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DreamPlug ARM Box Brings Power To Plug Computing

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the it's-so-adorable dept.

182

Blacklaw writes "UK GlobalScale distribution partner New IT has announced its latest ARM-based plug-top computer, the DreamPlug — and it's a major improvement over its predecessors, packing some serious hardware into a tiny case. The DreamPlug packs some serious power in its tiny case. The Marvell Sheeva ARM-based processor at its heart runs at 1.2GHz — a significant boost over the 800MHz version found in the SheevaPlug — and while 512MB of DDR2 memory might not sound very generous, if you need more then your project probably isn't suited to the plug computing model. Unlike the SheevaPlug, the DreamPlug goes all-out to impress, packing integral Bluetooth, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, a 3Gb/s eSATA port, two USB 2.0 ports, a pair of gigabit Ethernet ports, and even analogue and SP/DIF digital audio ouputs. ARM developers will be pleased to hear that the JTAG-over-USB feature of the SheevaPlug has been replaced with full hardware JTAG and UART connectivity — although the breakout board is an optional extra."

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182 comments

Interesting that the price is in pounds (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072640)

but the picture has a US power plug pins

Re:Interesting that the price is in pounds (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073004)

That's apparently the US version, if you click the link to buy one, they give you the option of the UK version or the EU version. But oddly enough use the picture of the one for the US. It does look like there's a way of changing the prongs.

sounds sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35072646)

sounds sweet to me. two nics, nice.

Re:sounds sweet (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073190)

Indeed. I have been waiting forever for something I can build a firewall with for under $200 that has low power requirements.

Re:sounds sweet (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074932)

Have you looked at the ALIX [pcengines.ch] line? Under $150 w/ case. I use them as firewalls (OpenBSD/pf), among other things. A pair of 2D13s would make a pretty nifty pf/carp load balancer/failover system, too, if you don't need gigabit ethernet.

Edition required (4, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072648)

DreamPlug — and it's a major improvement over its predecessors, packing some serious hardware into a tiny case. The DreamPlug packs some serious power in its tiny case.

Slashdot, brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department!

Re:Edition required (4, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072682)

Naturally I misspelled "Editing" in my Subject line.

Get serious (3, Funny)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072874)

Alright, enough bickering. All I really want to know is, does it pack some serious power into a tiny case?

Re:Get serious (1)

MyGirlFriendsBroken (599031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074862)

Alright, enough bickering. All I really want to know is, does it pack some serious power into a tiny case?

Yes. And yes, Also to be sure to be sure, yes.

Serious Hardware in 1997... (2, Interesting)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072670)

I spent a fun five minutes looking through linpack results a few days ago and was amused to find that today's ARM superchips are comparable to the pentium 2. Sure, it's only one benchmark, but it's enough to be amusing.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072732)

On the other hand, they run on 1/100th the power, 1/10 the size, and no cooling equipment. If you want a high power device there's plenty of processors available, but that isn't what the ARM chips are designed for. It's like complaining that your new 60 mpg hybrid doesn't have as much power as a 40 year old Corvette.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (1)

x0ra (1249540) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072912)

'you kidding ? That thing suck 3.0A 5V DC (http://www.globalscaletechnologies.com/t-dreamplugdetails.aspx#component), that's fraking 15W, same as my core2-based laptop in low-power mode, without the LCD turned on. It just has an ARM926EJ-S core [on the market for *years*...] on steroid, previous model required fan-cooling and had heat dissipation issue. Not to say that it uses a 16bits bus to access the RAM ... If I got $200 to spend, I'd rather prefer an OMAP4-based board featuring a Cortex-A9, ala http://pandaboard.org/ [pandaboard.org].

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073468)

The Panda board looks very interesting, but keep in mind that's the bare board vs. a finished product with a sleek case and power supply for the same price, and a case can be a serious expense with low volume products like these. It doesn't look like there is a case available for Panda, first or third party, and that might be a consideration, depending on what you plan to do with it. Sometimes mounting it in a generic project box works, but sometimes it's not acceptable on the fit and finish.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073712)

That think don't suck that unless that you attach to it some hardisks powered by USB .

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (1)

willy_me (212994) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074146)

They look like two very different devices. The OMAP4 lacks gigabit ethernet and SATA. Other then that, it looks great - but an option for a plastic case / power supply would be handy. If I were building a device to drive a display, I would pick the OMAP4. But this other plug computer looks like it would be better suited for applications that lacked displays. Dual gigabit + SATA connection make it suitable as a hardware firewall / NAS / NAT device. The optical audio is also very cool - it could nicely replace an Apple Airport Express.

Anyway, my point is that they appear to be designed for two different applications. They are both interesting, thanks for the info on the OMAP4.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074906)

Erm... Thatms max possible requirement, not normal working requirement. And includes at least 1a for the 2 USB ports, plus whatever the wifi, ethernet, bluetooth, etc. take. I mean... My Nokia N900 has a 1A wall-charger - Doesn't mean it needs that much to run. In fact, it can run just fine off of half that, even with the screen on, and I suspect the same thing here with our dreamplug here.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35072786)

It'd be interesting for someone to do the shifting necessary to do an apples to apples comparisons to clock cycles in the ARM line, vs. that of the x86 series. If I recall, some of the gain from the x86 is a lot of the under-the-covers tricks it does, such as branch prediction. Hopefully someone can explain the differences between the two chipsets that can help with the comparison.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072868)

That partly explains why the 1.2ghz arm is equivalent to a 300Mhz pentium 2. Still impressive given the size and power footprint.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073256)

There is no such comparison, because those differences mean the relative performance is dependant upon workload. Some calculations just give one architecture or the other a clear advantage. In general ARM performs substantially worse than any modern x86 at the same clock speed, but does so at such a tiny fraction of the power requirements the loss of performance is easily justified.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (3, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072798)

Not that many Pentium 2 PCs were small and light enough you could hang it from the wall socket.
And good luck getting Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GigE, eSATA, and DDR2 working in it.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (1)

Fishead (658061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074186)

But no RS232 port... That makes me sad. I love RS232.

We were short one RS232 patch cable once while setting up a field demo for a customer. All us tech's had a tense moment when we realized we had used the same cable for testing each component as we loaded it into the crate. Fortunately we had some spare PC power chords (3 conductors is 3 conductors right?) and one of the guys had some spare DB9's in his tool kit. Some fancy solder work and we had a patch cable before the management types knew we screwed up. Kept that 14awg com cable around for quite some time after that.

When all else fails, swap pins 2 and 3.

And don't try to tell me to use a USB adapter kuz it's never the same!

"And don't try to tell me to use a USB adapter..." (1)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074760)

... kuz it's never the same!

Agreed! Last time I really needed to talk over RS232 to some "really expensive box", none of readily available USB-RS232 adaptors were even recognized by a (reasonably modern) Linux box... :(

So, I ordered a bunch of these: http://www.lavalink.com/dev/index.php?id=42 [lavalink.com] , and they have been quietly sitting there, passing control commands to 3 "really expensive boxes" for the last 4 years, or so... ;)

And yes, when I fire up minicom to debug something, I do have to tell myself *not* to press ATDT right away... :)

Paul B.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (0)

lastman71 (1314797) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072900)

Good. I wonder why Steve jobs don't ask you first. He should use a Pentium II for the iPhone. Doh. And nobody expect to use a sheeva plug for number crunching. Expecially becouse it comes without a floating point unit ...

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (4, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072908)

The linpack benchmark focuses on floating point, whereas most ARM chips don't have hardware floating point units...
ARM chips tend to do much better at integer benchmarks, and most code you would run on a server is integer code.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073012)

ARM's aren't fast on FP, but are pretty similar to a P4 or low-clocked Intel Core at integer workloads. They do okay on vector-heavy stuff too, if your compiler is good enough to optimize for NEON and VFP. The Marvell chip in the DreamPlug is a known slow processor - moderate clock, but no FPU, an older microarchitecture, no NEON, and in-order. Yuck.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073086)

Linpack is a floating point benchmark, and the Marvell chips are much better at integer arithmetic. These systems are hardly going to be used for number crunching. Server tasks are typically not too heavy on the floating point math side.

That said, the previous attempts at more featureful products based on the Marvell SoC have had thermal problems and since there is a low end device available for less than $50 (1.2Ghz, 128MB RAM, 1Gbps Ethernet, 4 USB), a $200 price point seems a little ambitious. That's almost in Intel Atom territory.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073308)

linpack is floating point heavy but still if it can match a P2 then that is pretty impressive for a wall wort.
Truth is that they tend to be around a P4 in interger performance for the most part which again for what they are is fantastic. I think you are a little spoiled when you dismiss a wall wart with enough power to run Linux.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073578)

Yeah but my Pentium 2 laptop didn't run on 5 watts power. That's equal to how much my TV's digital-to-analog converter box uses.

Think of all the money saved if I used this ARMplug to bittorrent movies/shows instead of my regular computer! (24/7 on time * 1 year * ~100 watts savings == 72 KWhr or $7.20 per month.

Okay not so much but it does add up over time.

Re:Serious Hardware in 1997... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074940)

you are not an embedded guy.

thinking this was a modern cpu (host-class) is YOUR error.

for embedded, this is kick-ass. truly it is.

been using seagate dockstars for a while for semi-embedded (usb thumbdrive debian) use. the new systems look so much better, too!

hoping the spdif and even I2S might be usable, too.

Windows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35072718)

Yes. But will it run Windows?

Re:Windows... (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072876)

Who cares? Well Balmer Boy seems to want to get in on the act (or is that the 'arm'?)
The longer it doesn't the better it is (IMHO).
I'd love to see how Windoze 7 runs on a P2 equivalent. Pretty abysmal I'll bet.
If there are 5billion ARM Cpu's shipped a year then who needs Microsoft to ship a few thousand extra units at a cost for the software alone that will probably be at least triple the H/W costs when you can get Android or half a dozen other Linux based distros at zero cost.
 

Re:Windows... (3, Informative)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073124)

Yes. But will it run Windows?

Your question was probably a joke.

Microsoft announced that they are developing Windows for the ARM chip, at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011. So I think the answer is no, not yet.

Wait, what? (5, Interesting)

jabjoe (1042100) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072720)

The SheevaPlug has always been 1.2 GHz and had 512 DDR2 RAM.

Port wise, this seams like like GuruPlug version of the SheevaPlug. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GuruPlug [wikipedia.org]

What would be much bigger deal is a better power unit. One less prone to melting. That is the biggest issue with the SheevaPlug family, other then that major failing, they are already pretty good.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072832)

That brings up a good point - does this have better thermal management than its predecessors?

They had enough problems with overheating with a single gigabit port.

And some sort of I/O expansion header would have been nice. If it broke out a high speed SPI port I would've gone right for it.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

gman99 (766634) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072948)

Maybe I've just been lucky with my SheevaPlug.
I installed debian + squeezeserver on it; plugged in a 1Tb drive and I haven't need to mess with it since. That was about two years ago (OK, I do update it occasionally, but as it's firewalled off The Net and just plain works; I'm relucant to mess too much :)
Absolutely wonderful little box, and couldn't be happier with my Plug

Two USB slots, eSATA & WLAN are all nice additions. Bur I'm still struggling to see the point of bluetooth (it's mostly going to be used as a headless server -- not much point for mice/keyboards; can't see the point of an A2DP headset connection) -- Plus, any usecase that could do with Bluetooth is probably better served by the Beagleboard [beagleboard.org]
Maybe I'm just not trying hard enough :)

Re:Wait, what? (1)

jabjoe (1042100) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073564)

They are great, but I've had two power units fail on me. Rather then get a third the same, I've got it wired to a old router external power unit. There are so may pictures of melted power units, it's a very common problem. Maybe it is fixed now, but at least part of the problem was the air slots in the plastic case aren't always clear, sometimes completely seamed. That and cheap capacitor from what I've read. Great boxes let down by little things that matter.

Anyway, Beagleboard is old hat now, Pandaboard is the way forwards now. ;-)

Re:Wait, what? (5, Informative)

david.given (6740) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073672)

I run my home server off one --- SMTP, spam filtering, IMAP, a web server, my internal DHCP, DNS, SMB, NFS... it all works beautifully. Even when I become briefly famous and my web server received 80000 hits in one day it didn't even wobble. It's running off a home made SSD made up of four 16GB USB keys and it's dead silent and reliable, running Debian.

But it's not perfect: the USB chipset is a bit dodgy. I have five hard disks, an ethernet widget, and a few other devices hanging off the SheevaPlug's one USB port and it's not happy --- I had to spend some time fiddling with it before it ran reliably, and there's still a nasty bug where every now and again the USB ethernet adapter stops processing packets (although the internal ethernet port is fine). (Replugging the USB ethernet adapter fixes it.)

I've been looking at the GuruPlug with great interest; real eSATA and two USB ports would make my life much easier, but I've held off getting one because of the heat problems. Maybe this DreamPlug will be the solution.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073548)

Indeed. I have a GuruPlug. It overheated because the heat from the processor (and Gigabit PHY) was not properly vented (at all, essentially). Most of the ports highlighted here are also already on the GuruPlug (WIth the exception of audio). I'm guessing this is just another shot at putting together a GuruPlug that doesn't have serious heat issues. What would be good, is if they had increased the internal Flash Memory, as that was also only 512MB. However, this was not mentioned in the article.

Price £135 - Meh (2)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072728)

Sure, 5 watts for a low-power miniserver is cool, but it's almost as expensive as a low-priced netbook which would have almost the same specs plus a screen.

Re:Price £135 - Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073028)

You can get a low-powered netbook with wifi plus 2 integrated gigabit ethernet ports, and eSATA? Please, tell me more.

Re:Price £135 - Meh (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073450)

Exactly.

And the laptop doing all the work (instead of sleeping) would draw more power.

This thing is great for a firewall/router and even a web server if you wanted to hang that stuff on it.
I wounder how well maintained the software is. It says Linux 2.6.3x Kernel, but from who, and
how well is it kept up to date. Is one expected to cross compile this?

Re:Price £135 - Meh (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073476)

The ION nettop I have on order isn't much more than 135 pounds.

It has it's own storage and a video output should I decide to use it.

The fact that it has two Ethernet ports is somewhat interesting. Although the speed is not such a big deal. Either way it's a feature with pretty limited appeal. Otherwise any other roughly similar device would have that feature already.

Re:Price £135 - Meh (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073074)

For my server (family photos, websites etc)
5W * 24h * 365 = 40kWh a year.
150W * 24h * 365 = 1300kWh a year.

At £0.10/kWh it looks like I could save £120 a year, or a little less if I have to use a hard drive rather than just SD storage.

Or maybe I should just find an old netbook on eBay...

Re:Price £135 - Meh (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073536)

You have a PC that uses 150W idle? What does it have 8 HDD's and SLI video cards? My HTPC uses about 150W max (maybe a bit more now that I have a 5750 instead of the GSO 9600)

Re:Price £135 - Meh (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073998)

It's old, I don't know how much it really uses. It's actually at my parent's house, because it's backed up to my desktop PC (in my house) in case of disaster.

Since posting that comment I've been looking at alternatives, although the power bill has been at the back of my mind for a while. These plug things seem a good idea, with an external HDD (SSDs sufficiently large to store all the photographs are too expensive). The only alternative is a netbook (perhaps a used one from eBay, e.g. with a broken screen), but I'm not sure they'd withstand being on 24/7.

I'll look at eBay until the UK version of the DreamPlug is released, and get it if there isn't a cheap used netbook by then.

Re:Price £135 - Meh (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074230)

For a lot less money buy a router with a USB port that supports your protocol of choice for file transfer. Probably same or lower power draw and it can just replace the existing router so very little net power draw.

Sheeva Plug (2)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072736)

I've got a Sheeva Plug, and as long as this doesn't have the same power supply issues that the Sheeva Plug is notorious for (mine is currently blown and collecting dust), this is probably well worth looking into. Too bad it costs twice as much ($200) than what I paid for my Sheeva Plug a year and a half ago.

Re:Sheeva Plug (1)

Thad_Floryan (1987976) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073826)

Replacement PSUs for the SheevaPlug are US$9.95 each from GlobalScale. The replacements are redesigned and cooling is better. Here's how long one of mine has been up since its PSU replacement:

root@lanserv1:~# date
Tue Feb 1 22:38:48 UTC 2011
root@lanserv1:~# uptime
  22:38:50 up 158 days, 18:05, 1 user, load average: 0.29, 0.17, 0.10
root@lanserv1:~#

Re:Sheeva Plug (2)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074660)

I was looking at SheevaPlugs a couple months back (the Guruplug power supplies were still horrible, IIRC), and then I found out I missed Amazon's sale on the discontinued, PogoPlug-based Seagate Dockstar by a scant few days. $30 for a Plugbox (Arch) Linux server! Unfortunately now it's $80. The pink PogoPlug itself is $50 at the moment, which isn't bad for the upgrade to 256MB RAM, but I have a hard time spending the extra bucks when I know I could have had a better deal. It's not a wall wart and wasn't made to run whatever you want, but it has similar power draw and is cheaper.

Re:Sheeva Plug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074494)

I just fixed mine, took out the old power supply, added an external switchable wall wart and soldered the old cables to the new input. plugged it in and the whole thing came back to life like it had never been away. It is running with Ubuntu and currently it is serving movies(mediatomb), photos, music(Squeezebox server), documents(Samba) as well as running MYSQL, Apache web server, and subversion. My only issue with it is that I cannot load Java onto it to use as a build server to for home projects.
For it's price and power consumption, I think it was running on under 3 volts and 1 amp draw, It was still functioning perfectly, until I unplugged it (I only found out the ps was shot when I plugged it back in after moving house).
I think it cost me about US$30 to get it back running again. and it would have cost me US$45 to get a new ps from the states, for the same form factor ps as has previously blown.
I hate sounding like a fanboy, but I fear I may be already.

Direct Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35072886)

http://www.globalscaletechnologies.com/c-5-dreamplugs.aspx

That's just the UK reseller (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35072952)

The US version is supposed to ship this month. [globalscal...logies.com] The developer kit is $149, and $179 with a JTAG interface (recommended for development.)

The production version will probably be cheaper.

Hopefully they've fixed the overheating problem they had with their previous GuruPlug.

Re:That's just the UK reseller (1)

mob)barley (1377683) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073050)

Ditto that. The SheevaPlug sounded like an intriguing and novel way to have a low power, always-on server, but until I see evidence that the overheating issue won't cause a premature failure, I won't be buying such a thing. It's a cool idea though.

Re:That's just the UK reseller (1)

IceFox (18179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074626)

Ouch, There was something special about the $99 price tag. The price was so low that it made it worth while over its other limitations and was why I bought it.

Marvell gets a lot of press on /., but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35072980)

I just did a survey looking for some lab hardware, and their stuff really isn't that competitive with TI. (And I'm not going to even get into the thermal engineering / power supply issues that have popped up on some forums)

F.ex., you can get a dual-core, A9-based board with similar features for $175.
http://www.digikey.com/us/en/ph/texas-instruments/pandaboard.html [digikey.com]

Admittedly, it doesn't have "a plug" (or a case for that matter), but are those things really worth that much? If you're coding on one of these... you're probably not Joe Sixpack taking a break from the Superbowl.

(Would love to hear dissenting opinions and/or link! I'm not trying to shill TI's stuff here, but it does seem there's a lot of price disparity in the embedded protoboard / SBC market. And that's not even getting into all the companies still selling previous generation hardware for full price...)

Re:Marvell gets a lot of press on /., but (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073558)

It doesn't have two ethernet ports either so it rules out using it as a firewall.

Re:Marvell gets a lot of press on /., but (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074006)

router on a stick?

might not be as easy to setup with only one port instead of two but is perfectly doable.

Re:Marvell gets a lot of press on /., but (1)

allanw (842185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074768)

The Pandaboard has to be heavily subsidized by TI. There's no way it can cost $175, since it's an 8-layer board, manufactured/tested partly in the US, and has 1GBytes of RAM using package-on-package technology. I don't think it's fair to compare.

But what's it for? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073014)

It's cool and all, and it's nice that it doesn't take up any office space at all, but what do people use these for?

Does anyone actually have something like this and use it for a serious purpose?

Re:But what's it for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073198)

That depends. Does "hacking around with Linux servers" qualify as serious?

As a light home s

Re:But what's it for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073434)

It's cool and all, and it's nice that it doesn't take up any office space at all, but what do people use these for?
  Does anyone actually have something like this and use it for a serious purpose?

You use things like these for low-powered servers which you keep running for long periods of time.
You know, web servers, mail servers, routers ...

Re:But what's it for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073926)

It has wireless, so you can efficiently add wireless to any cabled device.

A very low power not-so-dumb terminal.

An intelligent USB charger.

Too expensive for #3 but not bad for industrial uses where floor machinery use all kinds of different interfaces.

Re:But what's it for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074276)

I'm probably going to use it for a print/disk server and mp3 player.

PogoPlug (3, Informative)

MattBD (1157291) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073042)

I've got a PogoPlug, which is apparently based on the SheevaPlug platform, and it was a real bargain. I picked it up in the sale for £50, and I've installed Plugbox Linux (an Arch-based distro - I'd prefer Debian but I can't get that working on it) and it works really well. I've set up Postfix and Dovecot on it and I use it as a mail server, and I also have Apache, MySQL and PHP on there for testing purposes. Fantastic device.

What's Wrong with 512 RAM? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073052)

...and while 512MB of DDR2 memory might not sound very generous, if you need more then your project probably isn't suited to the plug computing model.

Hey now, my primary desktop PC is still running with 512 MB of DDR ram (not even DDR2). What's wrong with that? Hell, my primary laptop is running with 128 MB RAM so suck on that!

Then again, that may explain why firefox crashes all my computers and my N900 has become my favored internet browsing device. But hey, 512 is enough for Arduino projects, Matlab, Ubuntu 10.04, perl hacking, home network management. =)

Re:What's Wrong with 512 RAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074064)

you're not a chrome user, are you?

Re:What's Wrong with 512 RAM? (2)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074312)

I had a fling with Chrome, but it made me feel like I was being bukake'd by internet advertisement companies, so I switched back to Firefox. Firefox may be a bit curvier than she used to, but at least she doesn't dress me up in a garter belt and stockings and put me on display for the old boy's club of the internet data mining community.

Overheating? (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073060)

I wonder if this iteration will be less prone to overheating. I have an original GuruPlug which still gets too hot to use for long periods of time.

Re:Overheating? (1)

freakasor (792714) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073234)

I doubt it. I won't be purchasing from global scale technologies again. I ended up with two GuruPlugs that are useless due to overheating.

Re:Overheating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073582)

Wow, I read about your problems and added heat sinks and I have a perfectly functional guruplug. I haven't seen it break 40 C on the main IC Thanks!

Re:Overheating? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073586)

For what it's worth, they were quite willing to refund my money when I complained. Even after the warranty had expired.

I'm skeptical that they'll ship on time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073076)

GlobalScale Technologies is sketchy. It took many months for my GuruPlug Server Plus order to arrive, and when it did, it arrived DOA. It then took an additional few months for GlobalScale to ship my RMA unit (RMA #003). The delay was because they modified it to add a fan to address "heat issues." They then sold this fan kit separately as a "Professional Upgrade Kit." They were extremely slow in acknowledging an overheating problem, and my replacement unit is now LOUD and distracting due to the included fan. The CPU simply couldn't handle 2x1Gb Ethernet and wifi simultaneously.

I've been very dissatisfied with my entire experience dealing with them, and dissatisfied with the product. They ignored repeated requests for status updates via the web form, and only after I tracked down the email for Mr. Henry Chiu, the VP of sales and marketing, did I get a response.

I'd give 2:1 odds that nothing ships in Februrary like they're promising, but let's hope that this time they got it right.

Heat Issues (2)

troylanes (883822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073150)

I hope they've resolved the heat issues. I had a SheevaPlug that I used as a space heater for about 8 months until it finally burned itself out. Other than that, it was a great little box.

Needlessly useless. Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073186)

Would it have been so hard to have a video output?

A solution like this would make the perfect desktop for a lot of people I know who need little more than browsing the web.

However, such a thing doesn't exist. Why?

Re:Needlessly useless. Why? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073590)

Maybe you could add an USB graphics card?

Re:Needlessly useless. Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074120)

The existing DisplayLink stuff is still expensive and doesn't work as well as native. It also leaves the user with just 1 usb port, so some arrangement would be needed for having a keyboard and a mouse at the same time.

At the end, it becomes not worth the effort.

Great Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073192)

"...and while 512MB of DDR2 memory might not sound very generous, if you need more then your project probably isn't suited to the plug computing model."

That sentence is just missing a "so fuck off" on the end. Also, DreamPlug sounds so much like a sex toy, I'd be nervous to Google it.

Media player? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073200)

It would make a good wireless media player with the right software. It's a shame there's no video output at all. I suppose there are some USB monitors both dot matrix and LCD.

Re:Media player? (1)

alexandre (53) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073642)

Indeed, it'd be a perfect gateway with an HDMI out ! :/
Do USB video solution permit bios access and all?
I don't want to debug/install my server over a serial port ...

Will probably evaluate one, but (3, Informative)

jimmyswimmy (749153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073214)

I bought the Sheevaplug and the Guruplug for some engineering applications, and was sorely disappointed. The Sheevaplug was a decent box, just needed more native IO. The Guruplug was a piece of crap. I had more issues with that box than any embedded box I've ever worked on, including some I've designed (which is saying something when you factor in initial debug time). The Guruplug had major heat issues, even when run from an external 5V supply. I removed the heat spreader (a thin piece of steel) and replaced it with a thicker copper spreader, and that made a big difference, but the unit was never completely stable and could not handle running two GigE interfaces at the same time. And they also had the niggling little problem of selling something different from what they advertised - the sale product did not have an I2C port (I think they finally changed the block diagram to reflect the truth).

By sticking with the same form factor I fear that the Globalscale product will continue to be plagued with heat issues. And based on the history of Globalscale's products, if you need a stable platform that does what the specs say they'll do - look elsewhere.

I'll probably get one to evaluate it, but this time I'm waiting. Someone else can be the early adopter.

Re:Will probably evaluate one, but (1)

limaxray (1292094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074838)

Agreed. I got a Guruplug for a project for work and quickly realized it was a pile of garbage. I have relegated it to be my home router and it does serve pretty well - granted the enclosure is removed since the original design clearly didn't even begin to take heat dissipation into account. I was planning on fabricating a heat sink for it, but its been going for a few months now without one without a problem - I'm at 44 days of uptime now, and the last time it was down was intended.

I haven't had stability problems like many have reported, but I compiled the kernel and built the RFS myself, so IDK if the factory image was broken or what.

What I would REALLY like to see is them upgrade to a modern version of the ARM ISA. The Marvell Kirkwood processors are all stuck on ARMv5 and not ARMv7 like everyone else with beefy ARM based application processors. While I'm not limited by the performance of the device, it is annoying that I'm limited to Debian or older versions of Ubuntu since most people are compiling for v7 these days. I don't have the patience to compile everything myself. Of course, if performance was a concern, it would be really swell to have high-tech features like the bigger pipeline and NEON that are in current devices.

Whether reasonable or not, the Guruplug has put a bad taste in my mouth with Marvell's products - while this isn't a Marvell implementation, it is endorsed by them. I find it very unlikely that I would consider them over Freescale or Ti in the future largely because of this product.

This is not really news just marketing. (1)

faulteh (1869228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073598)

This Dreamplug doesn't deserve it's top billing on slashdot - it's just a Guruplug in a new case.

5W you say?? I call BS.. The Guruplug said it was only 5W but when I plugged a wattmeter into it was pulling 7W when idle (old firewall P4 computer was pulling 70W constantly so that's a decent power save anyway). Running both ethernets at gigabit and having the wifi turned on was the major cause of heat problems in the guruplug (so they crippled it so only 1 could run gigabit. Now I see the Dreamplug has 2 gigabit ethernet ports again.

Then I had to install additional airflow elements (drilling holes in the case, replacing heatsinks, replace internal power supply with external one), to turn it into a decent box that could run as my firewall. Not that I mind doing it myself - I'm from the "if you can't open it you don't own it" crowd, but it means you can't recommend this device to other less technical people without voiding their warranty too.

There are no thermal sensors on the board so trying to use lm-sensors package on Linux to get things like CPU temp will fail. The Marvell ARM in the Guruplug is ARMv5 so no XN or No-Execute page protection - that comes with ARMv6. If they haven't been addressed in this new Dreamplug it could very easily turn into a Nightmareplug *groan* especially for it's price.

Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073690)

Imagine a power strip cluster of these!

Overheating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073746)

Globalscale have a similar product out there that's not so great [1wt.eu] (not my site BTW). I wonder if they've addressed the overheating issues and poor h/w quality (just look at those solder joints) this time round.

Designed for Windows? (0)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073956)

Am I being paranoid, or there is suddenly huge increase in ARM-based consumer products announcement right after Microsoft promised that THIS TIME their ARM-based product will be good?

Are we looking at another Itsy (that became a Windows-CE-only iPAQ)?

Re:Designed for Windows? (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074256)

Maybe you're only now noticing it because you pay more attention to Microsoft than anything else? ARM has been gaining traction for the last couple of years. I think the big push that initiated a lot of the momentum that ARM has had was the netbook craze. Intel tried to join the party with the Atom processors, but those seem to have fallen by the wayside.

Packs some serious power. (0)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074260)

The DreamPlug packs some serious power. It packs some serious power. It also packs some serious hardware which packs some serious power. Seriously.

Good for Distributed Social Networks? (2)

agrif (960591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074300)

I know people like to hate on Diaspora around here, but this would be an ideal platform for it. Run your diaspora seed for you and a few friends on a wall-wart server. You could even pre-install diaspora, and sell them online for the non-tech-minded. Just unwrap, plug in, and setup through a web browser.

This isn't a new idea, but I think it's a good one (that is, if Diaspora ever takes off...)

Re:Good for Distributed Social Networks? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074496)

I think few people would pay more than $50 for something like that. It's not doable at the moment unless you sell millions of units.

If I was starting a distributed social network today I would try to target smartphones as a server platform. It might be doable on the smartphones that we will carry around a couple of years from now.

Re:Good for Distributed Social Networks? (1)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074512)

Diaspora is DOA. No one wants to run a social network server, few would understand the concept, and without Zynga, it's a waste for the rest of the non-tech oriented world. I get you guys idea and your concern for privacydecentralization, and consumer control of private data, but I'm with Schmitt when he said if you don't want the world looking at something online, maybe you shouldn't share it online (paraphrasing).

Blocks too many outlets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074346)

WHY? Why can't they build these with a bit of cord so you can put them in a power strip and only use 1 outlet. The way this is built it's going to block at least 3 sockets. Good job, idiots.

Smoothwall and Zentyal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074364)

I'd like to get a couple devices in this form factor to run Smoothwall (or IP Cop) as a firewall, and Zentyal as a PDC. Does anybody have either of these distros running on wallwort? Any difficulties or problems installing/configuting/maintaining them?
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