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Marvell announces Plug Computer 3.0

Marvell announces Plug Computer 3.0

The latest revision of Marvell's Plug Computer line - 3.0 - brings WiFI and Bluetooth to the party, along with a 2GHz CPU.

For those who were interested in the Marvell 'SheevaPlug' embedded computer revealed back in February, the next revision should get you salivating all over again.

As revealed on Engadget, Marvell's latest "Plug Computer" is a beast, offering vastly improved specifications over the original. While the SheevaPlug featured a 1.2GHz ARM-based CPU, the latest revision - dubbed the Plug Computer 3.0 - packs a 2GHz ARMADA 300 chip, although those looking for x86 goodness will be disappointed to hear it's still based around the ARM instruction set.

That little hiccup aside, the good news continues: gone is the limited 512MB NAND flash storage, replaced with a more capacious hard drive option. The networking options have been given an overhaul, too: alongside the Ethernet port the system includes integrated WiFI and Bluetooth, offering more ways to connect and control external devices.

While pricing has yet to be confirmed, the original SheevaPlug was firmly aimed at the hobbyist end of the market - as befits an early-release development platform. Whether this will continue with the latest revision remains to be seen - although the limited sales run of 10,000 devices so far indicates that the market is still somewhat unsure. Despite this, Marvell's Dr. Simon Milner is confident that "this will be a transformational year, where innovative concepts organically fuel a new generation of rich applications to go hand-in-hand with the always-on lifestyle," which presumably means he thinks the new Plug Computer will sell like hot cakes.

Can you think of a killer app for an always-on wirelessly connected computer the size of a power supply, or does the fact it's based around an ARM chip limit its usefulness? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

12 Comments

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mi1ez 6th January 2010, 14:00 Quote
limited use due to ARM IS, but I can see it being useful to some. need to see price though...
neocleous 6th January 2010, 14:27 Quote
Wouldn't LAN over power lines have been a great inclusion in the networking side of things?

If they could fit a NET top into that form factor I'm sure there would be a market for it.
SBS 6th January 2010, 15:01 Quote
Not really sure why being ARM based is that limiting - aside from MS Webservers, etc. what would you use this for that can be done on Windows but not Linux?

Finally a torrent box to replace my eee 901 :)
gagaga 6th January 2010, 15:08 Quote
I'm currently using a hacked NSLU2 as an SSH gateway into my home network ... I still don't trust Remote Desktop exposed directly to the net.

This kind of thing would be a perfect replacement and allow better use of the bandwidth on the ADSL2+ line when copying big files...
Nedsbeds 6th January 2010, 16:54 Quote
This looks like just the sort of thing I could do with for a client at work. They want a screen mounted on a wall running some sort of presentation. (we are thinking probably flash based) depending on price, these would fit the bill nicely!

Although, does it have any sort of monitor connection!?
chimaera 6th January 2010, 17:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedsbeds
This looks like just the sort of thing I could do with for a client at work. They want a screen mounted on a wall running some sort of presentation. (we are thinking probably flash based) depending on price, these would fit the bill nicely!

Although, does it have any sort of monitor connection!?

The CPU on the Sheeva at least does support VGA out, however the plug itself has a *very* limited subset of the ports that the CPU can handle (1xGigE, 1xUSB, 1xSD and thats it)

However there is a dev box version that includes all ports including the VGA out (http://www.globalscaletechnologies.com/t-openrdcdetails.aspx). Of course this thing costs more though :)

I run one of the sheeva plugs at home - its quite handy - acts as an SSH gateway (tunneled RDC to my home Win7 box == win) and web services platform (including torrentflux). More onboard storage would be nice (currently I just have a USB HDD plugged in) and PoE would be awesome, but I'm guessing the platform, lean as it is, still draws more juice than PoE can handle...
perplekks45 6th January 2010, 18:42 Quote
Nice and stable linux + torrentflux + good internet = niiiice seedbox for almost nothing?

WIN!
TomH 6th January 2010, 19:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by neocleous
Wouldn't LAN over power lines have been a great inclusion in the networking side of things?

If they could fit a NET top into that form factor I'm sure there would be a market for it.
They can only get so much in - I think they've done well to include the most popular Ethernet connectivity methods in a device that's the same size as most HomePlug adapters!

For anyone bothered about the ARM problem, Ubuntu has ARM ports as of Karmic (9.10) and broader support is surely to follow in Lucid (10.04).

Personally I'd love to use one of these with m0n0wall. Add a CDC USB Ethernet adapter and you'll have a, low-power, two port firewall/router with Wi-FI and IPv6 support amongst other things. :)
shanky887614 7th January 2010, 12:20 Quote
i don't see why people use these it would be much easier to set up a server using windows media server and use an eepc or a pc with a micro atx board with a terabytes hdd it should only cost about £150-200 for the hardware and for software there are loads of free alternatives
yougotkicked 7th January 2010, 18:55 Quote
the way i see it, ARM may be a limitation at the moment, but if this does gain popularity support for the ARM instruction set will increase massively. I personally don't like the fact that x86 has remained the only mainstream instruction set for so long, everything else in computer technology is constantly changing, and i would be supprised if there were no way to make an instruction set more efficient than x86 is now. i know the difference probably wouldn't be huge, and i'm no expert on how instruction sets work, but technology isn't supposed to be static.
perplekks45 7th January 2010, 20:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614
i don't see why people use these it would be much easier to set up a server using windows media server and use an eepc or a pc with a micro atx board with a terabytes hdd it should only cost about £150-200 for the hardware and for software there are loads of free alternatives
Two words:

Power.
Consumption.

'nuff sed.
Shagbag 7th January 2010, 23:06 Quote
I would dearly love to see something like this but with 4+ ethernet controllers. It would then make an awesome gateway.

I don't see ARM as being, in any way, a limitation. I know of at least one freely available cross-compiler so any perceived 'limitation' is down to the user IMHO.
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