Cheap low power home server options

Unfortunately my CurrentCost meter only gets hooked up to an aging ThinkPad 240 on a time-share arrangement with Jo; she is currently cursing about how slow the web is, so my graph on the power meter page is blank. Other people have a more reliable connection and are tracking down 3KW spikes and 100watt-ish blips. Good excuse for a(nother) gadget I reckon!

Current thoughts, in roughly ascending price order:

  1. SLUG: £57 (as recommended by @andysc)
  2. Netvoyager LX-1000: £130
  3. MicroClient Jr.: $214 (same case as above but includes 2 RS232 ports which is nice. Not sure I can be bothered with importing one… but more than one? Maybe.)

Out of the running (probably) are:

  1. Minifsk: $200+ (Looks neat and claims to have a serial port but in the US again)
  2. TinyTuxBox: cheapest seems to be about £193
  3. Asus EEE PC: better value at around £200?
  4. Linutop 1: €250+

And finally, Dale suggested a Pocket PC option earlier and Steve suggested an ASUS WL-500g. I must admit I’ve not looked in to either of those. I do have a Palm V kicking around but not sure that’d be up to the job! I also have a Linksys WAG354G but that is gainfully employed and doesn’t have any USB/Serial ports.

Decisions decisions.

Update: I’ve been very happy with the choice I made (a Netvoyager) but if I had to make the same decission today, it would be much much simpler: the Viglen MPC-L is a steal at £79! In fact, it’s such a good deal that I caught myself contemplating buying one as a second home server yesterday, which is obviously crazy. (30 November 2008)


15 thoughts on “Cheap low power home server options

  1. Well I’m some of the way there… hooked up to an old Linux box, but having some issues on the serial comms side at the moment. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I can join the graph.

  2. You’ll probably graphing before I’m back on there, although I’ve taken the plunge and gone for the Netvoyager option above, so hope to have a new toy soon.

    Now I know that a slug is clearly the way to go but I convinced myself with two good reasons not to pick it this time:

    1. Other than the afore mentioned Thinkpad 240, I don’t have a computer at home! So something I can use to experiment with home automation stuff when Jo has nabbed the laptop would be good.

    2. It’s my birthday soon… so I can ask for a slug to use as the production system!

    Good point about the HDD Rich- I have a handy external drive already which I can use for that.

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  7. I’m surprised you didnt have a look at a beagle board. would surely fit with your requirement to lower your power use
    and it has 1 rs232 port (via idc10) connector
    and it’s reasonably cheap $149 USD
    oh and you can attach it to a wacking big plasma :)

  8. The beagle board does look interesting, but I was looking for something a bit simpler to work with- I didn’t choose the slug in the end for the same reason. Might make the short list if I ever post an update to the home server options though.

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