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nicketynick
2006-01-06, 14:24
Since I have absolutely no Linux experience, I'm a little shy of going the NSLU2 route, but can I find an old laptop in the under $200 price range? No luck so far! Does anybody care to speculate regarding the development of an out-of-the-box Slimserver NSLU2, or mind pointing me in the direction of an equivalent application in the same price range? It's either that or wait another year or so until I 'inherit' the 'old' laptop. My current set-up is just too awkward, and is certainly failing the WAF!
Thanks!
Nick

mbonsack
2006-01-06, 14:55
I'm reading about many media server PCs being shown at CES that's going on now in Vegas; one particular company is Aopen who makes small cube-based PCs using Intel Pentium M (laptop) chips for lower power consumption and heat. They should make killer Slimservers; of course most of them at CES were demoing with MS XP Media Center edition. Google them; many outfits sell them.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-07, 10:54
Under $200 is a tough milestone. The slug costs a $100 or so, but then you need a USB hard disk. So really you're up around $300 for a slug solution. If you want to put your paging on a memory stick for better performance, that's probably another hundred. So we're at $400 or so. And then there's still a fair bit of work to shoehorn Slim in there (either software or hardware or both). I've read that you really need the 64MB of a FAT SLUG to get decent performance out of Slim running on the slug. FAT SLUGs require you to be handy with a desoldering tool.

It might be possible to patch up a "trimserver" to shoehorn it into a slug by removing code you don't need or want, but it's a big project. Some of it is easy - remove all the plugins you don't want, stick to only one or two music formats (the different music readers are loaded dynamically only if needed). But shortly after that, it gets harder to find memory savings, harder to maintain and there are those diminishing returns. You could remove the windows specific code, but that's small.

If only I could find a USB ram stick that wasn't flash memory ... in that case, it might run closer to the theoretical 400MB/S that USB 2 could do, and it would be a good swap device for the slug (anyone here old enough to remember dedicated swap devices?).

Sorry, another solution would be to put your swap image on a USB hard disk with an enormous RAM cache. It would have to be at least 32MB to be of much help to the slug, which only has 32MB in it itself. I don't know of any such ... but I only gave it a quick scan through google.



In the windows area, there are these:

http://www.stealthcomputer.com/littlepc.htm

but even the little ones are $850 (US prices even though they're in Canada, I hate that!) with Red Hat Unix, a grand with Windoz.

You can get little VIA mini-ATX systems for about half a grand, if you're in the US. For us guys in Canada, I'm having a hard time finding a source. And you still have to do the customization yourself.

I gave up and bought a W2K laptop used. About $500. Runs windoz, which I know, has a keyboard and a screen already attached :-), built-in UPS. Since I already had another from the same series (Dell C610), I have interchangeability of hard disks, batteries and CD-ROM readers, etc.

The other option is a buffalo linkstation. Not that easy to get here. Tigerdirect.ca claims to have them and can mail them to you. From them the linkstation is about $300 Cdn with a 250GB hard disk in it. From what I've read, the gigabit linkstations are too easy to brick, but the ones that only speak 100BaseT are better behaved. The linkstation comes with 64MB instead of the slug's 32, and it seems that's a big difference.

I went by a retail store that Tiger has near my path to work, but they didn't seem to have any there (and little in the way of support staff).

shvejk
2006-01-07, 21:24
Get yourself HP e-Vectra Pentium III PC on eBay for less than $100

Put in a large 3.5" hard drive to fit your whole music collection.

Burn SlimCD and boot the PC from it.

In 15 minutes you will get a fully functional SlimServer including many
plugins.

SlimCD works good with as little as 128MB of RAM.

Pentium III e-Vectra is small, very quiet and energy efficient.

Should also be more reliable then a laptop, which is not designed for 24/7
usage.

Make sure you get a quiet hard drive. Like older Seagate Barracuda 5400 rpm
models.

The CPU fan is almost silent. The power supply is external and fanless. The
hard drive is the biggest noise contributor.

Good luck. It is going to be easier to learn Linux when you have SlimCD up
and running.

Cheers,


On 1/6/06, nicketynick <nicketynick.218ffz (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:
>
>
> Since I have absolutely no Linux experience, I'm a little shy of going
> the NSLU2 route, but can I find an old laptop in the under $200 price
> range? No luck so far! Does anybody care to speculate regarding the
> development of an out-of-the-box Slimserver NSLU2, or mind pointing me
> in the direction of an equivalent application in the same price range?
> It's either that or wait another year or so until I 'inherit' the 'old'
> laptop. My current set-up is just too awkward, and is certainly
> failing the WAF!
> Thanks!
> Nick
>
>
> --
> nicketynick
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> nicketynick's Profile:
> http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=1511
> View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=19781
>
>

nicketynick
2006-01-09, 10:11
Thanks for the replies. The e-Vectra is a good idea (I like the external PS), but I think the 'old' laptop is still the way to go, as Michaelwagner indicated - screen & keyboard built in - less clutter (WAF!). I already have a USB drive, so I wasn't including that in the $200. I've been watching ebay, and it doesn't look like I'll swing $200 there either - I'll have to do some detective work and find somebody who doesn't know what they can get on ebay for their old laptop! The hunt continues.....

shvejk
2006-01-09, 22:21
Keep in mind that any 'old' laptop or pc (including e-Vectra) is likely
to support only USB 1.1
Not great if you plan to use external USB drive.

I used to run SlimServer 24/7 on Thinkpad T21 for few months. During this
time I had to replace the hard disk twice. It could be just bad luck, but I
am more happy with the e-Vectra solution myself.

Cheers,

shvejk
2006-01-09, 22:29
Keep in mind that any 'old' laptop or pc (including e-Vectra) is likely
to support only USB 1.1
Not great if you plan to use external USB drive.

I used to run SlimServer 24/7 on Thinkpad T21 for few months. During this
time I had to replace the hard disk twice. It could be just bad luck, but I
am more happy with the e-Vectra solution myself.

>screen & keyboard built in - less clutter
there is no need for screen & keyboard when you run SlimServer on Linux

Cheers,

notanatheist
2006-01-09, 23:02
The NSLU2 is one slow device. I ran some tests on it *after* I over clocked it and the slug took nearly 4 hours to backup 21GB of data across the network to a USB 2.0 drive enclosure. FWIW, I tested both ways by backing up from the slug to the PC while the drive was NTFS then formatted Ext3 and copied back. It took about 15 minutes less time copying the data back to the drive. Minimal network traffic at the same time. I originally unslung mine but had to revert back to the Linksys firmware to support NTFS until the drive was backed up. Time to re-slung. Reading on the NSLU2 page says browsing is slow but playback is OK. I'm not sure if I'm okay with just OK. For under $200 you should try to take the mini-ITX route!

jonheal
2006-01-10, 05:58
I'm currently storing my FLAC's on a 160GB drive connected to an NSLU2. SlimServer is running on a fairly slow W2K box (Athlon 1700, or something like that) elsewhere on the network.

The FLAC drive is organized by ARTIST/ALBUM TITLE/TRACK(s), and right now there are about 400 folders (containing about 4000 tracks) at the root of the drive. When I browse the mapped drive from my XP box, it's quite unresponsive. Creating a new folder takes 10 or 15 seconds. However, when I browse the mapped drive from the W2K box, it's very responsive. Really not a whole lot different than browsing the drive in the W2K PC itself. So I'm not sure you can blame all slowdowns on the NSLU2 itself.

It would be interesting to hear if other folks complaining about slow NSLU2 performance are also running XP. Maybe XP's CIFS implementation sucks.

The nice things about the NSLU2 are that it is essentially maintenance free, it's quiet and generates almost no heat. And the EXT3 file system, while a pain if you need to move the drive elsewhere, is very robust. I also highly recommend MacAlly external cases. I've been through a few brands and the MacAllys are really nice. Here's a good price at NewEgg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817146601

As far as playing is concerned, I've not had a bit of trouble playing FLACs over the wired network from the drive connected to the NSLU2.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-10, 06:53
Keep in mind that any 'old' laptop or pc (including e-Vectra) is likely to support only USB 1.1
Not great if you plan to use external USB drive.
True.

My laptop has an 80 GB hard disk in it, courtesy of a eBay site in the states that sold me a slide-in hard disk enclosure, and an 80 GB 2.5" hard disk.

If your needs are modest, that'll work. I put 8500 mp3s at 320Kb CBR on it, and they sound fine. I could probably shoehorn 9000 in, but that'd be about the limit.

Then I plan to upgrade the HD that's actually in the beast to an 80 also. Take off about 10 for the O/S, Slim itself, and I should have about 150GB free. About 15,000 songs. After that, I'll have to sort out how to do USB better. Or not. :-) Maybe some better solution will come along by then.

If you plan to leave a laptop running 24/7, make really really really sure your fans work. Or get one of those fan pads that sits under the laptop and cools it some more.

And back it up. Because they do have shortened lifetimes compared to desktops. And some day it will die.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-10, 06:57
there is no need for screen & keyboard when you run SlimServer on Linux
Can you boot Linux headless? I seem to recall a conversation months ago that said not really, because there'd be nowhere to report bootup problems.
Certainly Slim runs headless ...

Michaelwagner
2006-01-10, 07:05
The NSLU2 is one slow device. I ran some tests on it *after* I over clocked it and the slug took nearly 4 hours to backup 21GB of data across the network to a USB 2.0 drive enclosure.

How did that compare to before you overclocked it?
(or de-underclocked it, which I guess is more accurate).
I've not seen any good results anywhere to say whether the clock is the problem or whether the network interface is just slow.

Because if Slim is running on the slug, the network speed would be unimportant (except for getting the music to the HD in the first place).

I've seen benchmarks that say a slug can talk to it's USB2 HD device at 16MB/s, which is no slouch, but is much slower talking to it's network interface.


For under $200 you should try to take the mini-ITX route!

Can you do mini-itx for $200?
Do you know of a source in Canada? (the original poster is in Kingston, Ontario, and I'm in Toronto).

The other problem is ... with a slug, you can move the hard disk to your faster home computer and download all the music in a whoosh. USB2 hard disks, modern ones, you can probably do 15-20MB/S or better when driven by a fast computer. Then move the hard disk back. With the latest slug software (from Linksys), you can mount a FAT32 hard disk on the slug. FAT32 isn't bad for music files - average 8MB per file. With a mini-itx solution, the access of the itx to the hard disk is faster, but getting the music there is over the network again, and that's going to be slower, probably 2MB/S or so.

So many questions ...

Michaelwagner
2006-01-10, 07:17
When I browse the mapped drive from my XP box, it's quite unresponsive. Creating a new folder takes 10 or 15 seconds. However, when I browse the mapped drive from the W2K box, it's very responsive. Really not a whole lot different than browsing the drive in the W2K PC itself. So I'm not sure you can blame all slowdowns on the NSLU2 itself.
When I first got my slug, I recall doing a lot of benchmarking. I got vastly different results from my win98 box and my w2k box. The win98 box is about 1/3 the speed but accessed the slug disk at about 5 times the speed of the w2k box.
IIRC the problem was the setting of one of the tcp parameters, like windowsize. Which comes about because the slug pretends to be some other device, some unknown version of windows NT or something, and w2k tries to be all smart about negotiating with it and it fails to understand what the slug can and can't do and messes up window size.
The win98 box had no such preconceived notions, didn't try to negotiate with the slug, and so didn't fall into the trap the slug ppl had left for them.
When I upgrades to the most recent Linksys release, R63 I think, the one that supports FAT32, I didn't notice the same performance problem. But I've only played with it a bit (the slug isn't in constant use - based on the first set of results, I went another way). So maybe the networking glitch got fixed.

More research is, I guess, necessary.

I'm hopeful, with some of the modifications that are being made now to the Slimserver and some that will come in the next major release, that the lower-level, device-driver-like functions of Slimserver can run on a hardware-unmodified slug and the higher levels over the network on some other host, or even on a second unmodified slug sitting beside the first one. That would be an ideal situation, for me at least and hopefully for many others.

Then, a slimserver could well be a slugfarm consisting of 2 $100 slugs, a $100 wired/wireless router and a $200 USB hard disk. Now that they're making stand-up routers and standup hard disks, they'd just look like 4 little boxes standing together. Could look kinda cool.

pfarrell
2006-01-10, 08:09
Michaelwagner wrote:
> Can you boot Linux headless? I seem to recall a conversation months ago
> that said not really, because there'd be nowhere to report bootup
> problems.

I think the answer really is "it depends"
It is more of a PC thing than a Linux thing, and even then
it depends on the distro you are using. I have lots of
linux on a KVM, mostly because sometimes I need to see the startup messages.

Some BIOS really want to see a keyboard to boot properly.
Some have settings to ignore a missing keyboard.

We bought a bunch of IBM rackmounted Linux boxes a while back
and they don't even have a VGA output for video.



--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

nicketynick
2006-01-10, 13:38
Looking forward, how much longer until you can get a handheld/PDA/phone with the horsepower to run a 'Slimserver' on its own? eg. a PDA with 100GB of storage (HDD or Flash?) No need for a PC or Mac at all - just the PDA that can act as a really nice 'remote' in your main listening area.
I'm thinking it shouldn't be long, but am I missing something fundamental here?

Michaelwagner
2006-01-10, 13:53
Looking forward, how much longer until you can get a handheld/PDA/phone with the horsepower to run a 'Slimserver' on its own? eg. a PDA with 100GB of storage (HDD or Flash?) No need for a PC or Mac at all - just the PDA that can act as a really nice 'remote' in your main listening area.
I'm thinking it shouldn't be long, but am I missing something fundamental here?
Depends what you mean by long ...

I suspect it won't be long, a year or two, until you can get PDAs with 100 or so MB RAM to run the slim server.

A bigger problem is the 100GB HD. Not just that it's not small (even a 2.5" one is going to add 1/2" in thickness to any PDA you build it into), but it needs a sizeable battery to spin it and a fan to cool it (or clever case design to bring the heat to the outside of the case).

I think you're more likely to see a PDA to control the slimserver and a slug (or slug-like next generation thing) to actually run slimserver on.

The PDA is portable, the slug sits in a corner somewhere.

That you can do now. The Nokia 770 project that is being worked on is a wireless PDA that can control the slimserver, and you could put a slug in the corner in, I bet, a year from now.

You could put a Buffalo linkstation in the corner now today.

shvejk
2006-01-10, 14:16
>Can you boot Linux headless?

I was thinking about a simple solution.
First setup everything using monitor and keyboard and then disable keyboard
detection in the BIOS boot settings.
I guess, for true headless, you could also use a console on serial port.

Cheers,

nicketynick
2006-01-10, 14:21
The Palm LifeDrive has a 4G HDD and a 416 Mhz CPU, so it looks like things are going in that direction. Until the battery technology catches up a little more, I guess you would have to have a charger cradle nearby.....
I have the the same problem with the Linkstation as the NSLU2 - I'm an absolute Linux newbie, and am likely to get myself in trouble (WAF is proportional to the perception that I know what I'm doing with my allowance (ha)!)
I suppose if I knew somebody who was able to help me look like I knew what I was doing......but as you say the Linkstation isn't readily available up here, so I certainly don't know anybody (yet) who has one - let alone with Slimserver installed.
So in the meantime I'm going to compromise with an old laptop, as you did, if I can find one for a decent price!

shvejk
2006-01-10, 14:26
>My laptop has an 80 GB hard disk in it, courtesy of a eBay site in the
>states that sold me a slide-in hard disk enclosure, and an 80 GB 2.5"
>hard disk.

That's interesting solution. Is it a PCMCIA device? Does it work with Linux?
Can you provide the name or a link to the eBay store?

You could also get USB 2.0 PCMCIA card. However, all this cost more then an
'old' desktop with a regular 3.5" ATA drive.
So, if this thing is going to sit in a corner and be a dedicated SlimServer
PC, then extra cost of a laptop is not justified, in my opinion.
Anyway, thanks for sharing the details of your setup.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-10, 14:40
The Palm LifeDrive has a 4G HDD and a 416 Mhz CPU, so it looks like things are going in that direction.
4G isn't much, for music. But you're right, they're getting there. For that matter, I saw 4G flash drives in my local Staples or Future Shop or something last night. A flash drive would be OK for stable music.

But your right. The real challenge with a big hard disk is going to be battery (and heat) management.

How much memory in the Palm?

nicketynick
2006-01-10, 14:46
In my case, 'sit in a corner' is just that - on top of an 8' bookcase where the better half doesn't see it, with a long enough network cable that I can get it down and work on it if I have to (no other PC available on a consistent basis to access it via the network) - therefore 'portability' is necessary.
But since it needs such basic functionality, it shouldn't cost a lot, if only I could find somebody who wants to get rid of an old laptop, and doesn't know how much they can get on ebay!

Michaelwagner
2006-01-10, 14:46
That's interesting solution. Is it a PCMCIA device?
No. It's a Dell specific thing. The Dells have two "bays" under the keyboard. Into each bay can go a battery or a CD ROM or a hard drive. I put a battery in the left one and the hard drive in the right one.

I can send you part numbers, etc, if you're interested.


Does it work with Linux?
I can't imagine why not. It shows up as a second hard drive on the controller. Under W2K or WXP it's hot-swappable. I don't know if that's true under Linux ... don't know enough about what's needed to support that.

Can you provide the name or a link to the eBay store?
When at home I can look up the part numbers and you can search eBay for it. There seem to be a few people who sell them on a regular basis. Even one in Canada, I found out, after I'd already ordered mine from the US. I think the Canadian one is/was in Quebec somewhere.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-10, 14:57
But since it needs such basic functionality, it shouldn't cost a lot, if only I could find somebody who wants to get rid of an old laptop, and doesn't know how much they can get on ebay!
Or check eBay
http://listings.ebay.ca/_W0QQsocmdZListingItemList?sofocus=pf&sbrftog=1&from=R2&socmd=ListingItemList&catref=C3&satitle=&sacat=51148%26catref%3DC6%26curcat%3Dtrue&fsop=3%26fsoo%3D1&coaction=compare&copagenum=1&coentrypage=search&fgtp=&a14=10254&a26444=26555&a12=-24&a25710=-24&a26446=-24&a10244=-24&gcs=1505&pfid=1819&reqtype=2&pfmode=1&alist=a14%2Ca26444%2Ca12%2Ca25710%2Ca26446%2Ca1024 4&pf_query=&pf=Show+Items&floc=1&sargn=-1%26saslc%3D1&sadis=200&fpos=L6H2S1&ftrt=1&ftrv=1&saprclo=&saprchi=

notanatheist
2006-01-11, 01:44
Now that the server is back up....

Let's not forget the ideal behind SlimDevices and the sqeezebox. The idea is to have a headless server somewhere and not have all your music on a device with a display. Those are called "mp3 players" (sarcasm).

With that in mind, setup a Windows box with RDP/VNC or a linux box with SSH (easier in my opinion) and set the BIOS to "halt on no errors" so it always boots up completely.

To answer somebody's question, I didn't test my Slug before I clocked it where it's supposed to be and lack any skills to solder it back to 133Mhz.

Mini-ITX would offer better through put than the NSLU2 simply due to the onboard controller. External hard drives attached would probably funtion at nearly the same speeds. You get a much faster CPU and more RAM with miniITX solutions.

For US and probably Canada I recommend logicsupply.com. For UK and others on the other side of the Atlantic go with mini-itx.com

jonheal
2006-01-11, 05:38
When I first got my slug, I recall doing a lot of benchmarking. I got vastly different results from my win98 box and my w2k box. The win98 box is about 1/3 the speed but accessed the slug disk at about 5 times the speed of the w2k box.
IIRC the problem was the setting of one of the tcp parameters, like windowsize. Which comes about because the slug pretends to be some other device, some unknown version of windows NT or something, and w2k tries to be all smart about negotiating with it and it fails to understand what the slug can and can't do and messes up window size.
The win98 box had no such preconceived notions, didn't try to negotiate with the slug, and so didn't fall into the trap the slug ppl had left for them.
When I upgrades to the most recent Linksys release, R63 I think, the one that supports FAT32, I didn't notice the same performance problem. But I've only played with it a bit (the slug isn't in constant use - based on the first set of results, I went another way). So maybe the networking glitch got fixed.

More research is, I guess, necessary.

I'm hopeful, with some of the modifications that are being made now to the Slimserver and some that will come in the next major release, that the lower-level, device-driver-like functions of Slimserver can run on a hardware-unmodified slug and the higher levels over the network on some other host, or even on a second unmodified slug sitting beside the first one. That would be an ideal situation, for me at least and hopefully for many others.

Then, a slimserver could well be a slugfarm consisting of 2 $100 slugs, a $100 wired/wireless router and a $200 USB hard disk. Now that they're making stand-up routers and standup hard disks, they'd just look like 4 little boxes standing together. Could look kinda cool.

Michael,

When I wrote about slow directory browsing of a mounted NSLU2 disk from an XP box, I failed to take into account that the disk was getting hammered at the time by FLAC doing its compression thing on a number of files. I'm not sure that any disk would respond too quickly under those conditions.

When the disk is quiet, the perceived speed seems similar to the W2K box browsing the same mounted disk, which is to say, it seems fine.

I am running a stock NSLU2. It's not unslung. I'm running the R63 version of the firmware.

Whether or not its actual throughput is up to the standards of the fastest internal drives is a non-issue in this case. It doesn't take much bandwidth to serve up a FLAC file.

I'm completely satisfied using an NSLU2 to manage the storage of my music files. (I don't think I'd run SlimServer from it, however.)

nicketynick
2006-01-11, 07:08
[QUOTE=Michaelwagner]Or check eBay
[url]http://listings.ebay.ca/_W0QQsocmdZListingItemList?QUOTE]

I've been watching eBay for a week or so, and the prices are going right through the roof - demand must be far outstripping supply - must be seasonal, because I've talked to several folks who got good deals at other times.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-11, 07:56
To answer somebody's question, I didn't test my Slug before I clocked it where it's supposed to be and lack any skills to solder it back to 133Mhz.
It was my question, and, no kidding. From the descriptions, the best ways of getting it out are destructive. I didn't expect you to replace it. Just hoped maybe you had done a before and after thing.


Mini-ITX would offer better through put than the NSLU2 simply due to the onboard controller. External hard drives attached would probably funtion at nearly the same speeds. You get a much faster CPU and more RAM with miniITX solutions.
That would be my guess.


I recommend www.logicsupply.com .
Neat site. Thanks. Your url didn't turn into a clickable link (not sure why - maybe can't recognize it without the www). I went to their web site. They will ship to Canada but are shipping from the US, not a Canadian depot, so time and duty charges are a bit of a variable.

Do you know enough about mini-itx to help out with the bewildering array of choices? I saw at least dozens of motherboards with bewildering options, different cases, etc. What do I need to know to configure?

Michaelwagner
2006-01-11, 13:37
Hey, Nick:

Pair o' slugs in Toronto:

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5852990147&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:CA:1

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5852990027&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:CA:1

Michaelwagner
2006-01-11, 13:41
http://cgi.ebay.ca/AudioTron-AT-100-Ether-Network-Digital-Music-Player-NR_W0QQitemZ5852989760QQcategoryZ14980QQssPageName ZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

nicketynick
2006-01-12, 06:54
Thanks for the tips - if I can get a slug cheap enough, it can be a throwaway if I can't make it work the way I want!

Michaelwagner
2006-01-12, 07:19
yeah, if the slug is cheap enough, you can always just use it as a music store and not put slim on it.

(the audiotron was just an oddity and a curiosity ....don't consider that you should get it ... it's old technology to solve a different problem)

jonheal
2006-01-12, 07:51
The NLSU2 is about $80 at NewEgg.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-12, 09:28
NewEgg doesn't help, they aren't in Canada, and Nick is in Canada.

nicketynick
2006-01-12, 10:43
$40.00 (CAD) is pocket-money (disposable), $100 (I can get it retail here in Kingston) is a big frown from the boss if I can't immediately make it work! (like the Dlink DNS120 NAS adapter I bought because it looked like such a great idea at the time - its such a piece of junk I can't even sell it on in good conscience!)

Michaelwagner
2006-01-12, 11:05
Well, Nick, maybe we can work with the slug together. I like the slug idea too ... especially for a portable system I'm building ... and I'm hoping that, over time, they'll get the memory footprint down so the slug won't be overwealmed by Slim.

nicketynick
2006-01-12, 11:28
I'm all for that - if we could find a linux pro with a slug willing to show us 'just how easy it is', it would be the ideal solution for SS. It would be better with just a little more processing speed (no need to fiddle around with 'clocking'), and more memory - maybe Linksys will recognize this? (see Linksys product releases at CES - they are aware of the need)
Now that the SB3 is up and running, the WAF could drastically drive priorities - I'll keep you posted!

Michaelwagner
2006-01-12, 11:52
I've done a bit of research on this ...

Both hardware mods will void your warantee :-)

the clock speed thing is (relatively) easy.

The memory thing needs someone with some replacement chips, a whole lot of patience and good tools. So I'm going to give that one the pass for now, perhaps come back to it later.

In the short term, I plan to do some playing around with removing bits of slim I don't use and see if I can get the memory footprint down that way. Also, I know that development efforts are being directed towards lowering the memory footprint in future releases.

Also, the next major release of slim is going to divide the server up into smaller pieces. It may be possible to run it on two different slugs, dividing up the memory load.

sfraser
2006-01-12, 13:48
THis thread is really neat. I like this slug idea. I am in the process of rebuilding the familly file server/ (my slimserver). It has become a huge time sink hole due to RAID controller/motherboard issues.....

Question, if you were running slimserver on a Linux slug with 2 500G USB drives, how would you back it up? 2 additional 500G USB drives attached to a PC? My whole rebuilding/adding an RAID controller was "spawned" (the correct word) by the thought of having a drive failure after I rip (wav) my 500 CD collection to disk. I was wondering how you guys with the slugs are going to deal with that?

nicketynick
2006-01-12, 13:54
Good question. I think the best and easiest way would be to pull the drive off the slug, plug it into a PC and back-up onto another external drive - doing it through the slug would be too slow, from what I've read. But what does it do to the slug hack when you pull the drive off - ie. are the drives 'hot-swappable' on the slug? I don't know.....

Michaelwagner
2006-01-12, 14:03
are the drives 'hot-swappable' on the slug? I don't know.....
No. As the software comes from Linksys, the drives are hot-plug-in-able (if I can coin a phrase) but not hot-un-pluggable.

That is, if you boot with no drives (or one), and plug in another, that works.

But you can't unplug one and hope the slug will know it's gone away.

I don't know what happens with the non-standard firmware. I just haven't gone that far in my research yet.

You'd have to run non-standard firmware to have any hope of the slug running slim.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-12, 14:05
For the question of backup, I have a complete set of music online on my desktop, and then will carry the slug and it's hard drive around with me as a portable system.

But I don't have 500G of music.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-12, 17:26
Good question. I think the best and easiest way would be to pull the drive off the slug, plug it into a PC and back-up onto another external drive
Not so fast, grasshopper!

From what I've read, you can run slimserver on a slug, or you can have FAT32 hard disks you can read/write from windows, but you can't (at present) do both on the same slug.

notanatheist
2006-01-12, 20:53
Native format for the Slug is Ext3, a standard linux filesystem. Mirroring drives on the Slug shouldn't be an issue. I'm fairly certain the Linksys firmware supports it but not sure about the Slug firmwares. Flashing isn't difficult if it's something you're comfortable with. Then again, I've probably flashed over 100 BIOS's, routers, firmwares, etc... My WRT54G doesn't run stock firmware, my Sharp Zaurus has bared witness to other installs, and who knows what else.

As for the Mini-ITX stuff, at least with that you have a PCI slot and can choose to use a real RAID controller if you like. You could even run *gasp* Windows if you wanted to! My advice for anyone looking at that solution, the 600Mhz and 800Mhz boxes will run fine with smaller 60W power supplies if you aren't running more than one hard drive and optical drive. The 1Ghz and faster models should have at least an 80W power supply otherwise there's issues with the network initializing. You also have the option of using any ATX power supply. The small 180W Sparkle Power Inc supplies designed for E-mach/HP replacements will run forever and be enough to power the board and at least three to four drives.

adriano
2006-01-13, 03:39
Get yourself HP e-Vectra Pentium III PC on eBay for less than $100

Put in a large 3.5" hard drive to fit your whole music collection.

> [/color]

can such an old pc have problems with hard disk larger than 127 Mb?

regards

Adriano

Michaelwagner
2006-01-13, 08:05
can such an old pc have problems with hard disk larger than 127 Mb?
I read (somewhere, can't remember where) that pretty much any BIOS over 3 years old is going to have trouble at the 127GB point.

stinkingpig
2006-01-13, 08:06
>
> shvejk Wrote:
>> Get yourself HP e-Vectra Pentium III PC on eBay for less than $100
>>
>> Put in a large 3.5" hard drive to fit your whole music collection.
>>
>> >
>
> can such an old pc have problems with hard disk larger than 127 Mb?
>
> regards
>
> Adriano[/color]

it'll be okay up to a few gigs. You can also add a $30 PCI card to handle
the bigger disk.

--
Jack Coates At Monkeynoodle Dot Org: It's A Scientific Venture!
"I spent all me tin with the ladies drinking gin, so across the Western
ocean I must wander" - traditional

Michaelwagner
2006-01-13, 08:27
can such an old pc have problems with hard disk larger than 127 Mb? regards Adriano
Don't you mean Gb?


it'll be okay up to a few gigs. You can also add a $30 PCI card to handle the bigger disk.
I assume you were fooled by the Mb in the previous post.
I believe the limit is 127GB.
I added an add-in card to my PC. It didn't help. Never figured out why. I believe you need bios support too, and mine doesn't seem to have an upgrade, in the mean time, to support disks that size. So I bought a 160 with an add=in card but only got 127 or so. At the time it looked pretty big, but now I'm creaping up on having filled it and I'm eyeing the missing storage as a simpler solution, if software alone can fix it, than buying more disks.

funkstar
2006-01-13, 11:00
What OS are you using?

Anything before Win2K SP2 or 3 won't support 48bit addressing so limiting you to 127gig.

Michaelwagner
2006-01-13, 11:10
Me? W2K Sp4. But interesting question, because maybe I wasn't there when I installed the disk, over a year ago.

Also: Nick: Check out this thread:
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=18586

nicketynick
2006-01-13, 11:33
Thanks for the tip, Michael - what I read there confirms what I've been thinking - an 'older' laptop is what I want - lots of processing power, integrated screen & keyboard, familiar OS, easy to stick on a high shelf with a USB drive, and get down if needed. And I think I have it licked - the boss was so impressed with the SB3 working installation (see my post in the 'pictures' thread) that on the spot she decided she wants a new laptop with a bigger screen, and I get the old one! Hard to beat that.
Time to go do some shopping!

shvejk
2006-01-13, 16:16
> Get yourself HP e-Vectra Pentium III PC on eBay for less than $100
> can such an old pc have problems with hard disk larger than 127 Mb?

According to posts on HP forums, you can put in hard drive bigger than
137GB, but only 137GB will be visible to the OS.
I do not know if you can get any software accelerator to go beyond that.

I have 80GB hard drive in my e-Vectra and it works great.

e-Vectra has no PCI slot and the IDE controller only supports one hard
drive.
So, if you have a very large music collection, e-Vectra might not be the
best option for you.

Cheers,

Michaelwagner
2006-01-13, 17:07
But I think the e-vectra has USB support, so you could put a big USB disk on it.

shvejk
2006-01-13, 17:36
>
> But I think the e-vectra has USB support, so you could put a big USB
> disk on it.


Yes, it has two USB 1.1 ports. I am not sure if transfer speed is sufficient
for music collection.
The other option is to keep the music files somewhere on the network.

Thanks,

funkstar
2006-01-14, 05:09
I guess USB 1.1 should be fine as long as you don't have too many players streaming different music. Would also depend on how your collection is encoded. There would be no problems with MP3 due to the lower bitrate, FLAC should also be ok, but would be able to handle fewer streams at the same time.