There still seems to be a lot of interest in DIY Asterisk appliances. Make that DIY PBX appliances in general, because the Freeswitch folks are just as active in this regard. My prior article giving an overview of suitable target platforms continues to be well received, even six months after it was originally published.
One of the host platforms mentioned in that article was the HP range of thin clients. Every day I get an email from the HP SMB Outlet listing the refurbished and overstock offering du jour. In todays list I notice that they include a quantity of 24 HP T5735 thin clients offered for $ 149 each.
These little boxes would make great little DIY embedded PBX systems. Here are the specs:
AMD Sempron 2100+ CPU clocked at 1 GHz
1 GB DDR-2 memory (1 SODIMM)
1 GB internal flash storage
PS/2 mouse & keyboard ports
6 USB 2.0 ports
ATI Radeon X1250 graphics with support for up to 1920 x 1440, or up to 24 bit color depth
10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
These little beasts are fanless and only draw around 18 watts. There is also an expansion chassis available that allows the addition of a riser for one PCI card.
At $149 each these devices are cheaper than a net-top. Granted, they’re not quite as powerful as a new net-top…they’re plenty enough to host a SOHO PBX or small music server.
Originally published July 21, 2008 at www.smallnetbuilder.com
By: Michael Graves
Date: July 21, 2008
From my first exposure to Slim Device’s original SliMP3 back in 2003 I was taken with the idea of streaming music throughout my house. The designers approach to this task I found very interesting. They literally give away an open source media streaming software intended for use on a file server. Then run their business by selling a dedicated hardware device to interface the music stream to a traditional stereo system.
My rebuilt SlimNAS device is now operational. The little 2.5″ HD is installed inside the T5700 case. I used the expansion chassis just to ensure that there’s enough air flow now that there is a IDE ribbon cable blocking airflow at least a little. Since there is no PCI card in the expansion slot so I fit a blank to fill the back panel opening.
The HD is paritioned into two volumes. FreeNAS is on the small volume, with the SlimServer and music library on the other. The drive is 250 GB, with 232 GB available for music. As I write this the flac portion of my library is being copied from the old P4-2.8 server. That’ll take a couple of hours for sure.
I’ll post more details on it’s actual performance once I’ve had a chance to us it a bit.
I have a 2.5″ 250 GB IDE hard drive to form the basis of my rebuilt SlimNAS server. I also have the HP T5700 host platform. As week or so back I ordered a 40 pin IDE cable on Ebay just to see if the drive could be plugged into the IDE header in the T5700 motherboard, where the DOM normally lives.
When the cable arrived, from Taiwan no less, I tried this and found it works fine. The IDE header on the mobo is not keyed like on larger systems so it’s possible connect it in reverse. If you do this a couple of the leads heat up really quickly. Luckily I noticed this and powered it off quickly. Not damage done luckily.
I have the system running plain vanilla FreeNAS at the moment. Next I need to do a FreeNAS upgrade, then install SlimNAS.