I'm looking to build a fairly cheap mini-PC system. I envision it being a secondary system (a linux box to play around with) so it really doesn't need anything fancy in the way of sound, graphics, or even processor speed. most of the focus on mini-PCs here is how well they can stack up to a really high end machine, so it doesn't really help me with what I'm planning to do.
I'd really appreciate some advice on the lower-end mini-PC motherboards.
Why a "Mini"? You can build it just as cheap going "Full/Mid Sized". What brand CPU & how slow do you want it? Why not just go to your local swap meet/computer show, & talk some vendor down to selling you a complete Win 98SE or ME system for less than $400. Just add some extra Ram & you are set!
Well, if you post a reason for a "mini" over a ATX, I will give you a better answer.
well the main reason i'm looking at a mini is that I have serious space issues in my little dorm room. i don't see there being any easy way for me to fit another full size box in my room without having some large amount of cable strung across it. I plan on utilizing the dual inputs on my flatscreen, so ideally it would be as close to the monitor as possible.
On top of it I'm a pretty small girl. I can't pick up the tower I have now, which kind of sucks. So size and weight are very real considerations for me.
Newegg.com has the Shuttle XPC SK41G(Flex ATX, based on the Via KM266 chipset) for $245 it has on board everything.
What you do need is a Socket A CPU(Athlon XP 1700+ for $50), 1 or 2 sticks of PC1600/PC2100 DDR(1 stick of Apacer 512mb PC2100 cas 2.0 for $55), 1 Optical Drive(I like the Samsung 48x24x48x 16xDVD/CDRW Combo drive for $90), & 1 floppy drive(all the fdd are about the same for $8 or not).
That totals to $450ish without shipping. You could go cheaper by just replacing the Combo Drive with a CD-Rom(Samsung 52x CD-Rom for $18), bringing you down to $380ish. IMHO it is not worth saving a few $ on a Duron CPU($20ish) or 256mb DDR($25ish) or another SD-Ram based system( Shuttle SV25) $35, Celeron 1.1A $9, 1 stick of Corsair 512mb of cas 2.5 PC133 sd-ram add $23 for a total savings of $21............for slower raw cpu power & ram speed.
If you choose to build your own system Asus makes a Micro ATX mobo based on the nforce chipset with onboard everything- A7N266-VM AA for $70.50, Inwin Blue Micro ATX tower(#IW-L545P.180CUF2-OEM) for $38...... it does come with a special 180 watt PSU & should work if you don't add any other devices, but I would not like to find out, all my systems use a 350 watt name brand dual fan PSU's or bigger.
This should give you a start, check out www.newegg.com, they have very good prices, fast packaging, decent website, & very good seletion. Good Luck
You might also consider an old fashioned desktop case, I use one from enlight. It comes with a fairly reliable single fan 300 watt power supply, with smart fan feature, which works fairly well with many asus motherboards. I like it as it is a little quieter and more compact, and a 17 inch monitor fits well on top. This is not a mini case, and has three 5 1/4 inch spaces, and 2 for 3.5 inch floppys or hardrives. I use the adapters and put my Ibm hardrive in the 5 1/4 slot. It uses special adapter sliders which you attach to the side of the devices with 4 screws, and slide them right in, or pinch them on the front, for easy removal. At first I didn't like them, but after using them for awhile, they work great. There is a space for an 80mm fan in front, or you can use a vertical fan in one of the open slots in the rear. The vertical fans are quieter, and only about $15, and will fit in any open space. If you decide to go this route, I recommend a mobo with only 5 pci slots, with space on the right of the agp slot for this type of fan. It will help draw hot air away from the cpu.
Sounds good, unless your good with your hands and want to bust open some old compaq case and fit it with a mobo... I've actually found some used 2U and 3u sever rackmounts and use those for stereo PC... easy to mount under a counter too
To err is human... to really screw things up you need a computer!
This is actually a Gateway with MSI mATX board. But the board "height" (width in a desktop) is around 1 inch narrower than standard mATX. While MSI makes a P4 board with the same dimensions, a Flex ATX board also fits.
<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>