• DreamPlug puts a 1.2GHz ARM PC in a power outlet



    If you want a small PC the most common options are to buy a netbook, or if you want a larger screen a nettop. But there is an even smaller option that does not require any desk space at all: itís called a plug computer.
    These tiny machines form part of an over-sized plug and sit in a power outlet. Unlike a typical PC they donít have a video card and therefore no video out. They are ideally suited for use as a web or media server that is always on and always connected. Just plug it in and forget about it.







    While there are a few plug computers out there, including the SheevaPlug and GuruPlug, the latest model to become available offers an update to the performance, software, and connections available. Itís called DreamPlug, and it offers up some serious computing power using an ARM processor.


    Hereís the basic spec:



    • Marvell Sheeva core @ 1.2GHz speed
    • Linux 2.6.3x Kernel
    • 512MB 16bit DDR2-800 MHz
    • 1 GB on board micros-SD for kernal and root file system
    • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 Mbps
    • 2 x USB 2.0 ports (Host)
    • 1 x eSATA 2.0 port -3Gbps SATAII
    • 1 x SD socket for user expansion/application
    • WiFi 802.11 b/g
    • Bluetooth BT2.1 + EDR
    • Audio Interfaces
      • Headphone (analogue) out x 1
      • Fiber Optics (SP/DIF) out x 1
    • Jtag and Uart connections for external module
    • 5V3A DC power supply

    The DreamPlug has the advantage of offering an always on computing solution that takes up no space and only draws 5 watts of power. Want a home server? DreamPlug could be the perfect solution.
    If you want one then itís possible to pre-order for $149 with shipments starting some time this month. Thereís also an optional $30 JTAG board for debugging and programming purposes if you intend to develop applications for use with the DreamPlug.


    Alternatively if you donít mind working with a bulkier plug computer, thereís also the GuruPlug Display also up for pre-order which adds a HDMI out which can drive a 720p resolution. As youíd expect itís more expensive at $199.


    Source: Geek
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. duke0102's Avatar
      duke0102 -
      with no video connection whats the audio connection for?
    1. Skyliner's Avatar
      Skyliner -
      remotely control it using a web interface to play music?
    1. zot's Avatar
      zot -
      Although they call this device a "PC" - it seems much more like a NAS unit (though a rather well equipped one).
    1. predateur's Avatar
      predateur -
      cool to have as a download box
    1. Cabalo's Avatar
      Cabalo -
      Quote Originally Posted by predateur View Post
      cool to have as a download box
      Indeed it is.
      With extremely low power consumptions this can also be used as a home server, for streaming, etc.
    1. Appzalien's Avatar
      Appzalien -
      As long as the plug isn't one of those with one tong wider than the other, I'd say OK. Otherwise, it can only go into an outlet one way and often that way blocks the other socket. Engineers, BAH! they're over paid.
    1. bobbintb's Avatar
      bobbintb -
      Quote Originally Posted by Appzalien View Post
      As long as the plug isn't one of those with one tong wider than the other, I'd say OK.
      Polarized

      http://housewares.about.com/od/small...arizedplug.htm
    1. tesco's Avatar
      tesco -
      It doesn't look polarized to me, and actually looks like it can swivel, I'm probably wrong though on both accounts.

      How do people normally access these things to control them from their PCs? Remote Desktop (or equiv)? Surely shell access would be too difficult for the average user.
    1. Cabalo's Avatar
      Cabalo -
      Ubuntu 11.04 has an ARM version. Just create a liveCD pen and you're set.
    1. zot's Avatar
      zot -
      Quote Originally Posted by tesco View Post
      How do people normally access these things to control them from their PCs? Remote Desktop (or equiv)? Surely shell access would be too difficult for the average user.
      I assume a VNC system would be the ideal solution, but I suspect that access to the device might be more similar to that a router or NAS (i.e., highly limited functionality) than a desktop computer, but people who are comfortable using Sabnzbd might not mind the look and feel of the controls.
    1. Detale's Avatar
      Detale -
      Although I think it's a great idea it's missing a HDD as far as I can tell. There's not really ideal for any kind of server. You would have to run a USB wire or get a really high capacity SD card and even then it is no comparison for a well placed server tower or a NAS box (tucked away behind a couch in my case). I see some real potential here though. If they could make it slightly larger so it could accept a laptop drive or ssd it would be more suited for a server.