• Garmin Mobile PC on Eee PC 7"

    After using Treo 650/700p as GPS navigation system for a quite while; this time will be different. Cleaning up dust on my little Eee PC 702, getting Garmin Mobile PC in and now we are ready to go for bigger screen & better performance, but usability?

    Garmin Mobile PC with Eee PC
    Garmin Mobile PC with Eee PC
    Garmin Mobile PC with Eee PC
    Garmin Mobile PC with Eee PC
    Garmin Mobile PC with Eee PC
    Garmin Mobile PC with Eee PC
    Garmin Mobile PC with Eee PC
    Garmin Mobile PC with Eee PC

    Well, look like Eee PC + Mobile PC will be perfect companion for our trip, huh? Touch screen also is such a big plus with Garmin finger-friendly UI.

    Garmin Mobile PC with Eee PC --  Trip info
    Garmin Mobile PC with Eee PC -- Trip info

    I will be on the road for about 2 weeks, trip down to Florida. Will see how Garmin Mobile PC performs! The only question is how I will mount this? Seems like I need someone to hold this all along this time LOL Check it out our full review

  • NAS selection

    Well, after DIY NAS last year couldn't satisfy all my need. Throughput could be easily lifted up by upgrading network to Gigabit network which is cheap nowadays.But there is something that couldn't be fixed. Thus, a new better NAS in both performance and look will be waiting for us to discover pretty soon :-P

    This time I will concern in any areas which can be categorized into 2: hardware & software:-

    Hardware

    • Appearance
    • Power Consumption
    • Functionality
    • Upgradability
    • Cost

    Software <ul> <li>Features </li> <li>Performance & Security </li> </ul>

    Firstly, I thought hardware could be the more vital choice for NAS selection, but I'm totally wrong here because of only one choice, HP MediaSmart EX470. If you choose this, only Windows Home Server is your choice. Yes, you could install Linux, but with 'tons of effort + possible a lot of money' involves yet you still couldn't utilize all features on the box. Why bother choosing EX470? However, EX470 is such a good choice for NAS. After experiencing EX470, I then move 'software' to the most important choice for NAS because it can actually help you filter choices more efficiently.

    Software side

    Features - It's sort of decision to make at this point. Table below is tweaked from what I wrote awhile back in 10ninox's blog.

    <tr style="background: rgb(238,238,238) 0% 50%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial" top?="top?"> <tr style="background: rgb(238,238,238) 0% 50%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial" top?="top?"> <tr style="background: rgb(238,238,238) 0% 50%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz-initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial" top?="top?">
      dedicated NAS box Unix-based OS Windows Desktop OS Windows Home Server
    Power Consumption lowest medium low-mediumw1 low-mediumw1
    Throughput slow fast fastest fastest
    Protocol FTP, HTTP, SMB FTP, HTTP, SMB, etc FTP, HTTP, SMB2, etc. FTP, HTTP, SMB2, etc.
    Indexing ability N/A local onlyu2 Yes, Windows Desktop Searchw2 Yes, Windows Desktop Searchw2
    Ease of use Very easy (on/off) Normalu3 Easy Easy
    Remote Connection via web-based mostly Telnet, SSH, or web-based remote connection remote connection
    Features       » Automatic backup
    » remote connection
    » NO RAID supportw3
    » flexible storage sizew5
    Cost of OS Free Free $$w4 $$w4

    u2 - yes it does have Beagle, but any remote machine needs to access via web-based which is not that comfort.
    u3 - there is a learning curve here for most of users.
    w1 - although I use the same system as Ubuntu, there is 3rd party for Windows OS, like RMClock, to undervoltage which is really help. I could drop about 10W or so without sacrificing performance and stability.
    w2 - For Vista client, you could just exploring to NAS and find them in the same GUI. It’ll use index on NAS automatically which is so fast & cool. But I couldn’t find client with XP+Windows Desktop Search which work the same way.
    w3 - No RAID support in WHS; however, there is a duplicate feature (2+ drives needed) which copies data into another drive for safety sake considering as RAID 1 replacement--no speed gain feature like RAID 0 or parity error check and correction like RAID 5.
    w4 - It’s not free, Vista Home Premium OEM or Windows Home Server is about $99; depending on what you think if it’s worth or not.
    w5 - It's truly flexible storage size because you can add/remove hard disk drive anytime. All you see is only 1 large storage place; all processes are automatic.

    As you can see above, you'll get what you pay for. I used to like having Windows around, but by the fact that sometimes Windows gives me some troubles. Nowadays I just prefer having Unix-based as NAS and SSH for setting up/tuning up. It's just easier and faster than going through all clunky GUI. Believe me, once you know necessary commands in Unix, you find GUI is clumsy--I mean both x-windows in Linux and MS Windows. Another drawback of Unix-based OS is no easy Desktop search like Vista and I could not find any comparable one--It's just a tradeoff. You will have to build hierarchical structure to keep all data in place and easy to find. That would help :-)

    One more thing is feature; most OSes don't have any special thing. Specific OS like Windows Home Server, however, gives such nice features like automatic backup over the network and remote connection over clients. These might be a good additional if you use it. I had a chance being Home Server beta; It's good, but I just prefer backup manually. =)

    Performance & Security - Speed and security never go along. That's the principle, but how much tradeoff you are willing to take. This is depending on how many features you like to add too. For WLAN, please make sure of that using only WPA2-AES if you are putting security on because otherwise you will lose about at least 20%, normally 30% or so, of throughput comparing to no security one. Another way of dealing with this is applied MAC filter to your router. That would give you maximum performance with no security compromise much.

    Security on each OS? well telling you the truth, Unix-based OS doesn't give you that much more security than what Windows gives you. Anti-virus is what you have to install anyway if security is what you are concerned. Linux & Mac don't give you any extra security over Windows; it might be better if you deleted 'root' after installing, but would regular Joe & Jane do that? I don't think so.

    Before wrapping this up, I used to be the one who think one box rules them all. By the fact that turning on NAS 24/7 is preferred--a must for me though :-D The question like why would I have to use another box for Media Center then? Just put them together. Well, I did and it works quite well. The problem I faced was most of the time I got only 2-3MB/s and about 15MB/s throughput over 802.11n and GigabitLAN consecutively. That's only around 50% of what it is capable of. In addition, using Media Center box requires higher performance box which means more electricity consumption. The box I used was about 100W idle and about 13xW active. That's quite a lot for 24/7. However, since I separated into 2 boxes; my NAS box, Shuttle K45, sucks only 40W average and my Media center sleeps most of the time, only about 10 minutes before record schedule and 1 hours after finished recording are the time it's up. The process is totally automatic by Vista Ultimate--Kudos to Microsoft + little software named MCE standby tool here =) So far, I don't think I wasted more energy setting up this way and a big plus is optimal performance on both jobs :-D

    In short, it's all up to your preference. One might think Windows is better/easier, one might think Linux is freedom, another one might think OS X is the best--so OSX86 is the way to go. They all are good if you believe in it. For me, anything is good. I have both Windows Home Server & Linux boxes because I prefer to use Linux to do thing, but EX470 forces me to have WHS. I probably do comparison again, but I bet Windows OS would win anyway since Vista boxes are regular clients in my case and NAS, here, we talk about SMB protocol only! :-P If Windows Home Server are your top-list, I can tell you that HP MediaSmart has a great balance on both form factor & features. Otherwise, go on, there are lots of things we need to go through for hardware side.

    Oops! forget to mention that if Windows is your way, differences between XP/Vista and Windows any server is maximum connection possible. They all can do the job, but how well Vista handles network sessions, i.e. more than 10 simultaneous requests/connections, is questionable. Practically Microsoft just limits workstation OS that way. Thus they can sell server one :-P By the way, you can use XP/Vista as NAS; you just have to accept delegated service that might have happened. That's it.

    Hardware side

    Appearance/form factor -- how they look might not matter to some, but how big it is could be a big factor here since if it's small enough. We can just put on the shelf or on the corner neatly. You guys might think of ITX form factor as far as size is concerned. Compromises, however, like higher cost, limited choices should not be our limit. Then we probably focus on microATX which is larger, widely used, and cheaper, or mini barebone systems, e.g. Shuttle's, Asus's, or MSI's. If size doesn't matter for you, then go for mid-tower case. There are tons of choices out there.

    If you choose to go for microATX form factor, the smaller case possible might be approximately 750 inch3 to be able to put CD and HDD in. It could come in slim tower or desktop or something in between, like Ultra productst, which I like to call as microwave case. They all are fine, but as my experience, slim tower or desktop is the best choice since it's pretty ease and waste less space.

    Alternatively, Shuttle products, which mostly are small box form factor--which I called toaster form factor, are pretty nice solution too. Their products' size are around < 600 inch3 which is considerably very small! -- just the right size, I could tell you that. If you can't imagine how small it is, just compare to regular mid tower case size. It's mostly about >2200 inch3. What we are looking for is less 1/3 size of regular case. Only downside so far from Shuttle is service; I have contacted about lousy PSU fan; no even reply after almost 2 weeks.

    Note: At last, they contacted me to do RMA; everything seemed fine, but such an unfair/non-sense policy below made me feel flat with Shuttle service. We have to send that in which shipping cost for barebone system is not that cheap! Why would we want to waste such a time and effort to lie them about this? We'll see how fast they process is.
    Shuttle K45

    update on Feb 3, 2009: I got the replacement which is working great just few days over a week from the day I shipped a broken one back.; so far so good.

    Shuttle X27D Shuttle K45  Shuttle SG45H7 Shuttle SG33Gx

    All about budget it seems, all form factors mentioned above have 1 main drawback is limit space for HDD. If you think 2 hard drives are not enough, you will have fewer choices and probably higher cost. Some of them are just worth to look at though.

    Chenbro ES34069
    Chenbro ES34069
    Chenbro ES34069
    Chenbro ES34069
    Chenbro ES34069
    Chenbro ES34069 - inside
    Chenbro ES34069
    Chenbro ES34069 - HDD bays
    Chenbro ES34069
    Chenbro ES34069 adapter
    Chenbro ES34069
    - 4 Hot-Swap HDDs Mini ITX Server Chassis
    - External adapter (120W or 190W, 19VDC)
    - 10.24" x 5.51" x 10.24" (D x W x H)
    - $170-$200
    HP MediaSmart Server EX470
    HP MediaSmart Server EX470
    HP MediaSmart Server EX470 - back panel
    HP MediaSmart Server EX470 - back panel
    HP MediaSmart Server EX470 - size comparison
    HP MediaSmart Server EX470 - size comparison
    HP MediaSmart Server EX470 - size comparison
    HP MediaSmart Server EX470 - size comparison
    HP MediaSmart EX470
    - 4 Hot-Swap HDDs Chassis
    - Windows Home Server
    - AMD Sempron 3400+
    - SiS 761GX + SiS 966 Chipset
    - 512MB DDR2-800 RAM (1 slot)
    - 1*500GB HDD
    - Ports: GigabitLAN, 4*USB, 1*e-SATA
    - no VGA port (need to do DIY cable)
    - Internal PSU
    - $300-$500

    Considering these 2 choices, quite interesting, huh?

    Power Consumption-- the less stuffing you are putting in, the less consumption the machine is. Just remember that power supply rating doesn't tell you a thing about real power consumption; the way you can know for sure is measuring it. That's it. However, average rating is depending on each machine each configuration. I'll try gathering as much as possible.

    Model Standby [W] Idle [W] Max [W]
    Shuttle SG33 2-6 80 150
    Asus P2-P5945G 4-8 85 130
    Regular PC 2-15 130 180
    Asus P1-AH2 2-5 60 100
    HP EX470 N/A 65-80ex1 100-110

    ex1- varied by a number of hard disk drives installed.

    Well, this is based on non-tweaked power consumption. You might be able to lower it about 10W or so with RMClock

    Functionality - Sometimes things might not go on our way when shopping for all things. However, our requirement for NAS is quite small. Gigabit LAN, place to put hard disk drive one or two or four?, good and compatible chipset for any OS you like to, and RAID capabilities. Just so you know, chipset is normally one of 2 most power hungry things in the system which are CPU and Chipset. CPU might not be the most important thing for NAS. Atom/Celeron/Sempron or Pentium/Core 2 Duo/Athlon/Phenom is giving you similar throughput anyway. No worth invests too much on it. Chipset also gives similar effect as CPU; no much different. By the fact that south bridge chipset defines whether Gigabit LAN performs well or not. But 30-60 MB/s throughput is what integrated Gigabit controller can achieve easily, so why bother? If you need perfect performance, then go for add-on controller :-P that's simple. In case you don't care Gigabit LAN and 100Mbps or just sharing over WLAN is what you look for, you don't have to think of anything because anything is enough for your need. Nonetheless, there is one thing effects the performance directly--amount of RAM. The more memory you have, more throughput you can possibly have. For RAID, speed or reliability you can choose :-) But if you have 3 HDD or more, RAID 5 could be a good one since reliability is quite good, reasonable performance and the best thing is you sacrifice only 33% of space or less due to number of you hard drive.

    Upgradability - Considering of purchasing NAS, I don't know if we are concerned about this much. PCI Express slot? DVI? or even HDMI? They all could be a nice additional, but by the fact that NAS we build will not have anything attached -- only power and CAT5e cable plugged in. Thus extra RAM slot, more SATA port, or eSATA port should be what we concerned more.

    Cost - summing up as examples should help get idea much better.

      Chenbro ITX Server box HP MediaSmart EX470 Shuttle K45 box Mid-Tower ATX
    Case Chenbro ES34069 (+$170) HP EX470 (+$400) Shuttle K45 (+$90) Antec NSK4480 (+$75)
    CPU Intel Atom 330 AMD Sempron 3400+ Intel Celeron E1200 (+$50) Intel Celeron E1200 (+$50)
    Mainboard Intel BOXD945GCLF2 (+$80) SiS 761GX Included Foxconn G31MV-K (+$45)
    RAM 2GB DDR-800 (+$20) 2GB DDR-800 (+$20) 2GB DDR-800 (+$20) 2GB DDR-800 (+$20)
    Connectivity Gigabit LAN Gigabit LAN Gigabit LAN Gigabit LAN
    Storage 500GB 7200rpm SATA (+$70) 500GB 7200rpm SATA 500GB 7200rpm SATA (+$70) 500GB 7200rpm SATA (+$70)
    Ports Int: 2*SATA, 1*PATA
    Ext: 1*VGA, 8*USB, 1*S-Video, audio ports
    Int: 4*SATA
    Exthp1: 4*USB,
    1*e-SATA
    Int: 2*SATA, 1*PATA
    Ext: 1*VGA, 5*USB, audio ports
    Int: 2*SATA, 1*PATA
    Ext: 1*VGA, 5*USB, audio ports
    OS Windows OS (+$100) or
    any Linux (+$0)
    Windows Home Server Windows OS (+$100) or
    any Linux (+$0)
    Windows OS (+$100) or
    any Linux (+$0)
    Extra     1*PCI slot 1*PCI Express x16, 1*PCI slot, RAID 0/1
    HDD Bays 4*HDD bay 4*HDD bay 2*HDD bay 4+*internal HDD bay
    Total** $340 or $440 $420 $230 or $330 $240 or $340

    * Prices based on Newegg.com, hpshopping.com EPP and eWiz.com on Dec 13, 2008
    ** Total price above is not included shipping or tax, so actual price might cause around 120% of showing price
    hp1 - There is no VGA port.

    Comparing to DIY NAS I wrote last year, that $330 with much worse spec than all these. It's really showing how fast semiconductor world change! Moore's law is still valid, huh? While 500GB could be a little less, 1TB for $100 can be captured easily. For this table, I tried to make them as comparable as I can to see the difference in term of price each configuration could be. By the price, first 2 choices are worst, but as far as appearance & expandability are concerned they are the best around. Just remember something about buying stuff, a good deal always pops up randomly, I got my HP MediaSmart EX470 only $270 on Black Friday and before that OfficeMax had this on sale for $299 before discontinued I guess. What a fantastic deal that was! In this economic situation, using what you have and staying alert for a great deal are the best strategy.

    Conclusion

    All in all, there are tons of possibility building up NAS these days. What we are trying to do is selecting the best one that gives look, performance, and reasonable cost. After this decision, there are still big jobs to do--configure & tweak--for the optimal result. Read & try will show what you have to do :-) I recommend you guys check out SmallNetBuilder.com. Over there, there are so many great resources about network & NAS. And stay tuned for my HP MediaSmart EX470 and shuttle K45 NAS box review :-)

    >>Discuss more here<<

  • Configuring PIX 501 -- part II

    After clear all things in part I, now we have to continue setting for our network's safe, but surely before concerning about getting to work first. Well, basically PIX 501, which has only 2 interfaces: ethernet0 & ethernet1, can have only outside and inside network. Security level has been fixed as 0-minimum and 100-highest respectively. This is fixed value for PIX 501. What we have to know next is configuration on the network; assume that we place PIX 501 behind router and we have 1 web server inside the network. Actually we should place web server on outside network, but for learning, we do this way first.

    Here is our step to get things done:-

    1. Set hostname, password
    2. Configure IP addresses on interfaces, then enable them
    3. Configure a route
    4. Set firewall rules
    5. Port forwarding to web server

    For setting hostname & password, we need to get into config shell; one thing which is so cool about CISCO IOS shell is no fixed command as long as you can type unambiguous command. For example, 'configure terminal' command can be substitue with 'config t' or 'conf t' or 'conf ter' or even 'con t' but only 'con' will not work since there is not enough information.

    pixfirewall# config t 
    pixfirewall(config)#
    pixfirewall(config)# hostname 10PIX 
    10PIX(config)# 
    10PIX(config)# password qwerty 
    10PIX(config)# 
    10PIX(config)# enable password qwerty 
    10PIX(config)#

    After setting basic stuffs, we need to go on next step; IP addresses on each interfaces. First we set link speed, name, and set security which is fixed in this case anyway on each interface:-

    10PIX(config)# interface ethernet0 100full
    10PIX(config)# interface ethernet1 100full
    10PIX(config)# nameif ethernet0 outside 0 
    10PIX(config)# nameif ethernet1 inside 100

    Next we have to set IP on each interface and set the route to our gateway (192.168.10.10) to be able to access the Internet.

    10PIX(config)# ip address outside 192.168.10.11 255.255.255.0 
    10PIX(config)# ip address inside 10.1.1.1 255.255.255.0 
    10PIX(config)# 
    10PIX(config)# route outside 0 0 192.168.10.10 1
    10PIX(config)#

    What we need next is associating a network with a pool of global IP address.

    nat [(if_name)] nat_id local_ip [netmask [max_conns [em_limit]]] [norandomseq]
    global [(if_name)] nat_id global_ip[-global_ip] [netmask global_mask] 

    From these 2 commands: nat & global, nat will identify nat_id and global will provide an IP address for each outbound connection for a particular nat_id.

    10PIX(config)# nat (inside) 1 10.1.1.0 255.255.255.0 0 0 
    10PIX(config)# global (outside) 1 192.168.10.12 
    10PIX(config)#

    0 0 at the end of nat command indicates no maximum connection and limit; all outbound connections will be represented by IP 192.168.10.12 on outside. [it can be represented in a range too] After having the route ready, it's time to set DHCP server for inside network; it's pretty straight forward here.

    10PIX(config)# dhcpd address 10.1.1.10-10.1.1.31 inside 
    10PIX(config)# dhcpd dns 192.168.10.10 
    10PIX(config)# dhcpd lease 604800 
    10PIX(config)# dhcpd ping_timeout 500 
    10PIX(config)# dhcpd enable inside 
    10PIX(config)# 

    Up to this point, we almost ready to leave console behind and never have to use it again. There are 2 choices here: telnet or ssh. Telnet is much faster, but ssh is more secure. It's up to your decision what to pick. What we should do really is allowing only inside network to do this job, not outside. So we can make sure of security up to particular level. However, in this case, for study, let's try to allow ssh connection from outside network [which is still private network anyway.]

    10PIX(config)# telnet 10.1.1.0 255.255.255.0 inside 
    10PIX(config)# telnet timeout 5 
    10PIX(config)# ssh 10.1.1.0 255.255.255.0 inside 
    10PIX(config)# ssh 192.168.10.0 255.255.255.0 outside 
    10PIX(config)# ssh timeout 5

    By the fact that, we allowed telnet and ssh connection. It works just fine with telnet since there is no security concern. ssh, however, is another story. ssh required to have RSA key to use secure connection. What we need is to generate an RSA key and save into flash memory; it takes you a while--about half an hour for me

    10PIX(config)# domain-name cisco.com
    10PIX(config)# ca generate rsa key 2048
    10PIX(config)# ca save all 
    10PIX(config)# 

    PIX obtaining RSA key

    You may view newly created RSA public key by:-

    10PIX(config)# sh ca mypubkey rsa

    Now we are able to connect ssh session; if you have any trouble, then 'debug ssh' might be your friend. Next thing we have to do is setting port forwarding; since PIX 501 doesn't have any extra interface, DMZ is not a solution here. Our web and ftp server is on 10.1.1.14.

    static [(high_if, low_if)] [tcp| udp] low_if_ip high_if_ip [netmask][max_conns [em_limit]] [norandomseq]

    Just remember a bit that, this is for NAT enabled; high is indicated higher security. interface == firewall IP on that interface

    10PIX(config)# static (inside,outside) tcp interface www 10.1.1.14 www netmask 255.255.255.255 0 0 
    10PIX(config)# static (inside,outside) tcp interface ftp 10.1.1.14 ftp netmask 255.255.255.255 0 0
    10PIX(config)# access-list acl_in permit tcp any interface outside eq www 
    10PIX(config)# access-list acl_in permit tcp any host 192.168.10.101 eq ssh 
    10PIX(config)# access-list acl_in permit tcp any interface outside eq ftp
    10PIX(config)# access-group acl_in in interface outside

    Now we put access-list on as well, just for sake of security because we allow what we shouldn't already. However, that's what firewall for, right? Once we create access-list, we have to apply that on the interface by:-

    access-group acl_name in interface interface-name

    So far we set all neccessary settings; you may have to play around a bit to understand deeper of how PIX works. To be able to solve a problem, we have to know what is going:-

    10PIX(config)# show xlate
    10PIX(config)# show conn
    10PIX(config)# show access-host
    10PIX(config)# show running-config

    This allows you to check what is wrong, then you will be able to start solving from that; one more thing you need to know is to disable our commands. It's damn easy by putting 'no' in front of command we put. You may check by 'show run' which will show every single command you put in.

    Have fun with manipulate PIX configuration and have a safe network, of course. =)

    If you have trouble with PIX, just ask.

    Note: very good command resource reference at cisco.com

  • Dell Latitude XT -- spec & performance

    Dell Latitude XT is nowhere near the term of high performance because what it strives for is different. But there still are interesting points left to look at. Later on you will see how this not so high spec help battery life and heat on this machine.

    Spec

    CPU Intel Core 2 Duo U7700 @ 1.33GHz
    Operating System Vista Business 32-bit
    Display 12" WXGA (1280x800) matte screen
    with dual digitizer (N-Trig)
    Memory 1GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM onboard +
    2GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM [only 1 slot]
    Graphic card ATi Radeon Xpress 1250
    Chipset ATi RS600 + SB600
    Hard Drive 120GB 5400rpm 1.8" Samsung HS122JC
    CD/DVD drive External media base with DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
    Networking Gigabit LAN, Dell 1390 802.11b/g
    Extra array mic, fingerprint
    Battery 6-cell (42Wh)
    Dimension (LWH) 8.6" x 11.7" x 1.2"
    Weight (lbs) 4 lbs 5 oz (+8.2 oz for adapter)
    Power adapter 45W (Dell part#: GM456)

    Well, this machine is not going break any record and I also not sure if I should benchmark it. I mean that's almost pointless. Some of them, however, are good for reference and comparison's sake.

    Windows Experience Index (WEI) - This is always a good one since anyone using Vista has it. No matter how crap it is; it's useful somehow.

    Windows Experience Index -- Dell Latitude XT

    Start-up time - from grub menu to ie with fully loaded mycapsules.com on ie. It doesn't need to be fully loaded anything else though.

    U7700, 3GB RAM, 120GB 5400rpm 1.8" HDD 1:30 min

    Sleep/resume time - I started seeing this pointless but sometime it helps giving an idea fresh system look like :-)

    system sleeping time resuming time
    U7700 <5 seconds <3 seconds

    wPrime 1.63 - testing hardly on CPU--and this ultra low voltage is not going to be anything exciting indeed.

    wPrime -- Dell Latitude XT

    CrystalMark - well, almost everything is in number; pretty good for reference.

    CrystalMark -- Dell Latitude XT

    PCMark05 & 3DMark06 - I don't see if this will help you a thing =) since it will be only a bit.

    HD Tune - It's 1.8" hard drive, remember that. There is no way that it is as fast as 2.5" one.

    HD Tune -- Dell Latitude XT

    Network Performance - Because of Dell 1390 which is plain 802.11g WLAN, we won't see anything interesting here 2-3MB/s is what we normally achieve. Gigabit LAN is also performing great as it should be.

    Heat & Noise

    Dell XT - HWMonitor Wow!! This is one of the coolest laptops I have so far. I almost feel nothing throughout palm rest, keyboard, and on the screen. ULV CPU and thoroughly designed air ventilation should be the main factor here since at air vent on the left, hot air is coming out continuously (but still pretty silence) keep laptop at the minimal temperature. On the screen, there is no hot or even warm surface found!! Inside, as you can see on the right, maximum temp is only 152°F/67°C

    Consequently, temperature on the outside surface is not hot too. Please note that all data are in °F (+/- 1.5°F) and measure while this is on battery working normally about 30 min or so.

    Dell Latitude XT - surface temp Dell Latitude XT - surface temp
    [Note: ambient temp = 83°F/28°C; low = 88°F/31°C; high = 101°F/38°C]

    Battery Life

    Battery on Dell Latitude XT is normal, nothing interesting or fantastic about, almost 3 hours on 6-cell, 42Wh. While it could have achieved better using ULV, it is disappointing because it constantly drains out 13W as a minimum which is considering very high at idle. No matter how I configure, that's the best I could get. Turning screen off helps decreasing 4-5W; turning others off help only about 1W less totally. As a result, Dell XT realistically last a tad shorter than 3 hours. That is ordinary, but not good as far as portability is concerned. 2 hour and half--oh boy! way to less!! since you shouldn't drain out battery every time.

    Besides, a bit short battery life. Dell provides such a portable power adapter instead. Light and thin as you saw earlier in this review, it comes with only 45W while regular laptop/tablet PC power adapter is about 65W or so. Does that effect how long to fill Dell XT up? We'll see.

    image

    This is from Performance Monitor which I use to track all data, this time it's charge rate (red) and remaining capacity (green.) I could classify how fast it can charge into 3 situations:

    1. Charging while using, charge rate will vary between 21-23Wh which taking about 2 hours from 0%-100%
    2. Charging while turning on but screen off, charge rate will increase to 27Wh since it doesn't have to provide juice for monitor. This will help shortening charge time a bit.
    3. Charging while sleeping/turning off, this indeed helps charging much faster by only a bit over an hour with 35Wh charge rate.

    As you see, the screen sucks only about 4-5W an hour as same as others tablet PC's. That means ATi chipset (GPU + Northbridge + Southbridge) is the only thing to blame here. Dell should have go for Intel chipset here, so that they could at least give LV CPU as an option while consuming less or equal to what Dell XT is right now.

    Service

    This is hell good of service from Dell Business, although it could be whole different if you have consumer model. The thing is Dell has both live chat and telephone service which are nice. Also, you can even ask for a replacement to do it on your own. Don't have to mess or take any risk sending to repair center since according to my experience, sending anything to any repair center does not help really, including Dell.

    Almost anything they cover they will send you a replacement promptly, mostly few days to be on your door step. Plus if you send your machine in, it's going to take less than a week (but bad part is it won't help a thing!! you will need to ask for a replacement to change yourself anyway ha ha)

    Drawback

    Although there is a light sensor, it is almost useless since it won't work while on AC. Moreover, it should be a way to tweak sensitivity for this. It's just way too sensitive for me. Thus I just choose to disable it.

    Fingerprint sensor is not a good one. You will not be able to swipe your finger in different way [inside out in notebook mode & opposite which is more natural in tablet mode] since this sensor will not be able to match. Firstly I thought it was a software, but I just put the same UPEK Protector Suite QL to thinkpad X61T and surprisingly it works great like normal. In addition, this finger is kind of miss, instead of hit. On the other words, I swipe my thumb 10 times, it will work only 1 or 2. Unlike Thinkpad, which 80% is the lowest probability. Note: I use convenient mode on both.

    Dell Latitude XT -- battery chart

    It should have an option for extended battery like real 9-cell. You may know that slice battery that they claimed as 9-cell battery is only 45Wh comparing to 6-cell with 42 Wh. I have no clue what the heck is going on too and chart above is way too exaggerate since 42Wh + 45 Wh = 87Wh and by the fact that it drains 13Wh constantly; that's only 6 and a half hour and that is only left it idle. 3 hours missing = -40% from ad. I just expected Dell much more honest than this, 20-25%? please.

    N-Trig!? Not only it has a problem with a driver, but also the service is like talking to the wall. No response ever!!! At least, recently not only Dell using this, HP Touchsmart family also join this boat. I expected to have at least working Adobe Photoshop pressure sensitivity.

    Conclusion

    To be honest with you, this is the machine I want to like; it has almost everything needed to be a perfect one, but it can't keep up to par in some important features. I don't know if I could recommend Dell XT to anyone, but I think for its price on outlet, $600-$850; it's definitely a great price for this machine. Forgetting buy this in full. It's just not worth that big buck.

    Pros

    • Capacitive touch
    • Nice design
    • Jog-dial
    • Cool in temperature sense

    Cons

    • Mediocre battery life
    • not so good Pointstick
    • not that light; in fact, much heavier than I expected.
    • Driver problems!
  • DiY Lego USB Flash Drive

    หลังจากพยายามใส่ Ubuntu 8.10 ลงใน Kingston DT Mini Slim 2GB อยู่หลายรอบ จนมารู้ว่าจริงแล้ว bios ไม่รู้จักมัน ทั้ง Fujitsu s2110 และ Dell Vostro 1500 จีง boot ไม่ขึ้นไม่ว่าจะทำไง

    Kingston DT Mini Slim 2GB

    เจ็บใจนัก ไหนๆทะเลก็ทวง Lego อยู่นั้นแหละ (หรอกมานานแล้ว เด็กมันอยากได้ thumb drive เท่ๆไปเก็บขยะ) ก็เลยจัดการทำลายมันซะ

    Kingston DT Mini Slim - faceoff  Kingston DT Mini Slim - faceoff  Kingston DT Mini Slim - faceoff  

    เริ่มก็ตัดมันซะ ลองด้านบนๆก่อนดูว่ามันเป็นไงบ้าง แต่ถ้าใครจะทำก็ไม่ต้องลอง ตรงไหนมันก็แนบสนิทหมดแหละ ค่อยๆกรอมันออกโดยรอบ อย่าให้ทะลุเหลือไว้บางๆๆ แล้วค่อยเอามีดคัดเตอร์สะกิดออก อย่าใช้แรงตัดแรงกดนะ มันแนบมากๆ ใช้การกรอจะดีกว่า

    Kingston DT Mini Slim - faceoff  Kingston DT Mini Slim - faceoff

    เหลือ 2GB ไว้ดูเล่น และบริเวณรอยต่อตรงนี้น่าจะหักได้ง่าย เหลือไว้หน่อยเพื่อความแข็งแรง ส่วนอีกด้านเอาออกหมดเลย จะได้ไม่หนาเกิน เหลือบ่าไว้ชน Lego หน่อยนึง

    Lego   DIY Lego flash drive assembly

    เจาะ lego เลย ขนาดมันจะพอดีมากไปหน่อย ทำให้ต้องกรอภายใน lego ออกด้วย และกรอขอบแผ่นวงจรออกนิดหน่อย (ดูดีๆๆ อาจพังได้) เสี่ยงเอาเองว่าจะกรอตรงไหนมากน้อย

    DIY Lego flash drive assembly  DIY Lego flash drive assembly

    ลองวัดขนาดดูก่อน แล้วค่อยๆเจาะรู ระวังเป็นรอยด้วย มันจะไม่สวยต้องมาหลบมุมกล้องทีหลัง อิอิ ส่วนสีส้มอันล่างตัดปุ่มเล็กน้อยให้เป็นบ่าไว้กันมันเคลื่อนถอยหลังเวลาเสียบ ..ระวัง lego ทะลุด้วยนะ

    DIY Lego flash drive test  DIY Lego flash drive test

    อย่าลืมลองเสียบดูก่อนทากาวติดนะ ว่าคอมเห็นดีอยู่หรือเปล่า จะได้ซื้ออันใหม่ทัน 55  เพราะมันจะสั้นลงหน่อยนีง  พยายามกรอแต่งด้านใน lego และบริเวณขอบด้านข้างออกนิดหน่อย ก็จะได้ความยาวของปลาย usb เพิ่มมาอีก 0.5-1 มิล ก็เสียบได้แล้ว

    DIY Lego flash drive test 

    ขึ้น Lego แล้ว     ..windows รู้จักด้วย 555   ( Lego มันเกิดก่อน XP นี่ 555 )

    DIY Lego flash drive  DIY Lego flash drive  

    เสร็จ ทะเลบอกเหมือนรถถัง แสดงว่ามันได้ทำหน้าที่ของ lego สมบูรณ์แล้ว

    DIY Lego flash drive

    ถ่ายรูปคู่หน่อย ก่อนและหลัง