What is the cheapest way to run a node?

We’re not considering the drive. The hardware itself.

Prerequisite: in the future we will maybe want to change to a larger drive or add another drive.

How about a Pi4? In the long run it might get a bit too slow for your needs but for a year if not longer the Pi4 should work just fine. The Pi4 is cheap and has a low power consumption.

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Thats crazy Good thing I bought a few and I thought only the compute units were in a shortage…

Check e-bay / charity shops or local PC repair places selling an old PC, Anything that’s got 8gb to 16gb ram and made in the past 5 to 10 years will do.

That will give you the ability to add more drives in the future. Slap on a half decent CPU cooler and stick it in a case and with a few fans you should be able ro run a reasonably quiet Storj node. It won’t be as small or power efficient as a Rpi4 but it will be affordable and upgradeable in the future.

I’m running my node on an old AMD FX8350 that’s also my Plex server
I’ve got 4 drives in it currently and looking to add a few more later in the year. (OS, Plex and Storj + spare)

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There are a variety of single board computers out there that will work fine with a low power hit. I run about a dozen to test for compatibility issues. Some are better than others, of course.

Beyond that, I don’t recommend going out and buying hardware. Most enthusiasts have an old PC or a NAS that they can leverage to get started with Storj. Once you get comfortable with the way it works, and how much you are making, you can then make an informed decision on whether you want to spend money on something new.


Are you running an Odroid HC2 too and how does it compare?

I know for the OP’s question the RPi isn’t feasible right now due to availability, but you don’t even need an RPi4. I started with one node on a spare RPi3 in Nov 2020 and have been successfully running 3 nodes on that RPi since February 2021 I think? Just goes to show what you can use for minimal hardware.

I agree with others in this thread, start with what is either immediately or cheaply available to you. Doesn’t take a whole lot especially if you’ve got a lightweight OS.

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Hi Jammerdan,

I am not, as I try to get 64bit processors and not 32bit whenever possible. But it is based on an Arm Cortex so it should do quite fine. It looks like it has been discontinued though. They do still sell the XU4 line, but the HC2 appears to be dropped.

I see. Yes you are right, the HC2 is 32bit and there is no sucessor that has the same neat form factor. However the HC4 is considered the successor by the manufacturer.

Sometimes you can get an old HP Prodesk/Elitedesk for almost no money. I got one for 100 euro, g3 mini with 8GB Ram and 256GB SSD. Much more powerful than RPi4 and loads of io, Currently running proxmox as a hypervisor

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I am running stuff on an Intel NUC with an i3 processor. The power consumption is the biggest cost of running anything 24/7 at home (at least in Europe) and the NUC has loads of power and consumes only 10w in idle.

The PC is the best way to go if you only can set up nodes in one physical location and the space occupied by a big case is not a problem. It’s the most upgradable, powerfull (as computation) and silent system. You can build a wide variety of systems, even a gaming PC, that will serve all your needs, and stuff it with 6-8 HDDs, depending on the mobo, you can replace them easily when they hit EOL, etc.
The second best option, especialy if the space is limited or you move the system occasionaly because of power or internet outages, is a NAS. Is build to run 24/7, to autorestart without problems after a power outage (more reliable than a PC). I reccomend Synology DS218+, DS220+ or the multibay options, or something similar from QNap or Asus. DS216+ is strugling with one 3TB node, so the newer options are better. Replacing HDDs are a bit more complex, because there are some limitations (check the official site… Synology etc), and you are limited by the number of bays. And the biggest problem is the NOISE! So if you plan to run it in your bedroom, DON’T :wink: The same HDD mounted in a NAS makes a horrible grinding noise 24/7 each second, but mounted in a PC or even placed on top of the case, is super silent.
The last option is RaspPi, and… is not cheap: the CPU is weak, needs a case and a cooler, the HDD needs a case with dedicated power adapter, the USB ports are limited as number and speed… so you will end up spending almost the same money as for a NAS, but on a much weaker device, with a lot of cables and power adapters. This is the most silent option from all but…
If you planning to run Storj storagenodes, take these into consideration:

  1. plan it as a source of income for many years, more than 15 years.
  2. you will start making “some” monthly money after 1.5-2 years. (A 4TB node gives aprox. 14$ per month, and you hit 4TB in 1.25-1.5 years - considering the actual network conditions).
  3. better invest from the start in a good system, future proof, and big enterprise HDDs for reliability and fewer upgrades in the future. In the same location you will get the same traffic on one node vs 2+ nodes, so start with a big HDD and add more when this fills up, don’t start with more small ones. And if you check the prices, the price/TB is small for bigger HDDs, than for small ones.
    So consider that in one location you will get aprox. 3TB of space occupied/year and in 15-20 years how many small HDDs vs big HDDs you will add. There is the problem with reliability of the drives, though; if a drive fails, you will loose that node… bigger HDD = more data lost. But I think that with Enterprise HDDs, new, not sh, like Seagate Exos, with a good system and, of course, a good UPS, in a stable and safe enviroment, a failed drive is a rarity. The traffic is not so huge, like in a data center, so the hardware workload is light.
    What I’m trying to say is … going cheap is not the best option here.
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I actually run my node on a DS920+ with 4 16TB Exos 16 in SHR1 using BTRFS. Not recommended. It’s easier to just use one drive, Ext4. To remedy that I installed read and write-cache on the synology. Now it’s more silent.

There is so much wrong with this reply in my opinion.
For one, don’t buy new stuff for Storj, it won’t ever pay off. Second, in what world does a Raspberry Pi with an external HDD come close in cost to a Synology NAS?

@S0litiare answer is the best by far. Recycle an old PC from a thrift store or better from the trash.

I’ve successfully run a storage node on a pi zero with drives on USB2 and saw no difference between that node and nodes running on a proper desktop with drives connected via SATA. My point being any old computer from the last 10 years can run several storage nodes in parallel successfully.

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