Stock Firmware or JacX??

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Network Storage Devices' started by gusotto, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. gusotto

    gusotto Addicted to LI Member

    One question, is the current stock firmware faster than
    the JacX's versions?

    Will I see an improved throughput (albeit minimal) with JacX?

  2. jac_goudsmit

    jac_goudsmit Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    My firmware will not give you any speed advantage, and neither will any other firmware... The NAS200 is based on hardware that simply can't go any faster. If you want to make your NAS200 faster, you will need to replace the motherboard by another one.

    The advantage to my firmware is that you keep the features from the stock firmware while it gives you the additional features such as the ability to update your Twonky, SSH shell, and secure and easy file uploads and downloads via SCP. In order to maximize compatibility with the stock firmware, I didn't replace any of the software in it, so it's running an old kernel, and old Busybox, an old TinyHTTPD etc.

  3. gusotto

    gusotto Addicted to LI Member

    Another question

    Does this include compiling without optimizations for compatibility sake?
    Is the firmware compiled with -O4 -unrollloops and all the other flags that
    gcc provide?

    Just wondering....

  4. jac_goudsmit

    jac_goudsmit Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    As far as I understand, optimization is discouraged because that's where all the gcc bugs are. I never use anything except -Os or -O2.

    I didn't change the compiler options from the Linksys source tree, I expect that it uses -Os (optimize for size) for most - if not all - projects, because this is an embedded device with limited space, but I may be completely wrong.

    I would be interested in any speed improvements that you can accomplish. I have no time to research that kind of thing. You will probably want to get the RDC R8610/R3210 data sheet (it's online somewhere but not on the RDC website) to see if you can put in any tweaks. Remember this is basically a 486 PC at 133MHz but the 486(SX) is emulated by some RISC processor that you don't have access to. The emulation is apparently only fast enough to get 49 Bogomips which would normally correspond to 100MHz. I suspect that some bus timings are different from the original 486 so you may be able to manipulate the DMA controller to squeeze a few extra kilobytes per second out of it (the hard disks are the main bottleneck).

    It may also be useful to build e.g. a Debian or Gentoo root filesystem so you can use the latest tools. My kernel is configured to support kexec but I never got it to work although I have to say I didn't really try very hard. If you get kexec to work you will be able to easily run a different kernel without having to go through the reflash all the time. Of course if you attach a serial port you won't have to do that either, you can tell Redboot to download a kernel over the network into the RAM. Whatever you do, don't use the flash command under Redboot. It will overwrite eCos/Redboot with whatever is at memory location 0x400000-0x41FFFF, and it will brick your box without warning. You will need JTAG (and the RDC Loader program, also available online) to bring it back to working condition and that is not easy.

    Good luck!

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