Marvell's Mini-PC: $99, 5 Watts -- And Big Potential - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

09:18 AM

Marvell's Mini-PC: $99, 5 Watts -- And Big Potential

What could your business do with a tiny, fully-functional Linux server that runs on about five watts of power? One chip-maker has some interesting thoughts on the subject.

What could your business do with a tiny, fully-functional Linux server that runs on about five watts of power? One chip-maker has some interesting thoughts on the subject.TG Daily has the story on Marvell's latest product announcement, which makes a typical netbook PC look like a current-gobbling wild animal by comparison: "It's about the size of an AC to DC converting wall outlet plug, but is really a full SoC with a 1200 MHz CPU, built-in 512 MB Flash, 512 MB DRAM, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 support. It runs small versions of Linux, consumes about 5 watts max while allowing remote users (presumably those authorized by the owner) to access data stored on the device from remote locations including local intranets or over the Internet. The $99 device opens up a wide array of extremely low-power, low-volume, always on applications." The story includes a photo of Marvell's SheevaPlug, which really does look like a typical DC wall wart with a plug at one end and Ethernet/USB jacks at the other end. It is capable of running any Debian-based Linux distro, including Ubuntu; it is thus capable of running any typical Linux service.

The SheevaPlug currently sells for around $99. According to TG Daily, however, Marvell is aiming for a price of as little as $50 -- a realistic goal, in my opinion.

Some obvious small-business applications for the SheevaPlug include use as a remote print or file server, or as a lightweight Web server. With just 512MB of storage, of course, the device won't be running a database server anytime soon -- although that built-in USB jack certainly could connect a much larger portable storage device.

As the article points out, the SheevaPlug isn't the first device of its type. It is, however, the cheapest device of its type: Computers using this form factor typically retailed for $200 or more in the past. That makes the SheevaPlug a very special competitor in the race to build smaller, faster, cheaper, more flexible computers that require about as much juice as a small appliance bulb.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Gartner Forecast Sees 7.3% Shrinkage in IT Spending for 2020
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/15/2020
10 Ways AI Is Transforming Enterprise Software
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  7/13/2020
IT Career Paths You May Not Have Considered
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/30/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
Current Issue
Special Report: Why Performance Testing is Crucial Today
This special report will help enterprises determine what they should expect from performance testing solutions and how to put them to work most efficiently. Get it today!
Flash Poll