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Shop Computers?

MrQ

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I have been tossing the idea around in my head for a small compact shop computer. I thought others could always use one in their shop that can take the abuse of grease and dust. Would anybody be interested in this? I have built computers before and I believe have more than average experience. I have designed and built a $2000 computer and several other $500< cheap builds, have worked with both AMD and Intel, and know how to do it right.

MODS: this is just testing the waters. If I get 3 or more interested in this I will purchase a vendor membership before selling anything. :)

If people are interested I will build a test system out of these parts.

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Winsis WT-02 Black SGCC / ABS Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case 200W Power Supply - Retail


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Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST380815AS 80GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive


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Kingston ValueRAM 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Desktop Memory Model KVR667D2/1GR - Retail


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Intel BOXD945GCLF Intel Atom processor 230 Intel 945GC Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo - Retail


I am shooting for a base price of $250 without shipping

The reason I am going with the Atom CPU/Mobos is due to their compactness and decent speed. I can also upgrade the memory to 2gb. The board also has sound, 4 USBs, VGA, Printer port, Ps/2 mouse and keyboard ports, and a Ethernet port for internet. I went with the hard drive due to a) it being SATA b) won't need to support XP c) is cheap. The case has its own small power supply and can be expanded with a CD/DVD drive for a little extra money. I also plan to cover all the fan ports with filters to protect the interior of the case. I also think it would be prudent to repaint the exterior of the case with cheap bed liner to prevent it from being scratched.

If these are purchased there will be a few options.

-Increase Memory
-Increase HD
-Add CD drive
-Do or Do not add Bedliner

These will be nearly barebone sytems. You will have the option of what Operating system to install. Linux can be installed off a thumbdrive as can Windows XP I belive, that is why I have not included the cd drive as part of the base system. It also increases heat in that small of a case.

Let me know what you guys think.
 


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Mirge

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What OS are you planning on running? Haven't gotten around to trying that processor yet.. seems decent. I'd probably snag a bigger hard drive though.

Factor in cost for OS and monitor... keyboard/mouse is cheap. I imagine at least an external (USB) CD drive would be wanted in many scenarios.
 




IZwack

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I'd probably snag a bigger hard drive though.
I think 80 gigs is plenty big - its a shop computer, not a media center to store movies.
 




V8BoatBuilder

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I have an Atom 1.6 in my netbook, it runs both Win XP and Mac Leopard great!
 




MrQ

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I think 80 gigs is plenty big - its a shop computer, not a media center to store movies.

My thoughts exactly.

Mirge - you will have the option to install what you want. I would beshipping the system without OS, keyboard, mouse, or monitor.
 




Mirge

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My thoughts exactly.

Mirge - you will have the option to install what you want. I would beshipping the system without OS, keyboard, mouse, or monitor.

Fair enough... though for under $10 more, you could get 320GB instead of 80GB, 3.5" SATA... http://www.sybercom.com/cgi-bin/sybercom/HD320GSS.html?mv_pc=PriceWatch

Just my .02 cents... as for OS, I'm not sure exactly how many shop owners would be willing to install their own OS, etc. Most of the shops I've dealt with aren't computer saavy :). I used to run a local comp shop.

EDIT: Or, for $35 shipped... you can get 250GB 3.5" SATA... http://www.starmicro.net/detail.aspx?ID=1529 ... I don't see why you wouldn't go with a bigger hard drive for the same cost.

Not trying to shoot down your idea or anything, I say go for it... but I personally would bump up the specs where I can without bumping up cost at all or too much. And then of course offer additional customizable options for those who want it running right out of the box, etc.
 




IZwack

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He's ordering all of these items from NewEgg so buying something from StarMicro would just increase shipping cost and more packages to keep track of. And that StarMicro site looks a little iffy - http://www.hardwareheaven.com/retailer-discussion/99050-starmicro-bad-company.html. Customer service, dependability, and reputation is worth a lot more than $10 or $20 in the end. I've never been let down by NewEgg.
 




Mirge

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He's ordering all of these items from NewEgg so buying something from StarMicro would just increase shipping and more packages to keep track of. And that StarMicro site looks a little iffy - http://www.hardwareheaven.com/retailer-discussion/99050-starmicro-bad-company.html

Ordered from Starmicro plenty of times in the past, fast shipping & never had issues with any hardware. BTW, shipping is free on the part I posted lol.

I've also had tons of good luck with 3btech... http://3btech.net/whlamadate25.html - 250GB SATA 7200RPM 8MB Buffer....... 6 month warranty included, free shipping.. $33.99. Just my opinion though... don't see why you wouldn't go bigger when it doesn't cost anything (less in fact)... not trying to offend/upset.
 




IZwack

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Ordered from Starmicro plenty of times in the past, fast shipping & never had issues with any hardware.
Well good thing it worked out for you.
 




Elessar65

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For a shop computer just doing mainly internet browsing I think Ubuntu Linux would be great, its easy to install, small, and fast. Extremely stable, and it won't eat up all your resources, which is good on a system that doesn't have that much RAM/CPU. Plus it can be installed from a thumb drive so as long as you have a USB you are good. Also, its FREE.
 




Mirge

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Yeah, I like Ubuntu too... but I don't think I'd run it on a shop computer. If someone were to hook up diagnostic software, tuning software, or what not... wine may not work correctly, and there may not be a Linux equivalent.

Be sweet if it did work out though :)
 




Elessar65

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Yeah, thats true. You can usually get Wine to work correctly, but it usually involves a bunch of scripting and whatnot and I don't think that a shop would be wanting to do that. I actually like it when something doesn't work, cause then I get to figure out why and fix it. A shop however needs pretty much a turn-key system that just works. Which means Windows :thumbdwn: (shuddering in fear and disgust at the mention of the W word)
 




V8BoatBuilder

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Linux is great in theory, but my 1997 Ford OEM shop manual, one of the best reasons to have a shop PC, only runs on Windows.
 




MrQ

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I can install Windows XP Home, for an extra $100.

Mirge- The reason I am using New egg is for the cheapest non-sale pricing. I am trying to get my base price and I can't have it keep fluctuating for one short term sale. The Atoms I can pick up from Fry's, maybe the memory and HD, so that'll save shipping cost. I'll check it out tomorrow.

If you really want to upgrade to a 320gb HD on a 1.6ghz single core processor with a small FSB of 533mhz with (best case scenario) 2GB memory maxed at 667mhz and then run Windows, then be my guest. It's not efficient, the paging file would be massive, the computer will slow down, and WTH would you really need that all for anyway??? Personally, I want a shop computer that can handle basic applications with speed, efficiency, and with the least amount of resources. BTW, there is a heat consideration in that small of a case as well. With a larger HD it spins faster and produces more heat. THen you have to consider the heat output of the Power supply, cd drive(if applicable), memory, and the processor itself. You'd be surprised how fast it accumulates.

Also, I am asking YOU, Explorer Forum members, if YOU would be interested in a shop computer like this, not Jiffy Lube. ;)
 




Mirge

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I can install Windows XP Home, for an extra $100.

Mirge- The reason I am using New egg is for the cheapest non-sale pricing. I am trying to get my base price and I can't have it keep fluctuating for one short term sale. The Atoms I can pick up from Fry's, maybe the memory and HD, so that'll save shipping cost. I'll check it out tomorrow.

If you really want to upgrade to a 320gb HD on a 1.6ghz single core processor with a small FSB of 533mhz with (best case scenario) 2GB memory maxed at 667mhz and then run Windows, then be my guest. It's not efficient, the paging file would be massive, the computer will slow down, and WTH would you really need that all for anyway??? Personally, I want a shop computer that can handle basic applications with speed, efficiency, and with the least amount of resources. BTW, there is a heat consideration in that small of a case as well. With a larger HD it spins faster and produces more heat. THen you have to consider the heat output of the Power supply, cd drive(if applicable), memory, and the processor itself. You'd be surprised how fast it accumulates.

Also, I am asking YOU, Explorer Forum members, if YOU would be interested in a shop computer like this, not Jiffy Lube. ;)

Oh come ON... that much extra heat from a bigger hard drive that spins at the same rate? If heat is really a concern, choose a different case (for additional fan(s)) and/or better heatsink/fan.

And paging file would be massive because the hard drive is bigger? In Windows XP, by default the paging file created at installation is 1.5 times the amount of RAM installed. That means, for example, with 1GB physical RAM installed, the paging file would be identical........regardless of whether the hard drive was 80GB or 250GB or 320GB. And we're talking about SATA drives here, not EIDE... it's way, way faster than EIDE.

What would you use all the space for? Who knows? But what if you only have 80GB and run out of room? Install another hard drive? THAT would slow the system down a bit, as well as generate the extra heat you are referring to. Or, install a bigger hard drive.. and then you have to transfer everything over to the new, blank hard drive... and of course buy the new hard drive which costs extra $$. Or, you could just install the bigger drive from the start, for the same cost (cheaper).

As for cd drive (if applicable), I mentioned an external USB one... internal heat inside of the case would not be a concern because of it.

As far as saving shipping cost, I mentioned a few links with free shipping... and these are everyday prices that can be found literally all the time.

I'm just trying to expand your options, if you're wanting to be closed-minded about it then that's on you I guess. Just my .02 cents... I still say the idea has potential (shop comps), but I would definitely look into other options as well to give people the most bang for their buck.
 




IZwack

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Yeah I don think heat is really an issue. Not even sure you need a case fan. If you have a well designed case with vents at the top, natural convection might be enough (in addition to the fan on the motherboard).

And FWIW - the fan on my Atom board isnt on the processor, its on the Northbridge. The CPU just gets a heatsink.
mobo_hdd_ram.jpg
 




MrQ

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Oh come ON... that much extra heat from a bigger hard drive that spins at the same rate? If heat is really a concern, choose a different case (for additional fan(s)) and/or better heatsink/fan.

And paging file would be massive because the hard drive is bigger? In Windows XP, by default the paging file created at installation is 1.5 times the amount of RAM installed. That means, for example, with 1GB physical RAM installed, the paging file would be identical........regardless of whether the hard drive was 80GB or 250GB or 320GB. And we're talking about SATA drives here, not EIDE... it's way, way faster than EIDE.

What would you use all the space for? Who knows? But what if you only have 80GB and run out of room? Install another hard drive? THAT would slow the system down a bit, as well as generate the extra heat you are referring to. Or, install a bigger hard drive.. and then you have to transfer everything over to the new, blank hard drive... and of course buy the new hard drive which costs extra $$. Or, you could just install the bigger drive from the start, for the same cost (cheaper).

As for cd drive (if applicable), I mentioned an external USB one... internal heat inside of the case would not be a concern because of it.

As far as saving shipping cost, I mentioned a few links with free shipping... and these are everyday prices that can be found literally all the time.

I'm just trying to expand your options, if you're wanting to be closed-minded about it then that's on you I guess. Just my .02 cents... I still say the idea has potential (shop comps), but I would definitely look into other options as well to give people the most bang for their buck.

Ok, maybe I was over reacting a little, sorry. I wrote that last night half asleep. :) However, If you look at the case in the links I posted there is very little room and it is very tight. The reason I looked at this particular case was a) cost b) size and c) smaller openings for the fans to keep more dirt out. It does increase the heat generated, but as you say, not by much.
 




Hitchhikingmike

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Good idea Dan, I've actually thought of putting a computer in the garage too, but just never have for some reason.

You can defeniately get away without a fan on the heatsink for a low power processor in an indoor climate of 77degrees, but in a garage, I wouldn't think about it, expecially here in Texas. These computers need to be able to opperate stably in mid 90 degrees climates. I do not think it would be overkill at all to include 2 oversized fans on the case (cut the case if need be) and connect them to a manual switch to use in the peak summer months too.

2nd- Most all diagnosis and reference software only runs on windows, (including FoMoCo reference software). And I image that most technicians in a garage don't want to learn how to mess with Wine. Further, I imageine that most people would want to find the information they need to complete the job on the computer within the least amount of time. So, unfortuniately, windows wins here.

I also think a cd-rom drive should be standard, for installing software.

Perhaps someone can come up with some creative schematics for a computer stand on wheels to wheel around the garage :cool:.

And don't forget about the keyboard dust/protection cover!
 




Hitchhikingmike

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Defeniatelly needs to have a big air filter! That can easily be made by cutting up a standard Walmart furnace filter.

Also, it needs to be rodant proof!
 


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