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SheevaPlug  (Source: LinuxDevices)
Marvell SheevaPlug is small enough to hand from an AC outlet

Marvell Semiconductor has announced a new hardware/software development kit that uses Linux and puts the complete Linux-powered computer into a wall outlet hanging receptacle no larger than the power supply you see on many consumer electronics devices. The device is called the SheevaPlug and draws only 5 watts of power.

Marvell says that the SheevaPlug draws about as much power as a night light during use and still packs a 1.2GHz Sheeva ARM compatible processing core, 512MB of RAM and 512MB of flash storage. People can buy the devices in single unit quantities for $100, but Marvell says that when bought in bulk, the SheevaPlug can go for as low as about $50 per unit.

The completely open software design makes the system appropriate for use in always-on home automation devices. Marvell says that there are several ARM compatible ports of Linux distributions that are included and already running on the SheevaPlug. Marvell also says that it is committed to providing everything that the community needs to provide the best Linux support.

Marvell's Raja Mukhopadhyay said, "Whatever the community needs to facilitate development, we will provide the critical resources needed to facilitate that."

The SheevaPlug is built around the Marvell 88F6000 Kirkwood SoC that was launched last year, which combines elements of the early Feroceon and XScale architectures. Both of those architectures use implementations of ARMs ARMv5 architecture.

Other features of the small computer include gigabit Ethernet and USB ports. Several retail products are going to be available that use the SheevaPlug design and while Marvell didn’t specify dimensions for the device, the retail products give an idea of exactly how small the SheevaPlug is.

The Cloud Engines Pogoplug is one of the products and it measures 4-inches x 2.5-inches x 2.0-inches and allows users to remotely upload multimedia from devices like the iPhone. Other SheevaPlug-based products include the Ctera Networks CloudPlug, the Axentra HipServ, and the Eyecon Technologies Eyecon.

Marvell chose the highest performance 88F6000 SoC that it offers, though detuned it a bit for the SheevaPlug. The 88F6000 is available in 88F6190 running at 600MHz, 88F6180 running at 800MHz, 88F6192 running at 800MHz, and the 88F6281 used in the new device that normally runs at 1.5GHz and is downclocked to 1.2GHz in this application. Marvell says that the 88F6000 Sheeva core can be clocked as high as 2GHz.

The 88F6000 series targets devices like IP home gateways, set-top boxes, home routers, and media servers. Most of the retail products that use the SheevaPlug design appear to be built for media serving.

Whether or not higher performance version of the SheevaPlug will be offered is unknown. The SheevaPlug doesn't take advantage of all the IO connectivity the 88F6000 SoCs offer, which includes dual SATA ports, and PCI Express and SDIO options.

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Looks good
By sc3252 on 2/25/2009 12:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
This thing would make a wonderful router. While I was reading it I was thinking how I would be sold if it came with Gigabit Ethernet, yep it does.

RE: Looks good
By lennylim on 2/25/2009 12:24:12 PM , Rating: 1
Needs more than one network interface if it is to be useful as a router for residential use.

RE: Looks good
By Kenenniah on 2/25/2009 12:31:40 PM , Rating: 5
Not necesarily. If just an internet router, many Cable/DSL modems can be plugged in USB to this, then shared to other computers using the NIC.

RE: Looks good
By Suntan on 2/25/2009 12:40:18 PM , Rating: 2
then shared to other computers using the NIC.

and the component that allows this to happen will already have a place to hook up the modem.


RE: Looks good
By Bremen7000 on 2/25/2009 1:33:13 PM , Rating: 5
I think his point is to replace crappy consumer routers with one of these, for much cheaper than a commercial-grade router.

Modem -USB> Sheeva -GigE> Switch -> PCs

RE: Looks good
By StevoLincolnite on 2/25/2009 2:12:09 PM , Rating: 2
Plenty of ways to use it as a router, you could daisy chain all your machines, or buy an Ethernet Wireless dongle for it, or connect up a switch.

RE: Looks good
By stugatz on 2/25/2009 6:03:21 PM , Rating: 4
Someone just buy one already, and let us know how it works:

RE: Looks good
By Kenenniah on 2/25/2009 2:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
Just so you know, a switch is not the same as a router. Just plugging in a modem (unless of course the modem has a router built in) to a switch and the computers to the switch does not an internet connection for all make. Or if you actually did purchace enough internet IPs from the ISP, you would have no hardware firewall.

Yes, you could just buy a router with a switch built in, but to get one with any real advanced networking features you are talking quite a bit of money. The cheap routers at Best Buy don't have nearly the functions or customizability as a small PC running linux etc.

RE: Looks good
By fic2 on 2/25/2009 6:15:46 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, you could just buy a router with a switch built in, but to get one with any real advanced networking features you are talking quite a bit of money. The cheap routers at Best Buy don't have nearly the functions or customizability as a small PC running linux etc.

Hmm, dd-wrt or tomato and a $20-30 WRT54G off of craigs list seems to make a linux router...

RE: Looks good
By Kenenniah on 2/26/09, Rating: -1
RE: Looks good
By Kenenniah on 2/26/2009 12:23:56 PM , Rating: 2
Although I can't say I'm a fan of Marvell network products either heh, so not sure the hardware in this thing will be any better.

RE: Looks good
By HelToupee on 2/25/2009 2:08:55 PM , Rating: 5
Nope. Not necessarily. Linux can (and does, quite well) assign more than one IP address to a physical interface. Just make sure that both of those IP's are on different subnets, use one subnet for your cable modem (external), and the other for the rest of your machines (internal). Serve DHCP up on the internal subnet, and set the gateway right, set up basic routing as if the two IP's were on different physical interfaces, and boom, your switch will toss the traffic around just fine. You can even do multiple subnets for DMZ, unsecured wireless, etc. The Linux firewall is quite flexible. Gig-E should easily be able to handle the bandwidth for a residential install, just as long as you don't have 2 machines on the same physical network routing across it at Gig-E speeds, You should be all set.

RE: Looks good
By Etsp on 2/25/2009 7:08:52 PM , Rating: 3
Wouldn't that require at least some form of VLAN support on the switch to work reliably?

RE: Looks good
By amanojaku on 2/25/2009 9:12:03 PM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily. Switches operate at layer 2, not layer 3, so they could care less what subnets are going back and forth. VLANs will help lower broadcast traffic, but a home user doesn't generate much to begin with. Additionally, a network device will ignore a broadcast to a subnet it doesn't belong to. One of my consulting gigs was to split 138 /24 subnets that were in one VLAN into their own VLANs. Never again...

Besides, a lot of consumer switches drop VLAN-tagged frames because they are larger than normal frames. A true full duplex switch is all you need to get this to work, preferably with support for jumbo frames.

RE: Looks good
By Etsp on 2/26/2009 4:54:56 PM , Rating: 2
What I meant was, that setup would cause issues if DHCP isn't disabled on the modem. Two normal DHCP servers on the same broadcast domain = bad

RE: Looks good
By bighairycamel on 2/25/2009 1:08:15 PM , Rating: 5
If I stricly judge the performance of this device based soley on it's Mortal Kombat equivalent, this device will be the most worthless thing on the planet.

Now if they would have named it Sub Zero, Raiden, Noob Saibot (my personal favorite), Goro, or Shao Kahn among others, this device would be an instant win.

RE: Looks good
By Chocobollz on 2/26/2009 7:54:42 AM , Rating: 2
Noob Saibot (my personal favorite)

You like being called a n00b ? LOL :p

RE: Looks good
By roostitup on 2/26/2009 3:00:27 AM , Rating: 2 Save yourself the possible complications and just buy a $30-$50 router. Why would you want to go through the trouble of daisy chaining or having to buy and hook up a switch to provide more ports? There are much easier and cheaper alternatives. This thing is worthless and not quite practical yet.

RE: Looks good
By Veerappan on 3/3/2009 4:30:54 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know if I would say worthless/unpractical. I could definitely see buying one of these, installing samba and/or cups on it, and using it as a low-power file/print server (with the appropriate USB hub needed to installed printer + USB Disks, of course). It wouldn't be the fastest thing on the planet, but it might be good enough for those of us whose routers don't have NAS capability built-in.

I wouldn't even bother trying to set it up as a router (unless you used the USB port for a USB Wireless adapter compatible with linux), but that doesn't make it completely useless.

I wish
By afkrotch on 2/25/2009 12:37:06 PM , Rating: 5
I wish they had better descriptions on size like....

This computer is so small, you can slide a condom over it.

With meat attached to this computer, a small vulture can fly off with it.

This computer is so small, it only requires 10 ants to move it.

RE: I wish
By bludragon on 2/25/2009 12:44:19 PM , Rating: 3
I like the description in the title, I'm picturing myself leaning down and knocking on the ac outlet, which is then opened like a door by a mouse (would that be a door mouse?) who "hand"s me my pc :-P

RE: I wish
By stirfry213 on 2/25/2009 12:54:48 PM , Rating: 5
With meat attached to this computer, a small vulture can fly off with it.

After that quote, only one thing is running through my mind now:

"It doesn't matter where it grips it, its a matter of weight ratios. A 5 oz bird can not carry a 1 lb computer."

RE: I wish
By afkrotch on 2/25/09, Rating: 0
RE: I wish
By theapparition on 2/25/2009 4:47:24 PM , Rating: 3
-1 for not getting the movie reference. Try looking up "African or Euopean Swallow". Then you'll get it.

RE: I wish
By afkrotch on 2/26/09, Rating: -1
RE: I wish
By theapparition on 2/26/2009 6:46:51 PM , Rating: 1
Than -2 for you.

RE: I wish
By poundsmack on 2/25/2009 1:19:32 PM , Rating: 3
Cheap NAS ?
By IcarusFalls on 2/26/2009 1:31:13 AM , Rating: 2
Has anybody got any idea if this would work as a cheap NAS if you plugged a nice big USB external HD into it ?

RE: Cheap NAS ?
By trisct on 2/26/2009 10:05:23 AM , Rating: 2
That's pretty much the target for this thing. If you look at the actual products based on it, they are media servers, basically a NAS with some fancy interfaces and protocols.

This is perfect for a (low to medium performance) NAS. Especially if you pair it with a powerline AV module or something like that. Use a WD Passport drive to avoid an extra power connector, and it all fits on one (pair of) wall-plugs!

RE: Cheap NAS ?
By mindless1 on 3/2/2009 10:06:38 AM , Rating: 2
The answer is obviously no, since it costs $100 and routers with USB port that can accept external drives already exist in the market for under $100. Perhaps you meant a really SMALL NAS?

On the other hand, considering what it is they ought to reduce the price once development costs have been absorbed.

I will wait for version 2.0
By poundsmack on 2/25/2009 12:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't version the ARM version 5 a little dated?

I was hoping it would have something more along the lines of the PXA168 ( )

RE: I will wait for version 2.0
By poundsmack on 2/25/2009 12:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
nvm, the one in there is just as good if not better:

Before you comment on this ...
By randomposter on 2/25/2009 12:58:48 PM , Rating: 2
... whatever you were planning to say has probably already been said, numerous times, yesterday, on slashdot.

By LostInLine on 2/25/2009 1:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
Um, they didn't say much.

Well, I hadn't been to slashdot in years; looks like I haven't been missing anything. It is just better to stay here.

hand from an AC outlet
By fic2 on 2/25/2009 1:56:27 PM , Rating: 3
Marvell SheevaPlug is small enough to hand from an AC outlet

maybe hang ?

Looks neat
By ZachDontScare on 2/25/2009 2:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
This looks neat. I've been trying to find a cheapish solution that would allow for wake-on-lan messages to be broadcast to my home network from the internet (many home routers dont support such from outside the private network). Something like this little device could probably do the trick for that, and for a lot of other similar geeky tasks.

By arisch on 2/25/09, Rating: -1
RE: .
By tastyratz on 2/25/2009 3:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
that joke is getting old at this point. The dead horse doesn't appreciate the beating.

RE: .
By mindless1 on 2/25/2009 7:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
In Soviet Russia hand fits in YOU.

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