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Re: [vox] shuttle mini pc's [was The Mystery of the Dying Laptop]
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Re: [vox] shuttle mini pc's [was The Mystery of the Dying Laptop]



Charles,

I don't know about Shuttle XPCs specifically, but my primary Linux box is
based of a VIA mini-ITX mainboard.

If you're curious about driver support, check this:
http://www.viaarena.com/?PageID=2

Every component is supported by VIA (mostly by way of
telling you what existing module to load, but in some cases providing a
driver).  The exception is s-video out. VIA links to a s-video
out driver that is at is a VERY alpha release, and I never tried it.

The audio is some AC97 and perfectly acceptable. Some X programs like
Real Player and XMMS bombed out with the OSS driver... ALSA cleared up
that problem.  The network is a Rhine and has never given me problems.

The only thing I might complain about is video, which is a Trident
Cyberblade with 8MB shared VRAM.  It leaves a bit to be desired.  Output
from MPlayer or XawTV is sometimes a static green box until I restart X.
There are some XF86Config options specific to this card - I'm hoping one
day I have time to play with them and maybe fix that issue.

There is just barely enough room for one PCI card in this case:
http://www.caseoutlet.com/case/2677R/CS-2677R.html
If I wasn't using a TV card in that slot I might throw an NVidia PCI card
in there and forgo the crummy video problem.

All in all it's really small, reasonably quiet (although my wife
disagrees), and chugs along as a my super server.  You can put whatever
you want as far as IDE harddrive in there.  The optical drive is a slim
model (actually a laptop component). I bought a stock DVDROM.  DVD
playback is almost good enough. Maybe a better video card would clear
that up too.

----------

The XPCs do have the benefit of throwing whatever optical drive you want
in there so you could swap in your favorite DVD-burner or whatever. If you
do go ITX, I would go with that box style (the Lan-party handle on top and
front-mounted usb are nice touches too).

I imagine, though I can't guarantee this, that XPCs have all or mostly the
same components as mine.  Newer models have built in 802.11B.  I don't know
what chipset that is so beware...

I talked to an NVidia rep at the last Linux world and he claims there will
be an ITX NForce mainboard as soon as they work out some licencing issues
with VIA (who has a patent on ITX).  That would be super-so-sick!  These
companies are working pretty hard to break the stereotype that
integrated means neccessarily sucky.

Dave

On Fri, 5 Dec 2003, Charles McLaughlin wrote:

> Shwaine,
>
> You have a shuttle box?  Once of those cool mini-itx cases?  How is the
> Linux support?


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