The Micro Dragon
retired from service last year after 8 years of service to DrQue.net. It had hosted all services of DrQue.net from 2009 to 2015 when the Sun Dragon
took over the web site. In March of last year the hard drive failed to boot the system and the Micro Dragon was replaced by the Emerald Dragon
. It has sat idle on my bench ever since. So I decided to open it up to have a look inside. This is one of the only computer I had never taken apart.
The Micro Dragon is an Intel Atom
based computer. The CPU boosted a 5 watt power draw as Intel was trying to get the x86
line of CPUs into the low-power market. While 5 watts was impressive for an x86 the problem was the chipsets which were not so power friendly. In this picture one can see the chipset's heat pipe
and cooling fan. The CPU is on the other side of the board and requires no active cooling. In 2009 there were no ARM processor-based computer I could run my website with. The Raspberry Pi
wouldn't come out until 2012, and the firs t generation Pi's would not have had enough CPU power to run my site well anyway. However, the 64-bit multicore ARM processors these days are not only more powerful, but lower power and cheap. This is thanks in large part to the cellphone market which has been pushing for both faster and more powerful processor and as a result of quantity pushed down prices. The Emerald Dragon out performs the Micro Dragon in pretty much every metric, and it was less than half the price.
Still, the Micro Dragon did a good job at significantly less power than it's predecessor, the Indigo Dragon
. It also would run hundreds of days at a time without reboots and overall a solid system. Its only weakness was the mechanical hard drive and during its 8-year life went through two of them. Curious I plugged the hard drive into a SATA-to-USB converted. It made a bad click sound when it started but did spin up. My laptop was able to read the file system. It could just be the boot sector that is bad, but at this stage I don't see a need to revive the Micro Dragon. It has provided its service and it has earned its retirement.