Onto the physical examination of this product, we began on the top side of the BlackDog. On the lower portion of the unit is a silk-screened BlackDog logo that is printed onto the hard plastic, which is the entire casing for the actual server. The device measures in at a mere 0.50" x 1.75" x 3.50", while its weight is a mere 1.6 ounces. In the middle of the unit is a biometric reader for your fingerprint. The purpose of the biometric reader is to keep your data secured. Due to the small size of the server that could be easily misplaced or stolen, the biometrics scanner is one of the small safeguards in place as preventative maintenance. Alternatively, with the BlackDog being powered by open-source software the reader could also be used for a number of different tasks. Above the biometric scanner is a small lighting area to display when the device is connected, etc... The back of the unit is relatively plain and simply states that it was made in the USA and followed by a bar code. On the side of the product is a mini USB 2.0 port while on the opposing end is a MMC expansion slot. This expansion slot can be used with nearly any existing MMC product as long as there are open-source Linux drivers available. Although the exterior may look simple, the possibilities should be limitless due to free open-source software.
The Realm Systems BlackDog review would not be a Phoronix article if we did not bite into the device, in order to examine its internal design. Opening up the plastic casing is quite an easy task and can be accomplished without causing much damage. Just inside, we found the AuthenTec AES3400 biometric reader and the Molex MMC expansion slot. Also, the main PCB was actually made by Realm Systems and was not outsourced. Other components include a PowerPC 405 processor and Toshiba XB3296 TH58NVG2S3BFT00 NAND Flash IC. The Toshiba chip has a 4GB density and 90nm manufacturing process. On the bottom side of the PCB is a Samsung K4S51323PF-MF1L Mobile-SDRAM IC. Providing the connectivity with the host computer is an ADM8511 "Pegasus 2" USB/Ethernet device. Beneath the circuitry is a petite battery pack.