive height6 x 2.5" up to 15 mm drive height 6 x 3.5"
Idle Power14.84 W11.63 W11.64 W TBD
Opennesspartial softwarepartial softwarehardware schematics + all software hardware schematics + all software
Price$294.50$289.99$223.00* $285.00 ($259.00 early bird)*

* Even less if you already have a power supply, imaged SD card, and USB-to-UART adapter.

Enclosure Design

The minimal enclosure design is a major factor in making the GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 small, inexpensive, and energy efficient. Though we love the aesthetic of the enclosure, keep in mind the universal truth about NAS devices: they are best placed near your wireless router and viewed from the command line or web interface.

Air Flow

The fact the mainboard isn’t fully enclosed allows for better airflow and fanless operation (though the mainboard can accommodate two small fans). No fan means much less build up of dirt and dust - few things compare to the inside of a fan-cooled PC that hasn’t been opened in years, whereas we’ve never seen a dirty free-standing printed circuit board assembly.

Heat Sinks

In addition to the enclosure’s great airflow, its anodized aluminum side plates help dissipate heat away from the mainboard.

Drive Size

The GB-PC2 is compatible with 3.5" drives, and can work with a wide variety of adapters for SSDs & HDDs.

Free as in Freedom

We designed the GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 with the Free Software Foundation’s Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification in mind and have already initiated the application process with FSF.

Like the GnuBee Personal Cloud 1, the GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 firmware is 100% free of binary blobs. Check out this GB-PC1 campaign update to see some of the backstory of how this is possible.

Libre Software

The GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 can run several popular FLOSS suites for managing routers, NAS devices, or just general computing. These are some of the main suites the GB-PC2 can run:


Yep, the GB-PC2 can run Debian.


The openmediavault project is a Debian-based network-attached storage solution designed for home and small office user who lack deep technical experience or knowledge of setting up and and administering an NAS.


Billed as "the libre embedded GNU/Linux distro," libreCMC is a fork of OpenWrt that uses only libre components. The GnuBee Personal Cloud Two will ship with libreCMC installed.


The Linux Embedded Development Environment (LEDE) project is a reboot of the OpenWrt community. GB-PC1 is supported by the LEDE-project, which means the GB-PC2 will also be supported, since the two devices use the same OS image.

GB-PC2 PCBA (top)

GB-PC2 PCBA (bottom)

FLOSS Devices at Reasonable Prices

GnuBee started with a simple idea: instead of hacking commodity hardware, let’s build the toys we want to play with from scratch . We want to show the world what devices running free software can do. The Personal Cloud 2 is our second product, after the GnuBee Personal Cloud 1, and we already have others in the works. If the GB-PC2 is successful, there will be plenty of others to follow!

How do we keep the cost of our devices down? Because we have both Chinese (Xiaoping) and US (Larry) roots, we have some major advantages over other teams. We don’t need to rent expensive living and work space in China (we stay with family!), and we don’t need to hire translators and other go-betweens. We can work directly with vendors and manufacturers. Because we are committed to working only with FLOSS projects, our software development costs are also reduced and distributed.

Manufacturing Plan

We will be using the same supply chain to manufacture and ship the GB-PC2 as we already successfully used to manufacture and ship the GB-PC1. The PCBs will be fabricated and assembled in Shenzhen, China. The aluminum side plates will require a stamping die for mass production. Shipping to backers will be from Crowd Supply’s warehouse in Portland, Oregon, USA. You can read about shipping policies in The Crowd Supply Guide.

The GnuBee Personal Cloud 2's power supply

Risks & Challenges

We have worked to minimize the risks. There are no specialized parts in the design, so all the components needed are readily available. The GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 prototypes are running well, and our suppliers have a good record of quality and on-time delivery. With the GB-PC1 already under our belts, we are confident we can make the GB-PC2 just as good or better.



FLOSS devices at reasonable prices.

L. D. Pinney

Founder and CTO

Xiaoping Pinney

Chairman Ping

Douglas Gazineu

Software Developer

See Also

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