Archive for Reviews

The Everun – One of the best replacement for a Pocket PC

The Everun, a little PC to take everywhere – Mobility Site:

The Everun is a compact 5 inches UMPC. One of the best replacement for a Pocket PC in the market. The inclusion on it of a HSDPA option is a very big plus in this always connected world. I would like to see Raon Digital exploring solutions with other more powerful processors than the AMD Geode but at the same time I admire the good work done by Raon Digital achieving the highest possible performance in the Everun. The machine is clean, no crapware of any kind installed. You can start using it right out of the box, you don’t have to spend hours cleaning or uninstalling trials. There are two kinds of UMPC users, those who use the UMPC as their main PC and the other group that uses the UMPC as a companion PC. I would recommend this machine to anyone in the second group of users.

I had a play with the Everun while I was in Hong Kong a couple weeks ago. I was impressed with the quality of the unit, but at the time when it didn’t seem to balance against a OQO2, Q1U or P1010/810. Also in HK it is not a common unit, so the standard street price is above what you can get it at Dynamism. Given I was getting a TyTN II, I decided against the purchase.

This review strongly puts the unit into context for me: a Pocket PC replacement. The battery life is good enough, the XP Home aspect is non-important, and the solid system software integration a bonus. If I was needing to get an OQO2 to try for travel computing testing or replace my desktop, I’d probably consider getting one to replace my aging hx4700.

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AnandTech gives an indepth look at the Quad Core Intel Clovertown

AnandTech: Quad Core Intel Xeon 53xx Clovertown

This means that we have to subtract about 13% of the performance figures if we want to keep the TDP the same, and in that case some of the “compelling gains” are no longer really tangible. So we can conclude that CRM, Financial analysis, ERP and Java applications are the best applications for our Clovertown Xeon. For rendering, transaction processing, and especially structural simulation (LS Dyna) and flow modeling (fluent) the picture is a lot less clear.


To the financial analysts, CRM, ERP and Java server people, the new quad core Xeon E53xx is close to irresistible. You can get four cores for the price of two, or up to eight (!) cores in a relatively cheap dual socket server. We observed at least a 40% performance increase compared to probably the best dual core CPU of today: the Xeon 5160.

For the people looking for a 3D rendering workstation, your usage model will determine whether the Xeon 5160 or the Xeon E5345 is the best solution. You get better animation and 3D manipulation performance (mostly single threaded) and better rendering performance at resolutions lower than High Definition with the Xeon 5160. 3D render servers are better off with the Quad Xeon E53xx but only if they have to render at 720p or full HD (1080p) resolutions.

The past 6 months have been excellent for Intel: after regaining the performance crown in the dual socket server market, there is also now a very viable and lowly priced alternative for the more expensive quad Opteron based systems. However, it is not all bad news for AMD. The current quad core might be good for Intel’s yields, time to market, and production costs, but it does have a weakness. The quad core Xeon scaling is very mediocre, and this despite a high performance chipset. The current 5000p chipset has a large 16MB snoop filter, reads speculatively to decrease memory latency, and has a whole other bag of clever tricks to get more performance out of the platform. Despite all this and a 2x4MB L2 cache setup, the quad core Xeon scales worse than the relatively old quad Opteron platform.

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Four CMSs – short review

I had a look at four CMSs yesterday for a small brochure site. Here is a quick review:

  1. Typo3 – complex and powerful. Installation process on Debian takes a bit to figure but is straightforward once understood. A lot of documentation, but it lacks some organisation. However, there are some walkthrus for simple sites. I’d guessimate at least one-two weeks to figure out the basics and get something useful going. Each user would need their hands held.
  2. Plone – complex and powerful. Apt-get plone, although sarge is a bit behind as usual. Free book. However, doesn’t seem to be any clear “walkthrus” for build a small site. Seems like a very good platform for intranet or extranet applications. Plone vs Typo3 comparison.
  3. Drupal – simple and powerful. apt-get drupal. Documentation is messy, more like a lot of tips that something organised. Walkthu, but nothing really explaining how to get it do what I want. Seems better for a basic geek news site than for business site.
  4. MODx – simple, smart and brilliant. Drop in /var/www, chown then good install interface; upgrades look easy as well. Documentation is organised, clear and detailed in areas. No need for walkthru. Discovered via Peter Cooper. You can try it at Opensource CMS. For a simple business site MODx seems to be the best option. I figure I can convert the current html site in a day or two. Both designer and then content editors should be able to use system without much hand holding.

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Tablet Comparison

I’ve put together a quick comparison tablet for the tablets I’m considering at the moment.

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Opteron vs. Xeon

A simple Opteron vs. Xeon
benchmark using slamd comparing a dual core Sun v20z and an IBM x345.

Result: Opteron server is 1.6x faster then Xeon server. Turning additional cores on and Opteron server is 2.62x faster then Xeon server.

My new v20z is sitting at the warehouse today. I’ll probably have to find my ear plugs while I’m building it up, but I’m looking forward to seeing how well the Opteron is going to perform.

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Opteron performance

This article “No More Apple Mysteries, Part Two” at Anandtech is a second focus on the PowerPC. Of greater interest to me was the numbers between the Intel and AMD processors.

At the moment I’ve been reviewing the purchase of a new 1U machine and trying to decide between a Sun Fire v20z or a Intel SR1400 Server Chasis. Basically the using an Opteron 248 2.2 GHz or a Xeon Irwindale 3.2 GHz 2 MB L2 800 MHz FSB.

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On desktops. OSX and NX. Thinkpads vs iBooks.

Back in June I decided I’d try out NX and my MiniMac as a possible active working desktop solution. The genesis for this was mainly based on my decision back in March that iBooks were the best portable solution. Reasonable battery live, hardware/software combination that just works, together.

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Hyper-Threading stats

An interesting set of stats pulled from: Mac Forums – Pentium M and Yonah Processors in Upcoming Macs?

With HT enabled, I can run two copies of the job, but they each take 3 CPU hours (and the two finish in 3 wall clock hours).

So, in a day, I can run 12 jobs without hyper-threading, or 16 jobs with hyper-threading. My Opterons do about 13 per day per CPU. (3.6 GHz/1MiB Xeon, 2.6GHz Opteron)

Is it slower with HT – by one measure, yes. Is it faster with HT – by a different measure, yes.

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Remote desktop faster than Local

I happened to have two IBM WinXP laptops on my desktop tonight as I was installing the NX client on one of these machine before my brother goes to China at the end of the week.

Anyway, I had a remote NX desktop running on his machine to my colo Xen machine about 256kbps (50ms) DSL away and on mine I had the local NX desktop which I’ve been using as a test install for the past two weeks. Compression was set at modem speeds for the remote and LAN speeds for the local desktops. I decided I need a test to show off NX off to him and figured a quick look at my gallery would be good. And it was. It surprised even myself.

The remote desktop loaded this page faster than the local desktop. There was a definitely noticeable difference in page display speed in Firefox. The quality of the remote desktop on the two screens was hardily different. The thumbnails on the remote were slightly blurry, but not by much.

The remote machine is sitting next (Xen-wise) to the gallery web server and obviously my local desktop load the thumbnails over the DSL link. So this is a certain testament to NX’s performance given that same page and images were rendered and presented faster from the remote location.

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Richard Morgan

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