Subject: Re: portable box ideas?
To: None <>
From: Michael Smith <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 04/14/2007 08:17:35
On Fri, 13 Apr 2007 17:57:38 -0400
Douglas Allan Tutty <> wrote:

> I used to use an old Thinkpad but the tent I was using it in got hit by
> lightening and the screen and HD got fried.

Bummer! I trust that the "wetware" survived the experience?

> Hard drives seem to be what dies on a computer so the ability to use new
> drives with old hardware would be good, just like I can put an 8 GB
> drive in my 486 box.

I have to say I am surprised about that. I have struck no end of problems trying to install netbsd and other OS's on old computers with very new disks.

> Ideally, the box would have built-in basic video, USB, serial port (so I
> can attach my Courier modem), CD drive, hard drive, and be silent.  As
> much as possible, I want to be able to use off-the-shelf components like
> drives (so that means 3.5" SATA), standard LCD monitor, standard (mini?)
> keyboard, mouse, etc.

Sounds a bit like the mac-mini (mini-mac?) but you would still need a screen and the initial outlay is still $AUD 1000.

> Finally, I want it to be chaaper than a used laptop.

Well, used laptops more than about 10 years old are usually free ... "take it away, it uses too much space" ... anyway. It depends on who you know I suppose. But you won't be able to give it a lot of RAM, and HDD space will still be limited. If you want a big disk you will need something newer.

> Does anyone have any links to such a beast?

No, not really. As you suggested you could roll your own out of bits from a swap meet, or buy/borrow another old laptop.

Actually here's an idea: take a look at compact embedded computers. They come with provision for flash disks and usually have low power CPU's under clocked so that the power/cooling requirements are modest. It will cost a bit, though.

Michael Smith
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