The Jetway Atom D525 based system is running with Ubuntu 10.04.
The goals for the system are:
- Employ an Intel Atom D525 processor – a high performance dual processor system.
- Employ an Nvidia ION2 graphics processor designed for high performance netbooks / nettops. With DVI and HDMI display outputs.
- Support DDR2 memory, so that I could use memory parts I already have rather than purchasing new DDR3 SODIMM memory.
- Have a nice case with an internal power supply rather than an external power supply.
- Run Ubuntu.
Jetway JNC98-525E-LF Motherboard
Here is the only motherboard that I could find that meets the goals.
The only motherboard that I could find has an external connector for a power supply rather than a 20pin ATX connector. This means that building the system is more complex since I need to adapt the ATX connector to a 12V barrel connector. After an hour on the phone with mouser.com and a few more hours looking up the the other parts, I got the following to make an adapter.
- A 25mm 12v barrel connector. There are two standards, 21mm and 25mm and no documentation I could find says which the MB has. Even measuring the connector was little help. Luckily I got both and the 25mm was correct.
- An ATX 20 pin extender cable. I could not find any way to purchase the connectors and pins myself. Mouser.com and other suppliers did not have the right connectors, and it takes an incredible amount of time to sort through all the alternatives.
You can see the final solution for the adapter cable in the photo album of the system. The toggle switch grounds a signal to turn the power supply on. This powers the hard drive, the DVD drive and the 12V rail of the PS leads to the barrel connector to the mother board. Then you press the power switch on the front panel to turn on the motherboard. All the other connections of the ATX connector are just insulated to avoid any shorts.
The case fan that cools the hard drive is driven from the 4pin connector from the PS directly. The slim fan that cools the motherboard is driven from the motherboard case fan connector directly. I notice that the motherboard speeds up and slows the fan depending on the load on the processor.
I had several of the other parts for the system lying around from previous systems or upgrades:
- Memory – I had DDR 2 memory from an upgrade of a desktop. The system is using 2 1GB DDR2 dimms. The jetway mb supports up to 4GB.
- Hard Drive – I assumed that the case would support a 2.5 inch laptop hard drive, but it is designed for a 3.5 inch drive. The system is using a 40GB Seagate 7200 rpm drive. Small, but plenty large enough for Ubuntu.
- DVD Drive – I purchased a refurbished SATA hard drive from Unify.com Panasonic Slim 8x Notebook Dual Layer Serial ATA / SATA DVDRW Drive / Burner, UJ-890A / UJ890A, Black Bezel, Refurbished
- Wireless – Intel 512AN_MMWW2 – On order and not installed yet. Research indicates that this is supported by Ubuntu. I finally found a pair of antennas with pigtails.
The processor has many advanced features. While the system will work with Windows 7, I’m building this system on the cheap, so I didn’t really want to spring another $100 for a Windows 7 OEM license.
Ubuntu is free and with a little work I’ve got my DVDs playing – most of them anyway – and I’ll have windows file sharing [Samba] working to share files with my other systems. Surprisingly, the processor has AMD64 support and Hyperthreading support so it will run 4 threads at once. I chose Ubuntu 10.04LTS x64 for an OS.
I’m using the new system to do this post of course, with a netcast from twit.tv running in the background. The netcast is playing using a flash audio player.
Flash movies play flawlessly – although Netflix streaming does not work apparently due to DRM issues. Youtube videos play with no problem.
I don’t suggest you build a system the way that I did. I had some strange goals that required a lot more work.
To build a system like this, I suggest you check with Logic Supply for the board, and compatible cases and power supplies.
There are other Intel Core i3, i5 and other processors and motherboards from Zotac as well as Jetway. These will make system building much easier. At Logic Supply you can purchase the system with as much or as little integration and testing as you like. That’s probably the best way to get starting building your own mini-ITX system.
If you want to purchase a completely integrated system, you might want to consider the systems at Zotac.