best approach to build low power 24/7 use PC - something like a rasberyy Pi?

I'm scared of the Rasberry Pi because it has no OS and needs a disk and whatnot... so I searched the net and found interesting stuff about PoE (power over Ethernet), and various specialized fanless computers. but those are expensive.

My intent is to have a very low power consumption computer that does only one thing: never go to sleep, and host tightVNC so I can remotely manage my home network. The machine can be really low-spec. It just has to run a VNC client and do various networking tasks, nothing more.

How low can I go, spec-wise? Should I opt for A Linux distro? What kind? I prefer Windows, it's what I'm familiar with and everything else on my network is Windows or Mac.

How do I best approach hardware selection? The mantra is: as cheap as possible, maybe used parts, or get an old machine off eBay and gut it? I hope to velcro the thing behind my TV-set eventually for space saving reasons.

Is Rasberry Pi the only $25.00 computer of it's kind? I imagine there might be something else similar? All I found was +$100.00 solutions...

Is it feasible to buy some components only, like some lame MoBo and 10-year old CPU and a 1GB RAM stick off an overstock site and walk away with only $40.00 spent?

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  1. Best answer
    1. you can go as low as the minumum system requirements of your software / os.

    2. older tech is going to be bigger, i wouldn't expect to velcro it to anything.

    3. nothing would be cheaper than a Pi, there are some compeditors and their names escape me right now. look for "pico itx" and "nano itx". some of these are $300-$500 range, but are turn key devices. all hardware and software installed.

    4 see point 2. keep in mind, older tech is also much more power hungry/wasting than anything new.
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