Archive for October, 2009

A joy of underpowered hardware

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I prefer to develop on underpowered hardware since it makes you want to squeeze all you can from it. Looks like Gdium netbook is an ideal candidate when it comes to being underpowered (BeagleBoard is too underpowered in that matter).

What really sucks in Gdium (to my taste):

  • video card performance — in MPlayer video output time tends to be more than decoding time (which mostly don’t have SIMD optimisations for Loongson). Watching something greater than 512×384 MPEG-4 video is not comfortable. Floating-point audio codecs also take a lot of CPU.
  • there is an audible noise in headphones during playing audio; since video card, audio chip and some other things are integrated into single SM501 chip, I can add that it seems to be the suckiest part in netbook.

Some things are annoying too, like having 16-bit display (while chip supports 24-bit output, that does affect picture), battery charge limit of 97-98% (so it’s always charging and never completely charged — probably some glitch on my sample), fan and temperature issues (specs say that CPU dissipates up to 4 watts, where all that heat comes from?) and probably having an internal drive instead of USB key should greatly increase performance too.

I still hope for something like notebook containing multi-core MIPS or ARM with (preferably) 1Gb RAM.