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Neoware CA10: Hardware 


 


 

 



Neoware CA10 thin client

Specifications

According to documents on HP's site the Neoware CA10 exists in two guises - initially there was the E140 model BL-XX-XX which was later replaced by the E100 model BK-XX-XX. One difference between the two versions is that the earlier version has a VIA C3 Nehemiah 800MHz processor whilst the later one uses a 1GHz C7 processor. I guess there's probably a change in the Northbridge chip as well. What I have is a BL-01-CB. It was manufactured in April 2005.

Subsequently I got hold of a BL-02-EC. This was billed as having dual monitor support (see below).

The basic specs are:

Processor
   Type
   Speed
VIA Nehemiah
800MHz
Memory
   Flash
   RAM
32MB
128MB (max 2GB)
Video
   Chip
   Max resolution
VIA VT8623 (Apollo CLE266)
1600 x 1200 32-bit colour
Ports
   Network
   USB
   Serial
   Parallel
   PS/2
10/100
4 x USB2.0
2
1
Kybd & mouse
Power
   Plug
   Labelled
   Off
   Running
Coax 5.5mm/2.1mm
12V 4A
9 W
28W-35W
Dimensions
W x H x D50mmm x 290mm x 235mm

It runs Windows CE 5.0.

The CA10 is a larger style thin client - the same size as the Neoware Eon.

CPU

For those to whom it matters here is some detail from Linux's /proc/cpuinfo

vendor_id:CentaurHauls
cpu family:6
model:9
model name:VIA Nehemiah
stepping:8

Power Supply

The Neoware CA10 uses an external 12V supply. Unlike some other Neoware models this has a conventional coax socket for the power (5.5mm/2.1mm). The marking on the socket says 12V 4A but I used it with a typical 'monitor' PSU that's rated at 3.3A.

Expansion

board

Both the Flash memory and the RAM in the CA10 are easily replaceable. (Click on the photo for a larger version).

Flash: The flash is a "DiskOnModule" that interfaces via a 44-pin IDE connector.

RAM: The RAM is a 184-pin DDR DIMM. The 128MB DIMM fitted to my model was actually a DDR-400 part (PC3200). The CA10 uses the VIA CLE266 Northbridge which only supports 100/133MHz parts. Check the BIOS and you'll find whatever fast memory you fit the memory bus runs at 133MHz. I replaced the 128MB memory DIMM with two 256MB DIMMS of DDR-266 (aka PC-2100). This worked fine. According to the CLE266 data sheet it ... "Supports 4 banks up to 2 GB DRAMs (512Mb x8/x16 DRAM technology)". I haven't gone beyond 512MB. However Szabolcs in Hungary reports that he has successfully used two 512MB DIMMS to get 1GB of RAM, and has upped this to 2GB using two Transcend DDR 400 1GB DIMMs - JM 388D643A-5L. Justin Joyce has also used two 1GB DIMMs to get 2GB.

PCI: There is also a PCI slot. To be useable you'll need to find a riser board and socket to turn it through 90 degrees to align with the opening on the rear panel (and so you can get the lid back on!)

I subsequently got hold of a CA10 where the riser board was fitted along with what looks like a Matrox G550 low profile PCI display card (see photo below for the riser board and the fitted Matrox card). At the time of writing some WinNET riser cards were being advertised on eBay.com at $35. However a generic 1U riser card is available from China for ~$1.50 or ~£1 so I ordered one to see if it would fit.

The Matrox card is fitted with a 60-pin socket (LFH-60). Mine came with a cable to split this to two VGA sockets. I subsequently bought a cable on ebay for a few £s that splits to two DVI sockets.

CA10 riser and matrox board

In due course my generic riser arrived from China for an unbelievable 99p including postage. This fits perfectly. I tried it out with a PCI ethernet card and the whole assembly seemed rigid enough even though it lacks the extra metal support of the Neoware original. The full eBay description of the part was Leftward Left Angle 32 Bit 32Bit 1U PCI Riser Card New. I'm not sure what defines whether it is 'leftward' or 'rightward'. Judging by the current offerings on eBay the suppliers don't know either. I went by the photograph.

CA10 riser and ethernet board

 


Any comments? email me.    Last update July 2012