Re: [dwm] Low Power Fanless Computer

From: Kai Großjohann <>
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2009 15:25:36 +0200

I suggest to buy some sort of laptop or netbook and ignore the internal

Perhaps the Dell Mini 12 is good (since fanless) but I don't know how it
fits into the other requirements.


On 04/25/2009 02:59 AM, Matthias-Christian Ott wrote:
> Hi,
> after a few months of latop-only computing (my good old P4 1.8Ghz is now -
> after 7 years - a Windows machine in our household), I plan to switch to a
> normal computer again.
> My requirements are the following:
> o Low power consumption (< 10W; 25W upper limit)
> o Support for major Free Software operating systems (no strange, custom
> GNU/Linux distributions), especially GNU/Linux or NetBSD
> o Fanless and no moving parts
> o No proprietary drivers, etc. (BIOS and bootloader acceptable)
> o Standard form-factor or custom case/enclosure (if so, hole for rp-sma
> connector)
> o Smallest form-factor that is possible (I don't understand why computers
> are still the size of a bottle crate)
> o Standard connectors (USB, VGA/DVI, Ethernet)
> o VESA mount (if possible)
> o low budget (< 500€)
> After I found no RISC processors or SOCs, I looked at x86 CPUs. There three
> low power architectures: VIA C7 and Nano, AMD Geode and Intel Atom.
> VIA's technology (especially the C7) seems to be out-dated. VIA offers a
> mini-itx board with its Nano CPU (VIA VB8001), but it has small fan and its
> power consumption is slightly above the limit.
> AMD's Geode is obsolete as well. The Geode LX family has the advantage of
> low power consumption and small form factor. However, the performance per
> watt ration is low.
> Intel's Atom processors are modern and have probably the highest performance
> per watt ration. However, the smallest affordable form-factor is mini-itx
> (I talked to several companies that manufacture smaller industrial boards,
> but the price performance ratio was terrible and buying one of those would
> be my last option). Similar to the Nano most of the Atom Boards have a power
> consumption that's a bit above 25W (there are the Z510 and Z530 embedded
> Atom CPUs, but the come with the GMA 500 graphics chip which has no free
> drivers). Nvidia's Ion, especially the Acer AspireRevo, seems to be quite
> promising, but has proprietary drivers.
> I wanted to ask you (because you very likely use your computers the same way
> I do) whether you think the Geode is sufficient for the next three years or
> so, otherwise would buy a cheap Atom mini-itx computer.
> Usually I use my computer just for programming, typesetting (mainly
> with groff and heirloom-doctools, but also occasionally with LaTeX),
> reading and research. I don't need any computing power for simulations,
> calculations, etc.; I can get access to bigger machines if I really have
> such special tasks.
> What bothers me a bit are these multimedia applications (video codecs,
> etc.) and particularly web applications. I'm really not sure if the
> Geode would be able to render on of these new JavaScript + HTML =
> graphics-and-user-interface-API web apps in one and a half years or
> so. Moreover, I can't imagine the CPU to decode a medium-sized h.264 videos
> which seem to have become today's quasi-standard.
> Maybe you know a better alternative.
> Regards,
> Matthias-Christian
Received on Sun Apr 26 2009 - 13:25:36 UTC

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