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Old 23rd June 2008
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I think you're dreaming that he's dreaming, from http://www.soekris.com/net4521.htm
Quote:
Supports Power over Ethernet according to the 802.3af standard
Also see Power over Ethernet.
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Old 23rd June 2008
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Well, it once was true from Soekris or pc-engines (memory fails).
Nowadays, those boards increasingly become useable thin-clients, far from the "intelligent" Ethernet interface they once were.
Once?
Two years ago ! Archeology
Soekris net45** series shoud remain available as long as spare parts are available.
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Old 24th June 2008
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I just want to toss couple of ideas.

I understand why people like soekris and alix boards. They are fanless and spend very little electricity. I like them too. But boy they are over priced at list in U. S. where I live (although in the long run they are cheap comparing to standard PCs due to the electric consumption). They go for anywhere $140-$300.

Jetway Mini ITX are half the price of Alix boards (Jetway is around $60) and almost 4 times cheaper than Soekris. They are based on
VIA 3 or VIA 7 chip sets so that is soekris for all practical purposes (yes they also make Intel and AMD based boards that do have cooling fans but are far more powerful. (too powerful for an embedded appliance).

The another idea is just getting full blown server like
Sun Microsystems Netra T1 500MHZ 512MB (and this is RISK so this is like
2GHz Intel based board)
Those can be found on ebay for less than $50. There is no way that soekris
will cost you less than $400 at the end of the day after you buy enclosure, RAM, power supply and whatever else you going to put. So you will have to go at least year or two years before recovering money through your electric bills
if you go Soekris route VS Netra route.

For the lovers of Intel hardware older 1U Poweredge DeLL servers can be easily found for less than $100.

On that Netra or Poweredge you can run firewall for a big corporation let
alone for home office.

P.S. Disclaimer: SUN sparc64 hardware is only good for people who run OpenBSD. Even NetBSD has problems running newer SUN sparc64 chip sets.

FreeBSD is in my point of view i386 and AMD specific OS.

Last edited by Oko; 24th June 2008 at 04:44 AM.
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Old 24th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
P.S. Disclaimer: SUN sparc64 hardware is only good for people who run OpenBSD. Even NetBSD has problems running newer SUN sparc64 chip sets.

FreeBSD is in my point of view i386 and AMD specific OS.
Not trying to start anything, but what's wrong with FreeBSD on sparc64?
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Old 24th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cajunman4life View Post
Not trying to start anything, but what's wrong with FreeBSD on sparc64?
Not pretending that I am a big expert on Sparc64 just look at the link to FreeBSD
sparc64 project web-site and what people are saying

http://www.freebsd.org/platforms/sparc.html


Then look at the NetBSD sparc64 web-page

http://www.netbsd.org/ports/sparc64/

and then look at the openbsd sparc64 specific web-site

http://www.openbsd.org/sparc64.html

Compare number of various RISK processor supported and support for SMP
kernel on these three architectures. Compare the hardware which supported by each operating system.

You will see what I meant by OpenBSD is way to go if you want to run Sparc64.

Now I am not saying that if you have particular hardware which is supported by FreeBSD and which doesn't have multiple processors FreeBSD will not run. I am just saying that I would run OpenBSD regardless.
Even OpenBSD didn't have support for SMP kernel on sparc64 until 4.3 so I sold my Ultra 10 workstation last year as my only choice to get it fully functional was Solaris or Debian.


P.S. Hey body. I just noticed that you are from Arizona. I live in Tucson. It is nice to see people from Arizona running
BSDs. I do not think that there are more than handful of us down in Tucson running BSDs.

Last edited by Oko; 24th June 2008 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 24th June 2008
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I've been thinking about going the mini or nano itx way for a while now. Anyone have a BSD setup with these boards and how's the performance?
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Old 28th June 2008
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Hello,

I too am interested in this. I am looking at ultra low power machines, such as the Soekris or Inveneo or Fit-PC.

I am sure these work great as a small server and such - but I am more interested in their suitability as a desktop development platform (X optional). Doing tasks as text editing and processing, compiling, debugging, web and email, maybe OpenOffice and Gimp, etc. How well would it perform in that capacity? How much of a hit would I take compared to my AMD X2 4600+?
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Old 30th June 2008
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Hi all,
I bought a fit-pc and i am moving my sites to it.
It seem that it should deal with the load, but i let you know later how it performs.
I am planing to run NetBSD as I always do since 6 year ago.
Ret /T
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Old 30th June 2008
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Great thread with some interesting product offerings. Thanks for the tips/feedback, everyone.
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Old 1st July 2008
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Hello,

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyex View Post
Hi all,
I bought a fit-pc and i am moving my sites to it.
It seem that it should deal with the load, but i let you know later how it performs.
I am planing to run NetBSD as I always do since 6 year ago.
Ret /T
Some things I would like to know on how fit-PC does:

How long does it take to compile:
* NetBSD GENERIC kernel - both config and compile
* vim
* tcsh
* pcc
* gcc (note: this will probably take a very long time)

How responsive is it running:
* Firefox - or if that is sluggish Dillo
* OpenOffice
* X (in general)

How long does it take to boot up?
How long does it take to shut down?
How is the overall feel of it (i.e., does it _seem_ slow)?
How well does it render graphics (cli and basic X)?
How warm does it run?
Can the hard drive be swapped?

- That is all I can think of now. Any help in your evaluation of this intriguing product would be appreciated.
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Last edited by JMJ_coder; 1st July 2008 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 1st July 2008
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Hello,

Here is an article about small systems - here.


Of all of them, I like fit-PC and Linutop the best. I wouldn't consider those built on non-AMD processors (I only work with AMD - I'm silly that way).

Things I like about both - they're small, low-power, interesting in concept.

Things I don't like (just from reading the literature) about the Linutop: runs on only 1GB of flash memory (come-on! for the price of flash memory, this should be at least 4GB, if not 8); it seems almost married to Xubuntu and Gentoo; seems quite expensive for what you get; no PS/2 port

Things I don't like (just from reading the literature) about the fit-PC: runs on a traditional hard drive; hard drive should be SATA; only has 256MB RAM (should be at least 512 - especially since you can't upgrade); can't upgrade RAM; no PS/2 port
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Old 1st July 2008
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The decTOP looks really cool. Is it possible to put three USB powered ethernet ports for an openbsd firewall?
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Old 1st July 2008
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Hi again,
well, i measured the comp speed last night and it took like 900 seconds to compile openssl 0.9.8g.
It is a slow compiler but the fact that it is small and fanless its a huge advantage.
I was more afraid of the machine getting hot, but now, after a few days in my private lab, compiling software from pkgsrc mostly, the temp of the case seems to be quite OK.
I compiled a new kernel with all the sensors enabled to get some temperature statistics from the mobo, but either mbmon or envstat found them. I think that this kind of nonstandard i386 derivate probably is still not supported.
When i compiled a new kernel it took long time (~ 1 hour). I am dubious if this kind of hardware can be use as a desktop, but to have a small router/FW or maybe a web server backed up with some php and mysql it will do fine.
I read that some people at some lab got like 90Mbits from this hardware using linux and that is definitely ok.
It has no power button so when u connect to the power if get up and running. It is a fast at booting and shutting down. The overall speed is fast having in mind the hardware. I am not planing to run any x-based applications or heavy graphics so, i can answer the other questions.

Reg /T
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Last edited by tonyex; 2nd July 2008 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 1st July 2008
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Hello,

Thanks - one more question: From what I understand the hard drive is the only moving part - so how loud is the hard drive?
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Old 1st July 2008
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Hello,

Speaking of small systems - I installed NetBSD 4.0 on an old Compaq Prolinea 4/50. It has a 50MHz 486 with 64MB RAM and a 1GB hard drive (WD Caviar 21000).

Since it doesn't have a CD-ROM drive, USB, or ethernet - I had to hook the hard drive to my HP and install the OS and then insert it back into the Compaq. Let me tell you, that hard drive is SLOW!!!!! It took over four hours to untar pkgsrc and another 4 hours to delete it after I was done with it!!!

I am using it as a programming platform until I can put together something else - it's a hold-me-over for now.
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Old 2nd July 2008
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Hi, JMJ,
it makes no noise at all!
I put my ear on the aluminum case , like a pc doctor or something like that, and then i can barely hear something.
BTW i was looking over other kind of mini pc:s and today there are a lot of interesting alternatives. The only problem is pricing.
/T
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Old 2nd July 2008
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Hello,

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyex View Post
Hi, JMJ,
it makes no noise at all!
I put my ear on the aluminum case , like a pc doctor or something like that, and then i can barely hear something.
Thanks. I still don't know if I will get one or not. If I do, I'll probably convert it over to run on CF in place of the hdd (yes, I know it voids the warranty).


Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyex View Post
BTW i was looking over other kind of mini pc:s and today there are a lot of interesting alternatives. The only problem is pricing.
/T
I am also impressed by the Linutop - but it is nearly $100 more. The DecTOP seems promising, but it seems that the base unit is $100 and you also need to be a $40 tool to be able to unlock the blank hdd (talk about dirty marketing tactics!).

I wish AMD would sell the Geode individually (at least I haven't seen it), instead of having to buy in 1-10k volumes.
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Old 2nd July 2008
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Hello,

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyex View Post
I am dubious if this kind of hardware can be use as a desktop, but to have a small router/FW or maybe a web server backed up with some php and mysql it will do fine.
I have that Compaq set up - and I will be testing it in the coming weeks. If I can get by with 50MHz, 64MB RAM and an ultra slow hard drive (even if slightly painfully), I might be seriously tempted to get a fit-PC (or something similar). Or I might build my miniATX system on the AMD 4850e. Or both!
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Old 3rd July 2008
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Hello,

tonyex, I appreciate your help in evaluating the fit-PC. Compilation of OpenSSL took about 100sec on my AMD 4600+ (~ 9 times faster than the fit-PC according to your stats). If you don't mind, I have another 'benchmark' (I guess that term would apply) to try. Below is a program I wrote several months back - it is an insertion sort. If you could compile it and run it at 10,000 and 100,000 numbers. This will give me another fair gauge of the fit-PC level of performance in what I would be using it for.

On my AMD, compiling took ~1sec, 10,000 ~1sec, 100,000 ~10-15sec.
On the Compaq, compiling took ~1min., 10,000 ~40sec, I didn't run 100,000 but would guess about 6_1/2 to 10min.


sortCount.cc

Code:
/*
 * CSIS 2617 Assignment 4
 * Complexity of a Sort Function
 */

#include <iostream>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <ctime>

/* function declarations */

void initArray (int, int [], int);
double insertionSort (int [], int);


/* main program */

int main()
{
    int size, seed;
    double num_compares;

    std::cout << "How large of a list shall we sort?\n";
    std::cin >> size;
    int list[size];

    seed = time(NULL);
    initArray(seed, list, size);
    num_compares = insertionSort(list, size);
 
    std::cout << "For a random list size of "
              << size
              << std::endl
              << "the number of comparisions to sort it "
              << "via an insertion sort is "
              << num_compares
              << std::endl;

    return 0;
}



/* routine to initialize an array with random ints */

void initArray (int seed, int list[], int size)
{
    int i;

    srand(seed);
    for (i = 0; i < size; i++){
        list[i] = rand();
    }
}



/* routine to perform insertion sort */

double insertionSort (int list[], int size)
{
    double count = 0;
    int i, j, temp_val;

    for (i = 1; i < size; i++){
        temp_val = list[i];
        for (j = i-1; j >= 0 && temp_val < list[j]; j--){
            list[j+1] = list[j];
        count++;
        }
        list[j+1] = temp_val;
    }

    return count;
}
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Old 3rd July 2008
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Hello,

I tried to compile on that Compaq Prolinea. I was going to compile the NetBSD 4.0 GENERIC kernel. It took ~40sec to run config and ~10490sec (that's 2hours, 54min, and 50sec!!!) to run make depend!

I am seriously wondering how much of this is because it is a 50MHz CPU and how much is because of the anemic hard drive that it has. That hard drive is pathetic! It took hours upon hours to process ~250MB (that's right megabytes, not gigabytes!) - over 4 hours to untar and over 4 hours to delete!
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