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 Post subject: Looking for a cheap and small computer
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:05 am
Posts: 1
Location: Norway
Hi

I want a small computer, either building it myself from parts, or buying a pre-built one, that doesn't matter. What matters to me is the size and the price. :)

I want it to be as small as possible, and to cost as little as possible. I have mATX in mind, but I'm open for any suggestions! The hardware requirements are quite low. I want to run Untangle (untangle,com) on it at home on my LAN. As listed on their site, the minimum HW reqs are:
    CPU: P3 800 MHz
    RAM: 512MB
    DISK: 20 GB
    USB: At least 1 USB-port, to install the OS through a USB DVD-drive

In addition it needs network adapters. Preferably 2, but it may work with 1 NIC if I can get my USB-to-Ethernet(RJ45) dongle to work with it. Not yet sure if Untangle supports it.

It will of course need a display adapter during installation, but that's all. When it's up and running, I will access it remotely. In other words, no heavy requirements there.

Does anyone have any suggestion for such a low-cost computer, either complete or in parts? I have no problem with ordering from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, or wherever, as long as the price is right.

I'm thankful for any suggestions,
- kmyhre


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 Post subject: Atom + 945GSE Chipset?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:02 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:19 am
Posts: 400
Location: Boston, MA, USA
If you want to minimize your power consumption but you need an x86 system, you might look into an Intel Atom or an AMD Geode board.

With the atoms, they will use tons of power unless paired with a mobile chipset (945GSE, not 945GC etc). I use and enjoy an intel D945GSEJT atom board that idles at ~9W AC, but it only has one ethernet port. Glancing around I see
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product
and
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product
but both seem a little more expensive than I would have expected. And they still need memory and a bootable device.

Can you boot Untangle from usb flash? I'm not terribly familiar with it. That would save money compared to a SSD and power (and money) compared to a HDD.


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 Post subject: Re: Atom + 945GSE Chipset?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
The new non-mobile Atom chipsets aren't too bad. But I guess you can get cheaper, smaller, boxes that consume less power by going with a used Geode or something.
If you want to buy new, I don't think that you'll find anything cheaper than the new Atom boards unless you want accept a power consumption close to what you could get with a mainstream system.

EDIT: boards with the new Atom chipset and 2 NICs have been announced.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:15 am 
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Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 9:09 am
Posts: 1888
Location: Northern California.
fwiw, from utangle http://wiki.untangle.com/index.php/Hard ... quirements

"VIA and Intel Atom CPUs have high clock rates, but sometimes do not have sufficient horsepower. "

but im sure it would depend on what kind of traffic and aps you plan on running.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
Quote:
"VIA and Intel Atom CPUs have high clock rates, but sometimes do not have sufficient horsepower. "

horsepower = ?
That's not a very useful note. I guess Geodes are out then. I don't see how is a 0.8G P3 would be any better than a (non-Poulsbo) Atom or a Nano but what do I know, right?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:41 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:14 pm
Posts: 676
Location: in the depths of hell
HFat wrote:
Quote:
"VIA and Intel Atom CPUs have high clock rates, but sometimes do not have sufficient horsepower. "

horsepower = ?
That's not a very useful note. I guess Geodes are out then. I don't see how is a 0.8G P3 would be any better than a (non-Poulsbo) Atom or a Nano but what do I know, right?

They wouldn't but the PIII's aren't exactly recommended either. They're just minimum system requirements and likely would not do well with a heavy load.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
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Location: Switzerland
P4s (without qualification) are recommended for small networks. I doubt that the fastest Atoms would be slower than the slowest P4s.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:14 pm
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Location: in the depths of hell
HFat wrote:
P4s (without qualification) are recommended for small networks. I doubt that the fastest Atoms would be slower than the slowest P4s.

Depends on the application. Iirc, for number crunching, the P4 still beats the Atom clock for clock.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
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Location: Switzerland
I guess it would indeed depend on the application but let's be realistic: the first P4s were made in 2000! So "the P4" is not a useful category really.
I interpret their document as recommending only mainstream CPUs (irrespective of brand and designation so no Atoms but also no Celeron 420, no Athlon 2650e and so on) made in the last 4 or 5 years.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:14 pm
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Location: in the depths of hell
HFat wrote:
I guess it would indeed depend on the application but let's be realistic: the first P4s were made in 2000! So "the P4" is not a useful category really.
I interpret their document as recommending only mainstream CPUs (irrespective of brand and designation so no Atoms but also no Celeron 420, no Athlon 2650e and so on) made in the last 4 or 5 years.

Yeah, but I've got a 1.7GHz Willamette (one of the really old P4's) and I believe when I ran a couple of benchmarks, it still beat the Atom 330 in Dhrystone or something like that.

Besides, the Atom 330 is just barely at the Celeron 400 performance level. I remember the reply I got when I asked that question from the untangle forums was the Atom N270 will be fine on a home network (5 computers or so) but video streaming services such as Netflix, etc might be adversely affected. Oh yeah, no torrenting, too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:48 pm 
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Location: Switzerland
You may be misremembering... that or it was a single-threaded benchmark which kind of defeats the point of a N330.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:58 am 
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Posts: 99
Location: Mexico
ilovejedd wrote:
HFat wrote:
I guess it would indeed depend on the application but let's be realistic: the first P4s were made in 2000! So "the P4" is not a useful category really.
I interpret their document as recommending only mainstream CPUs (irrespective of brand and designation so no Atoms but also no Celeron 420, no Athlon 2650e and so on) made in the last 4 or 5 years.

Yeah, but I've got a 1.7GHz Willamette (one of the really old P4's) and I believe when I ran a couple of benchmarks, it still beat the Atom 330 in Dhrystone or something like that.

Besides, the Atom 330 is just barely at the Celeron 400 performance level. I remember the reply I got when I asked that question from the untangle forums was the Atom N270 will be fine on a home network (5 computers or so) but video streaming services such as Netflix, etc might be adversely affected. Oh yeah, no torrenting, too.


I agree that the atom330 performance is lower than higher P4s, but is perfectly capable of torrenting and emule/ares/limewire downloading. Atom330 is a great cpu, enough powerful for the "normal" use (office, internet), the only tasks I feel is weak is managing photos and videos. And consumes only few watts (my rig idles at 28w).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:14 pm
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Location: in the depths of hell
greenfrank wrote:
I agree that the atom330 performance is lower than higher P4s, but is perfectly capable of torrenting and emule/ares/limewire downloading. Atom330 is a great cpu, enough powerful for the "normal" use (office, internet), the only tasks I feel is weak is managing photos and videos. And consumes only few watts (my rig idles at 28w).

I didn't mean it would be bad at torrenting. I've got an D945GCLF2-based build that I use for torrenting, myself.

However, the OP is planning to install Untangle on it and use it as a networked firewall/anti-virus similar to the ones made by SonicWALL. Basically, all internet traffic would pass through the Untangle server and will be inspected for viruses, spyware, spam, etc, which, as you can imagine, is processor-intensive. From feedback I've received from Untangle users, an Intel Atom processor might not be well-suited for extremely heavy loads and torrenting is a pretty heavy load especially for people with fast internet connections. That's what I meant when I mentioned no torrenting and streaming video.


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