A single-board x86 personal server for cyber natives

Available for pre-order

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Sep 21, 2023

Project update 2 of 10

Community FAQ

by The ZimaBlade Team

ZimaBlade grows and improves with community involvement! In first two weeks of after ZimaBlade launched, we received great feedback from our community. We have compiled the most frequently asked questions and provided answers to address them.

Why ZimaBlade after ZimaBoard?

In 2021, we launched ZimaBoard and conducted a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. It has shipped over 20,000 units and we built an engaged community. In the past two years, we greatly emphasized building strong and positive relationships with our community and making sure everyone’s voices are heard and valued. This year we decided to create something useful for a wider audience interested in personal computing projects, not just home servers.

ZimaBlade serves as a compact and lightweight alternative within the ZimaBoard product line, offering a more affordable option for users interested in home lab setups and personal cloud applications. This "lite" version retains some features while reducing the overall price range, thereby expanding accessibility to a wider user base.

By introducing the ZimaBlade, we aspire to democratize the accessibility of powerful computing tools and foster an environment where individuals can explore and shape their digital experiences with greater ease and affordability. Our commitment to innovation, user feedback, and community engagement drives us forward as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in this rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Why the ZimaBlade Kit 3760/7700 name?

At first, we planned to give ZimaBoard and ZimaBlade some interesting engineering codenames to differentiate between different specifications. Therefore, we decided to use an octal conversion based on 2032 and 4032 - 3760 and 7700. However, based on the earliest feedback, we have also recognized that the current naming convention has caused some confusion. So now we would like to gather suggestions from you, the recipients of this message, for any better alternatives. We welcome any ideas or suggestions you may have regarding the naming of the ZimaBlade kit.

What guides our CPU selection process?

The CPU of the ZimaBlade dual-Core is N3350, and the version of the ZimaBlade quad-core will be adjusted between N3450/J3455/E3940 according to the supply chain. There will be no significant performance difference. As a start-up company, we are not doing well in keeping up with the latest chip speed. ZimaBlade is positioned as a cost-effective x86 private cloud server under $100 and we balance between pricing, cost, and performance.

Where are the two additional USB 2.0 ports?

There are two additional USB 2.0 expansion ports available. These ports have been incorporated to minimize the overall size of the device while still meeting the requirements for debugging and expanding certain fundamental modules. The two ports are available via the JST1.25 interface located on the side of the device, as seen below.

Will there be a version with multiple NICs?

A product line featuring multiple network interface cards (NICs) will be part of the ZimaBoard 2.0 plan. ZimaBlade will focus more on evolving into a credit card-sized, passively cooled, and stackable product form factor. The current version still utilizes Realtek network cards, and if ZimaBlade receives positive feedback, adjustments will be made in the Blade+ models. Considering the target price point of below $100, you can still meet your network expansion needs through PCIe expansion.

Why no NVMe or Wi-Fi?

During the conceptualization of ZimaBlade, the aim was to minimize the footprint of the entry-level system, keeping it compact and approaching the size of a credit card. NVMe will find better support on the slightly larger ZimaBoard 2.0, providing enhanced compatibility. For Wi-Fi connectivity, a small USB dongle can be considered as an option.

Any future plans for a backplane?

A backplane is a fantastic idea, and in the upcoming quarter, our main focus will be on the development a limited edition ZimaBlade design. We are planning to work on peripherals early next year. Of course, we have several enthusiasts within the team who love tinkering around. Taking inspiration from HAL9000’s design, they are working on a DIY stackable cluster using ZimaBlade. More on that soon!

Community feedback is highly valued and critical to our future product design and development. If you have any further suggestions or questions regarding our product, we warmly welcome you to join our community forum and Discord server.

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