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Linux - Embedded & Single-board computer This forum is for the discussion of Linux on both embedded devices and single-board computers (such as the Raspberry Pi, BeagleBoard and PandaBoard). Discussions involving Arduino, plug computers and other micro-controller like devices are also welcome.

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Old 01-26-2011, 11:10 AM   #1
Dani1973
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Newbie advice on embedded systems


We are thinking of moving a currently windows based music system to linux and another option would to have our own closed system.

Our requirements :
- simple VGA adapter (800x600 16bit is more then enough, no 3D required)
- 10/100 Ethernet adapter and optional wifi
- 64GB harddrive SSD or SATA (32GB might be enough)
- integrated soundcard (output only, no input needed)
- at least 2 USB 2.0 ports
- enough CPU power to perfectly play 2 mp3 audio files simultaniously
- memory : I think 512MB would be a minimum

The software would be rewritten from scratch and we are thinking of using mpg123 as mp3 players.
I did a little test on a old P4 1.4Ghz with 512MB memory and it seems to handle what I have done so far without any problem.

Another thing to consider is the costprice, preferably under €250.
 
Old 01-26-2011, 12:49 PM   #2
business_kid
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OK. The box would do it. AV format software is inclined to use proprietary libs and codecs. Most things have a player for the windows codecs - mplayer has a suite of essential codecs. grab that.
 
Old 01-27-2011, 06:31 AM   #3
Dani1973
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Ouch, I think I was not 100% clear in my previous post, my bad.

We don't have a board yet, I posted here to get some advice on what boards to use, if you have any experience with boards that fit our requirements I would be thrilled getting some info about it
 
Old 01-28-2011, 12:20 AM   #4
Oliv'
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Hi,

There are many things that I do not understand in your requirements. For example, why do you need so much memory ? I also think that your storage requirement is quite huge... but it might be understandable if you have to store music locally.
For example, the beagleboard is from my point of view better than what you describe in your requirements (as it has some advanced graphics/video capabilities): http://beagleboard.org/hardware and it is a 128MB RAM board... but I assume that's far enough.

Kind regards,

Oliv'
 
Old 01-28-2011, 02:16 AM   #5
cnxsoft
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Playing an MP3 on Cirrus Logic EP907 @ 200 MHZ (ARM9) used around 30% CPU with mplayer and we had 64MB RAM. So you could start looking at systems using processors running at 250 MHz or above (to be safe) and 128MB RAM or above.

It should not be a problem finding systems for 250 EUR.
If you plan to build a few hundreds or thousands pieces, you may also consider having somebody design the hardware for you, the BOM cost should probably be well below 50 USD.

If you just want to get some hardware to put you software on it, search for "lost cost pc" and you'll find some PC at 100 USD and up.
 
Old 01-29-2011, 02:47 AM   #6
business_kid
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My phone plays mp3s. Arm 7 330Mhz-528Mhz, 192Megs ram. The base requirements might not be huge. video is a different matter (Although it can do that also).
 
Old 01-29-2011, 06:25 AM   #7
Dani1973
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I know that you need very low requirements to play mp3 but it will come down to have 2 players and music skipping may NOT occur.

At first look the beagleboard looks nice but I am missing the onboard NIC.
 
Old 02-20-2011, 11:22 PM   #8
gr8scot
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First write the software then see what hardware you need.

$0.02 here:

I think that smooth playback has more to do with the software than the hardware. (Okay, an Apple IIe might not cut it, but ...) For example, on the very same cutting edge hardware that Aqualung plays back continuous performances on multiple files with no distracting pauses between tracks, rhythmbox will occasionally pause & stutter within a file when I load a very demanding webpage, or too many tabs at once. I don't know for sure but I suspect Aqualung avoids all interruptions basically by reading ahead in the playlist then buffering the audio stream. But I do know how you can find out for sure. "Aqualung is released under the GNU General Public License. For more info, see the Misc page."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dani1973 View Post
We are thinking of moving a currently windows based music system to linux and another option would to have our own closed system...

The software would be rewritten from scratch and we are thinking of using mpg123 as mp3 players.
I did a little test on a old P4 1.4Ghz with 512MB memory and it seems to handle what I have done so far without any problem.

Another thing to consider is the costprice, preferably under €250.
I say start with the software, then progressively "downgrade" your hardware until you've found the slowest, cheapest platform that will run your software the way you want it to run. I bet you really can make a well-written system simultaneously play two songs just fine on 200MHz - 300MHz processors. Uncompressed, or using lossless compression, the disk I/O would only be about 1 - 2 MB/s and you're not talking about doing any processing to the audio stream.

PS .flac, not .mp3 considering today's storage media prices.
 
Old 02-22-2011, 03:52 AM   #9
business_kid
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Back 10 years I remember having an amd '586-133 overclocked to 160Mhz. It equated to a P100, and ran on 32 or 64Mb. It did everything, except games, and I help onto it until I had to let go because it was too puny to attract my kid's gaming efforts. I had bought them an AMD k6.

Keep away from bloatware, use good hardware, and you can do it on poor kit. I would go for the bottom - secondhand boxes sold in bulk. Avoid via chipsets, wifi (it uses encryption), old SiS chipsets (2005 or newer), gnome & kde. Low bloat - use an lfs if you have to.
http://www.linuxfromscratch.org

This keeps it tidy, neat, simple.
 
  


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