More Thoughts on Intel’s Little Valley Mini-ITX Board

The Intel D201GLY mini-itx mainboard I ordered arrived today. This little board has got me very excited. It is small, low-cost (around $80), low-power, and still has a lot going for it. While some are complaining about the SiS graphics chip, or the active CPU cooling fan, I’m more concerned with the 1GB limit on RAM. I would much prefer the ability to stack 2 or more gigabytes of RAM in there.

What else do I like about this board? I like that it has the following technical specifications:

  • 533mhz front side bus
  • 512KiB Level two cache (Celeron 215)
  • On-board Broadcom ethernet chipset
  • PCI Slot
  • No SATA, Firewire, or unnecessary fluff (there are other boards for that stuff)

Buying Memory for the Little Valley?

  • One 240-pin DDR2 SDRAM Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) sockets
  • Support for DDR2 533 MHz and DDR2 400 MHz DIMMs
  • Support for up to 1 GB of system memory

To me, this board is nothing fancy: it’s just going to work very well. With the relatively fast bus and decent sized L2 cache, the system should have very low latency for small (hint: web-based) tasks.

My plan is to first test the average power consumption of this board. I hope it will consume less than 25 watts of power with a ram chip, a 3.5” hard drive, and an additional 10/100 ethernet card, but that might be too much to ask for. 35 watts would be acceptable. Much more than that and I’ll stick with the Via C7-M, which has very low power consumption, but a much smaller cache and possibly slower fsb.

Next, I will ensure that the on-board ethernet adapter is supported by linux and freebsd. If so, the board will be a candidate for m0n0wall based installations, as well as high-availability clusters.

At that point, I’ll add another ethernet card, likely a 3Com 3C509, known for its reliability, stability, and solid performance.

Depending on whether the box is destined to be an embedded network appliance (i.e. m0n0wall-based), or a web / database / file server, I’ll either pair it with a hard drive or a disk-on-module.

Is this fun or what?

Intel Little Valley D201GLY Pictures

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