$200 Walmart machine (Via C7 CPU)?

  • I'm interested in converting my existing power-hog of a machine to something using the $200 "Everex" PC from Walmart – it's got a low-power Via C7 CPU (1.5 GHz, 128KB cache, IIRC) in it, and 512 MB RAM and maybe an 80 GB disk. I'd want to toss a second NIC in, of course, to act as a router.  Link's here: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=8304655 if anyone's interested.

    Has anyone worked with these? I don't see anything to indicate it wouldn't work with pfSense/FreeBSD, but thought I'd ask before buying it. :)

    BTW -- seems like the C7 has some hardware crypto support, which might be a nice boost for people using it heavily. (Though I do not.)

  • According to the linked web page there are NO expansion slots so you might be needing a USB NIC.

    I have a couple of VIA 800MHz C3 systems I've used for pfSense. My current home gateway is one of these based on a Jetway motherboard which has an on-board 10/100 NIC connected to a switch and about 3 PCs. The motherboard accommodates a daughterboard with one 10/100 NIC connected to a server I plan to make accessible from the internet, the single PCI slot holds a wireless LAN card and I use a USB NIC to connect to my broadband modem. I routinely get file transfer downloads off the net at over 350kBytes/sec to my Win2K PC. Two university students browse the web through the wireless interface.

    The system you referenced should have plenty of horsepower for "typical" home use. The connectivity options might be a bit limited but with care in the choice of USB adapters thats not a major obstacle.

  • http://www.everex.com/products/gpc2/gpc2.htm

    There is certainly room in the case for expansion but whether the motherboard had expansion available is hard to find.

    No way to be certain if the N/A is accurate in meaning NO Expansion or if they just didnt have the answer…

    Looks Viable though..

    If its a VIA motherboard, Im betting it has a single pci slot taken up by the included modem. But its just a wild guess...

    My only other concern would be FreeBSD support for it...

  • Actually, another thought… Not being a *BSD guy, will FreeBSD have issues booting off a USB disk? It's tempting to pick up a 4GB USB flash drive or something of the sort, and boot off that in lieu of a hard drive, to minimize power usage. But I haven't messed with FreeBSD enough to know if it'll be able to boot this way or not. (I'm blindly assuming that the system itself will support it.)

  • Not being a *BSD guy, will FreeBSD have issues booting off a USB disk?

    If the BIOS supports booting off a USB device I don't expect you will have any trouble booting the 1.2.1 kits off a USB "drive" though I suspect you might have problems with earlier versions of pfSense. It seems many recent PC BIOS implementations support booting off USB devices.

    I have booted both the VIA C3 systems I mentioned earlier off a notebook hard drive connected to a USB adapter. One of the systems I'm currently booting off a 1GB flash disk module (TS1GDOM40V-S, see http://ec.transcendusa.com/product/product_memory.asp?Cid=59&indexnum=2) that plugs into one of the motherboard IDE sockets. This sort of device should be suitable as a boot device for pretty much any PC OS on pretty much any PC. You should be able to get the same effect from a Compact Flash to IDE adapter and CF card. I chose the disk module because I thought something designed as a disk replacement would likely give better service than something designed for occasional writes such as in cameras and MP3 players.

  • Two PCI slots available!!
    Wow, a 3.5" xx-in-1 card-reader, two intelchip based net adapters and you're good to go !
    (maybe add more ram if possible)

    Simply amazing I wish we had Everex like PC's here in Europe…

    My dad could do with that kind of PC, playing Patience, do some excel stuff and surf the net.

  • I have a pfSense firewall running on this box and it has been working great for about 9-12 months. No complaints about it. It is solid. Just added another network card and it was good to go.


  • I bought one of the original gOS Everex $199 Walmart machines in 11/07.  I soon upgraded to 2GB RAM, put in a 340W power supply and put in a nVIDIA GeForce 6200 256mb PCI graphics card (supposedly the best PCI card you can get - not to be confused with PCI-e).  I then took out gOS and put in Ubuntu.  Total investment for everything including shipping was about $350.  I love it! It definitely performs comparable to any $500 - $700 unit on the market today.  Without the power supply and graphics card upgrade I could not take advantage of the awesome Linux eyecandy with Compiz.  It was my first experience with Linux and has created an extremely affordable hobby for myself for nearly a year as I've learned about the abilities of my machine and Linux.  I no longer use Windows (except for my wife's laptop in the kitchen).