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Build the 2006 Prototype $25 PC

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the will-it-still-run-quake dept.

Hardware Hacking 120

An anonymous reader writes "As the launch of the $25 PC gets ever closer (sometime next month), members of the Raspberry Pi team have found time to start blogging about the history of the project. Eben Upton, director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has been working on the project for many years, and decided to share a couple of very early prototypes for the $25 PC with the community. The 2006 edition of the PC used an Atmel ATmega644 microcontroller. It ran at 22.1MHz with 512K of SRAM. Compare that to the final version of the PC, which will use a 700MHz ARM11 processor and 128MB/256MB of SDRAM. Five years clearly brings a massive leap in performance. For those of us happy to play around with components at this level, Eben has made the schematics and PCB layout available to download (ZIP file). Armed with this information you can create your very own 2006 Raspberry Pi machine."

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Needs more Ram (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822130)

how about a $50 PC with one GB of ram :)

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

kelarius (947816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822356)

because 1GB RAM is so useful on a 700MHz CPU...

Re:Needs more Ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822602)

You could.
Man, you could totally run Crysis on that badboy.
And I call it: Crysis on a Chip. CoC for short.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

Mysterious Stranger (978113) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822628)

Tell that to my phone.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822704)

Heh... It'd have been useful to a PIII. That's what it roughly is like in performance in many of the areas.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822508)

I'd rather it have 2 network ports.

Re:Needs more Ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822598)

The point is to keep it to $25. If you want a second network port, just get a USB to Ethernet adapter.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822658)

It does have USB and and SPI port so you could add another network port if you wanted too.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822888)

>I'd rather it have 2 network ports.

You can add USB hubs and switches if need be, OR you can choose an already available low-end single-board system which has multiple ports onboard.

This is -supposed- to be minimalist, low-energy tiny-footprint platform. And adding more hardware changes what it is. I like the fact that it's basically the cost of an Arduino, but can do so much more.

 

Re:Needs more Ram (2)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823462)


I'd rather it have 2 network ports.

VLANs, baby!

Re:Needs more Ram (2)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822570)

Raspberry PI uses a package-on-package technology (RAM chip on top on the CPU).

They covered this on their forum:
- There are no 1Gb SDRAM chips with that size available;
- The 512Mb ones are too expensive - if Raspberry PI rev.A (128Mb) and rev.B (256Mb) are a success, they will consider a more expensive rev.C with more options.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822694)

Sweet but I was half way kidding. What I really want is to find and SPI to SATA bridge so one could add a harddrive without using the USB port or network. But I have yet to see one.
i will probably pick up one of these for hacking just because.

Re:Needs more Ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825032)

You could stick an IDE drive on (or get a SATA to IDE interface) possibly using this design:
http://sbc.rictor.org/io/IDE.html
FAT16 only it seems but meh, it's a start...

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826988)

SD cards support SPI natively, speed is somewhat reduced over whatever mode they usually use, though, IIRC.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822738)

They covered this on their forum:

And they seem to cover it as a bit of a recurring theme. People keep assuming that this isn't going to be anywhere near as useful without the 512-1024MB of RAM on it. The conversations come back to the reality that it's a lot more than they think it is- and it's going to be more capable than they're giving it credit.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

JMandingo (325160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823072)

I have a Dell Latitude with 256 MB of RAM running Antix that I use for 2D game development in C++. It works perfect for when my kids are tying up my big gaming rig, and I bought it on eBay for $30. I bet the Raspberry PI using decade newer tech will kick that old Latitude's arse.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823720)

It's amazing what you can do with 256 MB of RAM when you don't have an OS that eats all of it for breakfast. Hell, my primary computer has 'only' 160 MB of RAM, and it's enough for most of my computing needs.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

randomErr (172078) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822872)

They have a lot of discussion about this on the RasPi message boards. The only reason they don't offer more everything is that they're targeting $25 on a board that will fit on a credit card. The project is about making a system kids (and many adults) can tinker with. Also remember this version 1.0 of the board.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823634)

I do know. I have done development on a StrongArm board with only 64MB of memory. The RasPi is probably a lot more powerful than a DEC VAX 11/780 was in the day.
However some software like browsers seem to really want a lot of memory these days.
You are right but more ram is always better on a system but 256MB is not a small amount of ram... Until you put a full browser on the box. And let's be honest how many sites support Dillo these days?

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824886)

In a few (or 5) years this $25 PC will be as powerful as a dual-core smartphone. I love technology's exponential increase in power.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823878)

After getting rid of X, I' running a Torrent (transmission), DLNA (miniDLNA), SSH and NAS (just a plain 3TB USB drive) server in 50-70MB on a similar ARM platform, so 256, even 128, should be plenty for a lot of things.

How about (2)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825652)

How about putting together a software suite that runs efficiently on this hardware? The hardware can be made even more cheaply through refinement, and the software can be fine-tuned to target these specs,it could lead to affordable and efficient computing in general. If the goal is to benefit the poor, or even to create a platform that will waste less resources, then don't create multiple targets, that will diminish the value of the lowest common denominator and undermine the ultimate efficiency and benefits of the platform.

Re:Needs more Ram (1)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#37827998)

Bloody kids! I remember getting an IBM PS/2 model 50 (IIRC - this was 2 decades ago) with 2MB RAM, and being frustrated that I no longer had time to go for a coffee and a cigarette while Statgraphics did my correlation analyses. Hell of a step up from an XT with 640KB... You don't know you're born....

Finally... (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822192)

Finally... I can afford to upgrade my home PC to something more powerfull!

Useless (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822250)

First of all this is USELESS. Who the fuck is going to use a crappy little computer that can only run lin-sux? This is a waste of time by politically correct left wing imbeciles who think that building unusable pcs running lin-sux for a low price will somehow be useful to people who are starving to death in the third world. This is just the "OLPC" fiasco all over again (as you recall the OLPC folks turned down both OS X and Windows in favor of lin-sux, which killed the project).,

Re:Useless (3, Insightful)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822328)

Of course it isn't useless.

Students can learn about the components that make up a computer and learn the basics of computers all for $25.

That's way cooler than anything we did in IT when I was in high-school.

At the end of it- you get a takehome computer capable of playing Quake 3.

That's how you get the kids interested in this.

I've never used Linux. For $25 I may buy a kit for my son for Xmas. He can learn about computers- and then I can steal it from him and teach myself linux.

Re:Useless (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822384)

People in third world countries are busy trying to fucking survive, they don't have time to teach themselves programming. If they have $25, they'll use it to buy bread and rice. And then have another kid.

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822424)

This is what Americans actually believe.

Spreadsheets (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822466)

As Wikipedia's article about reactive programming [wikipedia.org] explains, spreadsheets are a form of programming. Someone running a business might write a spreadsheet to handle the business's accounting, run various "what if" scenarios to plan for the next year, etc., whether in a developed country or in a less-developed country.

Re:Useless (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822538)

In the meantime I'd put linux on a VM on your main pc. So you're less likely to screw up and having to reformat the littlepc. A vm snapshot on a 400$ pc restores faster than a 25$, i suspect.

Happy hacking.

Re:Useless (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824444)

Looks like a fantastic controller for robotics projects or anything that needs more power than a typical ATMega based Arduino. Also, since it exposes things like the SPI port directly to a computer with a shell it would be awesome for electronics prototyping and learning.

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822398)

You sir are completely wrong this project is very important and will undoubtably save the lives of many people just think of the poor farmers in bolivia and afghanistan what can they do now without comptuers thats right nothing but with a low priced comptuer with GNU?LINUX they will be able to check prices on line and get better prices for their goods. Point proven.

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822926)

Like the going rate for Cocaine and Opium on the open market? :P

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822428)

Have you ever considered killing yourself? You should give it some serious thought imho.

very useful for kindling interest in coding (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822514)

funny, my cell phone is an ARM powered linux device. A 3rd world person learning to code on this would be light-years ahead of most first world students taking the typical intro to programming fare at college. People might complain that it must be hooked to keyboard and monitor, but cubic meters of those are disposed of by first world homes and businesses.

Re:very useful for kindling interest in coding (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822578)

and another thing, I used to do CAE/CADD on a system with 32MB RAM and 24MHz processor. Hook this little thing up to a $5 flash drive, donated/cast off keyboard, monitor and mouse, and you have more computer than the Sparc 2 workstation circa 1992 I'm remembering.

Re:very useful for kindling interest in coding (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822804)

Unless that 3rd worlder has access to the massive infrastructure and thousands of people required to make the CAD files *MEAN* something, it's useless.

Re:very useful for kindling interest in coding (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823074)

I was only making a statement about computing power. The use for the 3rd worlder is education, which is the project's goal.

As to access to massive infrastructure, there is this thing called the internet that even 3rd world countries have and are building up. And a usb drive can bring IN a massive amount of information to an area.

Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822616)

"Who ... is going to use a crappy little computer that can only run [L]in[ux]?"
Andrioid? Web OS? TiVo? Tons of embedded computers around the world?
Yeah, this is lower spec than those, but the purpose is different also.

"...politically correct left wing imbeciles"
That's a sweeping and untrue generalization.

"[Y]ou recall the OLPC folks turned down both OS X and Windows in favor of lin-sux, which killed the project"
OLPC was never killed, it is still here, delivering computers and working on a new model.
http://one.laptop.org/map http://wiki.laptop.org/go/XO-2

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823558)

Who the fuck is going to use a crappy little computer that can only run lin-sux?

All of the internet routers are of that design, which let you post your trolls and download your kiddie porn from 4chan. Routers don't run Winblows ya know!

Not to mention traffic lights, network cameras, scientific calculators, your microwave oven for cooking up those tasty cheese treats that keep you hovering just above 300lb, and even possibly in your central air conditioner to keep your fat ass cool in the winter likely has a microcontroller such as this in it.. Well, unless you live with mom in a house from the 1920's anyway..

I would wager that no less than 100 such devices were used by you between when you woke up and when you posted your drivel, without you even knowing it.

Of course you do know this, and would cry and kill yourself if suddenly all the unix technology you take advantage of was to disappear overnight. Almost a good troll thou!

p.s. wtf is this shit?!:

Slow Down Cowboy!
It's been 53 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824112)

There is consensus. Bravo.

Re:Useless (1)

iiiears (987462) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824866)

You have (courage?) to deride open source on Slashdot?
It wasn't Linux that sank the OLPC it was price.

Re:Useless (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37827452)

No, linux sunk the OLPC. If they had taken Steve Jobs' offer of using OS X it would have RULED THE FUCKING WORLD. Instead they went with a half-baked hobby os from a bunch of neckbeards who wouldn't know how to code a proper operating system if it fucking coded itself for them while they got hand jobs from a troup of thai ladyboys. Linux sucks. Lin-sux. When will you fucking losers understand this and stop wasting all our valuable slashdot time on promoting this steaming pile of crap?

Re:Useless (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828976)

You have (courage?) to deride open source on Slashdot?
It wasn't Linux that sank the OLPC it was price.

The project is still going, but the problems stem from the rudderless direction of the organization, not the OS.

As far as operating system I think for a project like OLPC Linux is an obvious answer, however OLPC effed it up. I think they would have done well to build it around a more or less standard environment that ran standard Linux applications. Instead they came up with sugar. Run entirely scripted applications on PII power. Brilliant! Run a sugar image in a VM sometime. RAM usage is mind boggling and performance is terrible. The idea of running everything scripted is the flawed assumption that everyone wants to tinker with the poorly documented code. And the availibleapps seem primarily based around programming and not building other skills.

Re:Useless (1)

samjam (256347) | more than 2 years ago | (#37829170)

You must learn the difference between "everyone will" and "anyone can"

Death of the desktop means cheaper desktops! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822276)

I would expect now that the popularity of desktops is waning, a lot of the prices to make really beefy systems in the short term will go down to much of a cheaper rate. Hopefully it will revise the revival of build it yourself computers. Perhaps we can get the whitebox equlivlant of a tablet PC.

Re:Death of the desktop means cheaper desktops! (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822470)

Well ... the Broadcom BCM2835 SoC in Raspberry PI can directly control an LCD (all required pins available on a header on board) and you can also interface with a touchscreen:

http://elinux.org/RaspberryPiBoard#Interfacing_to_Raw_LCD_Panels [elinux.org]

So you can use the Raspberry Pi to build a whitebox Tablet PC.

Re:Death of the desktop means cheaper desktops! (1)

Sduic (805226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822482)

[N]ow that the popularity of desktops is waning

I'm genuinely curious, is there significant evidence of this (i.e. that I might look over), or is this somewhat like with the ever-prolonged death of PC gaming I keep hearing about?

Re:Death of the desktop means cheaper desktops! (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823734)

I think they are using Wall Street math when they say the popularity of PCs are waning. It isn't that the numbers are going down. It is that there is no longer double digit growth of the industry. My house is a perfect example. In our 3 person home, we have 8 PCs that are used on a regular basis. How many more can we possibly have a use for? We don't replace them nearly as often as we used to either. Instead of a yearly upgrade cycle, our upgrades range between 3 and 5 years depending on which system we are talking about. From a Wall Street perspective, that is a dramatic drop in year over year sales. It doesn't change the fact that we have twice as many computers in our home than toilets.

To be fair, I am counting laptops in with the PCs I am counting, but the point still stands.

Re:Death of the desktop means cheaper desktops! (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823952)

I can be witness. I used to have a regular PC, now I'm down to a nettop + arm server + netbook + tablet + smartphone, and I'll try out 2 Pis to replace the nettop. Also, the marketshare of tablets and laptops/netbooks compared to desktops is ever rising.

No Thanks (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822308)

I think i'll wait a bit (end of November) for the 2011 version :)

Nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822376)

No thanks. Can I just emulate it in a VM on my quad-core?

needs a VGA output (2)

Blaskowicz (634489) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822416)

HDMI displays are rare, VGA displays are plentiful, higher quality and more versatile than the offered alternative which is a old TV with composite input.

a Rasperry with VGA would be better for its obvious use, as a game console loaded with emulators. there are truckloads of perfectly good 15" and 17" displays awaiting destruction as hazardous waste, having to buy a new hdmi display for a $25 toy or haul a big ass CRT TV and live with interlaced 640x480 is not fun.

Re:needs a VGA output (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822606)

Not really - every flat-screen TV made in the last couple of years has HDMI in, and every recent flat-screen monitor has DVI-D (basically HDMI). You have to think ahead, HDMI is the future and we're talking about a device that isn't even in production yet.

Re:needs a VGA output (2)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823018)

As it turns out, the Broadcom BCM2835 SoC they have chosen for the project has only HDMI, Composite & DSI-LCD outputs. No VGA, no Component, no S-Video.

And it seems that there are no SoC's with VGA output available that:
- are cheap enough;
- are low-power enough;
or
- have all the other required interfaces (USB, Ethernet, sound, SDIO ...)

Re:needs a VGA output (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823828)

Just FYI, the SoC they chose doesn't have Ethernet either. On the Model B, a second chip is connected to the SoC's single USB port and provides two downstream USB ports and one Ethernet port. Model A has only 128MB of RAM and lacks this chip, so there's only one USB port and no Ethernet.

What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822484)

The computer might be only $25 but without a few hundred dollars extra you will not be able to do anything with it.

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822634)

So? Surely that's better than a box that costs a few hundred dollars, uses much more power, and still requires a monitor, keyboard and mouse? Not to mention that plenty of uses either don't actually require any peripherals or can use ones that are already owned.

I'm planning to grab a Raspberry Pi next month to replace the Xbox in the living room for media streaming, for example - no whirring fans, better flexibility in terms of codecs and interface, and the total cost will be $35 for the Model B.

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822748)

Still you have to admit that it is far less of an amazing thing when you actually use it like a computer it costs more like the cost of a netbook/tablet.

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#37826692)

No, it's still pretty amazing.

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822780)

uhh no. a cheap lcd monitor costs ~$50 (here is an example http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009345 [newegg.com] )
a mouse and keyboard costs ~$11

here http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826193041 [newegg.com]

and here http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823201010 [newegg.com]
all told and we are still at less that $100.

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822956)

If you buy used accessories from garage sales, thrift stores, craigslist, eBay, or just use what you have lying around in the garage it can be even cheaper.

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

klingens (147173) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823456)

You should have looked at your $50 monitor more carefully: it only has a VGA input and won't work on a raspberry pi

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824024)

Hundreds ? Rather, tens: an SD card and USB cable to power it are the bare minimum, for a headless server or station via SSH. If you want interactivity, add keyboard, mouse, and screen if you don't want to ssh into it, and micro-USB power supply if it's far from a PC. The most expensive by far is a screen , which most use don't require.

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824320)

But you could only SSH into it if you already bought a fully priced computer and personally i did not think the point of this entire thing was to allow nerds to get their 2nd, 3rd, etc. computers very cheaply.

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828266)

Do you think a lot of people reading this, on slashdot, do not have a computer yet ?

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37829130)

If you already have a computer, you could even leave out the Raspberry Pi, and just use the computer you already have. That should lower the cost to $0 (including handling and shipping).

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824952)

You seem to be very mistake about the specifics of the device.
I am pretty sure the it does not use USB power and you cannot SSH unto a device with no Ethernet port on the $25 edition.

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828264)

We'll have to split the difference on that one:
- the device does use USB power. this changed very recently, cf their site.
- indeed, the $25 model A does not have Ethernet, sorry. the $35, 256 MB RAM that I plan to get does.

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824810)

find a thrift store, bam 5$ vga monitors and 25 cent keyboards and mouses all day long

kindly pull your head from your ass please

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824920)

find a thrift store, bam 25$ used computer.

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825786)

ha where? Obviously you have not been to one or else you would not have thought that the only way to get a keyboard monitor and mouse is to spend hundreds of dollars. Goodwill? nah they ship them to a central location and Charge like new. Ma-pa places, they are too dumb to know what they have so you see a 100mhz pentium for 100 bucks. (its not my fault your original argument is full of fail)

Besides I dont know where people keep coming up with this being a desktop replacement, are you going to use a plug computer or a thin client in the same way as a desktop? and if you are in the market for a small computer do you want to use a 3 cubic foot 300 watt monster to run a local ftp server off of AAA batteries?

I have a dozen ideas for this thing and none of them is anywhere close to "uh derp lets log on to slashdot and pretend that monitors cost as much as a used car dee hee hee"

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

YouDieAtTheEnd (2471718) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825450)

$42.60 actually.

Hub [dealextreme.com] , mouse [dealextreme.com] , keyboard [dealextreme.com] , monitor [dealextreme.com] (may or may not require a small amount of hacking to get connected).

Re:What about the monitor/keyboard/mouse (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37825664)

You'd still need those things for a $250 PC. If you buy this one, you will be able to afford that monitor/mouse/keyboard a lot more easily.

Getting cheaper (3, Interesting)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822546)

If they are sticking to the $25 cost, this is getting cheaper every year even though they are increasing performance. If you figure the future value in 2005 of the cost at 2011, it should be around $39.

FV=(25*(1+4.5%)^6)*(1+3%)^6
= $38.87

Refurbished Dell (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822592)

I realize that there are benefits to having large numbers of identical machines to ease management, but I assume these machines are going out into remote places where there won't be hundreds of them to control anyway.

Wouldn't refurbished Dell boxen, acquired 50-100 at a time, be more powerful and cost less than $25 each to deploy? This could be especially true if skilled laborers in the destination country did the refurbishing, imaging, and deployment.

Re:Refurbished Dell (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822812)

Heh...

1) A refurbished PIII is not much, if any more powerful than this board.
2) The refurbished PIII retails for 2-3 times what this costs.

To answer your question, NO, it wouldn't be cheaper or better. :-D

Re:Refurbished Dell (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823060)

Not to mention the power requirements - this will probably use 1/10 of the energy required by a full PIII system.

Re:Refurbished Dell (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | more than 2 years ago | (#37828938)

What? Who's paying $50-$75 for PIII systems? I have PIII systems I'm trying to give away and I can't find any takers.

Re:Refurbished Dell (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822982)

And they would consume orders of magnitude more power. Also, all refurbished means is that the board is tested for electrical continuity, its still old, in a power hogging design. The goal is not CPU power, it is low cost and ubiquity.

Re:Refurbished Dell (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824520)

Can it run on a couple of AAs?

Re:Refurbished Dell (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824836)

with 230 watt power supplies nearly maxed out? you would loose your cost benefit in less than a day in just power use

ARM (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822624)

Can you call it a "PC" if it's not IA-86 compatible?

Re:ARM (3, Informative)

micsaund (12591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822724)

Yes, because PC doesn't necessarily mean Wintel -- it means Personal Computer as well. One particular flavor of the Personal Computer happens to be the IBM PC, which features the xxx86 architecture. Remember, the concept of a "personal computer" came from the days when the big iron was locked-up in universities and companies, so it was a revolution to make a computer one could own personally, hence the phrase. This "2006" Atmel based computer is very certainly a "personal computer" since you build and own it.

Re:ARM (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822852)

Yes, you can. "PC" stands for "Personal Computer", not Personal X86 Computer- though for many, it's come to mean the same thing- and they conflate Windows PC with that concept, which is even MORE wrong.

Re:ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825792)

Especially since a Windows system hardly is a computer anymore anyway. Or how much does it support automating* your work away? (* You know.... the very point of a computer... over a mere gadget/appliance.)
Last time I looked, MS worked very hard to dumb its user down to a mere sack of meat with one eye, one arm with a single finger, and a wallet, that you wouldn't even let near a car, power tool, or deep fryer,

Re:ARM (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823432)

What part of "Personal Computer" specifies that it must be Intel-86 compatible? I believe that the Commodore-64 was advertised as a personal computer, as was the Kaypro and the Osborne.

Re:ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37826096)

But "PC" has be marketed for 20+ years as a screen, keyboard, hard drive, and all the other parts most of the public has come to know to be a "PC".

This is a single board computer for geeks like you.

How much over $25 do I need to spend to get the "PC" you believe is in there ?

Re:ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37828668)

Wikipedia classifies it as a "home computer".

Vaporware (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823260)

They've been talking about this since 2006. They've built prototypes. They have a web site, logos, a wiki, and a fan club.

What they don't have is shipping product.

They really need to shut up and ship. They we get to see if their price point is real.

GuruPlug, the $99 Linux wall wart, is real and available. Gumstix has been offering machines around $100 for years.

Re:Vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824028)

Not only that, but the chip they decided to use is one that they can't tell you anything about. Evidently, it's so secret that they need the okay from the manufacturer before they release any info to you. That's pretty much as anti-opensource as you can get.

Binary blobs for everyone! As a developer I'm staying away from this one.

Re:Vaporware (1)

CrazyBusError (530694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37830410)

Really? So you only use graphics cards with open source firmware, do you? No, thought not.

Look carefully - the firmware blob is closed, just as it is an most commercial graphics cards. The driver, on the other hand, is open.

Re:Vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37824800)

Hasn't the guruplug various issue with power supply ? And gumstix do not really offer the same set of tools.

Also, for a vaporware, there is a pretty good damn video on youtube, with pictures. of course, they could be faked but I doubt a teacher would risk his reputation for that.

Re:Vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37825552)

I've only heard about them since this year.

Re:Vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37830408)

David Braben is not the vaporware type guy...He has a reputation...

Deja Vendu: 30,000 PCs at below $25 cost (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37824106)

Been there, done that. Between 2002 and 2009 I sold about 30,000 sub-$25 PCs to Egyptian geeks, who resold them in "Technology Malls". Our last 3 containerloads were seized by Egyptian customs and declared "e-waste" because they were "used." Our buyer was upset, but predicted that Mubarak was just "trying to put the genie back in the bottle", and it was too late. See German Language 3Sat.de coverage on how these used PCs played a role in the Arab Spring. http://bit.ly/soIn3G [bit.ly]

Seriously, why do wealthy nations spend $25 to shred 3 year old PCs and then try to find ways to make "new" ones with less RAM and Mhz than the shredded ones for $25?

Re:Deja Vendu: 30,000 PCs at below $25 cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37827094)

"Seriously, why do wealthy nations spend $25 to shred 3 year old PCs and then try to find ways to make "new" ones with less RAM and Mhz than the shredded ones for $25?"

Because the more wealthy they get the more ignorant, indifferent, and arrogant they become.
Power corrupts.

Networked media player for USD 50 (1)

Trikoloko (801416) | more than 2 years ago | (#37827194)

As far as I know, this board offers:

1) 1080P output
2) Hardware media decoding
3) 3D Graphics

1 + 2 + 3: XBMC on Linux for ~USD 50 (Model B for USD 35 + guesstimating USD 15 for the case and the power adapter)

Re:Networked media player for USD 50 (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37827324)

They said it would do 1080p24 in hardware so as long as you're playing media that the GPU can decode that's enough for most purposes. If your media was encoded 1080p30 or higher you're going to have to transcode it before you can play it back, and then you might as well convert the resolution instead of the frame rate unless you're really blowing it up, in which case, spend the hundred bucks or whatever and buy the fancy Roku box. I believe it does 1080p30 :p

I want one pretty bad, too. I want a model B, I probably have a suitable wall wart, and I will make a case from wood since I have a router, the kind that can mutilate your fingers without being 6000 series or higher.

Really ? (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37829150)

Armed with this information you can create your very own 2006 Raspberry Pi machine.

Oh, really? Where can I order the CPU ?

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