Neoware CA19: Hardware 

Neoware CA19 lhs Neoware CA19 rear Neoware CA19 rhs


For the Neoware thin clients there is a handy document from HP which you can use to identify exactly what you have. In my case the label on the back of the unit reads CA19 with a part number of DE-K2-GD. This breaks down as:

DEProduct LineG170 (The circuit board inside the box)
2Platform2 = Neolinux
GFlash CapacityG = 128Mb
DRAM CapacityD = 256Mb

Apparently CA19 is the Bcom number, the marketing number being C50 V4. It was manufactured in June 2007.

The basic specs are:

VIA Esther
256MB (max 1GB?)
   Max resolution
VIA S3 (CN700)
1600 x 1200 32-bit colour
2 x USB2.0
Kybd & mouse
7 W

Power Supply

Unlike a lot of other thin clients the Neoware CA19 has an internal power supply. The mains lead has a "clover leaf" style connector rather than the more usual kettle style. If your CA19 came without a lead these are easy to source.


VIA's processors seem to be loosely named. C7/C3/Eden etc actually cover a range of capabilities. For those to whom it matters here is some detail from Linux's /proc/cpuinfo

cpu family:6
model name:VIA Esther processor 400MHz

VIA's website says:

The VIA Eden processor family based on the 90nm 'Esther' core incorporates the world's most comprehensive security features within the VIA PadLock Security Engine. In addition to the world's best random number generator (RNG) and AES Encryption Engine integrated into the previous processor generation, the VIA PadLock Security Engine in the VIA Eden processor adds SHA-1 and SHA-256 hashing for secure message digests, and a hardware based Montgomery Multiplier supporting key sizes up to 32K in length to accelerate public key cryptography, such as RSA. The VIA Eden also provides NX Execute Protection, providing protection from malicious software such as worms and viruses, and is used in Microsoft Windows XP with SP2. Integrating security directly onto the processor die ensures speeds and efficiency many times that available in software, yet with negligible impact on processor performance.


Neoware CA19 circuit board

Both the Flash memory and the RAM in the CA19 are easily replaceable.

Flash: The flash is a "DiskOnModule" that interfaces via a 44-pin IDE connector. I've replaced this with a Compact Flash adapter and run Tinycore 3.0 from a CF card.

RAM: The RAM is a 200-pin DDR2 SODIMM. I haven't been able to locate an actual specification for what the CA19 supports, but the 256MB module fitted is a DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) unit manufactured by Adata. I have tried replacing it by two 1GB modules, one from Crucial (actually a Micron part) and one from A-data. In each case the BIOS reported 512K of memory. I don't know if this is a limit of the hardware, a problem with my cheap eBay memory or a compatibility issue with the memory parts.

In July 2011 C. Nham emailed to say that he'd successfully installed 1GB of RAM - specifically a PC2-5300 part from Qimonda. I tried buying a couple but was sent two Micron parts instead - one organised 2Rx8 (8 chips per side) and one 2Rx16 (4 chips per side). The 2Rx8 part (MT16HTF12864HY-667B3) appeared as 1GB. The other part (MT8HTF12864HDY-667E1) only appeared as 512MB. (See Why do some SDRAMs work and some don't?)

USB: There is a 12-pin header on the circuit board close to the IDE connector. It is labelled USB1. I plugged a standard 10-pin motherboard-to-two-USB-sockets cable into it and found I'd gained an extra two USB ports. If you remove the parallel port connector from the rear panel you could gain at least one more USB socket with very little effort. (The parallel port socket is connected via a cable and can be easily removed -see the Mods tab).

Click on the photo for a larger version.


Any comments? email me.    Last update July 2011