Inexpensive mini computers with ARM-based chips have gotten a lot of attention this year. But if you’re willing to spend a few dollars more you can get a much more powerful and versatile system with an x86 processor.
Recently we took a look at the Asus C60M1-I mini-ITX motherboard with an AMD C-60 dual core CPU. It’s an $80 system that can be used as a full-fledged Windows or Linux computer when you add a power supply, storage, and memory (and optionally a case). But it’s hardly the only CPU+board combo in that price range.
Newegg has at least 2 dozen motherboard+CPU combo deals available at the moment, and many of them include low power processors and low price tags. Here are a few examples:
- ECS VX900-I 1.6 GHz VIA L2007 combo for $50 after rebate
- ASRock E35LM1 AMD E-240 combo for $55
- JetWay JTAE24G AMD E-240 combo for $70
- Foxconn D250S Intel Atom D2500 combo for $70
- Gigabyte GA-E350N AMD E-350 combo for $75
- ASRock AD2700B-ITX Intel Atom D2700 combo for $75
All of these systems feature mini ITX motherboards, which means they should fit into standard small form-factor PC cases. And they all have x86 processors, which means they should be able to handle a range of operating systems including Windows 7, Windows 8, Ubuntu, or other Linux-based operating systems (although some of the integrated graphics cards are better supported than others under Linux).