[Techtalk] tiny homebuilt appliance?

illini.engineer at att.net illini.engineer at att.net
Fri Oct 24 19:04:11 EST 2003

> > like, hi there,
> > 
> > I'm looking for an alternative to using old PCs for firewall/gateway and
> > other 
> > specialized servers. They're big and clunky. I've heard here and there of 
> > little computers-on-boards- anyone know what I'm talking about? For an 
> > Internet gateway, for example, all I need is CPU, memory, and storage. Not a
> > whole huge box with expansion slots and fans and masses of circuitry I'll 
> > never use. Something with a serial connection and Ethernet.
> > 
> > For a commercial box, I really like Snapgear. But I'd like to build my own. 
> > I'm not sure what to look for, I've been googling and getting confused.
> Well, I went back to the original post.
> What you are looking for is a microcontroller/SBC (Single Board
> Computer) of the type used in embedded systems. These are very bare
> bones, meaning YOU supply:
> o mouse
> o keyboard
> o power supply/battery
> o disk drives
> o monitor/lcd
> They typically include at least one serial port (often 5 or more), an
> ethernet controller, floppy and HD controller (EIDE or SCSI), keyboard
> connection and sometimes VGA. One such company is:
> http://www.emacinc.com/
> Browse them, learn the terms they're using and then search for similar
> companies using THEIR terms. The one I mention above is linux compatable
> (Linux, Embedded Linux and Real Time Linux) and the boards range from
> 386's to Pentium III's (the 386 can survive in environments the 486+
> cannot due to circuit size of the IC): 
> http://www.emacinc.com/sbc_pc.htm
> Super small are the "system modules" or "system on module" type devices,
> measuring in the area of 2.5x3.5 inches:
> http://www.emacinc.com/som/som_select_guide.htm
> Many of these are slower than what most people want for a PC, but
> because they are slower, they DON'T require any cooling, which is highly
> desirable in many of the places they are used. 
> Alvin

there's another possibility to consider and that is a PC with the mini-ITX motherboards
manufactured by VIA, the motherboard manufacturer



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