Pushing Virtual Limits

DecTop death knell
May 4, 2008, 5:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Earlier I had an infatuation with this neat 10 watt pc. I got Ubuntu up and running on it and my better half used it for about six months as her primary web browsing/email machine. During that time I had my home server off more than 95% of the time (just powered it up for the scheduled backup runs and when something was needed).

Estimated net savings of more than 20$ a month off of my electricity bill when comparing it year over year.

The only problem is that it was slower than dirt. I upgraded the RAM to 512MB (the max) and installed a 200gb hdd. Total acquisition cost with the add ons – ~200$ – savings 120$ – net cost ~$80.

For an 80$ widget that still works it is nifty but it just isn’t sustainable given the use profile we are seeing now.

Even DamnSmallLinux didn’t give the speed that I thought it should. The 300mhz processor is likely to blame for this bad performance. Now, after living with it for six months I don’t know what I was thinking. The best use I found for this box was to setup a remote desktop connection to a VM image running on my server. As a remote client it is small, silent, and as fast as the network. But that defeated the power savings I had hoped to achieve.

The DecTop is officially mothballed and on a shelf in the basement next to my iMac. A neat concept but not a perfect implementation. After the negative experiences with that I am wary of trying out the eePC or those other new lightweight systems.


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