Mini ITX PCs for Linux

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Mini ITX PCs for Linux

Postby Marrea » Tue Jul 19, 2005 1:53 pm

Hi

Any views on the Mini ITX PCs being advertised by CheepLinux?

http://www.cheeplinux.com/index.php?cPath=72&osCsid=378bf32a8120c43c046d20928bb052bc

I don't have any experience of VIA but was wondering whether these PCs are the sort of thing we could be recommending to newbies who don't want the hassle of installing Linux themselves. They come preinstalled with CentOS, Fedora or Mandrake apparently.
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RE: Mini ITX PCs for Linux

Postby nelz » Tue Jul 19, 2005 1:58 pm

I've used a couple of these (self-built, not from CheepLinux) and they work well. The case fans are a bit noisy but easy enough to replace, otherwise they are quite unremarkable for just getting on with working.
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Postby Marrea » Tue Jul 19, 2005 2:26 pm

I was toying with the idea of perhaps buying one to use solely as an experimental Linux box - for trying out new distros as they appear. This would save me messing around setting up dual boots with my WinXP laptops all the time.
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Postby M0PHP » Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:16 pm

Just remember to turn off 'cpuspeed' if included in your distro otherwise it can tend to print warnings (nothing to worry about, but annoying) on the console :lol:
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Postby Marrea » Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:30 am

Thanks for mentioning this.
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Postby A-Wing » Fri Jul 22, 2005 6:31 pm

There have been reports of i686 built binaries being unstable in it too, but as I use i386 based stuff on all our EPIAs (roughly 15 of our servers) anyway I can't really report on this.
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Postby nelz » Fri Jul 22, 2005 7:21 pm

That's because the VIA C3 CPU is an i586. It implements some, but not all, of the extra i686 instructions, so i686 software will crash when trying to execute them.
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Postby A-Wing » Fri Jul 22, 2005 7:37 pm

I saw the specs when I designed the servers, its one of the features that made me cautious, then my boss went and bought a bunch of them anyway and told me to get them ready :)
The same way he bought 5 Asus 64bit boards (k8s-mx), told me I had 3 days to get them ready, and after a bit of testing found that not 1 motherboard component on it has a Linux driver. I have only made 1 stable so far, a second had to be pulled this week I have been told (I'm on holiday/honeymoon). One is in bits on my desk to help develop the new sis190 net driver and the other 2 are still boxed! :)
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Postby nelz » Fri Jul 22, 2005 8:51 pm

It's not a problem, as long as you know about it and don't try to run code compiled for a different processor. Very few distros come with i686 binaries, and if you're compiling your own, gcc has a c3 option.
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Postby A-Wing » Fri Jul 22, 2005 9:02 pm

I tried a C3 kernel once, it crapped itself on boot so I switched back to the i386. I'm not too bothered on optimising those machines as they never get highly loaded, they mostly do round robin imap/pop3/mx and web clustering.
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Postby photobod » Fri Jul 22, 2005 10:11 pm

I've had a VIA C3/600 mini-itx based server running Linux for a couple of years without a hitch. I chose this because it didn't need a cpu fan at all, and in my book that's one less thing to cause a breakdown.
It's run SuSE since 8.0, currently 9.2 and all versions have detected the hardware and installed perfectly.
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Postby nelz » Fri Jul 22, 2005 10:42 pm

A-Wing wrote:I tried a C3 kernel once, it crapped itself on boot


I suspect it was something else in the kernel config, other than the CPU setting. I've been running C3 kernels for well over a year with no such problems.

I'm running a mail/web/file/print/backup server on an 800MHz Mini-ITX box and everything is compiled for C3.
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Postby A-Wing » Sat Jul 23, 2005 4:41 am

It could have been something else, it was a heavily modded 2.4 kernel series with vserver and several other patches (why my boss thought vservers on a EPIA was a good idea I don't know). Does the C3 code work with ViA Eden cpus as well? Haven't done much research into those. I was going to get a M series EPIA for my home server so I could hide it in a corner, it now does so much work however that its now a modded Silicon Graphics 330 instead!
http://www.icp-epia.co.uk/ seem to always have an M series on offer with case, they are worth checking out.
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Postby nelz » Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:27 pm

It should do. AFAIK they all have the same instruction set.
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Postby AJB2K3 » Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:37 am

Im running a M10K custom built with mandriva and its a nice machine but due to typical manufactor problems the hardware mpg decoding is not perfect on dvd playback.
Apart from that its a nice machine.
my specs
Epia M10K (1GHz processor)
256mb ram ( could be 1 problem for lame dvd playback)
250GB hd
DVD+/- RW
DVD reader,
Apple iPod mini
Blue/white LCD
Venus silver case
Mandriva LE 2005,
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