In my current quest to modernize my home server farm, I picked up one of the new intel ATOM based machines. I chose the MSI WIND PC mostly because of price. The ASUS eee desktop looks much slicker and comes mostly complete, but I was aiming at replacing my dns/firewall machines, so I didn’t need some of the niceties that it comes with (e.g. keyboard, slot-load DVD, etc.)
The 7418 is a ‘barebones’ system. It needs RAM and some sort of media to operate. The package is not as elegant as the eee or say a mac-mini, but again it’s $150. What is does have is a case large enough for a regular 3.5″ SATA and 5.25″ optical drive (also SATA), a fairly compact power-brick-style PS, front-panel SD/MMC card reader, and, most interestingly for my use, a CF card which shows up as an IDE disk (bootable).
But there’s a catch; that fancy CF socket is butted up against the wall of the case, so you have to remove the motherboard to install a CF there. I suppose if I was industrious enough I could dremel out a slot, but hopefully I won’t have to remove it very often.
Once I got the unit I first put some RAM in and tried a test boot. I used a 512M PC2 5300 unit that was a take-off from a macbookpro. no luv. Tried 3 more, no luv there either. about to ship the unit back, I found 2 1G pieces (same specs and origin). I threw one in and it was up and running.
I added a SATA DVD-ROM and HD to test with as well as a 4G CF. I threw on a copy of JAS 10.5.4 since I had it sitting there by the machine, and it installed right off. No audio and the resolution didn’t match the display — oh and lots of network IO crashed it, but still it was pretty zippy.
So the next step is to get the most current pf-sense and see if everything is supported, then either use a USB e-net for the wan side, or tr to find a supported mini-pcie ethernet card that will fit….