UK GlobalScale distribution partner New IT has announced its latest ARM-based plug-top computer, the DreamPlug - and it's a major improvement over its predecessors, packing some serious hardware into a tiny case.
The plug-top computing idea centres around packing usable computing hardware into what appears, at first glance, to be nothing more than a power supply for a larger piece of hardware. The DreamPlug is the latest entry in the series, building on its Marvell-based SheevaPlug predecessor.
The DreamPlug packs some serious power in its tiny case. The Marvell Sheeva ARM-based processor at its heart runs at 1.2GHz, and while 512MB of DDR2 memory might not sound very generous, if you need more then your project probably isn't suited to the plug computing model.
Unlike the SheevaPlug, the DreamPlug goes all-out to impress, packing integral Bluetooth, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, a 3Gb/s eSATA port, two USB 2.0 ports, a pair of gigabit Ethernet ports, and even analogue and SP/DIF digital audio ouputs. ARM developers will be pleased to hear that the JTAG-over-USB feature of the SheevaPlug has been replaced with full hardware JTAG and UART connectivity - although the breakout board is an optional extra.
Despite all the extra hardware, the DreamPlug hasn't piled on the pounds. Significantly slimmer than its predecessors, the device still only draws a minuscule 5W under load - a major power saving compared to traditional small-form factor systems.
The DreamPlug is scheduled for a late March launch in the UK, with New IT taking pre-orders on its official product page at £135 including VAT.