decTop Pic Arrival

June 22nd, 2007

The two decTop PIC's I ordered arrived from FedEx today, and upon opening the box I was very disappointed to find that the "10/100 Ethernet" they advertised on the website is actually a USB dongle. And its USB 1.0! :-(

That pretty much ruins the whole thing for me, but it does come with enough schwag to make it not a total loss.

Here's a quick picture of the guts:

I'm installing debian to the locked drive right now. Not sure what locked drive means, but it hasn't hit me yet. When I try to reboot it will probably say "sorry, you can't boot this operating system!"

Seems like the entire device was really tied to Microsoft. There are so many stickers and notices about how the product is licensed and produced for use is such and such a way. Weirdness.

I only installed the base system and it took about 30-45 minutes.

This is what happens with a locked disk:

So I popped in a 80GB EIDE drive I had nearby. The fact that Seagate and AMD locked a drive is very disappointing to me, and I'm glad I've been using Western Digital drives and Intel chips more often these days.

Finally got debian installed, and now for the good stuff!

cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor       : 0
vendor_id       : Geode by NSC
cpu family      : 5
model           : 5
model name      : Geode(TM) Integrated Processor by National Semi
stepping        : 2
cpu MHz         : 365.243
cache size      : 32 KB
fdiv_bug        : no
hlt_bug         : no
f00f_bug        : no
coma_bug        : no
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 1
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu de pse tsc msr cx8 pge cmov mmx mmxext 3dnowext 3dnow
bogomips        : 731.79

Network dongle:

drivers/usb/net/rtl8150.c: eth0: allmulti set
drivers/usb/net/rtl8150.c: eth0: allmulti set

Various dmesg output:

107MB LOWMEM available.
On node 0 totalpages: 27619  DMA zone: 4096 pages, LIFO batch:0  Normal zone: 23523 pages, LIFO batch:3


CPU: NSC Geode(TM) Integrated Processor by National Semi stepping 02

And the absolute best thing about the dectop:

The decTop only uses 9 Watts of power with an 80GB hard drive. :-)

The sad truth:

iperf -c
Client connecting to, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)------------------------------------------------------------[  3] local port 4055 connected with port 5001[  3]  0.0-10.0 sec  4.38 MBytes  3.67 Mbits/sec

Compare that to an Everex Stepnote NC1502 running Ubuntu:

iperf -c
Client connecting to, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)------------------------------------------------------------[  3] local port 59190 connected with port 5001[  3]  0.0-10.0 sec    102 MBytes  85.7 Mbits/sec

The Everex costs four times as much, but has much better resale value. That's it, because the Everex only uses 9 watts of power as well (not including the screen, around 13-22 with the screen).

I have another decTop which I'm going to install linux onto using a compact flash or disk-on-module chip.

With the specs as they are, this device is really only good for surfing the web. That being said, I believe I'm going to try and install puppy or dsl again. In the meantime, here are some decTop Debian Tips


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