Thursday, 9 April 2009

Back to the lab PIKA vs. Intel Atom vs Grandstream GXE5024

In this entry I try to draw some comparisons between the PIKA, a home brew Atom and Grandstreams offering.

Overall Price for similar ports.
OK so back to playing with the PIKA and my latest edition an: Intel Atom Dual Core (330) Mini ITX machine. This is a small form factor Mini-ITX board in flat case, room enough for the 160G HDD and 1G RAM, but not enough room for expansion cards - even though the motherboard has slots. That said, this system is an absolute steal @ £189 ex VAT, combined with a Grandstream GXW-4104 or 4004 FXO/FXS gateway @ & £157 & £100.60 + VAT respectively = £289.50 for 4 ports FXS or £346 for 4 FXO.

This now sits next to the PIKA system for a side by side comparison. Initial price comparison looks good PIKA comes in @£385 ex VAT + £82.50 for FXO or FXS or ISDN2e cards = £467.50 for 4 ports.

Both the PIKA and the Atom + Grandstream, offer powerfail safe for the POTS ports, so on the surface the Atom wins on price.

The other offering in this space is Grandstreams GXE5024, coming it at £393.60 for 4xFXO ports. Alas I haven't got one of these to play with but on the surface it seems to offer similar specs to the PIKA and home brew atom.

Warranty and guarentee periods on most electronic of this type come in around 1 year or 2 years so you can expect them to last at least that long.

Both are quiet for use in a desktop office environment and the PIKA can be hung on the wall. For Sheer simplicity in set-up for the end user, the PIKA LCD panel helps to see what's happening in the system and getting access to the IP address of the box is simple by passing your finger over the display it swaps to display the units IP address.

So for system resellers with technical expertise, the roll your own can just about work out on price. For end users there's a hidden problem with the Atom system, the onboard Gig Network card is a Realtek that requires drivers from the Realtek website to run under Centos, the OS inbuilt realtek driver doesn't work. So my trusty Speedtouch USB 10/100 NIC from Thomson works out for getting the driver installed.

So how much power do the PIKA and Atom systems take?

I've been sitting watching my power meter and I can see a fairly consistent 62W out of the Atom system with no calls on the system, that's a little higher than I would have thought since the Atom CPU is claimed to consume only 8W. Then I turned off the LCD monitor! That's more like it - 36W.

Now the PIKA - WOW - that's more like it! Just a nudge under 7W, with no calls in the system.

for the sub £500 PBX offerings you've got some options. The PIKA is easy to set-up, very power efficient and comes with a variety of interfaces.

Home Brew saves you a few quid, but creates the pain of having to compile you're own ethernet drivers.

The Grandstream offering looks favourable too and even claims video support. But where it would fall down is on the list of features from numbers of conference rooms, IVR, ACD features and desktop CTI integration. Since the PIKA and Atom home brew can use Trixbox, you can add HUDlite and desktop screen pop for outlook contacts.

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