Need a VERY Low Cost, low features computer

I need machines that will run as appliances.  I need few features and performance.  I will be running Linux.

I need enough memory for Linux (256k).  Small hard disk, any size OK.  USB port.  Ability to add wifi (this can be using a usb port if required.  Ethernet

Do not need keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc

Price is the big issue here
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Ebay would be your best bet.
jhurstAuthor Commented:
No - that involves me doing the research.  I am posting it here because I want to buy a number of new machines and I want recomendations
We used these where I worked, but had 1GB of memory installed.  These are great little machines.
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Anything brand new you are looking to pay $200+, if you want cheap then you will need to purchase refurbs or used.
Another option would be to purchase a larger computer and install VMserver on it and then carve the PC into multiple VMs.
jhurstAuthor Commented:
I can not do the VM idea.  I need these machines in different venues.  The machine that you found is not bad.  But there should be better deals than that.  I can buy a netbook for little more and that includes a screen and a keyboard.
yeah, but I believe you would be very limited with a netbook. Considering it is the ATOM cpu and they are still close to $250-$300 price range.  
I don't think you will find a better deal than $125 for a PC.
You could look at surplus/wholesale sites: 
jhurstAuthor Commented:
I have three eMachines netbooks, they cost $175 each and are running perfectly for what I need.  realistically this is Ubuntu and I do not need much of a machine.  The only reason that I want to use a real PC is that the netbooks are just too attractive to steal, I also want to get the price under the $175 that I am paying.
If you want something that is more solid state (no moving parts) consider using a PC Engine's ALIX board.  You can buy the board in the US from Netgate (  There are several models available depending on your needs.
jhurstAuthor Commented:
From what I am seeing their systems cost more than a netbook.

It just seems to me that since I can buy a netbook for sub $200 I should be able to buy something similar without a keyboard or display for even less.
The biggest difference is volume.  There are millions of netbooks sold while there are probably only thousands of these embedded boards.  If you buy a higher quantity, the volume goes down.  Another thing to think about is most laptops are not designed to run 24/7 in a closet with little ventilation.  Most of these embedded type systems will run in harsher climates for a much longer time.

Having said that, the ALIX boards are around $140+case+ps (say $170, under $200 with a compact flash card).  The systems also have mini-pci slots available for wireless cards and are designed to do what you want to do.
jhurstAuthor Commented:
I realize the difference in volume but realistically I could use the same machine with less parts an there really should be huge volumes there too.

The best I have founds so far is the "Wal Wart", $60 in quantity, so not bad.

I would suggest looking into "RouterBoards" from MIkrotik, usually they are under 100$ and they run low end CPU's which already have a customer linux on them, and I believe you can install your own. They have network cards and also support mini-pci wifi cards. go to and take a look

good luck.
jhurstAuthor Commented:
I do not see on that site what I need - but that may be me - give me a specific URL please
jhurstAuthor Commented:
I do not see that I can load my own OS here
Just for clarification, do you need VGA output or a serial terminal?  I can understand you not stating your exact use, but it would be helpful to have a little clarification so you get the best advise.

Any of the RouterBoards that support compact flashes can have linux installed on them. If your into wireless networking and the such, its not a bad idea to look into the RouterOS since its geared toward that stuff anyways. Read up about Linux and RouterBoards, they do exactly what you (seem) to want (not sure exactly what you want to do, you havent told us).

Good luck
jhurstAuthor Commented:
I do not need vga, or serial really.  I want usb and ethernet, wifi would be nice
Have you thought about using ePads (cheap resistive screen tablets)?  Some have Android OS (froyo - 2.2) on it and it's pretty much Linux but with a limited instruction set.  I got one from for about $70 shipped.  It really depends on what applications you need.  There's a few modified roms that will open up the Android market on these puppies so you can download whatever apps you need/find.  The one I got comes with a USB adapter that can also utilize the ethernet port plus it has Wifi.

The link for the epad I have is -

You get 5% off if you use my id :)

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jhurstAuthor Commented:
Can not believe that noone else suggested this.  BRILLIANT.  I ordered one immediately and it works perfectly
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