We first saw the upcoming Rebel Netwinder 3100, a Crusoe-based office server
during COMDEX 2000. Rebel.com are expected to release the Netwinder 3100 in
the next month or so, but the exact date has
not yet been released.
Comparing the Netwinder 3100 against
its predecessor highlights
a list of upgrades in functionality, use, and most of
all, prowess. Where the old Netwinder was based on the StrongARM SA-110 running
at 275Mhz, the new Netwinder 3100 runs on the Crusoe TM5400 at a
feisty 533Mhz. The full spec sheet is listed on the next page
for those looking for all the details.
The upgrade to a Crusoe-based system
effectively translates into a performance increase
from about 233-262 BogoMIPS with the older StrongARM processor to between
992-1030 BogoMIPS with the Crusoe chip. While Crusoe performance in a windows environment has been the
subject of much debate (most of it not too flattering), performance under
the new Linux 2.4 kernal looks first
Using 4MB of flash memory the Netwinder 3100 stores a compressed Linux
kernal. During boot-up the kernal is uncompressed onto a RAM disk and yet
another kernal is booted from the hard drive. Alternatively, a diskless
system can be booted from a flash-based file system.
According to Rebel.com; "Rebel.com selected Crusoe
based on a number of factors, including its ability to work in a small
fanless enclosure, its low power consumption, its high performance and its
compatibility with industry standards. These are very important strengths
of Transmeta's Crusoe processor family which differentiated it from other
processor architectures we evaluated."
Variants on the Netwinder 3100 architecture will include the Netwinder
3300 which will be identical except for a PCMCIA port. The port could be
used for 802.11b wireless devices for example. Finally there is the
Netwinder 3400 which will utilize the same board as the 3100, but be
locked and loaded in a slim 1U rack mount with either a 30GB or 60GB
hard drive and upto 256