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The $69 ZimaBoard lets you supercharge your smart home systems

Image of the ZimaBoard
(Image credit: IceWhale Technology)

Setting up a smart home system could be set to get a lot easier thanks to a new pint-sized device that is designed to be used as a DIY, hackable server.

While ZimaBoard isn’t the first of its kind, the fanless server offers a number of unique features, which would explain how it managed to reach its funding goal in less than ten minutes. The project has received pledges for over $160,000 over the weekend against its initial target of about $6500.

“ZimaBoard allows users to build a personal NAS, private VPN, 4K media server, software router, and so much more,” writes Lauren Pan, founder of Shanghai-based IceWhale Technology, that’s developed the ZimaBoard.

Open and dexterous

ZimaBoard is a single board computer, which unlike similar devices is powered by a 6-watt Intel Apollo Lake processor.

It’s equipped with two SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports that can be used for hooking up SSDs. You also get a single PCIe 2.0 4x interface, a couple of USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as one Mini-DisplayPort that can output in up to 4K at 60 Hz.

There are two versions of the ZimaBoard. The $99 ZimaBoard 216 uses 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM with 16GB of eMMC storage, while the ZimaBoard 832 retails for $179 and is equipped with 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM with 32GB of eMMC storage. Backers on Kickstarter can snag them at discounted prices starting at $69.

According to IceWhale Technology, the ZimaBoard ships with Linux but is compatible with Windows, OpenWrt, pfSense, Android and LibreELEC. Pan suggests that this allows ZimaBoard to be used as a personal NAS, private VPN, a 4K media server, software router, and much more.