The Celestix Aries is a rather interesting server capable of handling web, mail, ftp, DNS, and print server. This is a pretty amazing feat considering the Aries size which is no larger than a single computer speaker! For the purpose of this web page I will call this version the Aries 2 based on the version number on one of the motherboard chips.
The Aries server literally peels apart by unclipping hidden tabs on the top and bottom case halves. You have to be careful that you don't apply too much pressure as these clips can be easily broken! The motherboard is attached to one case half while the hard drive is attached to the other. You have enough ribbon cable to set the parts on a flat surface without disconnecting the ribbon cable.
The Aries II motherboard is considerably different than version I. The II uses laptop memory, this particular board has 256MB on board.
The main visual difference between the Aries 1 and 2 are that the PCMCIA slots have been removed as well as the keyboard plug. A keyboard can still be attached but it has to be a standard PC USB keyboard. One addition is the third ethernet port.
There is only a single memory slot on this motherboard so I'm calling this version of the Aries V II based on the chip to the left of the memory slot.
The CPU is hiding under this fan. According to the bios it is a GX1 8.1 @ 266 MHz. Also another notation for Aries 2.
One problem with my Aries 2, the hard drive has been reformatted and I have not been able to reload the system on it with the original reinstallation CD. The folks at Celestix have been very helpful and I have been able to make a bootable CD that is used to load the OS from a remotely connected computer but I have not been able to get the two computers to talk to eachother. I'm not sure if it is a problem with the way the hard drive is formatted or should I say not formatted. On my working Aries I the hard drive has four Linux partitions while this hard drive has only one. Also there may be a problem with the drive, with my formatting software it registers as a 30GB drive but according to the model number this is supposed to be a 5GB hard drive.
A update to this situation. I have installed a Fujitsu 100GB ATA hard drive, the reinstallation software still won't communicate with the Aries box so I took the hard drive and installed it in a Toshiba laptop computer and loaded Centos 4 server on this drive. The Aries booted up just fine and Centos configured itself to the Aries hardware.
Centos will reconfigure itself for the Aries. One thing to note, Centos does not work with the built in screen of the Aries but Celestix installed a standard VGA plug so hooking up an LCD monitor works great. One other caution do not change the VRAM allocation from 4MB to anything less as this causes problems. I was able to back out of this by pulling the pram battery though. Also on the Aries II there is no keyboard plug so I use a USB keybaord in a slot. I do not recommend inserting another device such as a USB memory stick in the second slot though, it causes the keyboard inputs to go wild.
The front display is attached to the motherboard with this ribbon cable. It is held to the rest of the computer by two clips on top and two on the bottom. When putting this case back together I've found it easier if you clip the bottom clips on first then slide the top ones into position.
To achieve this small size Celestix has used 2.5" laptop hard drives. This one is a 30GB drive. I have now installed a 120 GB hard drive and installed Centos Blue Quartz
which runs fairly slowly but retains the graphical interface found on Cobalt servers. You can download this software here, http://www.nuonce.net/bluequartz.php. The only trick is to install the software on a PC and then at the reboot screen remove the drive and install it in your Aries before rebooting so it can configure properly.
Both Aries computers use the same AC adaptor. I've found one source for this part and it is brutally expensive, how does $105.34 grab ya! Considering I paid $59 for the pair including one adaptor I think I'll pass on this for now but having both up and running at the same time would be interesting.
But no complaints as I purchased both Aries as is untested and so far I have one that appears to be working fine and a second that seems to need a properly formatted hard drive and then a system reinstall. It might be handy if you could just dump the OS onto the drive and install it from another computer but I don't believe this is possible. If anyone has a better way of loading up these drives I'd love to hear from you!
Comments? Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.