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Posted: 5/2/2009 2:10:43 PM EDT
I was recently screwed over by Dell when I was trying to order a computer they had on special.  It was a pretty high-end Studio XPS, with a Core i7, 6 gigs ram, and a slightly upgraded graphics card, with an Ultrasharp 20" monitor.  They screwed up the order, canceled it, and then wouldn't honor the original deal.  Screw them.

Since my regular computer is still having motherboard problems, I'd like to build a new computer to take most of my day-to-day operations (firefox, word processing).  I'll build or buy a high-power system later.

Here's my thoughts:  for the basic day to day use, I could be quite happy with something with netbook-level power.  I'm thinking of buying a chassis like the MSI Wind barebone nettop, putting in a SATA SSD, maxing out the ram (2 gigs) and going with Ubuntu for the OS.  I'm not even sure i'll install a DVD drive––I think I have a black CD drive sitting around somewhere.  No need to care about additional HDD storage––I have a server on the home network.

The other option is to go with a pre-made one like the Asus EEE box.  Unfortunately, that uses a conventional HDD, so some of my boot-speed and sleep-recovery speed would be lost compared to the SSD.

My priorities are:

1.  Quick boot and/or recovery from sleep;
2.  Low noise, low power consumption;
3.  Ability to run a decent modern OS, and probably to upgrade/update the OS for a couple of years.

Any suggestions?
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 3:28:30 PM EDT
Why fast booting.  If the thing is put into standby, you never start it often in the first place.
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 4:35:29 PM EDT

The point of it is to be virtually instant-on from any state.  Current ubuntu isn't bad even cold booting from a regular drive.

I think I'd usually just let it auto-sleep and wake it from that.  Are you suggesting that I skip the SSD?
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 4:49:41 PM EDT
not sure what the power usage it, but the HTPC I built a few months ago is quiet and boots xp pretty fast for me. plays fallout3 decently too, and silent hunter 4 is noticeably faster than on my main system

Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 Wolfdale 2.66GHz LGA 775 Dual-Core Processor
Kingston HyperX 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KHX8500D2K2/2GR  Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3750640AS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive  LG Black Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner SATA Model GGC-H20L Shuttle SG33G5B Intel Socket T(LGA775) Barebone
MSI N9400GT-MD256 GeForce 9400 GT 256MB
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 4:54:07 PM EDT
micro ITX with solid state drive.  runs off a "wall wart", fan optional.
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 4:55:42 PM EDT
I wouldn't use a SSD for the OS.  There have been numerous reports of issues using them for the operating system.  They seem to work real well for media storage though.
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 6:15:20 PM EDT
Hmm.

I wish I had time to keep up with the tech better these days.  I know what I'd like this machine to do, but I'm not sure whether I can even build something that will work as well or better than an EEE box.  I just found out that it has a bios boot option that can boot into either the regular OS or very quickly into a linux environment where you can access the net and do a few other minimal things.  It starts at about $250.

If I wanted to do something a little more powerful...but still with the "quiet" and "frugal" attributes...I wonder what my modern options are?  Under-clock and under-volt a Core 2 Duo chip, and give it a really good heat sink?
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