Low power, off grid computers.

Started by DavidLeBlanc, April 30, 2005, 03:46:27 PM

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These are not the lowest possible powered computers, but they're the lowest I know of that will run Windows/Linux/BSD. Including small LCD, about 30-50 watts. That's a bit lower than most laptops! They have external AC power supplies, so their input is DC (some 12V, some higher).

Via makes a line of "mini-ITX" motherboards that are all-inclusive: video (not up to game playing quality, but great for text processing, web surfing, etc.), 6 channel surround sound, HD/CD/DVD ports, USB, Firewire, serial, parallel, keyboard, mouse. Also one expansion slot for a standard PCI card, so you could add  (for instance) a TV tuner card.

They're not especially cheap, but by the time you're done, they're not all that expensive either. The only downside in my mind is that they tend to be a bit "slow": the fastest ones currently available are "only" 1.2 Ghz (which is pretty slow compared to the whiz-bang Intel stuff running at 3.6 Ghz). They're pleanty fast enough to surf the web, read and write emails, compose the great American novel - and monitor and control your house too! Where they tend to fall short is in game playing.

The current object of my "I want one someday" is the Travla C-138 case with a Via MII1200 motherboard. $348 (plus another $200-$300 for HD, DVD & RAM). Size: 8"x4"x8", or about the size of 2 car radios stacked on top of each other. Available in black or silver:

This is not the only case available and some people don't bother with a case at all - one could be built into a cigarbox - and has been! ;)

Best place to buy the case & motherboard: http://www.caseoutlet.com. If you just want the motherboard, the best place is http://www.logicsupply.com (also a source of tiny, low powered LCD TV's and monitors!). Best place to buy the HD, DVD and RAM:  http://www.newegg.com. You need "laptop/slim" sized HD and DVD and those are a bit pricier than the regular sized ones, but Newegg has great prices on all sorts of computer gear, plus fantastic service!


Almost forgot: 10/100 ethernet included too! ;)