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 Post subject: Motherboard to build into a Cobalt Qube2?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2003 6:25 pm
Posts: 58
Location: New Jersey
Hi Folks! :mrgreen: I've got a Cobalt Qube2 that I purchased long ago and haven't used in a long time. Here are a few photos (not of MINE, but lifted off the web) for reference...

Image Image Image

IMHO it's a cool looking little box, and even has a mysterious green glowing light at the front. ;) But it runs a MIPS processor at some very low clock speed... 166MHz? (Don't remember exactly.) It also doesn't support all that much RAM.

I want to turn this into a silent little Linux server, and a motherboard transplant seems like the place to start (maybe a C3 or possibly even a Pentium-M board... it the latter boards come that small?)... what can I do? I have no idea what would even fit inside here, so any and all suggestions are welcome! :)

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Last edited by sclawson on Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2005 6:58 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2004 5:42 am
Posts: 188
Location: Poland EU, Wroclaw
Try via epia motherboards.
17x17cm all-in-one

You can get CL type - it has 2 NIC-s (ethernet 10/100) if you want to bulild a router.

There are special linux distros for epia boards - google for it.

Try
www.mini-itx.com
www.epiacenter.com
for reference, and epia types comparsion.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:38 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2003 6:25 pm
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Location: New Jersey
Thanks VERiON! :)

Special Linux distros... hmm... I would have thought any normal distro would run okay, given that the board is X86 compatible? Or am I mistaken?

Anyone else with suggestions, or is this pretty much the definitive way I'd want to go?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2004 5:42 am
Posts: 188
Location: Poland EU, Wroclaw
You can buy used epia boards - fanless EPIA EDEN 5000 is enough for linux. It is really cheap. I couldn't find EPIA EDEN 5000 so I bought EPIA 800 @133Mhz and UNDERCLOCKED it = 400 @66 Mhz. It is running fanless now. Even underclocked - it is faster and more responsive than pIII733 winXP fileserver.

sclawson wrote:
Special Linux distros... hmm... I would have thought any normal distro would run okay, given that the board is X86 compatible?


Yes. Any x86 distro wold be ok. No prob. here :D

"Special" distro = compiled exactly for given epia type motherboard = slightly faster or smaller, especially for router/server etc.

"special" distros are a bonus, not a downside.

You can try clarkconnect.com. Excellent distro with web based management.
I don't know your linux skills, but i've started my linux adventure with clarkconnect. Few mouse clicks... and you have fully featured web/print/file server. And the HOME edition is free. Compared to pro - it has no support or help desk. No big deal.

And the web configuration panel is EXCELLENT. Of course you can still use ssh/putty.

---

But hey... Is that cobalt cube ok? Is it working? You should try install linux on that box without ripping off the old hardware.

Check out linux MIPS wiki:
http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2003 6:25 pm
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Location: New Jersey
Never heard of Clarkconnect.com. I'll check it out! :mrgreen:

The Qube2 is fully functional as far as I can tell, and even the stock software works... but of course it's running a VERY old Linux kernel and probably is riddled with security holes. I've heard that Debian and NetBSD both run pretty well on the MIPS processor in the Qube2, so I've been considering upgrading to those two. Now you've given me a third candidate to consider.

Overall, I guess I was just thinking that the MIPS processor will always be a thorn in my side as far as getting new software to run on it... I'll always have to compile from source, and many packages probably won't compile at all. :( At least that was my theory about why an X86-based board might make sense. :)

The stock Qube2 fan is kinda whiny, too... if memory serves, it's a 60mm ball bearing model. I'm probably going to end up Dremeling a larger fan hole, attaching a wire grate, and a Panaflo 80mm L1A undervolted to something in the 5-7V range. I'd also like to swap out the hard drive for a Spinpoint or even a Barracuda IV if I happen to get my hands on one!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:34 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2004 5:42 am
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Location: Poland EU, Wroclaw
sclawson wrote:
I've heard that Debian and NetBSD both run pretty well on the MIPS processor in the Qube2, so I've been considering upgrading to those two. Now you've given me a third candidate to consider.


I'm affraid that clarkconnect is compiled for x86 only :(
But i'm sure that you will love its web-based interface and 15-minutes VERY simple install proces.

sclawson wrote:
Overall, I guess I was just thinking that the MIPS processor will always be a thorn in my side as far as getting new software to run on it... I'll always have to compile from source.


I agree. Get x86 and you will have wide range of distros working out of the box.

That's why i bought epia 800. It was also cheap since there are faster epias on market and it is running SDRAM DIMMS.
Since i have 2 spare 256 SDRAM sticks laying around (you don't have to have that much memory - even 64/128 should be ok.) and even epia 5000 was fas enough for file server - it was a good move for me.


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