Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by rsimp.. » Mon, 09 Nov 1998 04:00:00



: Do Corel Netwinders make good computers? How fast is the StrongArm processor
: compared to that of an x86. I would like a computer just to run Linux on and
: learn some programming and maybe some X programming. Also am I missing out on
: any support going to a different architecture? Thanks in advance.

I have only used one of these briefly at a show, but I have had a Acorn
StrongARM based machine running RiscOS for some years and ran Linux on it
for some months before getting my Alpha.

The one I tried at the show was really neat.  I am sorely tempted to get one
as a second machine (not sure what for yet).  I also think that it would
make an A1 laptop due to the processor's very low power consumption (not
sure if Corel have any plans in this area).

Until recently there was no official distribution for ARM processors, so
upgrading would have been a bit of a problem.  I understand that RedHat are
going to make their latest release available for the netwinder.  I have no
idea where you would plug in a CD-ROM drive, so you may have to install
software over a network.

Obviously, very few applications are available for the ARM port.  This will
not be a problem for anything which comes as part of RedHat, and I believe
Corel are going to port Wordperfect but other commercial software may be a
bit limited.  Obviously, in most cases you can just compile the source.

The StrongARM is a powerfull processor and its integer performance is
certainly as good as Pentiums of a similar clock rate.  It has a smaller
cache and most importantly NO FPU.  Do not get a netwinder if you want to do
any intensive floating point work (ghostscript crawls and so will apps like
ray tracing).

--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Richard Simpson
Farnborough, Hants, Uk                 Fax: 01252 392976

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by Frank Sweetse » Mon, 09 Nov 1998 04:00:00



> I have only used one of these briefly at a show, but I have had a Acorn
> StrongARM based machine running RiscOS for some years and ran Linux on it
> for some months before getting my Alpha.

ditto - had the chief corelcomputer engineer demo one at our LUG meeting -
i was very impressed.

Quote:> The one I tried at the show was really neat.  I am sorely tempted to get one
> as a second machine (not sure what for yet).  I also think that it would
> make an A1 laptop due to the processor's very low power consumption (not
> sure if Corel have any plans in this area).

unfortunatelly, they don't ATM... :(  perhaps some laptop manufacturer
could license the technology =)

Quote:> Until recently there was no official distribution for ARM processors, so
> upgrading would have been a bit of a problem.  I understand that RedHat are
> going to make their latest release available for the netwinder.  I have no
> idea where you would plug in a CD-ROM drive, so you may have to install
> software over a network.

heheh... actually, you can use a backpack cdrom.  this is one of the
coolest things about the netwinder - the bios loads of a full featured
2.0.29 kernel, and a barebones filesystem from flash.  from the bios
kernel, you can boot off of a hard drive as normal, any kernel image
(understands FAT, ext2fs, iso9660, NFS) on a local hard drive, zip disk,
backpack cdrom, NFS share, or tftp.  pretty damn cool, huh?  the bios flash
even has enough on it to dial up via the built in modem and snag it's image
over a PPP connection =)

Quote:> Obviously, very few applications are available for the ARM port.  This will
> not be a problem for anything which comes as part of RedHat, and I believe
> Corel are going to port Wordperfect but other commercial software may be a
> bit limited.  Obviously, in most cases you can just compile the source.

Corel has assigned 10 programmers to work on the WINE project, full time.
once it's stable enough, they plan to recompile any apps that haven't been
directly ported to linux yet to the StrongARM, which means they'll be
runnable under WINE on the Netwinder.  this also has the nice side effect
that WINE will be taking leaps and bounds on the x86 platform =)

> The StrongARM is a powerfull processor and its integer performance is
> certainly as good as Pentiums of a similar clock rate.  It has a smaller
> cache and most importantly NO FPU.  Do not get a netwinder if you want to do
> any intensive floating point work (ghostscript crawls and so will apps like
> ray tracing).

> --
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

> Richard Simpson
> Farnborough, Hants, Uk                 Fax: 01252 392976


--
Frank Sweetser rasmusin at wpi.edu fsweetser at blee.net  | PGP key available
paramount.ind.wpi.edu RedHat 5.2 kernel 2.1.126p2ac2 i586 | at public servers
Some people have told me they don't think a fat penguin really embodies the
grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen a angry penguin
charging at them in excess of 100mph. They'd be a lot more careful about
what they say if they had.
                -Linus, on why he chose a penguin for the linux mascot

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by Rod Smi » Thu, 12 Nov 1998 04:00:00




Quote:

> Corel has assigned 10 programmers to work on the WINE project, full time.

Do you have a reference for this 10 programmers figure?  I'd certainly
heard that they're supporting WINE, but hadn't heard that specific figure
before.

It'll be interesting to see how Corel's apps come out via WINElib.  If
they're successful, that could open up the door to other Windows software
houses porting their wares relatively easily, which could be VERY
interesting....

--
Rod Smith

http://www.users.fast.net/~rodsmith
NOTE: Remove the digit and following word from my address to mail me

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by Jason Radfo » Thu, 12 Nov 1998 04:00:00




Quote:>ditto - had the chief corelcomputer engineer demo one at our LUG meeting -
>i was very impressed.

I"ve looked at getting one of these myself.  I'd like to know how well
they are doing in the market (selling so far).  I like everything
about them, except the lack of external expansion (no SCSI/USB) mainly
for external HD's or CD's......

-Jason

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by Frank Sweetse » Thu, 12 Nov 1998 04:00:00





> > Corel has assigned 10 programmers to work on the WINE project, full time.

> Do you have a reference for this 10 programmers figure?  I'd certainly
> heard that they're supporting WINE, but hadn't heard that specific figure
> before.

this is the # given to us by one of the chief engineers (Pat something...)
when he demoed the boxes at our LUG meeting.

--
Frank Sweetser rasmusin at wpi.edu fsweetser at blee.net  | PGP key available
paramount.ind.wpi.edu RedHat 5.2 kernel 2.1.126p2ac2 i586 | at public servers
We use Linux for all our mission-critical applications. Having the source code
means that we are not held hostage by anyone's support department.
(Russell Nelson, President of Crynwr Software)

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by Frank Sweetse » Thu, 12 Nov 1998 04:00:00





> >ditto - had the chief corelcomputer engineer demo one at our LUG meeting -
> >i was very impressed.

> I"ve looked at getting one of these myself.  I'd like to know how well
> they are doing in the market (selling so far).  I like everything
> about them, except the lack of external expansion (no SCSI/USB) mainly
> for external HD's or CD's......

while scsi or usb would be really nice, they were mostly dismissed due to
the extra power that would be required for them.  however, you can use
parallel port devices, such as a backpack cdrom driver or a parallel zip
drive.

--
Frank Sweetser rasmusin at wpi.edu fsweetser at blee.net  | PGP key available
paramount.ind.wpi.edu RedHat 5.2 kernel 2.1.126p2ac2 i586 | at public servers
Why use Windows, since there is a door?

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by Erik Olso » Fri, 13 Nov 1998 04:00:00




>: Do Corel Netwinders make good computers? How fast is the StrongArm
>: processor compared to that of an x86. I would like a computer just to
>: run Linux on
> The StrongARM is a powerfull processor and its integer performance is
> certainly as good as Pentiums of a similar clock rate.  It has a smaller
> cache and most importantly NO FPU.  Do not get a netwinder if you want to do
> any intensive floating point work (ghostscript crawls and so will apps like
> ray tracing).

The processor is a 275MHz StrongARM SA-110 and Corel claims 250MIPs for
what thats worth, too bad no SPEC95int's are available.  Check out this
processor page for some comparisons:

http://infopad.EECS.Berkeley.EDU/CIC/summary/local/

As you will see no FPU and the ARM SA-110 is not superscalar like all of
the powerful processors of today.  I mean it only has one instruction
engine so it can only process one instruction at a time.  This is just
like the 68030, i386, and microSPARCs.  Also the Netwinder has no L2 cache.
So I would say that the Netwinder with its 275MHz SA-110 might be fast but
it is in no way comparable to an equal MHz Pentium2.

Even though the SA-110 is .35u it still only has a die size of 50mm^2
vs. a 333MHz+ Pentium 2 with its 131mm^2 die.  This has to be one
inexpensive chip.

On to the next question, is the Netwinder a good deal?  Granted the
http://www.corelcomputer.com/  page doesn't have a price for the
Netwinder LC yet, if you look at the development or web server version
you will see that a 32M RAM & 2.1G HD Netwinder goes for $959 and the
64M RAM & 4.0G HD version goes for $1249.  I feel these prices are
rather expensive considering that a 450MHz P2, Seattle motherboard,
128M RAM, 6.4G HD, Matrox G200, case, power supply, mouse, ... is
selling for around $1300 at some shops around here in Silicon Valley.

Even if Netwinder cut their prices in half they would be in the Celeron
based low cost machine league.  Still IMO too expensive.  What they need
is a $300 price tag to make it in the Network Computer or Set Top box
market.

What exactly is Netwinders target market?  I don't know.
As a developer I considered Netwinder as a target platform but not at
its current price.  I love the concept and I applaud them but unless
they can do some serious cost reducing I don't think it will sell.

erik olson

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by Christopher B. Brow » Fri, 13 Nov 1998 04:00:00



Quote:>Even if Netwinder cut their prices in half they would be in the Celeron
>based low cost machine league.  Still IMO too expensive.  What they need
>is a $300 price tag to make it in the Network Computer or Set Top box
>market.

Agreed.  It needs to be not too much more expensive than a Nintendo 64 in
order to be viable; take N64 ($150), add keyboard ($25), NIC ($25), some
extra RAM ($25), and a little disk drive ($75) and you get to about $300.
Not an unrealistic price, if they can get them produced in decent quantity.

Quote:>What exactly is Netwinders target market?  I don't know.
>As a developer I considered Netwinder as a target platform but not at
>its current price.  I love the concept and I applaud them but unless
>they can do some serious cost reducing I don't think it will sell.

They're in "dilemna" stage right now.

In small quantities, they probably *do* cost nearer to $600 than to $300 to
make.

They can't get the price down to the $200 needed to sell 'em at $300 until
they sell a bunch of 'em, and can thereby start getting advantage from
economies of scale.

And they can't sell 'em in quantity until the price comes down.

The only way that they can "bootstrap" the sales process is if they can get
some customers committed that are willing to initially pay $800 to get
projects going to do PC replacements.

(Here's a scenario: Corel works with SAP AG to get an ARM port of SAPGUI,
and pushes this as a "manageable platform" for Canadian Federal deployments
of R/3, when combined with Corel Office...  If they can sell 'em for $1K a
pop Canadian, use this to build up a set of support staff to help support
further deployments...  Could be useful...)

--
Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.  
-- Henry Spencer          <http://www.hex.net/~cbbrowne/lsf.html>

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by Lee Alle » Fri, 13 Nov 1998 04:00:00


(major snipping here)

Quote:>Even if Netwinder cut their prices in half they would be in the Celeron
>based low cost machine league.  Still IMO too expensive.  What they need
>is a $300 price tag to make it in the Network Computer or Set Top box
>market.

I disagree.  I am in the process of researching NCs and X-terminals for our
company.  Current products from NCD, Neoware, IBM, Tektronics, etc. run
between $700 - $1000 for a 8-16MB, diskless configuration.

I don't compare these systems to PCs I could throw together or buy at a
department store.  You have to take into account the integration that has
been performed, warranty, support, the included OS and/or applications
software, and the physical/mechanical/electrical robustness -- a very
important issue in our situation.

I will be looking very closely at the Netwinder.

-Lee Allen

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by William H. Ba » Fri, 13 Nov 1998 04:00:00


before you pass judgement, wait until you see the software packages that
are going to be included with the Netwinder in December... yes, of course
there's Linux... but i'd bet there will be value-added software...

besides, if you're going to compare the 'winder with a Nintendo, it
already beats the Nintendo hands down, don't you think?

the only thing is, you're still going to have to add a monitor, unless of
course, you run the thing as a headless server, then network your existing
boxes into it... which will work very well...

On 12 Nov 1998 05:03:37 GMT, Christopher B. Browne



>>Even if Netwinder cut their prices in half they would be in the Celeron
>>based low cost machine league.  Still IMO too expensive.  What they need
>>is a $300 price tag to make it in the Network Computer or Set Top box
>>market.

>Agreed.  It needs to be not too much more expensive than a Nintendo 64 in
>order to be viable; take N64 ($150), add keyboard ($25), NIC ($25), some
>extra RAM ($25), and a little disk drive ($75) and you get to about $300.
>Not an unrealistic price, if they can get them produced in decent quantity.

>>What exactly is Netwinders target market?  I don't know.
>>As a developer I considered Netwinder as a target platform but not at
>>its current price.  I love the concept and I applaud them but unless
>>they can do some serious cost reducing I don't think it will sell.

>They're in "dilemna" stage right now.

>In small quantities, they probably *do* cost nearer to $600 than to $300 to
>make.

>They can't get the price down to the $200 needed to sell 'em at $300 until
>they sell a bunch of 'em, and can thereby start getting advantage from
>economies of scale.

>And they can't sell 'em in quantity until the price comes down.

>The only way that they can "bootstrap" the sales process is if they can get
>some customers committed that are willing to initially pay $800 to get
>projects going to do PC replacements.

>(Here's a scenario: Corel works with SAP AG to get an ARM port of SAPGUI,
>and pushes this as a "manageable platform" for Canadian Federal deployments
>of R/3, when combined with Corel Office...  If they can sell 'em for $1K a
>pop Canadian, use this to build up a set of support staff to help support
>further deployments...  Could be useful...)

>--
>Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.      
>-- Henry Spencer          <http://www.hex.net/~cbbrowne/lsf.html>


 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by Erik Olso » Fri, 13 Nov 1998 04:00:00



Quote:> before you pass judgement, wait until you see the software packages that
> are going to be included with the Netwinder in December... yes, of course
> there's Linux... but i'd bet there will be value-added software...

Well it all depends what Netwinders target market is.
The video cam stuff for a video phone looks cool but for that application
they need to get the cost down and the "bandwidth problem" needs to
be solved first (DSL, cable modem, ...).

If all I want to do is email, read news, and surf, then they have to get
into the WebTV price range.

If they want to be an X term, then maybe they are right on target.

If they want to compete with the cheap PC's then they have to equal their
price.

If they want to be a set-top box then they need an MPEG decoder and a demod /
demux'er, and they need to get the cost down, way down.

Quote:> besides, if you're going to compare the 'winder with a Nintendo, it
> already beats the Nintendo hands down, don't you think?


I don't think the Netwinder could do that without any special 3D hardware.

erik olson

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by b.. » Fri, 13 Nov 1998 04:00:00



Quote:> Agreed.  It needs to be not too much more expensive than a Nintendo 64 in
> order to be viable; take N64 ($150), add keyboard ($25), NIC ($25), some
> extra RAM ($25), and a little disk drive ($75) and you get to about $300.
> Not an unrealistic price, if they can get them produced in decent quantity.

ehh.... that logic doesnt quite follow.  The only reason that the N64 is
150$ is that Nintendo takes a loss on the console.  They make it back when
you buy 10 games at 50$ a pop.  This dosnt make sence for corel, as it has
no software to sell on the netwinder (cept their office suit).  The
developer community would raise hell if they started making the os
proprietary so they could make their money.

-b

--
SAVE FERRIS

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by Frank Sweetse » Fri, 13 Nov 1998 04:00:00



> As you will see no FPU and the ARM SA-110 is not superscalar like all of
> the powerful processors of today.  I mean it only has one instruction
> engine so it can only process one instruction at a time.  This is just
> like the 68030, i386, and microSPARCs.  Also the Netwinder has no L2 cache.
> So I would say that the Netwinder with its 275MHz SA-110 might be fast but
> it is in no way comparable to an equal MHz Pentium2.

i don't know... the one that i saw demoed was pretty damn fast, overall,
definatelly comparable to my friends PPro200 system.  based on what i've
heard of the internal benchmarks that corel did, for general system
performance, it is indeed up in the PPro range.  granted, it sucks for math
intensive stuff (esp FPU stuff, as it doesn't have one...) but it's great
for 90% of the apps out there.

--
Frank Sweetser rasmusin at wpi.edu fsweetser at blee.net  | PGP key available
paramount.ind.wpi.edu RedHat 5.2 kernel 2.1.126p2ac2 i586 | at public servers
Perl is designed to give you several ways to do anything, so
consider picking the most readable one.
             -- Larry Wall in the perl man page

 
 
 

Corel Netwinder: good computer?

Post by Frank Sweetse » Fri, 13 Nov 1998 04:00:00



> I thought it would have been better for Corel or anyone for that matter just
> use commodity hardware (x86) for building the NC clients running Linux.
> This way the hardware is "cheaper", more available, and more applications
> to run both on the server and lean-clients.

true.  however, 1) with linux, they could easily get a stable OS with
plenty of apps availible, and 2) they took advantage of the extremely low
power features of the strongarm to go for other features/markets, such as
kiosks, clean rooms, and clusters (when/if they ever get an FPU.... :(  )
as well as NC's.  also, they're not dependant on intel - are they even
manufacturing plain pentiums anymore?

--
Frank Sweetser rasmusin at wpi.edu fsweetser at blee.net  | PGP key available
paramount.ind.wpi.edu RedHat 5.2 kernel 2.1.126p2ac2 i586 | at public servers
Today I set a motherboard on fire. Now the bizarre thing is that after
the smoke cleared it still worked.
              - Alan Cox

 
 
 

1. Corel Netwinder: good computer?


Agreed.  It needs to be not too much more expensive than a Nintendo 64 in
order to be viable; take N64 ($150), add keyboard ($25), NIC ($25), some
extra RAM ($25), and a little disk drive ($75) and you get to about $300.
Not an unrealistic price, if they can get them produced in decent quantity.

They're in "dilemna" stage right now.

In small quantities, they probably *do* cost nearer to $600 than to $300 to
make.

They can't get the price down to the $200 needed to sell 'em at $300 until
they sell a bunch of 'em, and can thereby start getting advantage from
economies of scale.

And they can't sell 'em in quantity until the price comes down.

The only way that they can "bootstrap" the sales process is if they can get
some customers committed that are willing to initially pay $800 to get
projects going to do PC replacements.

(Here's a scenario: Corel works with SAP AG to get an ARM port of SAPGUI,
and pushes this as a "manageable platform" for Canadian Federal deployments
of R/3, when combined with Corel Office...  If they can sell 'em for $1K a
pop Canadian, use this to build up a set of support staff to help support
further deployments...  Could be useful...)

--
Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.  
-- Henry Spencer          <http://www.hex.net/~cbbrowne/lsf.html>

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