- Mainboard: VIA EPIA CN13000 or CN10000 [$185]
- Ram: 1GB DDR2 533 [$122]
- Case: Casetronic C137 [$156]
- Ethernet/audio/video onboard
- Hard drives: 1 40G and 1 80G laptop hard drive, stuffed into a 3.5" bay. [~$190]
- DVD burner: Slimline slot-loading dvd writer (yum). [$97]
Total cost: $750
And there we have a smaller, quieter, sexier solution. The only fans are the 60mm case fan and the optional CPU fan (if I got the CN10000, there we be no CPU fan).
- With the newer C7 chip and 533Mhz FSB, I'm not worried about being able to keep up with the current warchicken.
- It's probably pretty quiet, though it's hard to gauge exactly how much more quiet it would be than the aforementioned lowest cost solution.
- It's small.
- It's going to use less power than the Venus.
- It's getting up there in price.
- There are a couple more powerful CPU setups out there I could be using. For example, I could get a Core Duo [$183] setup [$315] for a total of around $1050; or I could upgrade slightly from the CN13000 to the EN15000, which is the fastest VIA chip out there (and it brings a premium of $75 over the CN13000, for a new total of $825 plus shipping).
My current feeling is to go with the Venus because the reuse of parts is just too tempting. Even the huge Venus case is going to be small compared to what I've got. And a lot quieter & lower power. But I probably shouldn't get too frugal and skimp on the mainboard and ram. So the current favorite is the $402 solution discussed in the "lowest cost solution" post.