teh requirements


  • at least 100 mbit ethernet
  • decent 2 channel audio (or better), or room for my pci sound card
  • cpu that’s not much slower than what I’ve got (athlon XP 1800+ (1100Mhz))
  • at least 1 gig ram.
  • reliability. I don’t want to go through this process again for at least another 4 years.
  • 2 hard drives. I’ve questioned a number of times whether this is really a need (because it makes things more complicated), and decided it really is. I’m far too paranoid about my data, and I want extremely short term backups (e.g. multiple times daily). If the backup can’t be automatic, it won’t happen frequently or consistently enough. Technically, one of the hard drives could be external, but then it would have to be plugged in all the time. Also, the backup drive doesn’t need to be more than 20 gigs or so. (the primary drive should be at least 60, preferably 80 or more.)
  • < $1000. While I'm not strictly on a budget, you gotta draw the line somewhere. And I'm not asking for much here, so $1000 should be able to buy a hell of a machine.
  • Low power
  • Quiet.  To pull this off, I definitely need a better case.
  • DVD burner (for backups). I already have one, so if the case has room for a full size 5 1/4″ drive, that’s dandy. On the other hand, it’s old and slow, and the new ones are not all that expensive.


  • Small. From the research I’ve done so far, it looks like this quite often goes hand in hand with low power and quiet. However, it’s not an absolute requirement.

Not important:

  • Speedy video card. As long as it do 2d decently well (1280×1024 @ 85hz w/24 bit color should be a bare minimum) I care not. I have an old AGP card that does what I need (and is fanless), so an AGP slot could be considered a small bonus here, if only because it has potential to save a buck.
  • SATA vs PATA.


  • 64 bit? Am I really going to care for this server? It’s not doing anything very performance-intensive, and it’s not going to need to address more than 4 gigs of ram, so I tend to doubt it. On the other hand, I might be able to get more bang/watt out of something like a dual core opteron or core duo running in 64 bit mode. The obsolesence argument really doesn’t hold up here, because I’m not planning on needing to upgrade this machine (In fact, it’s over 4 years old and doesn’t need upgrading now. It’s just breaking.) So this question should be answered purely based on bang/watt and (to a lesser degree) bang/dollar considerations.

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