Monday, May 07, 2007

Mini-ITX and smaller shopping list...

We've come a long way since Hans and I first bought the lamb-rt router in 2001, something that cost $600 and was about the size of a pack of cigarettes... It didn't quite do what we wanted (portable multicast beacon) due to it''s 16MB of ram but it was an interesting learning experience. We eventually did succeed in building the beacon on the half as expensive twice as fast and 3x as big soekris 4521. These days I routinely run all sorts of things on wireless accesspoint/routers (buffalo whr-g54S, buffalo whr-hp-g54, linksys etc), that have been converted to run open-wrt, but there's never quite enough power in the seriously low-end hardware (though cheap is nice)

Intel core based mini-itx mainboards now exist in reasonable profusion so there is a big step-up for applications needing something more powerful than a via c7 cpu... On the other end, 500mhz AMD geod processor based mini-itx boards are also hitting the market for still lower powered devices.

The original 2001 mini-itx motherboards are literally still in the marketplace so there's a certain amount of endurance that the embedded systems have that simply doesn't exist in the consumer space.

Small things that caught my eye recently:

MSI fuzzy 945GM2 - Intel mainboard, 3 ethernets + pci express. Quite powerful

soekris net 5501 - Finally shipped! AMD geod based 4 ethernets + mini-pci and regular pci...

routerboard-100 Looks like a cheap way to experiment with embedded mips on something a little more powerful and flexible than a buffalo accesspoint.

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