Small Form Fact PC needed in my living room
December 5, 2007 6:23 PM   Subscribe

I am tired of the P4 Intellistation that picked out of the trash. For some reason all my hard disks keep breaking. I am really tired of having to constantly open up my computer and buying new disks. I'm in the market for a cheap, small Linux PC that can stream HD content over the network. Is there such a thing? Kind of like a Mac mini but not so expensive or powerful.

It needs gigabit ethernet, USB2, and a P4 processor.

After that I'm just going to go with some sort of USB drive, like those "MyBooks" instead of wasting my time with all the ebay IDE drives that don't seem to last at all.

Could it be shipped to Canada?
posted by Napierzaza to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Your best bet is probably eBay--I've bought a few computers on there recently. One is a P3 1.5 ghz with a 20gb hard drive and 256MB RAM, and the other is a P3 1 ghz with 256 RAM and an 80 gig hard drive. A gigabit ethernet card would be a cheap addition.

Obviously you'll have to spend slightly more to get one with a P4, but I think those were in the 200 range. Both of mine were $125-150.
posted by DMan at 7:22 PM on December 5, 2007

Remember that you can't really do gigabit Ethernet through a PCI card; you need a machine with PCI Express to get full benefit.

There are some P4 machines without PCIe that put a gigabit connector on the Northbridge, so that they can run full speed, but generally the rest of the system is too slow to keep up anyway. The processor is generally fine, but there's just not enough system bandwidth on a PCI-based system to keep gigabit Ethernet fed.
posted by Malor at 7:26 PM on December 5, 2007

I see, I really only want to consider an all in one system. It's such a hassle to be always working with the system. I don't want to build or open them. Is there something like the eeePC but a desktop?
posted by Napierzaza at 7:57 PM on December 5, 2007

There are a lot of options, but I'm not sure many of them fit all of your requirements.

The cheapest option is the Intel D201GLY2 might work. These guys ship to Canada:

Otherwise a microATX integrated graphics board (P5K-VM?)with a celeron 420, and a cheap case and PSU shouldn't run you that much. Check out

There are loads of small, low powered computers that are meant to be used with a linux OS, but a lot of them don't have gigabit ethernet, or run on flash drives or 2.5 in laptop drives.

Here is a list of computers you'll want to check out:
posted by Ctrl_Alt_ep at 8:21 PM on December 5, 2007

Koala Mini -- similar size to Mac Mini, has Gigabit ethernet, Celeron or Core 2 Duo options. But not all that cheap with even the minimal Core 2 Duo -- $728.

You can also install Linux on an actual Mac Mini.

More cheapies that don't meet your full spec:
Everex TC2502
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:20 AM on December 6, 2007

I got one of these from an office sell-off, and really dig it. Only thing it doesn't have is gig-net. I don't think you'll find anything that does, actually. Not in a P4, and not in your price range. But, I can say, it's a great model, and its been running like a charm. Ubuntu was a piece of cake.

Added bonus: The motherboard is a pretty sweet and standard motherboard (can't remember the exact model, but it's a pretty common and decent intel board...not some kind of proprietary thing that you'd expect) with an agp slot and a couple pci slots, so if you ever outgrow it, you can strap it into a normal atx case and expand it.
posted by General Malaise at 8:41 AM on December 6, 2007

I'm condiering getting a Terastation even. Has there been much development in regards to the NAS Scene?
posted by Napierzaza at 8:47 AM on December 6, 2007

What's a good place to get computer stuff in Canada. As in a Canadian New Egg.
posted by Napierzaza at 8:53 AM on December 6, 2007

Ncix generally has the best selection and cheapest/fastest shipping. Their prices are sometimes beat by Canada Computers and TigerDirect, but the shipping price difference usually amounts to more than the parts price difference.
posted by Ctrl_Alt_ep at 9:16 AM on December 6, 2007

I just ordered an Asus EEE laptop off of NCIX, and I can vouch for their shipping speed and general awesomeness. Went on the truck yesterday evening in BC, got to my house in Ontario about half an hour ago. Yow!

Their order status page is also a model of greatness, in that there are something like eight steps on it (things like address verification, whether or not the item is in stock, credit card validation and the like) so you can tell where your order is or if there are any specific difficulties.
posted by the dief at 10:56 AM on December 6, 2007

Zonbu looks really cool, but it's expensive. I was shocked to see 99$ but without a "plan" it balloons to the same price as everything else. This is harder than shopping for a cell phone.
posted by Napierzaza at 1:16 PM on December 6, 2007

Starting the think that I might as well get a PS3 when the price drops a little more.
posted by Napierzaza at 5:18 PM on December 7, 2007

Refurbished Apple TVs are 229$ and are entirely hackable.
posted by Napierzaza at 9:29 AM on December 8, 2007

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