A text entry

So I am thinking of exploring plug computers because the idea of having cheap, low power computers that are essentially mobile appeals to me. This is especially appealing because I want to setup a little private web server for local development and as a super mini file server that I can connect to access basic media (HTML pages, text files, documents and images).

My demands are very light. I want to be able to run a very small webserver that has all the standard features of a webserver such as PHP5, MySQL or SQLite running on Nginx, LightHTTP or even Apache2, depending if the hardware can handle it. This is for personal use so I only expect at most 1-2 concurrent users. Flash storage or HDD storage is no issue for me, 4gb is plenty for me.

I want to do this with the following requirements;

  • minimal power consumption, maximum uptime.
  • sleek or mobile hardware profile. I don't wan't to build a Mini-ITX PC because that is already too big and the power consumption goes up.
  • minimal peripherals. I wan't to try and avoid keyboards, a mouse and monitor. This is a distant third, so I really don't care. I simply prefer a small hardware profile and low power consumption.

So with the requirements above, I'm am looking into the following

So far, Raspberry Pi looks like my best bet because its cheap and powerful. However, as I write this, most people who ordered them did not get them yet. So in a few months, I hope someone experiments with it and see what issues they come up against. Then Ill decide from there.

Things to lookout for

Based on some quick research, things I should lookout for when revisiting this topic in a few months are

  • memory issues regarding Raspberry Pi. Apparently, the USB & ethernet Bus are shared which means speeds will go down if you are copying files from a USB device when having concurrent users accessing the network. FOr my needs, it should be no big deal.
  • Raspberry Pi has like 256mb flash ram so that limits the ability of apache2 quite a bit. I'll see what others run into.
  • SheevaPlug apparently has a short lifespan. This is anecdotal, but I want my mini server to last a long time (i'm thinking years). Keep warranty, customer support and or manufacturing quality in mind.

Bonus features

If the hardware can handle it, things that would be cool.

  • wireless relay. Simply plugging in a USB wifi dongle to act as a signal booster in my home network would be cool. I am a big home wifi user and my gets crappier the farther away you go away from the downstairs computer. Having a signal booster/ or relay should solve this problem.

  • Bittorrent client and seedbox.

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