L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

02 April 2009 Blog Home : April 2009 : Permalink

Dirt Cheap Home Computing

Via the Inquirer I've found an Italian purveyor of dirt cheap computers. They have a computer for sale for €99 (plus P&P). Admitedly for €99 you aren't getting much of a computer by today's standards:
Processor Intel Atom 230 Single Core 1.6 Ghz
Ram 512 MB, Kingston DDR2 667Mhz (1 slot, max 2GB)
Hard disk 4 GB Kingston Compact Flash
Optical Opzional
Video Intel GMA 950
Audio Realtek ALC662 con supp. 5.1 canali HD
Network Ethernet 10/100
Slot PCI 1 slot PCI
Rear Port

VGA, Serial, parallel, PS/2 for Tastiera & Mouse,
3 port audio reconfigurable, 4 port USB

Front Ports
Audio out & microphone, 2 port USB
The OS is Xubuntu and you have to assemble it yourself. It also omits keyboard, mouse and screen but I have those anyway so this is not a major drawback...

This configuration is not notably inferior to the original 4G Asus eee that I have as a portable machine and which handles basic web-surfing, email and word processing just fine. So it is in fact a perfectly adequate machine. It is also enormously superior to the current home server machine I have (also running linux) which has a inferior CPU and memory stats and far fewer USB ports and which cost rather more when new a few years back. That machine originally ran Windows 2000 and other 512MB machines run win XP so if I want to pay Microsoft I could install a Microsoft OS on it successfully.

More interestingly, and what I am almost certain to do if I buy from these people, is to add some €65 to the price tag and upgrade it to 2GB Ram and 500GB disk. At this point it becomes an excellent print and file server and will also be able to play MP3s etc. etc.

If the first one works out well I might even buy two and thereby give myself some critical redundancy as well as 1TB of disk space. I have problems with understanding what I could possibly want to do with 1TB of storage but I have no doubt that if it becomes available I'll fill it.