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That Exciting, Passively-Cooled Linux PC Is Arriving Next Week

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  • drSeehas
    replied
    Originally posted by bridgman View Post
    ... NS16032 running Unix ...
    I loved the NS32032 together with the FPU and MMU.
    Unfortunately Motorola was the winner.

    Leave a comment:


  • bridgman
    replied
    Yep... IIRC Cemcorp started as an independent venture then my employer (Microdesign, part of Meridian Technologies) was brought in to redesign what became the Icon. Details are a bit fuzzy now, but I think over time Microdesign ended up getting split, one part merging with Cemcorp and the other part becoming Gensat (consumer satellite receivers). We were designing the Icon back when if you wanted a Sun workstation you had to go to Stanford and wire-wrap the boards yourself. Sun Microsystems was just starting up, as was Silicon Graphics.

    I think the Wikipedia article might be a bit off... it suggests that PORT came later but IIRC the first design used PORT and we moved to QNX later. Originally the server was going to have an NS16032 running Unix (to get a real filesystem and networking) and the client was going to run PORT, but I saw a tiny ad for something called "Qunix" in the back of a magazine and got curious whether it would let us run the same OS on client & server.

    At the time Quantum Software was three people in a townhouse (Gord, Dan & Sandy) and they had a single PC XT for development, but the OS looked really solid and the people were great to work with so we adopted QNX for client and server.

    EDIT - Hah, look what I found. The picture was kind of staged, in the sense that the techs didn't actually trust me with the wire-wrap gun on "their" boards. I probably drew the schematics you see under the board, but designing hardware doesn't make for exciting news:

    http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/d...-TSPA_0005881F
    Last edited by bridgman; 04 March 2016, 11:59 PM.

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  • drSeehas
    replied
    Originally posted by bridgman View Post
    ... The picture above is the second generation (ICON2) with passive cooling; the first generation ICON was wedge-shaped with a fan in the base. ...
    CEMCORP?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unisys_ICON

    Leave a comment:


  • Michael
    replied
    Initial testing: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...-initial&num=1

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  • Brane215
    replied
    Originally posted by Gideon Yampolsky View Post
    Indeed you need airflow and surface area. Usually airflow is created by fan and surface area by external ribs. But not in Airtop. In Airtop airflow is created by buoyancy enhanced by chimney effect. Actually there is 4.5 cf/min flow through the air tubes. Large surface area is achieved by air tubes geometry. Note that there is no external ribs – the air flows through dedicated channels (the "air tubes") built into enclosure walls. I'm recommending to watch the video clip in airtop web-site for better understanding how its passive thermal pump works. It performs better than any other passive cooling, and it is not science fiction.
    There is a good reason for the name. Chimney effect needs chimney. Chimney needs decent height etc. AND it periodically needs to be cleaned, usually by professional Chimney sweep as mandated in many EU countries.

    Speaking of devil, this just reminded me that my old pHenom is unusually loud again. Even with old EATX box and the fact that I had to disconnect the box, carry it down a floor to clean it, this took maybe 10 minutes, with maybe 20 extra minutes to inspect a few other potential problems ( loose cables, oxidation etc), mop-up the room and now its quiet again.

    NOt that big of a deal, if it has to be done once or twice a year.


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  • bridgman
    replied
    Yep... in our (older) design we cheated a bit, using components that always ran hot (power supply and CRT) to drive the stack-effect airflow.

    The Airtop design is a lot cleaner, and the integration of air tubes into the sides of the box (which have to be there anyways) is very slick.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gideon Yampolsky
    replied
    Originally posted by pal666 View Post
    well, if you need some airflow and surface area to do cooling, you can't have same cooling with both less airflow and less surface area in the absence of alternative physics. now compare airflow and surface area with any large cpu cooler.
    Indeed you need airflow and surface area. Usually airflow is created by fan and surface area by external ribs. But not in Airtop. In Airtop airflow is created by buoyancy enhanced by chimney effect. Actually there is 4.5 cf/min flow through the air tubes. Large surface area is achieved by air tubes geometry. Note that there is no external ribs – the air flows through dedicated channels (the "air tubes") built into enclosure walls. I'm recommending to watch the video clip in airtop web-site for better understanding how its passive thermal pump works. It performs better than any other passive cooling, and it is not science fiction.
    Last edited by Gideon Yampolsky; 29 February 2016, 02:48 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • bridgman
    replied
    Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
    Crap, you were the guys responsible for those abominations? I remember hacking those things in school. The school eventually banned me from them and gave me my own personal 386 so I couldn't mess with everybody else. Little did they realize just how far I could go
    Sort of... the original design was for a hypermedia system where teachers could capture their teaching notes as lessonware without needing programming skills, and share them between classes & schools. They were meant to be really open systems other than the per-student information that could guide how course segments were presented.

    What I didn't realize at the time though was this was exactly what the provincial governments did NOT want... their reason for funding computers in education was to stop teachers from buying Apple II's, pirating software, and following a curriculum that the Ministry of Education did not control. Prior to the arrival of inexpensive computers they had been able to control the curriculum by subsidizing only "preferred" textbooks but not the rest, but the ability to copy software (albeit illegally) put that at risk.

    So... the hypermedia system was stripped off just before launch, and the systems shipped with little more than a text editor and the initial Watcom language ports... which kinda sucked. Sounds like you managed to learn quite a bit on them anyways, although probably not what MOE had in mind for you either

    And just for completeness, this was not AMD, clear ? I did use a lot of AMD bit-slice processor parts in other projects we were working on (higher end graphics engines, automated PCB layout systems etc..) but the ICON systems were just an Intel 80186, the token-ring network chip, some DRAM and a bunch of TTL (replaced by a gate array in the ICON2).
    Last edited by bridgman; 29 February 2016, 02:15 PM.

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  • kgardas
    replied
    Originally posted by TuxInvader View Post
    What ever happened to Zalmans silent cases?

    They did something lke this 12 years ago ( http://www.quietpc.com/tnn500af ), but have obviously abandoned the idea.
    Unfortunately Zalman stopped making them a long time ago. Fortunately for me, one TNN 500 AF is still under my desk, it's already on 3rd incarnation this time with E5-2520. (A64 1.8GHz IIRC, then Q6600 were previous) and still happily working.
    Anyway, I'll still have a look at this compulab system as I'm always interested on another fan less xeon workstation...

    Leave a comment:


  • rob11311
    replied
    Originally posted by pal666 View Post
    buy large slow quiet fans ffs
    Part of the attraction of a fanless design is the lack of maintenance. Fans do break sometimes, although it may be unnoticed (CPU self throttles to avoid over-heating) and fans collect dust. Large slow fans.. are also not the most compact solution.

    Leave a comment:

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