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Transmeta Mini-ITX Board Reviewed

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the mini-itx-rocks-the-house dept.

Transmeta 128

NobodyButMe writes "Transmetazone.com has posted a link to a 'world-exclusive' IBASE MB860 review on EpiaCenter.com. This appears to be the first review of a Mini-ITX board built around Transmeta's efficeon technology. Transmeta has also approved this board to be the official reference platform for the TM8600 processor and if you take a look at the benchmark results in the review (page 4) then you'll understand why as VIA's EPIA-M10K board looks quite pale in comparison. The review also adresses issues such as power consumption, temperatures and thermal throttling - three very interesting points when looking at the Efficeon processors. If the MB860 weren't so expensive (~500$ or something as it's aimed at the 'industrial market') then this could easily beat the EPIA boards (IMHO)."

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128 comments

Who's High Pitch? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626036)

This is Kelly Clarkson.

Re:Who's High Pitch? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626085)

Hello Hello!

Eugenia caught trolling her own website OSNews.com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626053)

LOL! Eugenia has been caught trolling the forums at OSNews.com, the very same forums that she moderates!

http://osnews.com/moderation.php?news_id=8649 [osnews.com]

Price is important... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626066)

When will these companies understand that price matters. Spend less on marketing and more on making the product affordable. Unless, of course they aren't targeting the consumer market...

Re:Price is important... (1)

pholower (739868) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626103)

Yes, price is an important factor to think about, but also the use of the product. If they are marketing this towards the industrial market like the article says, then companies are willing to shell out a little more money for an item that is more efficient, smaller, and more powerful. The price isn't an issue right now, but when they decide this is better for the consumer market I guarantee the prices will come down to a much more competitive level. Say under $200, IMHO.

Re:Price is important... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626323)

"...willing to shell out a little more money for an item that is more efficient, smaller, and more powerful"

But its the same size and less powerful. AS for efficiency, its hard to beat what VIA's doing these days with the C3 and the forthcomming 64bit Isaiah [via.com.tw] CPUs.

Re:Price is important... (1)

tylernt (581794) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626577)

I don't think Mini-ITX is that great of a deal to begin with, pricewise. For less than $50 you can get a cheap uATX mobo with video/LAN/sound and for another $50 a 1.6GHz Duron. You'd spend at least that much on a slower VIA board+CPU. The only thing Mini-ITX buys you is silence and space.

So, I don't think it's about price.

Re:Price is important... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626737)

I'm buying the mini-itx computers from Lex.com.tw. These have three LAN ports, boot from compact flash, can PXES boot over the network, cost $220 plus the memory. They make the perfect Internet terminal. Your view of what makes these different from a Micro ATX system is significantly incomplete - i.e., fundamentally wrong.

Re:Price is important... (1)

packeteer (566398) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627373)

If your paying $50 for a 1.6GHz duron your getting robbed. Go and buy an XP2500+ for $85. $35 more and WAY faster. If your really going for the budget though get the Sempron 2400+ for $60. The Sempron has 4x as much L2 cache and higher clock speed AND higher efficencer per clock cycle.

And as for silence and space... that is the whole point of mini ITX. I dont think anyone here is actually offering it as a cost competative alternative to ATX.

Re:Price is important... (1)

tylernt (581794) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627717)

"And as for silence and space... that is the whole point of mini ITX"

Yep. Which is why I said "So, I don't think it's about price" in my original post. :)

Re:Price is important... (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 9 years ago | (#10628850)

The only thing Mini-ITX buys you is silence and space.

Not to mention the lower power consumption.
I've replaced my servers at home with VIA boxes running FreeBSD for all these reasons.

Re:Price is important... (1)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626107)

Which, according to the post, Transmeta is not.

Mini-ITX variety (5, Informative)

Jon Proesel (762574) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626069)

Mini-box [mini-box.com] make some neato little ITX boxes which you could hook up to any number of storage solutions. Past that, I've had good success with Mini-ITX [mini-itx.com] boards. I get the cases from Web-tronics [web-tronics.com] , as the MITX ones are very, very expensive -- they're meant to make your MITX look like a CD player, pretty much, and I can do more without having to worry about cosmetics. MiniBox (above) sells snap-in MITX power supplies ranging from 60w to 200w. For the extra cool factor, use a Xenarc [xenarc.com] display or use something 'headless', e.g., LCDProc and Crystalfontz [crystalfontz.com] . (As I remember, the MiniBoxes come with their own little displays.)

Re:Mini-ITX variety (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626095)

But then again ... you could always go to Fry's.

Slashdotted already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626070)

Yikes! The entire website is unresponsive... ALREADY!

Slashdotted :-( (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626073)

The world-exclusive review is slashdotted before there are even any comments...

They wouldn't be running it on one of these... /lame joke

Mirrors Here (2, Informative)

Kinetic (3472) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626266)

MirrorDot [mirrordot.com] has mirrors of everything, including all the pictures.

Re:'Mirrors Here' are also slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626678)

their main page is ok but the link to this story is slashdotted :)

Industrial market, huh. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626074)

Well, the embedded systems world could certainly make use of a product like this. That $500 won't last: as soon as they get their development costs back from the big boys that can afford the initial high price, they'll go after Via. At least, that's my prediction.

That's nice and all but... (1)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626082)

...will it run Linux?

(and don't give me that "of-course-it-will-you-idiot-linus-used-to-work-th ere-dept" bit either)

Re:That's nice and all but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626121)

Of course it will run linux you idiot.

Re:That's nice and all but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626443)

Linus used to work there

Re:That's nice and all but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627538)

dept

Re:That's nice and all but... (3, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626327)

Transmeta CPUs are x86 compatible. And you can configure your kernel specifically for them.

Beat, by one measure (3, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626087)

Transmeta's mini-ITX board might beat a VIA board in speed, but VIA still has price going for them. And speed isn't that important to VIA's strategy, since their CPUs are meant to be fast enough for most jobs, but not the fastest CPUs available. They concentrate on power consumption. If Transmeta can lower the board price to $175, they would really have something good.

Re:Beat, by one measure (4, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626209)

VIA's trying to be all-around. Cheap (so the masses can buy - actually, this is goal #1 - the division that makes their CPUs was started by a couple former Dell engineers who were ticked that Intel was charging so much for their 386), small (look at Nano-BGA - smallest x86 around), fast enough, and cool.

Transmeta, on the other hand, is trying to be ice cold, and more importantly, low power. They're actually one of the physically LARGEST x86 solutions, and they're not cheap. Sure, they might be faster than VIA, but not by too much (I actually had a chance to read the article on Epiacenter several hours before the /.ing, but only glanced at it).

Meh. Transmeta Schmansmeta (2, Interesting)

erikharrison (633719) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626089)

I always liked Transmeta. But multiple looks at their processors always seemed to show that while they were outclassing the Eden chips from Via in terms of performance, the power/heat to perf ratio always seemed to be targeting a market that I wasn't sure existed.

ARM has the bottom end (watches) and in the x86 space Via controls the low and AMD and Intel battle it out for middle and high (laptops and desktops). Transmeta processoes only seem to win in the palmtop arena, and even then Via is a strong contender.

Anyone here considering using Transmeta in a hobby or production box? And why them and not someone else?

Re:Meh. Transmeta Schmansmeta (2)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626265)

Umm... no.

ARM has PDAs and stuff like routers. VIA has set-tops primarily.

Now, I don't know why VIA doesn't have a stronger presence in palmtops (except for Transmeta only needing a seventh of the power). The VIA CPU is a hell of a lot smaller, so there's more room for a battery, or a smaller palmtop.

Re:Meh. Transmeta Schmansmeta (1)

bani (467531) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626900)

still, MIPS outnumbers VIA for set-tops.

Re:Meh. Transmeta Schmansmeta (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626269)

I would like to use Transmeta chips in a hobbyist box for a fanless home server or MythTV box. However they just don't seem to be cost effective or widely available enough for that market. How many years did it take to see a Mini-ITX board? Those should have been released at competitive prices on day one.

Michael

Crunched (3, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626098)

I can't get to the article, so for those that have read it...

Do those M10K-paling numbers include AES-crypto? How about MPEG-2/4 encoding/decoding? The VIA boards have dedicated hardware for this stuff that offloads from the CPU and really ramps up nicely.

Or are they comparing such useful measures as SPECmarks, GFlops, and other meaningless drivel?

-Charles

epia reminds me of amiga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627547)

I had an A1200 back in the early 90's. Nice machine, slow CPU but the dedicated co-processors made up for it, and then some. Until Doom came out, I wouldn't even look at PC games (and even then I only got one to play Doom, and later on Quake... 2D games were still better on the Amiga or console systems like Neo-Geo).

Re:Crunched (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627945)

AES-crypto?

Not terribly important, since very little uses AES now. Sure, you can make SSH default to try AES first, but is the majority of your CPU time dedicated to SSH sessions? Even if it is, a lot of it is probably compression, not encryption.

How about MPEG-2/4 encoding/decoding?

WTF? Since when does VIA include hardware to do MPEG-4 encoding? Bah! Only thing I know about is MPEG-2 playback (not even MPEG-1) and you can get that with any cheap video-card these days.

And BTW, hardware playback isn't all it's cracked up to be. My GeForce 4 card supports hardware MPEG-1/2 playback, well beyond HD specs, but it's practically useless, as you can't do ANY video processing before displaying the video. Useless.

Or are they comparing such useful measures as SPECmarks, GFlops, and other meaningless drivel?

Yes, that's right... They're actually testing the performance of this general-purpose CPU. How dare they tell people what performance they can expect to get when running software on a computer!

Re:Crunched (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10628329)

AES loopback encrypted filesystem, at faster speeds than even P4's can do. That's the only thing I can think of right now, but I'm not heavily into crypto, but AES is common enough there's bound to be other uses.
The video stuff could be useful for watching DVDs without overloading the cpu? Well in any case there's not much room in mini-itx cases to put fat-ass video cards, so it's nice to have stuff like that on the mobo. Not to mention those fat-ass video cards suck mucho power and one of the things about mini-itx is trying avoid that. That and less noise too (some of those boards don't even have a cpu fan).

Transmeta vs AMD vs Intel (2, Insightful)

fembots (753724) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626105)

Is Transmeta the new AMD in terms of innovation and catering the real consumer needs?

I wonder if/when Transmeta's price has come down to $100-$200 mark, will it start to attract more users?

Re:Transmeta vs AMD vs Intel (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626274)

``Is Transmeta the new AMD in terms of innovation and catering the real consumer needs?''

err, well. What are the ``real consumer needs''?

If you mean ``what consumers want'', then TM is definitely not it. Consumers want higher, bigger, larger, and the Efficeon doesn't give them that with it's 1 GHz - which doesn't even go as fast as an 1 GHz Athlon, as the x86 crap^H^H^Hode is emulated.

If you mean ``what geeks want'', then the Efficeon might go somewhere. There's certainly interesting technology in there, and there are probably lots of geeks who care about power efficiency.

I am afraid, though, that the Transmeta we know is not going to make it. There simply does not appear to be too much of a market for their kind of chip. Perhaps a transformation, like making CPUs with programmable code morphing (so they can emulate pretty much any architecture) could save them. But then, they run the risk to become Jack of all trades, master of none.

I still don't really see why their chips are fundamentally better than other manufacturer's. Surely one could layer code morphing (which is, after all, software) on top of mostly any other CPU? And don't go telling me that there aren't other energy-efficient CPUs out there. It seems to me that other manufacturers could release Efficeon-like processors if they wanted to - and will if Efficeon turns out to be a success.

Re:Transmeta vs AMD vs Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626331)

Is Transmeta the new AMD in terms of innovation and catering the real consumer needs?

Annnnddddd the Magic 8-Ball says.... No. Via EPIA chips aer a fraction of that price and are more than fast enough for 90% of desktop users.

Don't just look at the price. (2, Interesting)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626109)

I've been working on a three week RMA where I had to hunt for contacts for an hour, spend a couple of hours filling out a support request only to get a form letter back, make three toll calls before reaching someone because the office hours were wrong on the contact page as well as their phone menu system, make another after a half-hour on hold to get the RMA, pay freight one-way then wait a couple of weeks for a board that may or may not work.

Better to pay twice as much to get something that works right in the first place than to go through the above (where you'll be buying a second board to use during the RMA anyway). Even if you had to run GNU/Linux on it, you'd still be ahead of the game for office applications.

Re:Don't just look at the price. (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626319)

About your sig.. I've seen it a few times and it pisses me off.

IIRC "do or do not, there is no try" is a Yoda quote from Episode five. Not from Spock.

Tom

Re:Don't just look at the price. (1)

ventivent (416035) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626874)

Also, Dr. Spock is (was) a pediatrician who influenced the way thousands of us were brought up.

http://www.drspock.com/about/drbenjaminspock/0%2C1 781%2C%2C00.html [drspock.com]

Mister Spock was the Vulcan first office aboard the Starship Enterprise. I don't believe he ever received a doctoral degree.

YHBT. HAND. (1)

ArghBlarg (79067) | more than 9 years ago | (#10628024)

It was pretty obvious to me.. guess I hang around /. too much. Sigh.

" Even if you had to run GNU/Linux on it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626424)

"had to"???????? why would you run anything else???? linux is the penultimate opereting system!!

Re:" Even if you had to run GNU/Linux on it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10628083)

*sigh* I think some not majoring in linguistics might not get this. Pen means almost. Like in spanish penultima means 2nd to last. This means linux is second best.

Re:" Even if you had to run GNU/Linux on it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10628889)

Well, given that the AC was somewhat sarcastically impersonating a linux zealot, I wouldn't be surprised if he was already aware of this. How does that go? ... YHBT, HAND!

But seriously, can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these??????!?!?!?! I could care less about M$ Winblows running on it. LOLLLOLLOLLOL. They're are posters their that use there sKilz to piss off grammer and speling natsiz.

Re:Don't just look at the price. (1)

mejesster (813444) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626752)

This is a completely unrelated anecdote that doesn't even mention what product you're whining about. Also, your sig quote is incorrectly attributed. Something more on topic: as far as low power processors go, AMD has its Geode family http://www.amd.com/us-en/ConnectivitySolutions/Pro ductInformation/0,,50_2330_9863_10837,00.html [amd.com] purchased from some other company. I think these will do quite well, assuming they get mainstream support, because as we all know AMD fanboys inhabit the "enthusiast" market pretty solidly (myself included).

Re:Don't just look at the price. (1)

bani (467531) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626935)

the geode hardly sells at all. it is a non product, via outsells it by several orders of magnitude.

It's /. Please do you mirroring magik (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626110)

thanks

WTF? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626125)

Ok...that site went down solidly. They must have been doing something seriously wrong.

Anyone have a link or some text?

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627576)

They are most likely running windows server 2003 on a single tranmeta mini itx box, or an XBOX.

Re:WTF? (1)

the quick brown fox (681969) | more than 9 years ago | (#10628836)

Yeah, here's the text:

----

error in sql-statement: mysql_connect, err-no: 2002
description: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (111)

Warning: mysql_select_db(): Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (111) in /srv/www/htdocs/web0/html/epiacenter/includes/sql_ layer.php on line 89

Warning: mysql_select_db(): A link to the server could not be established in /srv/www/htdocs/web0/html/epiacenter/includes/sql_ layer.php on line 89

error in sql-statement: mysql_select_db, err-no: 2002
description: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (111)

error in sql-statement: mysql_query, err-no: 2002
qry: select active, view from nuke_modules where title='Content'
description: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (111)

Warning: mysql_fetch_row(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /srv/www/htdocs/web0/html/epiacenter/includes/sql_ layer.php on line 298 ...

Cheap EPIA boards? (2, Interesting)

TeckWrek (220789) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626127)

Does someone know where to buy Via EPIA boards for cheap? I've read that they are available in volume for $45 for the new M10000, but I can't find any $160 retail.

What gives?

Re:Cheap EPIA boards? (1)

TeckWrek (220789) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626158)

I meant any less than $160 retail.

Re:Cheap EPIA boards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10628849)

Idot PC www.idotpc.com has some for about $100 as does the DSL store www.damnsmalllinux.org/store/ about the same price.

The Epia-V are built with Ezra-T 1 Ghz CPUs and are going for about 99. The Epia-800 (Ezra-T 800 Mhz) are going for 105. The Epia-V does not include TV-Out and some other features.

You can also get the FIC Mini-ITX, if you look hard enough, with SAM 2 800 MHz CPUs for around $45. PC Chips also sells a Micro-ATX, a little larger but simular spec board, with embeded Sam 2 800 MHz(and a free copy of Lindows) for about $59.00.

The difference between the CPUs matter a lot. The Sam 2 was a dog of a chip with terrible performace while the Ezra is slightly better. Both the Sams and the Ezras run 1/2 FPU. The Nehemia runs full FPU. In otherwords If you want to do Multimedia encoding or any 3D gaming then grab the Nehemia instead of the Ezra even though it costs more.

I have two computers built from the Mini-Itx 800 MHz boards, both running Linux. They perform fairly well except for games using 3D graphics utilizing OpenGL. No problem with games utilizing SDL though.

Re:Cheap EPIA boards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626184)

Newegg did sell them but rumour has it they stopped due to high failure/return rates.

Re:Cheap EPIA boards? (3, Informative)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626336)

I have 5 Via mini-itx boards in varied levels of service (ogg player, firewall, yum repo, web content filter, etc.) and haven't had a problem with any of them. One of them I used for about a year in my truck to play ogg files off a harddrive which was some severe duty in a harsh environment.

Of course that is a very small sample size so statistically speaking there could be a reliability issue that I'm not aware of. But I'm happy with their products to date.

burnin

Re:Cheap EPIA boards? (1)

tmasssey (546878) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627755)

We use these as firewalls with zero moving parts: Compact Flash IDE, Eden 533MHz processors with heatsink only, etc.

We've probably got something like a dozen or so of these in producton. We've never, not *ever*, had to reboot a single one of these. It's not that they have not ever been restarted, but they've never crashed once.

I'd say that, for us, they've been highly reliable...

Re:Cheap EPIA boards? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627961)

One of them I used for about a year in my truck to play ogg files off a harddrive which was some severe duty in a harsh environment.

Harsh duty for the hard drive. Not really for the CPU+mobo.

Re:Cheap EPIA boards? (1)

paxmark1 (636441) | more than 9 years ago | (#10628757)

YMMV
0 for one for me. Voltage regulater, 12 weeks w/out down time (had to use my personal puter for usage via the entire Residential Care facility lot of work getting all of my personal data off and burned to cd's). Yeah, I really liked my 733 mhz VIA even though it was hell to get started - well, I finally compiled a linux kernel (a bit harder than a buildworld in FreeBSD). I really did like it though, it really ran smooth with never a hiccup until the fan started making noise - and I took it in.

But, I can live with the 2.4 mhz P-4 that replaced it with more memory and a bigger hard drive. ECS does not seem to have anything more to do with C-3.

YMMV

Re:Cheap EPIA boards? (1)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626290)

directron.com [directron.com] has a couple of epia mini-itx boards $100.

Re:Cheap EPIA boards? (1)

C60 (546704) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626774)

If you're looking for low volume (2 - 10 units), you're going to end up paying close to retail. That's just how it works.

For medium volume (25+ units) talk to the guys at http://www.servercase.com/ [servercase.com] ... They've been really helpful to me in the past.

For larger volumes (100+) talk directly with VIA, they have always been extremely helpful in working with the little guys (in my experience), and if you're actually building a product, or developing something nifty with their boards you can generally get direct access with their devs and help in marketting the products. Hell, they even payed for us to go to COMDEX and CES to show off our EPIA based products, not exactly the typical response from a big company ya' know?

Some of the specs (2, Informative)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626132)

Well, it's slashdotted. Just for once, I was actually going to RTFA. Google doesn't seem to have the article in its cache, either. Oh, well.

Here is the MB860 [ibase-i.com.tw] . Since they're using the Transmeta chip, power consumption must be a big deal. Here's the spec. for that:

Maximum Power Consumption

(MB860-1.0GHz in 3Dmark2001)
+3.3V : 3.03A
+5V : 3.09A
+12V : 0.35A)

Re:Some of the specs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626172)

does it mean it only uses 9W max or you have to add the three max values and come up to about 30W?

Re:Some of the specs (3, Informative)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626256)

Unless you have reason to believe that it uses the three voltages one at a time, you'd have to add them.

Does 30W sound like a lot? My laptop uses a 57W powersupply [laptoptravel.com] , with a CPU at 1/4 the clockspeed.

Re:Some of the specs (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626293)

And before the MB860 link goes down, too, here's a coral cache version [nyud.net] .

Question.... (2, Interesting)

XST1 (824817) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626142)

If the MB860 weren't so expensive (~500$ or something as it's aimed at the 'industrial market')

Maybe im wrong but don't industrial type market businesses usually purchase big powerful industrial type computers to process their work?

What exactly are industrial businesses doing with these boards?

I can only see this item being sold on the consumer market.

Re:Question.... (1)

halo1982 (679554) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626257)

point of sale systems, ATMs, maybe high end auto pc stuff?

using them as solid state POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626753)

such as http://www.viewtouch.com/printers.html

Re:Question.... (0)

Sique (173459) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626292)

Embed them into some gizmo that shouldn't take to much power because of what ever reason limits the possible energy consumtion. Imagine complex controler boxes for engines in explosive environments, where you don't want too much heat from the controler, because it could blast off the stuff you want to control.

Re:Question.... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626306)

You don't know what industrial means, do you?

Industrial = embedded, and harsh (extremely hot, dusty, extremely cold, wet, etc., etc.)

Re:Question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627459)

The industrial market is/has been driven by
a platform that is stable over a longish
time frame (like 10 years). The Mini-ITX
platform looks to be more consumer driven,
as opposed to the PC/104 platform. There is
a place for both form factors, just not the
same place. Of course, commoditization and
lowest cost platform does tend to drive new
markets. The Transmeta chip uses VLIW and
a translation layer that is avoided by VIA-
EPIAs C3 chip (and beyond). Without significant
pricing moderation, the Transmeta chip is likely
to go the way of the IA-64.

Re:Question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627507)

not much.

PC-104 is entrenched in industrial. it's a rugged formfactor that many environmental cases are designed for. Hell I had a 386 back in college that was mounted in an environmental chamber for 2 years that experienced the equlivant of travelling from the peak of mountians to underwater in death valley 10 times a day. I got myhands onit only because they upgraded.

sorry but they have no chance of selling to industrial.

Summary of the review (5, Informative)

XST1 (824817) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626201)

I grabbed the last page before it got slashdotted if anyone wants a basic summary of what the review said:

The MB860 initially attracted me because it was the first Mini-ITX board to be based around the Transmeta Efficeon technology. Given that Transmeta's track record with performance isn't the best I was very much looking forward to testing the MB860. Now that I have worked with it for several weeks I can say the following: "I like it, but..."

One of the strong selling points is certainly that this board is fanless while offering good performance at very low-power consumption levels. It is quite impressive to see that the difference in total power consumption between idle (at ~18w) and full load (~30w) is very low. It's even more impressive if you realize that the CPU itself is only using a maximum of ~2w when playing a DVD. At the same time the temperature remains at an acceptable level while you are always sure that the system won't be damaged thanks to the thermal throttling. I think that the MB860 could be a great choice for CarPCs as these systems are especially sensitive as far as power consumption and heat are concerned.

Attention to details such as the 44-pin IDE header and the included 44-pin cable are nice touches. There are however also a couple of annoyances such as the non-standard power-LED pins and the location of the ATX connector. While the second point varies depending on what case and power supply is used I'd personally prefer to use existing components such as the handy plug-in PSUs from iTuner. The I/O area of the board could also use 2 (4 would be even better) additional USB2.0 ports. Additionally I'd love to see an S-Video connector as many people prefer this option. For the future a DVI instead of the slowly aging VGA connector would also be appreciated. Especially since the ATI M7 core seems to be quite capable of producing high quality output signals.

Software wise I can only complain about the M7 driver issue I'm having but as I said above that might be due to the fact that my sample is one of the first pre-production boards. In case I can come up with a solution I will update this article accordingly. As I didn't experience a single crash during my endless hours of testing and working on this system I'm lead to believe that the other drivers for the MB860 are very stable.
One more thing which I'd like to see is a detailed documentation of the Observer tool and a better user-interface plus more option for this handy application.

Here's a point which I haven't mentioned so far. Price. According to Transmeta the board is said to retail at around $450 but from I'm hearing from IBASE the retail price is likely to be higher. IBASE has made it clear that the MB860 is mainly aimed at the industry/industrial markets and this price-tag will certainly keep most regular consumers from considering this board. This is quite a pity in my opinion since the MB860 offers many features that consumers would also appreciate.

In the end of each review the question always is: Is this product worth its money and should you consider spending your hard-earned cash on this product?
For the regular reader here this will basically turn into the question whether a VIA EPIA board or the IBASE MB860 is the better choice for their system. Both boards have their strengths and weaknesses but I believe that there the EPIA boards offer two important advantages. Price being one of them as you can basically build a complete system for the price of the MB860. On the other hand the EPIAs have the advantage of being on the market for some time. Therefore you'll find more products (both hardware and software) and general support for this platform. This is certainly another point to consider.
For the industrial market the MB860 certainly offers some compelling reasons to be purchased instead of an EPIA board. First of all industrial products normally have a higher reliability than consumer products. Given my own experience and hearing from other people I'd also suggest that the (technical-) support provided by IBASE is certainly better than what VIA offers. Another point to consider is that the Transmeta technology seems to be more robust than VIA's C3 processor while providing good performance at very low power consumption levels.

So in the end it's up to you to decide which product to choose depending on your specific requirements...

Re:Summary of the review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626210)

thank you. anyone who is this much karma whore deserves a 5 Interesting. Very informative too.

HIDDEN TROLL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627655)

"According to Transmeta CmdrTaco is a flaming butt spelunker ..."

Mod parent down.

Ashley Simpson Motherboard (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#10626258)

http://70.85.8.66/ashlee_simpson_snl.avi

nonperform

Nano-itx (2, Funny)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626267)

I wan a Nano-ITX board myself... not quite out yet.

http://www.beareyes.com.cn/2/lib/200303/18/073/vi3 -b.jpg [beareyes.com.cn]

No, just kidding. Here's the real Nano-ITX:
http://www.mini-itx.com/store/subscribe.asp?s=8 [mini-itx.com]

Nano-itx is too big (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10628041)

Transmeta has a motherboard the size of a business card called Stratosphere.

Check it out here [deviceforge.com]

They also have a desktop supercomputer, although I'll stick to my 800mhz fujitsu for now.

Slashdotted - Mirrors Here (4, Informative)

Kinetic (3472) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626286)

Mirrors, including all the pictures, are at MirrorDot [mirrordot.com] . Enjoy.

Re:Slashdotted - Mirrors Here (1)

Flower (31351) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626525)

Tried MirrorDot and coral. Both are unreachable from where I'm at. Site down, now two mirrors are down. Let the geometric /.ing commence.

This is why we don't make /. weapons.

Transmeta has no direction. (4, Insightful)

Thai-Pan (414112) | more than 8 years ago | (#10626314)

Is it just me, or does Transmeta seem to be completely dropping the ball when it comes to catering their product to their own key demographic?

It's essentially built like a normal computer motherboard, but who in their right mind is using a low power embedded solution like this for a desktop? Really, people are using Transmeta's projects for places where low power consumption and small size are key. Like home theatre PCs, car PCs, and so forth.

Transmeta needs to get smart and produce products directly targeted at these embedded solutions; not vague products which could possibly be contributed towards them. If you want to build a home theatre PC, you need to hunt around for the motherboard, CPU, etc. from a normal computer, plus the chore of getting together a remote control system, small quiet power supply, suitable case that doesn't look like a budget computer from 1996, a fancy home audio sound card, etc.. If you want a car PC, you're going to be hunting for some very specialized input devices, screens, power supplies, etc. Why isn't anybody producing proper kits for these uses?

Re:Transmeta has no direction. (2, Interesting)

Cheetahfeathers (93473) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626780)

Who in their right mind? People who use their desktop to IM, web, email, word processing, etc. Light basic work. About everyone in most any office. Low power and quiet opperation makes it perfect for this type of task.

Desktop does not only mean super fast 3d gaming system.

Re:Transmeta has no direction. (1)

Thai-Pan (414112) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626804)

So you're telling me that if you wanted to build a computer for such a task, you'd pay the gross premium for the small embedded solution that performs worse when you don't need the form factor benefits?

Re:Transmeta has no direction. (1)

Cheetahfeathers (93473) | more than 9 years ago | (#10628551)

Nope. I'd go for a cheap fanless VIA or a SunRay setup, in a lot of cases.

Re:Transmeta has no direction. (1)

bani (467531) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626960)

offices dont care about that kind of thing. normal minitower PCs are 'quiet enough' and they dont particularly worry about power.

Re:Transmeta has no direction. (1)

elhedran (768858) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627290)

The should care about power.

power == bill to run building == expense == less profit.

Need to figure time and total expense. (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 9 years ago | (#10628338)

Maybe the cost of optimizing for a lower power bill through lower power computers is more expensive and time-consuming than continuing to use their extant computers and paying the power bill they have now.

Re:Transmeta has no direction. (1)

bani (467531) | more than 9 years ago | (#10628403)

the lower productivity from use of the far slower transmeta CPUs would have far greater impact on profit margin than the small amount of money saved from lower power bills.

for offices, its a complete non issue. switching to LCD monitors provides a far greater savings and no productivity loss.

Re:Transmeta has no direction. (2, Informative)

kirkjobsluder (520465) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627264)

It's essentially built like a normal computer motherboard, but who in their right mind is using a low power embedded solution like this for a desktop?

I went with a VIA EPIA for my desktop/server. After a few years of having a damn vacum cleaner next to my desk, it was an excellent choice. (Actually, with plenty of ram and xfce, it's quite a bit snappier than many of the WinXP boxes I use.)

Re:Transmeta has no direction. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627899)

Why isn't anybody producing proper kits for these uses?

Because nobody else is... It's corporate group-think at it's worst.

Re:Transmeta has no direction. (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10628707)

Huh? As a person with one mini-ITX PC [iinet.net.au] already, I'd have to say that Transmeta are hitting a major part of their market spot on with this release. Not only will a significant number of people already considering, say, a small media PC try a Transmeta board, but the more innovative hobbyist projects should drive a very successful grassroots advertising campain.

Now, if I could only get the page to load...

Transmeta Mirror broken (1)

kernel panic attack (810175) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626933)

slashdot effect in action.... anyone know the mirror for mirrordot.com?

Thermal throttle-Efficeon's slower than you think (4, Interesting)

ventivent (416035) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626970)

Here's an interesting article on Van's Hardware about the Efficeon's thermal throttling properties. Apparently it's even slower than you think.

http://www.vanshardware.com/articles/2004/05/04051 7_efficeonFreeze/040517_efficeonFreeze.htm [vanshardware.com]

Re:Thermal throttle-Efficeon's slower than you thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627936)

That article (and, as far as I can tell, Van's Hardware) seems to have a bone to pick with Transmeta, which is IMO unfair.

The Sharp MM-20 is an incredibly thin machine, down to the point where one has to wonder where the heck they put the circuit board. This probably means it has no other heat management solution than the underside metal, and that the whole solution is limited by thermal dissipation.'

In that case, you have two options for design: you can either use a slower CPU which you can run at 100% at all times, or you can pick a faster one which can run at up to 100% until the thermals catch up, and then throttle it down. Since most desktop users' utilization tend to be bursty, the latter will give the typical user more oomph.

Now, this is a design decision made by Sharp, but the article makes it sound like it's inherent to Transmeta's CPUs. It's not -- ALL current CPUs will behave this way if put in a thermally constrained situation. Is it worth it to get a super-duper-thin machine? Sharp seems to think so, but that's their decision, not Transmeta's.

Some non-slashdotted pics (1)

darekana (205478) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627150)

stats [ibase.com.tw] and here [ascii24.com] and here [kakaku.com]

Looks like they want "62,800"yen or about $550 for it... think I'll hold off for a bit. :)

it may be small... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627688)

but imagine a beowulf cluster of these things!

I can't understand a word of that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627931)

"Transmetazone.com ... 'world-exclusive' IBASE MB860 review on EpiaCenter.com. ... review of a Mini-ITX board built around Transmeta's efficeon technology. Transmeta has also approved this board to be the official reference platform for the TM8600 ... as VIA's EPIA-M10K board ... thermal throttling - three very interesting points when looking at the Efficeon processors. If the MB860 weren't so expensive (~500$ or something as it's aimed at the 'industrial market') then this could easily beat the EPIA boards ..."

Well, I'll have to go coward to say this, but it's true...

Dude, I don't understand a stinkin' word of the above.

I mean... it's weird. I get paid pretty well to be a geek, but apparently I work in a completely different form of geek than you. That's English, right?

Wowza.

Industrial market? (4, Interesting)

xtal (49134) | more than 9 years ago | (#10628636)

Industrial market is already well served by ARM (Xscale et al.), PPC, Pentium M, Geode, VIA, and many others. All are well supported, fast, and low power.

We looked at transmeta as a platform in-house for a product, but there don't seem to be enough (any?) advantages to the product to justify the additional cost or technical risk over a more traditional and proven processor line.

I'm not sure what transmeta's strategy is go-forward, but they need to come up with something. Seen many transmeta powered PDAs out there? Cell phones?

interresting site (1)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 9 years ago | (#10628842)

error in sql-statement: mysql_connect, err-no: 2002
description: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (111)
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