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Neoware CA5: Hardware 


 


 

 



lhs front back

A User View

"This one will at least boot from USB, even if the network boot option doesn't work. Windows 98 is about the latest that'll run at all well on this, and even that is a little sluggish. Drivers for the SiS550's integrated GPU are very hard to find, but the SiS650 drivers work if you turn Direct3D acceleration off (550 doesn't have this), and in theory the SiS315 drivers would work even better. This may allow me to run Windows 95 on mine at some point, but for now 98 seems to be the best fit. With only AC'97 audio, DOS is not well suited to this hardware." - April, November 2020.

Specifications

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 CA5 with a part number of BE-03-HD. This breaks down as:

BEProduct LineG150 (The circuit board inside the box)
0SoftwareStandard software
3Platform3 = Windows XPe
HFlash CapacityH = 192Mb
DRAM CapacityD = 256Mb

Apparently Capio One is the Bcom number, the marketing number being CA5.

The basic specs are:

Processor
   Type
   Speed
SiS550
200MHz
Memory
   Flash
   RAM
192MB (max 192MB)
256Mb (max 512Mb)
Video
   Chip
   Max resolution
SiS550
1600 x 1200 32-bit colour
Ports
   Network
   USB
   Serial
   Parallel
   PS/2
10/100
2 x USB1.1
1
1
Kybd & mouse
Power
   Off
   Running
0 W
~12W

Most of the CA5s I've seen on offer have been WinCE units (eg BE-A1-BA). The thing that motivated me to buy this one was the -HD and the price (99p).

The exact video specifications depend on the installed operating system and the amount of memory available. The full list of possibilities would appear to be:

Mode Frequency Color Depth
640 x 480 60, 75, 85 or 100MHz 8-, 16-, or 32-bit
800 x 600 60, 75, 85 or 100MHz 8-, 16-, or 32-bit
1024 x 768 60, 75, 85 or 100MHz 8-, 16-, or 32-bit
1280 x 1024 60, 75 or 85MHz 8-, 16-, or 32-bit
1600 x 1200 60, 75 or 85MHz 8-, 16-, or 32-bit
2048 x 1536 60, 75 or 85MHz 8- or 16-bit

Power Supply

Unlike a lot of other thin clients the Neoware CA5 has an internal power supply. The mains lead has a "clover leaf" style connector rather than the more usual kettle style. If your CA5 came without a lead these are easy to source.

CPU

From /proc/cpuinfo:

vendor_id :SiS SiS SiS
cpu family :5
model :0
model name :05/00
stepping :5
flags :fpu tsc cx8 mmx cpuid

There is an oddity here. DSL reports the 'model name' as 09/00 whilst Tiny Core 3.0 (and Tiny Core 10.1) reports it as 05/00.

PCI

00:00.0 Host bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 550 Host (rev 01)
00:00.1 IDE interface: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 5513 IDE Controller (rev d0)
00:01.0 ISA bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS85C503/5513 (LPC Bridge)
00:01.2 USB controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 1.1 Controller (rev 07)
00:01.4 Multimedia audio controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS7019 Audio Accelerator
00:02.0 PCI bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] AGP Port (virtual PCI-to-PCI bridge)
00:0a.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8100/8101L/8139 PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter (rev 10)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 550 PCI/AGP VGA Display Adapter

Expansion CA5 inside

Both the Flash memory and the RAM in the CA5 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. The system has booted quite happily from a Compact Flash card and a 2.5" drive connected in place of the DOM.

RAM: The RAM is a 144-pin PC100 or PC133 SODIMM. The one fitted here has marked on the label 256MB SO-DIMM-133MHZ-CL3. The part number is 144SD256M366.MV.Y120.

In May 2021 I heard from April who had upgraded her CA5 to 512MB of RAM using a Samsung part (M464S6453EN0-L7A).

Neoware CA5 fixed RAM In my December 2019 revisit to fill in the PCI data I discovered that the CA5 I picked up to use turned out to have 24MB of RAM soldered to the motherboard in the area under the SO-DIMM socket. This is shown in the photo (right). I added a 256MB SO-DIMM in order to be able to run Tiny Core Linux.

Under the DSL Linux tab you'll find a description of how I added a 2.5" disk drive to the CA5.

 


Any comments? email me. Added July 2010    Last update May 2021