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Five-bay, open source NAS features RK3399, UPS, and 2.5GbE

Jan 2, 2020 — by Eric Brown 8,327 views

Kobol’s open spec “Helios64” NAS system will go on pre-order for $189 (SBC) or $285 (full kit) next week with a hexa-core RK3399 with 4GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, UPS, M.2, 5x SATA, 4x USB, and both GbE and 2.5GbE ports.

Next week, Kobol will launch pre-orders for an open HW/SW NAS system available as both a Nano-ITX SBC ($189) and a full five-drive system with enclosure ($285). Shipments are due by the end of March. The new system is powered by a 64-bit Rockchip RK3399 compared to the less powerful, dual-core, Cortex-A9 based Marvell Armada 388 on the earlier, open-spec Helios4 NAS system. It also adds a 2.5Gbps LAN port, a fifth SATA interface, and a UPS, among other improvements.

Helios64 SBC with heatsink (left) and with full system
(click images to enlarge)

Singapore-based Kobol missed its ambitious Kickstarter goal on the earlier Helios4, but the $74,000 in orders it received encouraged the company to crowdfund the device on its own with a more reasonable goal. Its customers were fulfilled in August, and the Helios4 is now sold out and has reached “end of life.” Unix Tutorial published an enthusiastic hands-on overview of the Helios4.


The Helios64’s RK3399 SoC features 2x 1.8GHz Cortex-A72 cores, 4x 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 cores, and a Mali-T860 GPU. Kobol suggests that the Helios64 will once again be an open source project. It made no mention of OS support, but the Helios4 runs Debian and Armbian 5.91 based on Debian 10 Buster.


The 120 x 120mm Nano-ITX SBC is a bit larger than the 100 x 100mm Helios4. The board ships with 4GB LPDDR4, 16GB eMMC 5.1, and a microSD slot. The SBC supplies 5x SATA III interfaces, one of which can be assigned to an SSD via an M.2 slot. It’s unclear if that slot can alternatively be used for wireless or other PCIe/USB peripherals.

Compared to the single-GbE Helios4, the Helios64 offers both Gigabit Ethernet and 2.5GbE ports. The SBC is further equipped with 3x USB 3.0 host ports and a USB Type-C that supports DP for displays or DAS (Direct Attached Storage) modes. Other I/O includes I2C, SPI, UART, GPIO, 2x PWM fan, and “more.” There’s a power supply with dual DC inputs that can power all the drives plus built-in UPS support with optional battery.

Helios64 SBC without heatsink
(click image to enlarge)

The 250 x 222 x 134mm, aluminum enclosure supports five 3.5-inch HDDs via a hot-plug tray system and incorporates dual 80mm PWM fans. There’s an exposed USB 3.0 port and a control panel with LEDs and power and reset buttons.

The enclosure kit bundle includes the otherwise optional 12V/10A adapter ($14) and UPS battery pack ($12). More accessories will follow later in the year, including a mini-ITX tower adapter kit “in order for you to recycle an old PC case you might have around.”

Further information

The Helios64 will go on pre-order next week in both SBC ($189) and enclosure kit ($285) models, with shipments due by the end of Mar. 2020. The case without SBC is separately available at $95, and the full kit will sell for $295 after Mar. 1. More information may be found on the Kobol website.

(advertise here)

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3 responses to “Five-bay, open source NAS features RK3399, UPS, and 2.5GbE”

  1. Scott Palmer says:

    Without bit rot protection I am not interested.

  2. Ster says:

    Scott, if you’re that concerned about it then you should know that you can resolve that yourself… or did you just want to throw that term around so you sound smart?

  3. Oli says:

    Is this still a thing? It’s been 6 months and I still see it in preorder…

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