August 2021. Sam Rushing.

You want an arm64 system to run FreeBSD, maybe as a NAS

If you're like me, you've tried several times to get a working system built on the rpi4. Eventually you gave up in frustration. In my case, I could not get it to boot off of a usb3 hard drive. It's a weird system, and really not appropriate for any kind of server.

So you're looking for an affordable arm64 system with a little kick.


Solid-Run sells the MacchiatoBIN line, which consists of the 'Single Shot' and the 'Double Shot', in a mini-itx form factor. The Single runs at 1.6GHz, and is missing copper PHYs for the SFP+ ports. The Double runs at 2.0GHz, and has them. If I were to buy again, I would probably go for the Double.

It's a quad-core arm64 system built around the Marvell 8040 SoC.

My Experience

The Single was $349. Shipping to California was $61 (!) since it's sent from Israel. I think it took about two weeks to arrive.

The board came with a mini-usb for access to the serial console. No documentation.

I'm on macos, so this is a good way to access it:

$ screen /dev/tty.usbserial-DM02XSRS  115200

You can also use minicom.

Mine came with an empty eMMC. The SPI flash had u-boot loaded. After some struggles, I was able to get linux installed to the eMMC, just to verify everything was working.

The wiki has been down for several weeks, and the 'contact' web ui on the website fails to send a message. The 'forum' software is filled with spam, to the point where it's hard to find useful info.

HOWEVER, the wayback machine provides clumsy access to the wiki for now: you can find the page you're looking for via google, and then feed that URL to the wayback machine.


There are quite a few choices for booting this system. There are jumpers on the board for boot choice: SPI, eMMC, SD. At one point I thought I'd bricked it when I messed up loading the SPI flash, but after changing the jumpers to SD card I was back up and running.

There's an alternative oops-bricked-it recovery mode where you can boot over the UART, but I was unable to get this to work. It uses a wake-up pattern followed by a (modified?) xmodem protocol to send an image to boot. Turns out this wasn't needed, since you can boot from a fresh SD card and fix everything from there.

The board supports either u-boot or UEFI. I don't think I was able to boot FreeBSD with u-boot, but the UEFI option works great.


For a case I used the Cooler Master Elite 130 which just has room for 3 3.5" SATA drives. (at 3 different angles!)

Power supply is EVGA 450 W3.

The board came with a 4G DDR4 Non-ECC RAM (samsung m378a5244cb0-ctd), but I believe it's supposed to support ECC. I replaced that with an 8GB G.SKILL stick I had laying around. No issues with either.


I've had the best luck with installing FreeBSD 13.0-RELEASE from the 'disc1' image.


  1. Put the UEFI image on an SD card and change boot jumpers. [you'll need to find 2 more jumpers somewhere].
  2. Use Balena etcher (or dd) to write disc1.iso to a usb fob.
  3. Install one or more SATA hard drives.
  4. In the UEFI menu, under boot parameters, change the device mode from 'device tree' to 'ACPI'.
  5. Boot from the USB stick, select 'ansi' terminal, and install as normal.

After installation, you should see a 'FreeBSD' entry in the UEFI boot menu, and the machine should boot automatically without user intervention. [note: you can examine and update these boot entries using efibootmgr]

Once I had that working I flashed the UEFI image to the SPI Flash and changed the jumpers, now I don't need to rely on an SD card for booting.

There's 8GB of eMMC on board. I currently have a copy of linux on there, but I think I might install freebsd to have a nice rescue system in place without needing a fob.


The board has two SFP+ 10Gbe ports and a 1Gbe RJ45, none of these seem to be supported by FreeBSD-13.0-RELEASE. However, I see activity related to the board going on in -CURRENT, it's possible that support is being worked on. [note: A snapshot build from late August 2021 seems to recognize the devices but did not provide an interface.]

I was able to network the machine using a $15 DGE-560T from D-link in the PCIe slot. Note: the information on about this card is incorrect, the chipset on board needs the re driver, not the msk driver.

I was also able to get a USB wifi fob working via the run driver.


make buildworld -j 6 takes about 5 hours. make buildkernel -j 6 about 1400 seconds.

This is with 8GB of RAM.

ZFS on Root, drive failure practice

I installed the system using ZFS raidz1, using two 4TB HGST drives and a 10-year old WD drive. My plan was to order a third 4TB HGST and practice handling a drive failure. However, I think I made a mistake in that the old 640G drive was disk 0, and this was the only drive with the EFI boot system on it. I believe that using gpart bootcode it should be possible to make those other EFI partitions bootable (after putting a FAT filesystem and the efi/boot/bootaa64.efi file in place)

The zroot install setup makes identical partitions on all 3 drives, and I (wrongly?) assumed that since each drive had an EFI partition each drive was populated and bootable. As best I can tell those EFI partitions are all zeroes.

At first I did a zpool offline command to deliberately take the 640G out of the pool. This leaves zfs in a 'degraded' state, but it operates fine, and survives a reboot in that state.

When the 3rd 4TB drive came, I removed the 640G and put the new drive in its place. Once all back together, freebsd was now unbootable.


  1. boot using the disc1.iso usb fob
  2. copy the partition layout to drive0: gpart backup ada1 | gpart restore -F ada0
  3. zpool import to load the degraded pool.
  4. zpool replace ada0p3 ada0p3
    # zpool status
      pool: zroot
     state: DEGRADED
    status: One or more devices is currently being resilvered.  The pool will
            continue to function, possibly in a degraded state.
    action: Wait for the resilver to complete.
      scan: resilver in progress since Wed Aug 25 16:25:22 2021
            579G scanned at 1.06G/s, 126G issued at 237M/s, 579G total
            41.8G resilvered, 21.75% done, 00:32:40 to go
            NAME              STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
            zroot             DEGRADED     0     0     0
              raidz1-0        DEGRADED     0     0     0
                replacing-0   DEGRADED     0     0     0
                  ada0p3/old  OFFLINE      0     0     0
                  ada0p3      ONLINE       0     0     0  (resilvering)
                ada1p3        ONLINE       0     0     0
                ada2p3        ONLINE       0     0     0
    errors: No known data errors

When the resilvering finished, everything seemed fine but the pool was massively undersized for the disks attached. I needed to issue a command to tell it to 'expand': zpool online -e zroot ada0p3

# zfs list
zroot                391G  6.66T      128K  /zroot
zroot/ROOT          7.04G  6.66T      128K  none
zroot/ROOT/default  7.04G  6.66T     7.04G  /
zroot/tmp            176K  6.66T      176K  /tmp
zroot/usr            383G  6.66T      128K  /usr
zroot/usr/home       381G  6.66T      381G  /usr/home
zroot/usr/ports     1.85G  6.66T     1.85G  /usr/ports
zroot/usr/src        854M  6.66T      854M  /usr/src
zroot/var           2.64M  6.66T      128K  /var
zroot/var/audit      128K  6.66T      128K  /var/audit
zroot/var/crash      128K  6.66T      128K  /var/crash
zroot/var/log       1.95M  6.66T     1.95M  /var/log
zroot/var/mail       197K  6.66T      197K  /var/mail
zroot/var/tmp        128K  6.66T      128K  /var/tmp


I followed this guide to install netatalk/afp and samba4. I can now select the NAS as a Time Machine backup target, though I haven't yet tested it.

I installed minidlna and have successfully used it to browse a several-hundred-GB photo collection from my TV.