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Re: Book-Sized Linux Computer for Just $149

Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> __/ [ Larry Qualig ] on Sunday 07 May 2006 15:18 \__
> > Bob Hauck wrote:
> >> On 6 May 2006 19:40:20 -0700, Larry Qualig <lqualig@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> >>
> >> > For $39 you can get a 1.5Ghz xeon. (AMD processors are even less
> >> > expensive).
> >>
> >> Yes, but.  The 266 MHz PowerPC in the KuroBox is probably one of the
> >> microcontroller variants.  Those have serial, ethernet, usb, IDE, PCI,
> >> and a memory controller all built-in to the chip.  They are nearly a
> >> single-chip solution _and_ they sell for under $40 in quantity.
> >
> > I read the original article fast and missed the "PowerPC" part. I just
> > saw the 266Mhz spec. (Working with the 266Mhz non-PPC assumption) - my
> > point is that if you're building an entire system already it's just a
> > small incremental cost to get a much, much better CPU for just slighly
> > more money.
> >
> >
> >> The Xeon price is just for the CPU, you will also need some external
> >> glue chips in order to make a system.  The price and heat output of that
> >> chipset is comparable to the CPU itself, plus you end up with a more
> >> complex and more expensive motherboard due to having to run high-speed
> >> signals around between chips.
> >
> > But this "external glue" to make a complete system is needed regardless
> > of what CPU is used. I
> >
> >
> >> > It would take more than 5 blades to get the CPU performance of asingle
> >> > xeon 1.5Ghz machine.
> >>
> >> Sure, but if your design criteria include factors other than performance
> >> (low power, low heat, fanless, etc) then the Xeon may not be the right
> >> choice.  You also have to take those factors into account along with the
> >> amount of engineering required to get to the final product.
> >
> > I used the xeon only as a pricing example. The same could apply to
> > Sempron, PPC, Sparc, Pentium-M (low power laptop) or any other
> > processor. The point is that the newest "cutting edge" processors are
> > expensive but CPU's that are 1-2 years old are very cheap now days. It
> > seems that a 266Mhz is extremely cheap and for only a few more dollars
> > a much more capable CPU could be used. For those trying to get a
> > computer as cheap as humanly possible the extra $25 in costs could be a
> > deal breaker. But for a one-time fee of $25 one could get a much better
> > system.
> Have ever taken into consideration those who would rather grab a dozen for
> roughly  a  grand and a half and then deploy these across sites to  endure
> network  outages, system failures, server spikes and maybe even use  these
> as  proxies for greater speed? Not all services require a  high-performing
> unit  in  a _single location_. What's more, here you talk about  a  system
> with less dependencies and better portability traits.

There are obviously lots of uses for what *could* be done with a
computer. My response was in the context of the article you referenced
in the original post. The article makes no mention of distributed or
redundant services. The article in the link specifically says:

The KuroBox is a small-footprint Linux-based embedded platform for a
personal server.

... it can transcode (decode and then re-encode to another bitrate)
MP3's using LAME at about 25% faster than realtime.


Sure.. you can distribute these across multiple sites to endure network
outages, system failures, etc. But the article/description of this
system makes no mention of anything remotely similar to this. The
entire context they use is how *most* people use a computer, as a
stand-alone personal computer.

Also.. given that it's very quiet, it seems like a natural fit for
something like MythTV. A little more oomph in the CPU department would
make it a contender therre because right now it seems a bit
under-powered for video.

> The  desktop which I currently have at home is used for about half an hour
> per day (not for work). Its low cost made it an affordable front-end to an
> external,  large-capacity  storage unit, as well as a music player and  an
> SSH  terminal  (i.e.  grab display, but do little or no  processing).  Why
> spend  money  on  high-end machines that remain in one  single  place  the
> entire time?

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