Sunday, April 8, 2012

Trim Slice. My new home server.

I have just ordered a bare bones Trim Slice.

My plan is to use it as a replacement for my current home fileserver. You see, my current setup is an old MaxTerm thin client with a cirix system-on-a-chip cpu that is basically a really fast 486. The reason for the wimpy hardware is power consumption.

I have a small hobbiest solar setup here. Three 15W panels on the roof and a 200Ahr deep cycle battery. I use the power for some lighting, running my ham radios, charging the cell phone, nook ereader, kids ipad, etc. Also, when the battery is topped off, I have a bleed over system that feeds the surplus power into the fileserver. Most days, it runs for 3-4 hrs completely on solar power.

The downside of the maxterm, is the I/O speed of it. Even though I upgraded it with a combo 1Gbps ethernet and USB 2 card, it can't feed data at anything much above 100Mbit ethernet speeds. That wimpy CPU just can't handle it. Power wise, the maxterm draws about 1.2 Amps at 12V. That's 14.4 watts.

The Trim Slice is a cool gadget. Built around the tegra chips, its a fast CPU, plenty of I/O, including a 1Gbps ethernet port. It will triple the performance potential of my current server, and drop power consumption to 4 Watts!

Fortunately, debian comes in an armel flavor, which should run just fine on it. I'll set up the OS on an SD card for the machine to boot off, and my current data drive, which is a 1TB drive in a 12V powered usb connected enclosure, will plug right in.

I'll write up an article on the setup of the device, issues that might crop up, and performance info on the finished server.

It occurs to me, that this little box could be a minimal desktop system in a classroom, or 12V powered setup like a mobile home. Robot controller? Car computer? Set top media player?

I'll get it in about two weeks, check back for my report.

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