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Giada F101: Hardware 


 


 

 



Giada F101

I spotted this on eBay. The listing didn't really say anything other than 'Thin Client (Giada)' and that it used an Atom N2600 CPU. The accompanying photographs were poor and didn't yield any further information. The brief text in the detail of the listing didn't help either. Initial searches with Google were unsuccessful so I moved on to my fall back of using the 'images' option in Google and seeing if I could find something that resembled the photo in the listing. After a while I decided it was a Giada F101. Giada also refer to the F101 and similar products as 'mini PCs' or 'signage players'.

Giada branding

To give the vendor his due, when the F101 turned up I found it was completely void of any kind of identifying label. All that was on the unit was the Giada branding.

The F101 was launched in March 2012.

A copy of the datasheet is here.
A copy of the manual is here.

Specifications

My summary:
Processor
   Type
   Speed
Intel Atom N2600 (Dual Core)
1.6GHz
Memory
   Flash
   RAM
(320GB)
2GB (max 4GB)
Video
   Chip
   Max resolution
Intel GMA 3600
720p/1080i/1080p
Ports
   Network
   USB
   Serial
   Parallel
   PS/2
   Video
10/100/1000
5 x USB2.0
1
0
0
1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI
Power
   Plug
   Input
   Off
   Running
   Idle
Coax 5.5mm/2.5mm
19V 2.1A (Manual)
1W
10W
8W
Dimensions
H x W x D (mm)192 x 26 x 155

My F101 came with no storage media. It was fitted with 2GB of RAM. Publicity material indicates that it normally was fitted with a 320GB hard drive and (optionally) Windows 7 Home Premium.

Power Supply

Unlike most thin clients the markings on the power socket on the casing only indicate a DC supply. There is no indication of the required voltage. Luckily this was given in the user manual I had tracked down. The unit requires a 19V 2A supply. It uses a conventional 5.5mm/2.5mm coax connector.

CPU

Having booted Tiny Core, /proc/cpuinfo shows:

vendor_id:GenuineIntel
cpu family:6
model:54
model name:Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N2600 @ 1.60GHz
stepping:1
flags:fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe nx lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts nonstop_tsc cpuid aperfmperf pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm movbe lahf_lm dtherm arat

PCI

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Atom Processor D2xxx/N2xxx DRAM Controller (rev 04)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Atom Processor D2xxx/N2xxx Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 0b)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 02)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family PCI Express Port 1 (rev 02)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family PCI Express Port 2 (rev 02)
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family PCI Express Port 3 (rev 02)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family PCI Express Port 4 (rev 02)
00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 02)
00:1d.1 USB controller: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 02)
00:1d.2 USB controller: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 02)
00:1d.3 USB controller: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 02)
00:1d.7 USB controller: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family USB2 EHCI Controller (rev 02)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev e2)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation NM10 Family LPC Controller (rev 02)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family SATA Controller [AHCI mode] (rev 02)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation NM10/ICH7 Family SMBus Controller (rev 02)
02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 06)
03:00.0 Network controller: Ralink corp. RT3290 Wireless 802.11n 1T/1R PCIe
03:00.1 Bluetooth: Ralink corp. RT3290 Bluetooth

Expansion

As usual, clicking on the photo (right) will take you to a larger scale photo of the circuit board.

The case is compact in size so there is little space to fit anything internally that wasn't already designed to be fitted.

Flash: My example came without any flash. Having removed the cover the first thing that was obvious was an empty mPCIe connector adjacent to the one carrying the wireless card. The data sheet does say 2 x Mini-PCIe (1 x mSATA SSD) so I fitted a 16GB SanDisk SSD Module (SDSA4GH-016G) in the vacant slot. The SSD appeared and I installed Tiny Core V12.0 onto it.

Having seen mention of a configuration including a 320GB hard disk I looked further and discovered there was a conventional 7+15 SATA connector on the underneath of the circuit board. Further dismantling work was required to be able to get at this. I plugged in a 1GB SATA DOM to this connector which the system subsequently recognised. The NM10 datasheet tells me the SATA ports are to the SATA II standard (3.0Gb/s).

RAM: The RAM is a conventional DDR3-800 SODIMM plugged into a socket fitted on the top of the board. I replaced the supplied 2GB part with an Elpida 10600 4GB part that worked perfectly.

USB: There are five USB 2.0 sockets, four on the rear panel and one on the side panel.

Card Reader: There is a SD/MMC card slot covered by a flap on the right-hand side of the unit. The manual says it supports SD, MS, MS PRO, MMC and other mobile memory cards.

I plugged in a 8GB SDHC card from my camera. Having booted Tiny Core I found I was able to mount the card and access the photographs stored on it.

Additional photos

Giada F101 mPCIe connectors

As mentione above on the board are two sockets labelled MPCIE1 and MPCIE2. In my example MPCIE2 was fitted with a Wireless card. The other is intended for a mSATA module. I fitted a 16GB SanDisk module (SDSA4GH-016G) in the other slot. (The required securing screw is M2).

Giada F101 CMOS reset

On the circuit board there is a push button that can be used to clear the CMOS. This is located next to the Serial Port connector. You wouldn't be expected to have to dismantle the unit to get at this so I had a closer look at the side panel. This revealed that there is a small hole that lines up with the push button. This takes the usual bent paperclip or similar tool if you need to reset the CMOS.

Giada F101 unknown socket

On the reverse of the board I found a socket labelled J4. I have no idea what this for.

You can just see the end of this socket in the photo of the bottom of the circuit board. It is by the top-right corner of the thermal transfer pad that's attached to the heat sink.

Front Panel

As mentioned elsewhere my F101 came with a damaged front panel. The panel is an inset strip of plastic across the front of the F101 with a hole drilled into it to accomodate the on-off power button. The front panel on my F101 had been broken at the weak point of the hole, and the longer part was missing.

As an experiment I wondered how easy it would be to replace the front panel. I had a sheet of Styrene (clear plastic sheet) to hand and also some odd bits of perspex.

As a proof of concept I went with the styrene as it is easy to work.

I cut a strip of styrene ~17mm wide. Score the styrene deeply with a stanley knife, break over an edge and then file/sand the edges so that it is a push fit in the front of the Giada.

Next drill a 12mm hole in it for the on/off switch button. You need to clamp the material between two bits of wood at this stage to prevent it shattering.

At this point I deliberately cut my new piece across the hole so that it would marry up to the remaining piece of the front panel. (I subsequently regretted that).

It all seemed to work quite well:

Giada F101 front panel

Just leaves some masking/painting to do on the inside of the styrene. (The blue lines are part of the printing on the protective film on the styrene).

 


Any comments? email me. Added April 2021