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OnLogic Helix 500: A Linux-Friendly, Fanless + Reliable Edge Computer

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  • OnLogic Helix 500: A Linux-Friendly, Fanless + Reliable Edge Computer

    Phoronix: OnLogic Helix 500: A Linux-Friendly, Fanless + Reliable Edge Computer

    For those either needing a well-built, fanless computer that can run fine as a Linux desktop or are looking for an industrial-rated edge computing system, the Helix 500 is an interesting product from OnLogic (formerly, Logic Supply) that fills the space for a dependable, petite PC and ships with Windows, Linux, or even no OS at all if just preferring to load your own operating system of choice.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=29946

  • #2
    I wish I had an excuse to purchase one of these!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by creoflux View Post
      I wish I had an excuse to purchase one of these!
      I want to see more of these kinds of things, but more focused on home users and business productivity users. Basically "good enough" fanless computers for those usage cases, people/companies that are not going to game but want to do productivity work and use a browser, etc. Have the appropriate connections / ports for these kinds of users. More like fanless NUCs maybe. Anyway, glad to be seeing more and more of this kind of thing.

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      • #4
        The CPU was consistently pulling around 32~35 Watts at load, as rated by the TDP. The Intel RAPL Linux interface was reporting spikes as much as 98 Watts which obviously was not accurate.
        Why was it obviously not accurate? Intel's official position now is that TDP is only a strict cap if turbo boost is disabled. If turbo boost is enabled, which is often the vendor default, the CPU is permitted to grossly exceed the published TDP. IIRC intel's newer 95w desktop parts have been observed to spike to 200+ watts for very brief periods. So IMO it's quite plausible that a 35w Intel part would spike to 98w.
        Last edited by torsionbar28; 17 February 2021, 08:41 PM.

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        • #5
          Just not too long ago, these mini PCs (especially those by domestic Chinese OEMs) typically shipped with lightweight Atoms and Celerons, making them ideal for basic low-power computing.

          Now, everyone is trying to outdo the others by cramming in full-fledged Core and even Xeon processors in those tiny machines (and pushing up the prices big time in the process).

          If I wanted a mainstream-grade, workstation-grade or server-grade processor, I would have already assembled a full-sized ATX or EATX machine for that purpose. Give me back my Atom and Celeron mini PCs!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sonadow View Post
            Just not too long ago, these mini PCs (especially those by domestic Chinese OEMs) typically shipped with lightweight Atoms and Celerons, making them ideal for basic low-power computing.
            If you follow the link, the base spec is a current Celery. Given that in GB we used to have an exchange rate of £1=$1 for computer stuff, plus taxes, and that things since then have generally gone downhill, these aren't going to be affordable outside the USA. And even there they don't seem to have any power supplies in stock.

            Personally I'd find it hard to justify purchasing intel again, but never say never and in the current shortage of all hardware I might be tempted at a sensible price.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by zerothruster View Post
              If you follow the link, the base spec is a current Celery. Given that in GB we used to have an exchange rate of £1=$1 for computer stuff, plus taxes, and that things since then have generally gone downhill, these aren't going to be affordable outside the USA. And even there they don't seem to have any power supplies in stock.

              Personally I'd find it hard to justify purchasing intel again, but never say never and in the current shortage of all hardware I might be tempted at a sensible price.
              Until AMD has something mass-market that competes in the same market segment as Atoms and Celerons, i'm not budging from Intel.

              As it is AMD hardly has any presence in the mini PC market outside of Asrock and a handful of domestic Chinese OEMs, and they all ship with mainstream-grade Ryzens. Not interested one bit.

              And ARM is not an option right now. At least not until SBSA and SBBR are made mandatory.

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              • #8
                There are plenty of the small Celeron/Atom mini-PCs still available, but to be honest they seem a lot more rubbish than they used to - and I object to 20,000JPY for an Atom when 25,000 will net me a Core i3 (30,000 for an i5).

                I'll be honest, if I wanted an industrial-grade fanless box, I'd be looking at something like this. If I just wanted a mini-PC, I'd either look at a NUC (mine has done me proud over the years, with just a few odd quirks with the Iris Plus iGPU drivers) or whatever AMD-based mini-PC might fit the bill. I think, "Ouch, $4,000 for a fully specced box," but fitting out any mini-PC to maximum is a fairly expensive proposition.

                Originally posted by torsionbar28 View Post
                Why was it obviously not accurate? Intel's official position now is that TDP is only a strict cap if turbo boost is disabled. If turbo boost is enabled, which is often the vendor default, the CPU is permitted to grossly exceed the published TDP. IIRC intel's newer 95w desktop parts have been observed to spike to 200+ watts for very brief periods. So IMO it's quite plausible that a 35w Intel part would spike to 98w.
                Agreed. It's slightly scary to be honest. Anandtech recently covered this with their 10700 review/study. I can't help but think that if AMD abused their TDP numbers the way Intel did, that they would be spanking Intel even harder in performance. Part of the problem, of course, is that Intel only "recommend", so motherboard manufacturers can pretty much do what they want in the name of one-upping competitors so long as they stick to frequency limits and don't actually make the chip melt. Seeing 214W of power draw from a system with a 65W TDP chip in it, when the total draw for the 105W AMD system is 142 is... well.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ehansin View Post
                  I want to see more of these kinds of things, but more focused on home users and business productivity users.
                  Originally posted by Sonadow View Post
                  Give me back my Atom and Celeron mini PCs!
                  That market is already saturated, you have so many choices. For business, there are these. And for home use, the intel "NUC" machines.

                  This OnLogic product is in a different market segment altogether.
                  Last edited by torsionbar28; 17 February 2021, 10:05 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sonadow View Post
                    And ARM is not an option right now. At least not until SBSA and SBBR are made mandatory.
                    Thanks for those two keywords

                    Definite pain point when considering ARM products for running linux on and not being stay up to date with upstream. Here's hoping Pine64 and ODroid future products can strive for that, I think Pine64 has being doing fairly well at closing in on upstream compatibility with some of their products? Not quite sure about ODroid (at least their ARM products).

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