Ionics Plug Computer 3.0 (preview)

The first unit based on Marvell's Sheevaplug always-on microserver platform, the Plug Computer 3.0 looks bulky, but impressive.

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Ionics EMS Plug Computer 3.0
  • Expert Rating

    Not yet rated

Pros

  • Intriguing form factor and concept

Cons

  • Little bit bulky

Bottom Line

An intriguing concept, the Ionics Plug Computer 3.0 is a worthy first model based on Marvell’s Sheevaplug always-on microserver platform. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the always-on, networkable PC that plugs in to the power socket is a goer.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    TBA (AUD)

A networkable computer built into a standard electrical outlet plug - we take a look at the Plug Computer 3.0. It's an intriguing idea - and not far-fetched given we have full computers in our pockets (we call them cell phones). Marvell introduced at CES 2010 its third-generation Sheevaplug, which is the basis for the Plug Computer 3.0. We got our hands on the first unit from one of Marvell's six contract manufacturing partners.

The Ionics Plug Computer 3.0 we saw was a bit bulky and boxy for an outlet. Plug it in and you won't be able to share that outlet with any other device. Other manufacturers may have different form factors.

But that observation aside, the lightweight Plug Computer 3.0 device appeared intriguing. The unit we saw wasn't plugged in, and wasn't running any software. Inside was a 120GB 1.8-inch SATA hard drive, plus both NAND flash and DDR2 RAM (512MB of each). The NAND flash is for storing the applications that will run on the Plug Computer.

The Plug Computer 3.0 runs Marvell's 2GHz Armada 300 processor; Marvell's design allows for up to 2GB of flash and 1GB of embedded NAND system memory.

The device communicates through your router to your home network and interfaces with hosted services in the cloud. You don't have to configure it -- it autosenses your network configuration thanks to DLNA certified chipsets (though, the device itself may not be DLNA certified; that depends upon the individual manufacturers). You can access the device via a web browser from a PC or another device, such as a connected TV or cell phone; from there, you can access content on the device, or even install new apps from an appstore.

The Plug Computer 3.0 is always on. Marvell says the power draw, not counting the hard drive, is 3 Watts when fully active; but 99 percent of the time it will be in standby mode, and in that state, it only draws tens of milliwatts.

Other specs of the Plug Computer 3.0: USB 2.0 port and gigabit ethernet port. The Ionics Plug Computer 3.0 was running Linux (Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope).

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?