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 Post subject: Received the Intel D945GCLF
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 10:19 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:05 am
Posts: 154
Location: Germany
Hello,

not sure if you can remember me, I was here a long time ago with an AMD Geode box. I've been reading the forums regularly though, and so I want to share my experience with the Atom-based Intel D945GCLF I got some days ago (the DDR2 stick took longer to arrive so I just got it running today). These are pretty much my 1st impressions, benchmark numbers etc. will follow if wanted:

Packaging

The board comes in a typically blue package which is not much bigger than the board itself in terms of width and height, but much deeper. It contains the board itself, the ATX plate, a SATA cable, an IDE cable (which was defective in my shipment, so I had to switch over to another one...), a drivers/applications CD, a quick start guide and a nice sheet detailing the various connections on the board (Intel says to affix this one to the case's interior).

Test setup

(I know, not really appropriate for such a setup, but that was what I had lying around. When I get my hands on other components, I can test those as well.)

Intel D945GCLF + Atom 230 (CPU-Z says it's a Z530)
1GB Kingston DDR2-533, timings: 4-4-4-12
Seagate 160GB, 7200rpm 3.5" HDD (will be replaced with a CF card later)
NEC DVD-RW (will be disconnected later)
Fortron 300W ATX PSU (sorry for this, had no DC-DC converter handy, but the German review on minitechnet used it with a 60W converter and has some power consumption results).

Setup

Setting it up was pretty straightforward. I installed the RAM, connected the PSU (ATX + 4pin P4 connector) and the drives and powered on. First thing I noticed: The chipset fan is (as to be expected with a 40mm one) loud. Enabling the "smart fan control" or whatever it was called in the BIOS made it run slower and thus quieter, have to check the RPMs in the BIOS or using SpeedFan.

UPDATE: Disregard the above statement in red. The "System Fan Control" option only deals with an optionally connectable second fan, not with the MCH fan, e.g. the one on the chipset. That one always runs at 4800rpm and is thus not quiet. I must have been hallucinating when I said enabling this option made the fan quieter, sorry. I'll try to connect that fan to the controlled header to see if reducing its speed will have a great influence on the system's temps, though.

Installation of Windows XP and Performance

Installing Windows XP Pro (x86, with SP3 slipstreamed) from the IDE DVD-RW drive was straightforward and took about 30 minutes. Afterwards, I installed the drivers (chipset, VGA, LAN, sound) from the bundled CD which worked fine as well. As the Atom supports HyperThreading, two CPUs are recognized.
Performance was surprisingly good. The system boots up quickly, performance when surfing the internet was acceptable. Have yet to try any demanding apps on it. Will install Debian GNU/Linux soon too.
For those who care: Geekbench results (for the heck of it).

Power consumption was reported as ~45W with the cheap PSU and a cheap power meter. Disconnecting the DVD-RW brought this down to 44W. If I had a more efficient PSU, this would be significantly less, I'm sure. I'm unfortunately not really sure if I can trust that cheap power meter either. I'll try to get a better, more accurate one and repeat the tests.

Will post updates with information on the BIOS (options etc.) and fan speed/temperature readings from the BIOS and SpeedFan at idle and at 100% CPU load.

I hope this was at least somewhat useful for anybody. Feel free to ask any questions that might arise.


Last edited by lowpowercomputing on Fri May 30, 2008 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 10:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:20 am
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Location: Missing in Finnish wilderness, howling to moon with wolf brethren and walking with brother bears
Sounds nice. Do you plan to build small ITX box for surfing?
Also could we get some pictures eventually? Thanks a lot for information.

_________________
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Maturity is just not experience in life but also ability to make compromises.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:05 am
Posts: 154
Location: Germany
thejamppa wrote:
Sounds nice. Do you plan to build small ITX box for surfing?
Also could we get some pictures eventually? Thanks a lot for information.

Not really, this is just a testbed for playing around with the Atom using various operating systems. This is not going to sit in a mini-ITX case either, it'll be left "open". So I'll unfortunately not be able to provide temperature values for an "installed" system.
Pictures will follow once I get my digital camera ready. What kind of pictures would you like?

GENERAL UPDATES:

BIOS

The BIOS is pretty basic. You can enable/disable HyperThreading, the automatic (system) fan speed control (or set the system fan's speed in steps of 10% from 50% to 100%), you can enable/disable the serial and parallel port as well as audio, LAN (10/100MBit, Realtek PCIe) and the USB 2.0 ports. In terms of boot options, you can decide between IDE and SATA devices as well as "removable devices", USB devices and the network. There's also an option to boot from USB devices first. For some reason, my board wants to boot from the IDE HD (Master) first and then from the DVD-RW (Slave), with no option to change this so I seem to be unable to boot from a CD/DVD once a bootable HD is installed too.

Temperatures and power consumption

Temps were measured using SpeedFan 4.34 and the BIOS, since those were identical as far as I could see, I'll only report those shown by SpeedFan. I had three temp sensors, the BIOS labels them as Internal ("Int"), Processor ("CPU") and Remote ("Rem", probably the chipset temperature). I forgot to measure the ambient temperature, sorry for that.

IDLE after booting up Windows XP:
Int: 32*C
CPU: 38*C
Rem: 35*C
Power: 44W

FULL LOAD (after running wPrime/1024M for ten minutes, both logical cores):
Int: 35*C
CPU: 45*C
Rem: 38*C
Power: 47W

Next, I disconnected the chipset fan to see how the temps would be affected.

IDLE (after five minutes without the fan):
Int: 37*C
CPU: 52*C
Rem: 45*C

FULL LOAD (after running wPrime/32M for approx. two minutes):
Int: 39*C
CPU: 66*C
Rem: 49*C

So you can see the board is not meant to be run completely passively. It gets quite a bit hotter even when sitting idly, and very hot after just a few minutes of full load. It didn't crash though, I just cancelled the test to prevent any damage. So in theory, it might be possible to run this without a fan if there's only light load (i.e. when surfing the web etc.), but I'd be very concerned about the case this is going to sit in.

I also ask myself: Why did Intel combine the Atom, which is a very efficient CPU, with the power-hungry 945GC+GMA950 on that board? Sure this makes sure that the board'll work fine with Windows, Linux etc. and even Mac OS X, but it drives up the power consumption considerably.

Suspend to RAM (ACPI S3) works fine on Windows XP, this didn't work on the preliminary boards that minitechnet had access to for the review. RMClock doesn't recognize the CPU and can't change anything, so it stays at 1.6GHz permanently. Interestingly, CPU-Z can't show the Vcore and also recognizes the CPU as an Engineering Sample. So does that mean I got a pre-release version of that board? I ordered it from CarTFT.com as they had it first. A screenshot:
Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:10 pm
Posts: 1008
Location: San Jose, California
Any chance you could try some videos on that thing? I am interested in whether it can play 1080i mpeg2 HD. Being in Germany, you may not have access to a file to play though.

Also, if you try it, make sure you use the mpeg2 hardware acceleration that the GMA950 has by using something like cyberlink or nvidia decoders.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 2:25 pm 
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Location: Croatia
Power results are VERY dissapointing!
That chipset is a power-hog!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 3:09 pm 
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Posts: 317
Great posts, lowpowercomputing. Thank you.

lowpowercomputing wrote:
I also ask myself: Why did Intel combine the Atom, which is a very efficient CPU, with the power-hungry 945GC+GMA950 on that board? Sure this makes sure that the board'll work fine with Windows, Linux etc. and even Mac OS X, but it drives up the power consumption considerably.

Speculation: The desktop Atom processors w/945 are targeted primarily at low-cost and emerging market solutions. The D201 board SiS 661 chipsets were a dead end, particularly for Linux. The 945 chipset is a good budget solution. Mini-ITX form factor is for small size, high integration, high yield PCBs for budget solutions. Heat dissipation of chipset is not a primary design issue for this board.

The mobile Atoms (and, presumably, their chipsets) are targeted at low power computing. Pricing will likely be higher.

Question: Could you boot your D945GCLF to a non-GUI -- command prompt only and measure power consumption? I wonder if the 945 would consume less power when not supporting a GUI. This would help decide whether the board would be good for a quiet headless server.

Makes me wonder about the design of Tranquil's Atom-based servers --
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=48349

FYI: A U.S. source for the board -- http://www.e-itx.com/intel-d945gclf.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 6:23 am 
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Location: Formosa
How about Xvid/Divx decoding? Those mpeg4 files are very popular on the Internet. You might consider giving mpeg4 files a try. Btw, Atom was not so efficient compared to undervolted computer. It is really let me down.


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 Post subject: Very disappointing power consumption figures
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 12:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 2:02 am
Posts: 26
Location: Finland
Hello, thanks for the review!

First of all I must say I'm very disappointed with the power consumption figures. This was to be expected, though - this chipset is known to be a power hog (relatively speaking).

I've been looking forward to building a file server/torrent server/backup box that could also endure some occasional web surfing (i.e. Ubuntu LAMP Server with Gnome+Firefox on top). It's not going to be a HTPC (I'm not interested in video playback on it).

It looks like I'll have to wait for the VIA Nano stuff before I make the plunge. The primary candidates were Atom, Nano and undervolted "regular" PC mobo+CPU. At this time it looks Atom is not an option for me. After all, my primary concern (after the performance goals are met) is low idle consumption.

Waiting for VIA Nano to emerge...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:22 am 
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Location: Ipswich
I also have one of these boards and have been trying to get it working with Linux.

I currently have it up and running using kernel 2.6.22-14-generic but 16 and 17 don't work.

Also I have been having problems with sata and ethernet drivers.

I'd be interested to know how you get on


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:09 am 
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Location: Netherlands
Nice board, some minor problems though:
Acpi s3 doesn't seem to work the way it should. Ubuntu hardy doesn't like the on board lan to be enabled: it'll crash if you don't disable it before booting. Debian worked fine (am using ubuntu with a wlan usb stick). I also wasn't able to get windows xp SP 2 to install (blue screen with pci.sys error).
Otherwise it is a fine board.
I have connected the graphics fan to the monterboard controlled connector and that makes a lot of difference: pwmconfig/fancontrol works great under ubuntu (as long as you connect the fan to the second fan connector.
Power consumption is about 49 watts. That is with a 3.5 inch harddisk, 2Gb ram, usb wlan and small in case lcd screen (antec black 430 case) connected.

For normal work (evolution, firefox, shell, rhythmbox and some small stuff) this board suffices.

I can't seem to be able to find any bios updates for this board. Any idea where i can get them? Or am i just being a bit too early ;-)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:40 am 
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Location: en.gb.uk
Wow. Tough to find a reason to buy one of these unless you absolutely must have Intel + cheap + mini-ITX.


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 Post subject: Mine turned up also...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 2:13 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:58 am
Posts: 7
Location: London
I got the same board, bought from Tranquil and arrived last Friday...

My main reason for buying was a cheap upgrade to my firewall box, previously I had been running a not that quiet P3 based Celeron 1200MHz, 512MB, with a 2.5" Samsung drive... all this in an Antec NSK1300. It consumed 55-60W at the wall. This barely met the specification for Astaro (the firewall software) so when I saw the Atom boards for around £50 I though it looked ideal...

Initial impressions were good, it's boxed nicely, well laid out and has all the basics on board, I didn't use the included SATA cable as my hard drive is PATA and i needed a longer one to run to the CD drive which I haven't mounted inside the case.

I built the system up into the NSK1300 with 1GB DDR2, the same hard drive and a dual port Intel gigabit network card. Whilst installing the software I measured the power draw at the wall to be 44-50W. The only problem I encountered was that the Linux based Astaro did not recognise the presence of the on-board Realtek network chip (I had planned to use this for the external interface, but I had the dual port card so it didn't matter than much).

I was a little disappointed by the power draw, but I think the Aria 300W PSU supplied with the case is probably horribly inefficient with such low power draw, I can imagine maybe even below 70%. I might have to look into a replacement, perhaps a newer 80+ certified unit would work better, although the power savings would take a long time to pay for themselves!

The chipset fan is loud at full speed, so I used a Zalman fanmate to tame it and had no stability issues, although with such a basic setup even the NSK1300 seems cavernous (I have removed the optical drive holder) so in a small system that fan might need to run faster.

Now my firewall is a lot quieter, I could probably adjust the chipset fan lower, both heatsinks are attached using a clip and would be very easy to replace with passive ones, perhaps a slow speed 92mm fan to circulate air if needed. The PSU fan could easily be replaced as well I think, making the system almost silent. I don't know whether I will bother as it's currently drowned out by the system next to it anyway!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 2:56 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:05 am
Posts: 154
Location: Germany
Sorry for the delay in answering guys, been away for some time.

autoboy wrote:
Any chance you could try some videos on that thing? I am interested in whether it can play 1080i mpeg2 HD. Being in Germany, you may not have access to a file to play though.

Blu-Ray/HD-DVD or something like these? http://www.apple.com/quicktime/guide/hd/ I can try to play some of those files, but the German review I linked to above said the system couldn't play 1080p (IIRC) smoothly; 720p was said to be fine though. Concerning its performance (below the D201GLY's Celeron 220), that's not much of a surprise.

XS Janus wrote:
Power results are VERY dissapointing!
That chipset is a power-hog!

True, but I think my 3.5" HD and the 300W PSU are making the results look much worse then they actually are. In the German review, they used it with a 3.5" HD, an ODD and an 80W DC-DC converter and achieved the following results:
IDLE (2.5" / 3.5" HD): 25 / 30 W
DVD playback: 36 W
FULL LOAD: 46 W
ACPI S3: 1.3 W
OFF: 0.6 W
These are much better than mine, especially at idle, suggesting my PSU is horribly inefficient at such a low load. Still, my PowerPC Mac mini draws almost the same and that's with a discrete GPU!) I'm still disappointed to see such a low-power CPU coupled with a power-hungry (yet compatible) chipset.

dougz wrote:
Question: Could you boot your D945GCLF to a non-GUI -- command prompt only and measure power consumption? I wonder if the 945 would consume less power when not supporting a GUI. This would help decide whether the board would be good for a quiet headless server.

Couldn't spot any difference when running a GUI-less Debian. When running this as a server, I'd also be concerned about the lack of a GigE port. Why did they only include Fast Ethernet?

neilneil2000 wrote:
I also have one of these boards and have been trying to get it working with Linux.
I currently have it up and running using kernel 2.6.22-14-generic but 16 and 17 don't work.
Also I have been having problems with sata and ethernet drivers.
I'd be interested to know how you get on

The board works fine at the first glance, using 64-bit Debian. I was running etch with a 2.6.18 kernel first, then upgraded to sid (unstable) with a 2.6.25 kernel. lspci suggested that all hardware was correctly recognized, and I have no problem running the SMP kernel to make use of HyperThreading. I'm not using any SATA devices, but the controller is recognized just fine, so is the audio but I can't test it. Ethernet is working using the r8169 module, but I noticed it hung up once. The amber light was constantly flashing and the interface wasn't responding anymore. I unloaded and reloaded the module and it was fine again. What problems do you have?

stavox wrote:
Acpi s3 doesn't seem to work the way it should. Ubuntu hardy doesn't like the on board lan to be enabled: it'll crash if you don't disable it before booting. Debian worked fine (am using ubuntu with a wlan usb stick). I also wasn't able to get windows xp SP 2 to install (blue screen with pci.sys error).

S3 works fine on Windows XP here. I was experiencing the same crash (with LAN enabled) on Debian lenny (testing) which also uses a kernel 2.6.24 (just as Ubuntu hardy). As I've said, both 2.6.18 and 2.6.25 work fine with the LAN though, so you may want to down- or upgrade. Did you use a USB DVD-RW drive when installing XP, by any chance? This may have been the culprit. I used an IDE drive and installing XP (with SP3 integrated) was absolutely fine. I noticed the USB ports went bonkers after installing the Intel chipset drivers though, but replugging the devices has solved it.

stavox wrote:
I have connected the graphics fan to the monterboard controlled connector and that makes a lot of difference: pwmconfig/fancontrol works great under ubuntu (as long as you connect the fan to the second fan connector.
Power consumption is about 49 watts. That is with a 3.5 inch harddisk, 2Gb ram, usb wlan and small in case lcd screen (antec black 430 case) connected.

Wow, thanks, going to try this as soon as possible as well. :) I figured there must be a way to quieten this damn fan... You're getting roughly the same power consumption results as I am.

edit: Another small update: Gave CrystalCPUID a try. Couldn't change the multiplier or voltage either (CPU-Z seems to display a multiplier range from 6 to 12, but I don't know if this Atom is supposed to downclock itself at idle to save more power), and CrystalCPUID also says the CPU doesn't support EIST. It shows a Vcore of 1.132V though. SpeedFan and the BIOS display a value of ~1.15V.


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 Post subject: 1.6 GHz Atom-based SFF w/ gigabit LAN & 945GSE + ICH7M
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 12:50 pm 
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It seems that the D945GCLF was intended for low-priced & emerging markets, rather than the industrial or enthusiast markets.

Here's the ASUS EBOX B202 SFF take on the same theme --
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=48452


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 Post subject: Re: 1.6 GHz Atom-based SFF w/ gigabit LAN & 945GSE + ICH
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:05 am
Posts: 154
Location: Germany
dougz wrote:
It seems that the D945GCLF was intended for low-priced & emerging markets, rather than the industrial or enthusiast markets.

Agreed.


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 Post subject: Re: 1.6 GHz Atom-based SFF w/ gigabit LAN & 945GSE + ICH
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:46 am 
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Location: London
dougz wrote:
It seems that the D945GCLF was intended for low-priced & emerging markets, rather than the industrial or enthusiast markets.

Here's the ASUS EBOX B202 SFF take on the same theme --
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=48452


Definitely it's just a low cost integrated motherboard.

The EEE Box thing uses the mobile variant of chipset I believe, but for it to get 14-20W power usage really confirms to me that my power supply is horrible, I reckon with a better unit I could be at 30-35W when I factor in the gigabit card and desktop chipset.

_________________
Firewall (Astaro 7.2): Intel D945GCLF, 1GB DDR2, Samsung 40GB MP0402H, Antec NSK1300.
Server (Fedora 9): AOpen i915Ga-HFS, P-M 730, 1GB DDR2, Adaptec 2410sa, 4x Samsung 400GB HD401LJ (RAID 10), Antec Solo.
Media Centre (Vista HP): Gigabyte GA-8I945GMMFY-RH, C2D T5500, 2GB DDR2, WD 500GB WD5000AACS, X-Fi, Compro T750F, Antec Fusion.
On the move: EEE 901


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 Post subject: Re: 1.6 GHz Atom-based SFF w/ gigabit LAN & 945GSE + ICH
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:32 am 
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Posts: 154
Location: Germany
kingpotnoodle wrote:
The EEE Box thing uses the mobile variant of chipset I believe, but for it to get 14-20W power usage really confirms to me that my power supply is horrible, I reckon with a better unit I could be at 30-35W when I factor in the gigabit card and desktop chipset.

Yes, when using the board with a 2.5" HD and a DC-DC converter a power consumption of approximately 25 to 45 watts can be achieved, according to multiple sources.

Intel has now added a website for the board: http://www.intel.com/products/motherboard/D945GCLF/index.htm You can get a manual etc. there but no BIOS updates as of yet.

It seems that there is a difference between the Atom 230 on this board and the Atom Z530 (which CPU-Z recognizes the CPU as and which seems to be similar to the 230, at least spec-wise). The 230 is said to have a TDP of 4W and a fixed multiplier/voltage whereas the Z530 is supposed to have a TDP of 2.2W and SpeedStep/EIST support, e.g. it seems the 230 is the inferior (cheaper) CPU. This, in combination with the power-hungry chipset (they could have used one of the mobile versions), confirms this board wasn't meant to be an extremely low-power device, but to be affordable.

Is anyone of those running Linux on the board running a 32-bit version by any chance? I have noticed I can't install GRUB (it is in the MBR but the board refuses to boot from the HD) on a 32-bit version, the LAN chip doesn't work either. These two (strange) issues are gone when using either 64-bit Linux or 32-bit XP.

Additionally, does anyone have problems booting from an (IDE) DVD drive when a bootable (IDE) HDD is also connected? My board only boots from DVDs when the HD isn't bootable, if it is, there's no way to get the BIOS to boot from a CD/DVD.

By the way, I have now also connected the MCH fan to the controllable (system fan) header. The fan is running at 50% of its maximum speed now and significantly quieter. Thanks for that tip. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Mine turned up also...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:45 am 
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Posts: 317
kingpotnoodle wrote:
My main reason for buying was a cheap upgrade to my firewall box...

The more I learn, the more convinced I am that another approach might yield better results and for comparable costs -- using a no-moving-parts server board running 7-10 watts. When you add up all the costs in building a quiet D945GCLF solution with the necessary ports and power supply, the price of the special-purpose server boards starts looking quite reasonable.

http://www.net42.co.uk/os/soekris.html
http://www.tomsguide.com/us/review-monowall,review-299-5.html
http://books.slashdot.org/books/08/01/16/1513207.shtml

Browse to http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596102487/toc.html and then scroll down for previews of a couple of chapters on the board and Linux config.

Shroder knows her stuff and writes well, but there is lots of free info out there for your googling pleasure.


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 Post subject: Re: 945GSE + mobile Atom CPUs
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:03 am 
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kingpotnoodle wrote:
The EEE Box thing uses the mobile variant of chipset I believe...

If the reports of the EBOX B202 using the 945GSE are accurate, you are correct.
Quote:
The Centrino Atom platform will feature an Intel Atom processor, an Intel 945GSE chipset—which comes complete with integrated graphics...
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2008/03/03/intel_announces_atom_processor_family/1

More on Atom CPUs --
Quote:
Intel is ready to ship the latest edition of its Atom processor family, this time going after the emerging market for low-cost subnotebooks.

The N270 and N230 are processors designed for what Intel calls "netbooks" and "nettops," and the company plans to unveil them Tuesday at Computex in Taiwan. The new chips are basically the same chips as the earlier Atom processors released for mobile Internet devices, but they have been tweaked slightly for use with bigger Internet access devices...

Intel estimates that a netbook using the Atom N270 processor running at 1.6GHz, a 7-inch to 10-inch screen, 512MBs of RAM, and 2GBs to 4GBs of flash storage should cost around $250. The N270 processor for netbooks costs $44 in quantities of 1,000 units, while the N230 processor for nettops (think small desktops) costs $29.
http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9957835-1.html


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 Post subject: ASUS EBOX does NOT use mobile chipset, per AnandTech
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:54 am 
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Posts: 317
ASUS Eee Box: Preview & Intel's Atom Benchmarked-
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=416047
Quote:
The Eee Box uses the desktop implementation of the Intel Atom processor which signifies two things: 1) it uses a desktop chipset, in this case the 945G, and 2) the Atom’s FSB is fused to run in GTL mode and not the lower power CMOS mode.

By using the 945G chipset instead of Poulsbo (the mobile Atom chipset), we lose support for one key feature: hardware H.264/MPEG-2/VC1 decode acceleration.
http://www.anandtech.com/systems/showdoc.aspx?i=3321&p=4

However --
Quote:
The Eee Box consumes 1.2W of power at the outlet when completely turned off, which is pretty high given how low its idle and load power levels are. When sitting idle at the Windows desktop the Eee Box pulls around 14.5W and under load it will peak at 19W.
http://www.anandtech.com/systems/showdoc.aspx?i=3321&p=5

No, I don't understand the power comparison to the Intel board, either...


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 Post subject: Re: 1.6 GHz Atom-based SFF w/ gigabit LAN & 945GSE + ICH
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:36 am 
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Location: London
lowpowercomputing wrote:
confirms this board wasn't meant to be an extremely low-power device, but to be affordable.


I agree definitely had more eye on price than power usage.

lowpowercomputing wrote:
Is anyone of those running Linux on the board running a 32-bit version by any chance? I have noticed I can't install GRUB (it is in the MBR but the board refuses to boot from the HD) on a 32-bit version, the LAN chip doesn't work either. These two (strange) issues are gone when using either 64-bit Linux or 32-bit XP.

Additionally, does anyone have problems booting from an (IDE) DVD drive when a bootable (IDE) HDD is also connected? My board only boots from DVDs when the HD isn't bootable, if it is, there's no way to get the BIOS to boot from a CD/DVD.


Astaro is 32bit Linux, and my on-board LAN chip doesn't get picked up either - luckily not an issue as I only needed 2 ports, and had a dual port PCI card to use anyway. It's perhaps a driver issue, support for a new variant of the Realtek chip or something? I know the network chip is working as it attempted to boot from network when I first tested the board.

I booted fine from a SATA DVD drive to install the software... sorry I don't have a PATA optical drive to try any more :( - Are the master/slave jumpers set correctly, basic I know but it's always worth asking?

dougz wrote:
The more I learn, the more convinced I am that another approach might yield better results and for comparable costs -- using a no-moving-parts server board running 7-10 watts. When you add up all the costs in building a quiet D945GCLF solution with the necessary ports and power supply, the price of the special-purpose server boards starts looking quite reasonable.


I have looked at those and you're right, much lower power usage - I have doubts about them having the grunt to do what I want though, the Astaro software I use is quite demanding, more so then m0n0wall or similar.

According to Anandtech the EEE Box is using the N270 and 945GMCH - the mobile implementation with speedstep and other power saving features. It achieve much less power consumption than the desktop board in this thread, but I don't think it should be under half - inefficient with low load ATX/mATX power supplies are definitely part of the problem.

_________________
Firewall (Astaro 7.2): Intel D945GCLF, 1GB DDR2, Samsung 40GB MP0402H, Antec NSK1300.
Server (Fedora 9): AOpen i915Ga-HFS, P-M 730, 1GB DDR2, Adaptec 2410sa, 4x Samsung 400GB HD401LJ (RAID 10), Antec Solo.
Media Centre (Vista HP): Gigabyte GA-8I945GMMFY-RH, C2D T5500, 2GB DDR2, WD 500GB WD5000AACS, X-Fi, Compro T750F, Antec Fusion.
On the move: EEE 901


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:45 am 
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Location: Germany
According to the CPU-Z screenshot in the review, the EeeBox uses an Atom N270 instead of a 230. CPU-Z also reports a lower Vcore (1.048V as opposed to 1.132V reported by CrystalCPUID on the D945GCLF). So that may explain why the EeeBox uses less power than the board when both are run off a DC-DC converter. However, the desktop 945G is still in there, e.g. power consumption is still higher than it could theoretically be.

@kingpotnoodle
You beat me to it. :)
As for the LAN problems being a driver issue, I don't really know. Why does it work on the 64-bit version of the exact same distro (Debian etch in my case)? Others trying to install 32-bit distros on this board also have this problem. My board also tried to boot from network the first time I turned it on and it seemed to hang there for a very long time, so I cut the power, rebooted and turned off the LAN boot function in the BIOS. The IDE configuration is correct, HD is Master, DVD is Slave. Nothing changed when I had both set to Cable Select though, and as I prefer to do it manually, I set them to Master and Slave.
What boot loader does Astaro use, by the way? As I said, I can't install GRUB (which is always 32-bit) from a 32-bit distro e.g. the board doesn't boot, but it works fine with a 64-bit distro. Weird. :?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:58 am 
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lowpowercomputing wrote:
As for the LAN problems being a driver issue, I don't really know. Why does it work on the 64-bit version of the exact same distro (Debian etch in my case)? Others trying to install 32-bit distros on this board also have this problem. My board also tried to boot from network the first time I turned it on and it seemed to hang there for a very long time, so I cut the power, rebooted and turned off the LAN boot function in the BIOS. The IDE configuration is correct, HD is Master, DVD is Slave. Nothing changed when I had both set to Cable Select though, and as I prefer to do it manually, I set them to Master and Slave.
What boot loader does Astaro use, by the way? As I said, I can't install GRUB (which is always 32-bit) from a 32-bit distro e.g. the board doesn't boot, but it works fine with a 64-bit distro. Weird. :?


Astaro uses grub afaik, I certainly can't see any config for another boot loader...

I'm at a loss as to the boot issues, and the network not showing up... it's plain strange. Does the network show up if you use a distro closer to the bleeding edge, FC9 maybe?

_________________
Firewall (Astaro 7.2): Intel D945GCLF, 1GB DDR2, Samsung 40GB MP0402H, Antec NSK1300.
Server (Fedora 9): AOpen i915Ga-HFS, P-M 730, 1GB DDR2, Adaptec 2410sa, 4x Samsung 400GB HD401LJ (RAID 10), Antec Solo.
Media Centre (Vista HP): Gigabyte GA-8I945GMMFY-RH, C2D T5500, 2GB DDR2, WD 500GB WD5000AACS, X-Fi, Compro T750F, Antec Fusion.
On the move: EEE 901


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:40 am 
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Posts: 70
Location: Montreal
Nice to see a thread on this board already 8)

I ordered mine and it will be in today or tomorrow.

I'm surprised to read about the booting and lan issues, sounds like it has more issues than the d201gly2.
The only issue in linux on the d201gly2 was video which was easily overcome.

Anyone know the performance difference when compared to the d201gly2 ?

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Motherboard: Intel D201GLY2|RAM: 1GB Crucial Rendition PC2-5300 DDR2-667|Hard Drive: 320GB WD SATA|Power supply: PICO-120 & 110w brick|Used as fax server, file server and print server 24/7 using XP Pro


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:51 am 
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kingpotnoodle wrote:
I'm at a loss as to the boot issues, and the network not showing up... it's plain strange. Does the network show up if you use a distro closer to the bleeding edge, FC9 maybe?

Haven't tried a 32-bit bleeding edge distro yet. As far as 32-bit distros go, I tried Debian with a 2.6.18 and a 2.6.22 kernel, none managed to bring up the network. A 64-bit Debian with a 2.6.18, .22 and .25 kernel has no problems though. Ok, will try a x86 2.6.25 kernel next, but I somehow think this is not a case of a driver being too old but a case of an incompatibility or something, because even a relatively old .18 kernel has no problems as long as it's 64 bit.

yamawho wrote:
Anyone know the performance difference when compared to the d201gly2

According to various sources, it's slower than the D201GLY2 by varying margins. HyperThreading sometimes helps a bit, though.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:13 am 
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Location: London
lowpowercomputing]
Haven't tried a 32-bit bleeding edge distro yet. As far as 32-bit distros go, I tried Debian with a 2.6.18 and a 2.6.22 kernel, none managed to bring up the network. A 64-bit Debian with a 2.6.18, .22 and .25 kernel has no problems though. Ok, will try a x86 2.6.25 kernel next, but I somehow think this is not a case of a driver being too old but a case of an incompatibility or something, because even a relatively old .18 kernel has no problems as long as it's 64 bit.

I'm trying to think what might be different with the 64bit Kernel that would change it, but I'm not enough of a Linux expert to come up with anything, unless for some reason the 64bit kernel development is further advanced with respect to the driver, or that there is a BIOS issue. So not really helpful... sorry!

[quote="yamawho wrote:
Anyone know the performance difference when compared to the d201gly2


As far as I've seen it performs somewhere between a 800-1200MHz Dothan Pentium-M - http://www.anandtech.com/systems/showdo ... i=3321&p=6

That is pretty much inline with what Intel claimed and I personally expected.

Apparently the hyperthreading helps, it's more than capable for Linux or Windows XP, but Vista is a struggle...

_________________
Firewall (Astaro 7.2): Intel D945GCLF, 1GB DDR2, Samsung 40GB MP0402H, Antec NSK1300.
Server (Fedora 9): AOpen i915Ga-HFS, P-M 730, 1GB DDR2, Adaptec 2410sa, 4x Samsung 400GB HD401LJ (RAID 10), Antec Solo.
Media Centre (Vista HP): Gigabyte GA-8I945GMMFY-RH, C2D T5500, 2GB DDR2, WD 500GB WD5000AACS, X-Fi, Compro T750F, Antec Fusion.
On the move: EEE 901


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 Post subject: is it video decoding capable?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:10 am 
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Posts: 2
Location: Toronto
I am considering buying this board for an all-purpose 24/7 computer that will also be a dvd/divx player.
So far I haven't been able to get first-hand opinions about video playback on this board, so please if somebody that already has the mobo can try a divx, dvd, h.249 playback and post the results it would be greatly apreciated.
I think I've seen in a german review something like playing 720p HD video but... can't trust babelfish for translation :P

For the rest of SPCR community, the question is how to silence this board? I was thinking an undervolted large fan connected to the CPU fan blowing over cpu&chipset?


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 Post subject: Re: is it video decoding capable?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:51 pm 
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Location: Montreal
shadowncs wrote:
For the rest of SPCR community, the question is how to silence this board? I was thinking an undervolted large fan connected to the CPU fan blowing over cpu&chipset?


There are many ways to do it for example, on my d201gyl2 mobo I used an old P1 heat sink for the chipset and another from a AMD 400mhz with a fan.
I plugged into the fan header which the speed is regulated. Since I used a 2 inch sq hsf on the cpu, I found it was running very cool so I added a zalman fanmate controller and reduced the speed some more. How I can barely hear it.

You can get your hands on old P1, P3 or old AMD heat sinks you can use them provided they fit and the case you are using will allow a larger heat sink.

Check out the thread on the D201GLY2 for reference ...
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... &start=240

Here is a pic after the swap ...

Image

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Motherboard: Intel D201GLY2|RAM: 1GB Crucial Rendition PC2-5300 DDR2-667|Hard Drive: 320GB WD SATA|Power supply: PICO-120 & 110w brick|Used as fax server, file server and print server 24/7 using XP Pro


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 Post subject: GRUB
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:44 pm 
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Posts: 3
Location: US
Just received my board today & I attached an older SATA drive, after blowing the layer of dust off it, and it booted right into grub. None of the OS's would get past the beginning of the boot processes because of missing modules. So I booted, via PXE, openSUSE (64-bit,10.3) installer, and it appeared to be installing fine. Until, the reboot (first boot/config) than nothing. NO GRUB!!!

I knew that GRUB would boot, at least an old version... So, I got to work booting SystemRescueCd via PXE (save a ton of time vs. booting a CD) Hours later, I found the key! You have to mark the partition that you set as root (/boot/grub/...) in GRUB as bootable (in cfdisk use the enter key) and reboot.

Hope this save you time, that I wasted....


- Czar


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 Post subject: Re: GRUB
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:49 am 
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Location: Montreal
czar wrote:
I knew that GRUB would boot, at least an old version... So, I got to work booting SystemRescueCd via PXE (save a ton of time vs. booting a CD) Hours later, I found the key! You have to mark the partition that you set as root (/boot/grub/...) in GRUB as bootable (in cfdisk use the enter key) and reboot.


Thanks for the heads up czar 8)

So root is usually set as /

You are saying to set as /boot/grub/
What do you mean by the ... ?
Is it like /boot/grub/menu.lst ?

Please confirm.

_________________
Motherboard: Intel D201GLY2|RAM: 1GB Crucial Rendition PC2-5300 DDR2-667|Hard Drive: 320GB WD SATA|Power supply: PICO-120 & 110w brick|Used as fax server, file server and print server 24/7 using XP Pro


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