My 5 year old iMac is running out of steam. I currently have a MacBook Pro provided by my work, and my wife has a netbook (running Windows 7) for schoolwork. I've been looking at the Mac Mini and small towers to replace the desktop, but am wondering about small plug computers, (like PogoPlug
Right now the iMac takes care of the following duties:
1. Online flash games/shows for the kids
2. iTunes syncing for our phones
3. Photo/home movie backup
4. Printer server
5. FTP server (extremely light use, most everything is kept in Dropbox)
6. Torrent box
7. Samba share for watching shows on the Wii
The desktop is wired to the router, so we rarely even bother with WiFi. We don't do any gaming beyond (1) above. (2,3) can always move to my MBPro with regular backups. It seems like 4-7 could be handled by just about anything that qualifies as a computer these days (please tell me if I'm wrong).
(1) is really the only issue that I can't think of a way to resolve. We don't have OTA or cable TV, and I don't want to take away the entertainment and educational value of a computer from the kids. Can any of these tiny machines drive an external monitor and handle flash? If not, is there an alternative, something in between the size/cost/noise of a plug computer and a Mac Mini or tower?
I am willing to accept that the best machine might be a laptop that we just keep closed on the desk, but that's not nearly as cool. If I go that route then I'll probably just keep 1-7 on that machine. Any recommendations for actual machines and possible Linux distributions to handle what I want to throw at it? Thanks!