[DFWUUG:Discuss] Small Form Factor PC's (SFF PC)

Robert Pearson rdpears at gmail.com
Fri Oct 7 20:30:48 CDT 2005

> Stuart Johnston wrote:
> Not exactly cheap but something like this would be cool:
> http://www.openbrick.org/

Very interesting!!!  Thanks for the <www.openbrick.org> URL.

Take a look at---

I am a fan of the "Roll your own" SFF PC which is the approach taken
by the second URL.

Last time I calculated a bare minimum MicroATX (mATX) system for low
end computing it was around $500. "Low end computing" means ordinary
desktop or server. Big variables are CPU, memory (type, size &
amount), disk and video.
This $500 included using a MicroATX mobo (no CPU) with integrated
video and no AGP slot for a video upgrade. It does have a PCIe slot
that could be used for video upgrade, which seems to be the way video
enthusiasts are going. The mATX mobo does have onboard HyperTransport,

While I was playing around with these SFF PC configurations I came up
with two for storage. The easiest of these to build and use is the
pNAS (Personal NAS) like the Kurobox or the Buffalo Linkstation. The
SFF PC pNAS is better if you don't mind doing the work required in
software that is already done is a "packaged" NAS box. You can do a
pSAN as well but being able to increase or decrease the amount of
storage by adding or removing a box requires some work. A good
"work-a-round" is to use the SFF PC's in a "hybrid" NAS/SAN. The
"hybrid" is where the pNAS front-end's the pSAN. THis makes it easier

The reason I prefer "Roll your own" over something like the
"openbrick" is scalability and re-configuration. For a dedicated
function the only preference for "Roll your own" over the "openbrick"
would be hardware and skill set compatibility.

The "gamers" are using these loaded up. Lots of muscle. They employ
carying bags made just for the SFF PC and a 17" LCD monitor.

Thanks,  Robert

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