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August 28, 2010

12minutes: Used $250 HW for compiling and evaluation of Chromium OS

Filed under: 12minutes, ChromeOS — Tags: , — natiku @ 7:58 pm

12 Minutes: Chromium OS My Configuration of used $250 HW for compiling and evaluation of Chromium OS

Motivation for Chromium OS Compiling

Some time ago I was participating in Web Kiosk project based on Linux and low power VIA Epia platform, it just launch Web browser (Firefox) in X and was controlled by touchscreen, we use Gentoo to be able quickly build customized fully manageable systems. Chromium OS project also using a Gentoo ebuild system, so it will like to evaluate whole Chromium OS building process too.

Motivation for Single Evaluation system

I share my big computer with my family, so I will like to have dedicated system for Regular Linux Desktop, Chromium OS and Jolicloud evaluation, which can also build and update Chromium OS over night regularly.

Motivation for used parts

Main motivation surprisingly is not overall system price, but having system which is currently represent a MAIN STREAM of target user base – here Intel ATOM platform users.

My current $250 HW Expenditure Limitation !

I am now freelancer with very small free money, so I will try to keep budget on this project low as possible.
I am in Europe and used parts are here even cheaper because they don’t have 20% VAT (Value Added Tax)

Netbook, Nettop or Custom Intel ATOM system ?

Most supported platform in Vanilla Chronium OS are Intel Atom platforms with Intel Graphic cards, see Chronium OS – Developer Hardware


For about $199 I can get used Asus EeePC 901 netbook with 8.9″ screen, but unfortunately Chromium OS can build today only on 64bit Linux System.

Pity, first generation of netbooks based on Atom Diamondville platfrom have only single-core Atom N270 at 1.6Mhz but without needed 64bit support.

Integrated Nettop:

I can get for $300 used dual-core Atom N330 with Nvidia platform, it’s 64bit, but Nvidia ION is not supported by Chronium OS.

Plus integrated nettop’s are not upgradable same way as netbooks, so they are not good protection of my investment over time.

Custom Nettop (mATX):

To achieve greater flexibility in configurations we can have also custom systems based on variety of mATX (microATX) motherboards and cases.
Most of this systems are produced as Barebone systems (pre-assembled OEM units), but similar systems can be easily assembled directly from part.

Custom ATOM based netbook like system ?

I will start with First Intel Atom generation Diamondville N2xx and 2xx/3xx lines (Introduced in 2008), netbooks are single-core only.

So I will build custom system based on Atom 230 (1.6Ghz, 64bit capable) (now -> D510) on mATX sized motherboard with 2 disks
(one regular IDE for compiling and second SSD for Chromium OS evaluation) and 1GB of installed memory are really minimum,
this system will be closes to first generation of notebooks with single core Atom 270 based HW like Asus EeePC 901 or similar.

Later I will like to use a second Intel Atom generation Pineview N4xx and D4xx/D5xx lines (Introduced in 2010), netbooks will be also dual-core.

See more in 7 Facts About Intel’s Pineview and Pine Trail and New Intel Atom Pineview/Pinetrail slaps Nvidia

Benchmark: Intel Atom N550 vs. D510 vs. N450 – Pine Trail Platform Pineview CPU Battle !
Benchmark: Intel Atom D510 vs. N450 vs. D410 – Pine Trail Platform Pineview CPU Battle !
Benchmark: Intel Atom D525 vs. D510 vs. N270 – Pine Trail Platform Pineview CPU Battle !

Later on I can switch to next generation ATOM D525 1.8Ghz DDR3 like Gygabyte GA-D525TUD to match Asus Eee PC 1215N netbook.

So I now update to newer, but still used Atom D510 + MN10 1.6Ghz real dual core system Gygabyte GA-D510UD mATX motherboard.
I can use for it older cheaper used DDR2-800Mhz memories and current IDE disk, plus IDE / SSD disk will be on separate channels.
This system based on Atom D510 will better match upcoming Atom N550 based netbooks, with performance close to nettops.
Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Samsung, LG, MSI, Fujitsu or Toshiba promise netbooks based on new dual-core Atom N550 platform.

Anyway Nettop’s are also on target Chrome OS to work on tablets, netbooks, laptops and PC? and Chrome OS Nettops – Why Not?

Here is my custom Atom D510 based system for $250 partially from Used parts

I try to build system as close to dual-core ATOM based netbook as possible, so I also add Web Camera, bluetooth and 3G modem.

MotherBoard Used $45 Intel D945GCLF mATX Atom 230 Upgraded! Has only one DIMM slot and only analog monitor port, 2 SATA and one IDE ports.
Memory Used $17 DDR2 1GB RAM / 800 Mhz Knigstone Upgraded! Memory work on 800Mhz
MotherBoard Used $67 Gygabyte GA-D510UD mATX Atom D510 Has 2 DIMM2 slot (max 4GB) and only analog monitor port, 4 SATA and one IDE ports.
Memory Used $39 DDR2 2GB RAM / 800 Mhz G.SKILL Single DIMM, DDRII 2GB PC2-6400 CL5-5-5-15 1.8V-1.9V F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ
CD-ROM Used $18 Notebook sized CD-ROM with IDE interface It’s old and really slow, but I really like to have backups of OSes in form of CDs
CASE New $48 Eurocase mini ITX Wi-01 with 200W power supply Nice case with 3.5″ and 2.5″ disk positions, no reset, I recommend 200W power supply.
RESET New $02 Parts for reset button I solder a reset button to add it on case back.
SATAtoIDE New $19 Notebook IDE connector to SATA for CD-ROM Converter is needed so I can connect CD-ROM to second SATA port.
WiFi New $12 TP-LINK TL-WN350GD with Atheros AR5007G chip No n standard, but directly supported and can fit in half sized slot (need to cut bracket)
IDE DISK SALE $35 New (unpacked) IDE disk – WDC 80GB WDC WD800JB-00JJC0, I see 80GB as minimum, it’s relatively fast = 7200RPM 8MB 8.9MS
2GB USB disk SALE $10 Just any faster 2GB or larger USB disk I will use it as evaluation for build, before I will update a SSD disk (Need to be really really fast)
Now I spend so far directly on this project $250. 3G Modem,Web Camera and Bluetooth are used in another projects too, so devices listed bellow are shared.
Web Camera NEW $20 Logitex webcam C200 Just a 1.3 Megapixel Webcam with Video. You need a web camera with UVC support under Linux
BlueTooth NEW $14 Chronos USB2.0 Bluetooth V2.1 Mini Dongle Class 2 up to 10M, (Chip: CSR BlueCore 04 with V2.1+EDR, V2.0+EDR, V2.1,V1.1)
3G Modem SALE $50 Huawei E160 USB This USB UMTS modem working well in Linux, but it has only 3.6Mbps HSPDA, no HSUPA.
SATA SSD RunCore $15 Used 16GB SATAII 2.5″ SSD
NX GB SATAII 2.5″ SSD (can have 12.5mm)
I get donated for symbolic price a decently used Jmicron JMF602B based drive by
I am looking ideally forat least 64 GB (best is 128GB) SATAII SSD fast disk with TRIM.

Gallery of assembly


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