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2003, thinkpad x30
the thinkpad x30 is my current machine and i use it more than anything else. my sister needed her own laptop so i gave her the ibook2. looking for an ultra-light laptop i found the X series from ibm: one inch thick, smaller and lightier than the ibook, it's a wonderful machine: everything works :)
it's more a sub-notebook than a laptop. it's smaller than an a4 sheet of paper and doesn't have any cdrom nor floppy disk device. a titanium allow protects the upper part where the lcd screen is, while plastic is used below. it hosts a pentium 3 m cpu at 1.2 ghz, 128 mb ram and a 40 gb disk; keyboard keys have the same size as a standard keyboard (except for 4 keys which are half-wide on the left of the return key). the i830mp chipset also handles the video, it's not a monster of performance but it does pretty much stuff and works nicely (i don't use it though, it seems there's a problem in video memory being detected which leads to memory corruption and bad crashes when x is used for a long time). it has plenty ports: 2 usb (each on its own usb hub), video output, parrallel port, line out, line in and sound out, flashcard reader, pcmcia type 2, internal win modem (not working on netbsd but ibm gives a linux driver so it could be made to work, prism2.5 wireless and intel fast-express 10/100 ethernet. this network card has low latency so it's just perfect for sniffing and the prism2.5 wireless allows machine to be used as host ap (:
works nicely under netbsd current. i use it from console with screen. recently we got tcpa control (tcpa being called the "security chip" by ibm and is the basis of trusted computing)
was pretty fun to get to the rmll and find out that every other bsd geek around had the same laptop: marius eriksen, jose nazario and even niels provos! he he (o: like the day i bought my ibook to later get to the apple expo and find that all bsd people or most were using the same ibook all around. incredible.
2006, soekris 4801
it's been a long time since i got any new hardware. i mostly take care of other's people machines and servers and the x30 laptop loaded with netbsd is just perfect for that. but i need a machine here loaded with bsd with some tools for use from outside and i cannot leave the laptop as server running all the time. the mini itx experience has been good but i needed something more netbsd-friendly and embedded. the soekris is a good choice. no moving parts, no noise at all (:
i ordered the net 4801 from cortex systems. they are in denmark and they ship very fast. alexandre arvinte advised me to get there and i received the 4801 two days after the order (this company is run by soekris's founder, ole kristensen). im using a model "50" which hosts a 266 MHz processor (amd geode 586 sc1100) with 128 Mb sdram, 3 ethernet, two serial ports (one outside on DB9 and one inside on pins), usb, cf socket, 44 pins IDE, 1 mini-PCI socket. runs 3.3v. the embedded platform is compact, low power and while it's not powerful enough to fill a 100 mbit link, it works very nicely. environmental monitoring coupled with hardware watchdog makes it much more better than a mini-itx, even a fanless. and it's bsd friendly, of course.. (:
designed by soren kristensen, the 4801 pcb is a wonder. the cf-flash plug allows not only CF cards but can also handle micro-drives up to 4 gb. could be a better alternative to use a micro-drive than CF or CF + hard-disk. the 4801 does not eat more than 10 watts under load with CF. this will make a very nice ntp box with gps linked on com port and knowing it has a real-time clock.
(click here for installation doc of netbsd on the soekris)
last update: Thu May 18 15:44:17 UTC 2006