View Full Version : SBS on Alix/Soekris boards?

2010-05-17, 11:31
I'm curious if anyone tried to run SBS on Alix/Soekris boards?

It's AMD Geode, and they are small, have low power consumption, and yet relatively powerful for their size.

2010-05-17, 11:59
Found my answers...

2010-05-17, 13:48
Or this for Alix: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=63651

Works fine after 1 year in use, AFAIK. Updated to SC 7.3.4 since that post.

2010-05-18, 10:03
You didn't experience excessively slow UI response time?

My current box running SBS consumes 190W on idle - which bother me. I'm torn between Alix and something like basic Acer Revo, both cost about the same $200-250, and I suppose Atom is still faster and easier to deal with.

What would you say?

2010-05-18, 12:12
(Sorry for the messy post...)

This Acer Revo is surely a faster machine, and much easier to install. It has all the RAM you need (see below). But it will consume more power, I would bet on that. And it may not have the same networking performance as the Alix, regardless of the giga chipset. The Geode LX800 is a 500MHz processor, i586 class. It does run mplayer and such without any problem. I did not need to recompile things.

About the Alix:
I don't own the device anymore, it was intended as a gift. This is what I recall.
- In general the machine is ridiculously fast given its size. Desktop-like, really. It behaves excellently under networking load. Under an SSL VPN, it will churn packets at 10Mbps over the 100Mps link without a sweat.
- I believe the total power drawn from USB HDD+board with wifi and ethernet+PC ENgines 18V converter, is 6W in use. But my meter is too inaccurate to be sure.
- It has 1 bottleneck: 256 MB of DDR RAM. And SC hits it, because it wants to eat as much as this for itself when using the standard web interface.

I first ran FreeNAS+SlimNAS from a 4MB CF. The web interface was really slow at times because the RAM overlay for the filesystem, plus lack of swap do not give SC enough room to breathe. The menu system on my SB3/Boom was fine.

Then I moved to the full debian system and a 4MB microdrive with regular ext3 filesystem, and 200MB of swap. Everything changed, to a normal experience.
Well, sometimes a bit slow on startup, when things have gone to the swap I guess, and also a bit slow when scanning (USB link). But otherwise, a snappy little machine.

My desktop is a Core2Duo over 2GHz. My server is a 2x Xeon 2GHz machine with tons of RAM. My net is Giga. And the web UI on SC is sometimes slow...
(BTW: server 270W on idle...)

My conclusions are: i. I should have kept that machine for me. ii. 256MB Ram is the minimum for SC, so you **want** swap iii. Alix 3D3 (I think) has a wider board and can receive a full 2"5 IDE HDD (but the HDD will not fit inside the standard PC Engines case, as far as I can tell; verify that with PC Engines if you want.) iv. remember all microdrives do not boot, but those in iPod mini do.

So I warmly recommend the gizmo. (and besides it will make for a superior router in case you have a change of heart.)
I regret -somehow :)- not having tested it with SBS 7.4 or 7.5, which I suspect are snappier on the web UI side. I surely should have tested it with a MusicIP+SC combination, but unfortunately I was not aware of it at the time.

One last word of caution: if you intend to plug 2 USB devices at the same time, I think you need an external power feed. I had disconnects, even when the 2nd device was a USB key. Might have been the OS ?

Have fun.