Is the AppleTV 2 the future of low-CPU use servers? Desktops?

Why run a family pictures website, DNS or any other low CPU-use server on power-hungry Intel-based hardware when an AppleTV2 does the trick?  The folks at MacMinivault.com have set up a webpage on a AppleTV 2 (go ahead, try to take it down) jailbroken with httpd as an example of what can be served off of the little 6 watt, A4-powered dynamo.  Put 10 of these together and you’ll be using the same power as a single 60 Watt light bulb.

The Apple TV is running iOS 4.2.2 (obviously jailbroken) with lighttpd for a web server. You can see the webpage we set up by visiting atv.macminivault.com. We’ll keep an eye on the CPU load and watch the analytics to record how much traffic the Apple TV receives.

They say this won’t be a cost effective solution for their customers (8 GB of storage won’t cut it) but is a ‘fun experiment.’

What’s interesting is that Apple likely has an dual core A5-platform AppleTV coming out shortly which may push a little more into the Intel server space.  Perhaps more interesting is that the A5 chips could also make nifty little ChromeOS-busting terminals or even cheaper laptops.

If you want to create your own little AppleTV 2 server, they recommend the following: Read more

Lifehacker posts guide to building a Mini Hackintosh

Lifehacker has posted a nifty guide to building a Hackintosh, Mini style. This Hackintosh is very similar to Apple’s Mac Mini in price but more burly in specs. Hackintoshes offer a great way to learn about the innards of computers and how they work.

The end product ran up a price tag of $599.65, which is a very fair price for what you’re getting.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 Motherboard $104.99
  2. Intel Core i3 Processor i3-540 3.06GHz 4MB LGA1156 CPU $110.00
  3. ZOTAC nVidia GeForce GT240 512 MB DDR3 DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card $84.99
  4. 2x2GB Corsair PC3-10666 1333Mhz Dual Chanel 240-pin DDR3 Desktop RAM $43.99
  5. Western Digital 1TB SATA III 7200 RPM 32MB Cache Desktop Hard Drive $59.99 (2TB: $79)
  6. SilverStone SG05BB-450 ALL Black Plastic/SECC Mini-ITX Computer Case with SFX 450W 80+ Bronze Certified/Single +12V rail Power Supply $119.99
  7. Sony Optiarc 8X SATA DVD+/-RW Slim Drive $34.99
  8. StarTech.com MCSATAADAP Micro SATA to SATA Adapter Cable with Power $11.71
  9. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard $29.00
  10. OPTIONALOCZ Agility 120GB SSD $199.99 (note: this is optional and not included in the total cost of the machine)

The squad over at Lifehacker used tonymacx86’s CustoMac Mini tool and a good suite of hardware. While this isn’t as small as a Mac Mini, it is very close and is a lot faster. Check out Lifehacker’s video above on how to set this up and visit their post for a list of hardware. We have to warn you, this isn’t for every computer user, because you need to know how to build your own computer and do a little tinkering.

If a Hackintosh Mini isn’t for you, check out tonymacx86’s guide to making a Sandy Bridge Hackintosh. Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor is rumored to be included in many of the new Macs. Why not go ahead and build one on the cheap? Tonymacx86 has all the answers.

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New Flash 10.2 to see 10x improvement in performance


Here’s a demo showing a 10X reduction in CPU usage:

The video is from November but Adobe’s John Nack reports that Flash video sites across the web are updating their content to be optimized for the new version of Flash which purports to deliver video with 1/10th the CPU utilization of the current Flash plug-in.  YouTube, the biggie, is on board.  The original Flash 10.2 beta was released two weeks ago.

Good news, though: the new Flash Player 10.2 (download the beta) offers a new, video-playback-optimized mode called Stage Video.  Building on top of the GPU acceleration added earlier this year, Stage Video can leverage complete hardware acceleration of the video rendering pipeline, from video decoding to scaling/blitting, enabling best-in-class playback performance. Stage Video can dramatically decrease processor usage and enables higher frame rates, reduced memory usage, and greater pixel fidelity and quality.

Stage Video requires Flash developers to update the code in video players, so simply updating to the new player won’t automatically improve CPU usage on all sites, but YouTube has already updates its player & others will follow. If you’re a Flash developer and want to start experimenting, check out this tutorial from Lee Brimelow.

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