The first part of the Hadron Vortex G2 project is all about the software. Important milestone are installing and configuring an operating system for administration, Installing and configuring gaming emulators, creating custom launchers for the games to run independantly without desktop support.


Risers have been installed onto the four corners of the Gizmo 2 board to act as legs and keep it's base raised above my desk to prevent any short circuits or static generated from the surface it's sat on.



Included In This Update:


1) Hardinfo reports - hardinfo is an application that creates a hardware and software profile of the system and does some basic benchmarking. *


2) Fitting mSata ssd drive.


3) Installing an operating system.


4) Video recording of boot up demonstrating expected turn on times.


Additional Pictures Included At The Bottom.


* one important thing of note regarding hardware reports is the system memory is only ever showing a maximum of 750MB rather than the 1GB that is installed. I expect that the missing 250MB is allocated to the onchip graphics, or to manage data between the dual cores and the system as a whole.








hardinfo generates a complete system report as a HTML file, click on the links below to view them.






The msata drive fits into the socket easily from a slight angle, though it doesn't plug or clip into the socket and bounces back up so it needs to be fixed down with plugs or screws. In it's natural flat position, it hovers over the main board by about 4mm so risers or sprung plugs would make good mounting options.


I was hoping to use some of the spring mount plugs that are used to fit heatsinks over North Bridges and Processors but couldn't find any suitable, I did find that the small risers that are provided on VGA sockets that the plugs screw into are perfect.


Images of the fitting:












The system I've been using for testing the emulators is running Ubuntu Linux. Knowing that this worked well, I decided to keep with it and use it as a base operating system.


Until the mSATA drive arrived, I was stuck with using bootable USB images. I had a brief look at the Timesys system that was shipped with the Gizmo 2 and was a pretty much basic system with a proprietry GUI. I think others have previously mentioned that the GUI isn't overly intuitive which it isn't if you consider it as a computer. Being looked at as a media centre, it's just another menu driven system that a home user would get used to.


The main problem with the software that is shipped is the lack of configurability. It's kind of a what you see is what you get and doesn't have any easy method for adding your own software.


** Another variant of Linux I used on Gizmo was a distribution called Macpup; which is a very lightweight but powerful operating system that has been designed to visually resemble mac operating systems. Once on a USB drive, it quickly unpacks its entire compressed filesystem into ram and uses this as a ramdisk as it's root. This means that files are aready present in ram so makes for a super speedy experience. There's all the usual software installed and also comes with it's own graphical based package manager to help install other software. Most of what's available in the package manager is useful, functional, lightweight and fast. It's a great little operating system, handy to have around on a USB drive for system recoveries or maintenance but probably not the best option if you don't have much knowledge of Linux. **


Once I had the mSata I downloaded an image of Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic). There has been a new release since that one (15.4 Vivid Vole) but again, I wanted to match the system I already had working well. The image booted up straight away and installed like a dream, If you've never tried Linux before then I urge you to give Ubuntu a try, it really does make Linux user friendly enough for anybody to get to grips with.


After Installation, there is a default desktop (Unity) that ships with it, I prefer to use Gnome as a desktop shell and then have Cairo Dock running at the same time which is a very powerful and configurable application toolbar.


Originally, I was going to completely remove the feature rich Desktop and File Manager in favour of a lightweight version like XFDE or LXDE but my experiences with Gizmo 2 so far made me realise it was more powerful than I originally thought and decided to push the system further than I originally intended.


I'm only about a quarter of the way through configuring the system to how I like it but the installation process including terminal commands are in the document below. This stage is all about configuring the environment to perform system administration and general computer use on. I haven't started with the emulators yet as they are going to be launched without a desktop environment to utilise as much of the hardware capabilities as possible without the burden of other background software that normally runs alongside games.






The video below shows the initial boot up performance of the Gizmo2 board running Ubuntu.


Boot Time to login manager: 25 seconds (4 seconds in --> 29 seconds in).

-This is where the game selector menu will be.


Ubuntu Unity start time from login manager: 16 seconds (34 seconds in --> 50 seconds in).


Superb Performance!!