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-   -   This year's small computer (https://www.mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?t=19481)

chappy 2014-10-11 20:01

[url]https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atomcomputer/neutron-a-full-blown-windows-pc-in-the-palm-of-you[/url]

Xyzzy 2014-11-01 18:39

We are intrigued with the idea of using a smaller computer for our main computer.

In particular, the smaller footprint, reduced operating noise and electrical power will be appreciated. (Unfortunately the VESA mount on our display is blocked by the pedestal, so we will not be able to mount the [URL="http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/nuc/overview.html"]NUC[/URL] to the back of our display.)

We toyed with the idea of getting a laptop, but we already have a decent display, laptops are expensive and they are generally difficult to set up with Linux, unless you run Linux in a virtual machine.

We expect the new parts to arrive next Thursday.

We need to think of a solution for playing sound. Maybe we will test a Bluetooth speaker, assuming the Bluetooth works with Linux. We currently use [URL="http://www.centos.org/"]CentOS 7[/URL] for our operating system.

New parts for system:
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147316[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148730[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106244[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856102052[/URL]

Existing parts for system:
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823816001[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824260111[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16825122015[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826816006[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124490[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16842101419[/URL]

Old computer:
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139007[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131821[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139015[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116501[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147096[/URL] ×2
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167122[/URL]
[URL]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835608019[/URL]

Batalov 2014-11-01 19:53

So I guess, Mike, you read the Neutron kickstarter's webpage comments?

Amazing, simply amazing. When I first read that page, I thought, "wow! $750 'early bird'... $850... that's steep, but they build the board etc..." but they [I]don't[/I], they just assemble a NUC, SSD and wireless adapter into a shiny plastic box. Of course, Mike can do it all better than them and save ~$400.

Xyzzy 2014-11-01 21:08

[QUOTE=Batalov;386668]So I guess, Mike, you read the Neutron kickstarter's webpage comments?[/QUOTE]:ttu:

Xyzzy 2014-11-06 21:07

3 Attachment(s)
We just "assembled" the NUC. It took under 20 minutes. Part of that time was used to find a suitable screwdriver!

We haven't installed an operating system, messed with the BIOS or tested the memory yet. But, here are some (very poorly taken) pictures!

VictordeHolland 2014-11-06 23:35

[QUOTE=Xyzzy;387041]We just "assembled" the NUC. It took under 20 minutes. Part of that time was used to find a suitable screwdriver!

We haven't installed an operating system, messed with the BIOS or tested the memory yet. But, here are some (very poorly taken) pictures![/QUOTE]
Nice!

P.S.
Your big case looks like it could use some de-dusting :P .

Xyzzy 2014-11-07 03:22

2 Attachment(s)
The BIOS on this thing is crazy cool, and it even includes comprehensive overclocking options! It is totally GUI with mouse support. Every line or option has detailed mouseover information. (We turned off the overclocking stuff.)

We didn't alter the BIOS settings too much. Basically we turned off UEFI booting and adjusted the slowest fan speed from 40% to 0%.

In real-life use the fan rarely spins up at all. If it does spin up, it stops as soon as the load is removed. We can use the fan sound to determine if Firefox tabs are behaving badly!

If we hit a crazy web page full of animated crap the fan spools up pretty quickly. (We also adjusted the maximum fan speed to 100%.)

We might mess with the "reaction time" of the fan because right now it spins up immediately when under load. We think the heatsink can easily absorb transient spikes. We think this adjustment is the "damping" factor.

This page is one that will turn the fans to "meltdown imminent" mode easily: [URL]http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Performance/FishIETank/Default.html[/URL]

Our overall experience is silent, which is really nice. Generally the entire system draws 32 watts, most of which is used by our relatively large LCD.

Both WiFi and Bluetooth work in Linux with no fancy setup. They just work! (Seriously, this is amazing!)

For our casual work, which is easily 99% of what we do, we are unable to tell a difference between the NUC and our monster computer. The monster computer is scheduled for a rebuild (and cleaning!) and it will be repurposed into something very interesting. (Details to follow!)

During the memory testing procedure, when there were no power management options in effect, the CPU capped out at around 62°C. It took a little over an hour to run through one pass of the memory tester. The memory tester is SMP aware, which must be a new development since we have never seen it before.

We installed Ubuntu 14.04 first because for some weird reason, CentOS 7 (and RHEL 7) will not install to a blank SSD. We have a habit of "secure-erasing" our SSD when we install a new system. But, we had to let Ubuntu partition everything and run through the complete install and then install CentOS on top of all that. What is really weird is the partitioner in CentOS knows to destroy the old partition table and create a new one. It just cannot create one from scratch.

The cardboard box the NUC ships in has a photocell built in, and when you open the box it plays the "Intel chime" very loudly. We would have preferred they omit this "feature" and sell the NUC for a few dollars less, but for other people it might be a "real cool feature". It was definitely loud and unexpected!

We have attached more (poorly taken) pictures of the memory tester and of our new, streamlined desktop "experience". Unfortunately, we had to turn our UPS (wattmeter display) to the side, but that gives us lots of room. The iPad sure came in handy for diagnosing things during the install!

Batalov 2014-11-07 03:28

[QUOTE=Xyzzy;387062]... The monster computer is scheduled for a rebuild (and cleaning!) and it will be repurposed into something very interesting. (Details to follow!)[/QUOTE]
Turn it into a 24 x 7 real life fish tank [STRIKE]with [URL="http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Performance/FishIETank/Default.html"]the same fish[/URL][/STRIKE] with life fish (Fish2 through Fish21)! The forum will finally get snappy.

Xyzzy 2014-11-07 03:57

1 Attachment(s)
Here is a picture of the wattmeter when the display has gone to sleep.

Note that the NUC is idle, not suspended or hibernated!

Xyzzy 2014-11-07 04:04

1 Attachment(s)
[QUOTE=Batalov;387065]Turn it into a 24 x 7 real life fish tank [STRIKE]with [URL="http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Performance/FishIETank/Default.html"]the same fish[/URL][/STRIKE] with life fish (Fish2 through Fish21)! The forum will finally get snappy.[/QUOTE]We posted that the monster computer would be repurposed, not reporpoised!

:razz:

LaurV 2014-11-07 04:16

[QUOTE=Xyzzy;387062].[/QUOTE]
:tu:


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