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Sun Cobalt Qube 3

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Review Cobalt may not be a familiar name, but it's been producing server appliances since 1997. Bought last year by Sun, its focus remains the same - selling easy-to manage packages, rather than intimidating devices that require an enormous amount of skill, expertise and time.

The Cobalt Qube (pronounced "cube") is certainly distinctive. Measuring approximately 190x190x190mm, built from striking blue plastic and illuminated by an eerie green glow, it looks more like a trendy fashion accessory than a computer. On the inside it's powered by a 300MHz processor coupled with 32MB of RAM and a 10.2GB hard drive. This may seem woefully underpowered, but as it runs Linux it's more than sufficient.

Before you start panicking, Linux may be notoriously complicated, but not if you do it the Cobalt way. Rather than mess around with nasty command lines, everything is controlled through a web browser. When you first boot up the Qube you enter its IP address using a simple four-button control and a two-line LCD display on the back. After that, tap the address into a browser and configure it from there.

Out of the box, the Qube can handle email, file sharing between Windows and MacOS, web page serving, plus basic network capabilities like DNS (domain name service), DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol) and firewall utilities.

Software updates can also be administered over the network, so once it's up and running you can leave it in a room and forget about it.

The Qube is ideal for a small network that requires basic file sharing and internet facilities. The web-based interface makes it simple to configure and maintain, providing the power of Linux without the complexity.

Stats

Price: £747
Contact: 0870 078 2782
Website: www.cobalt.com

Spec

300MHz processor
32MB RAM
10.2GB hard drive
2 10/100 ethernet ports
Web server
File server
DNS
DHCP
Firewall
Telnet
FTP and SNMP utilities

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