Well, I had some stuff lying around that was given to me a while ago - an Intel D201GLY2 mini-ITX motherboard (Celeron 220, 1200 MHz) with a gig of RAM and a 90w PicoPSU + 60w power brick combo. At first, I thought the board wasn't really good for much - it's too slow to really watch any videos, there are no 64-bit drivers even though the CPU is 64-bit capable, there are no Windows 7 drivers at all, and the only video-out options are the onboard VGA (which seems to put out some visible noise) or a PCI video card.
But recently, when I was adding an SSD to my main PC (in addition to the 1TB Samsung F1 I already had in there), I thought, why not pull the 1TB out and build a low-power media server for it, so I wouldn't have to have my higher-power PC on all the time? And the Intel board actually fit the bill perfectly!
So, here's the result. (click for bigger pics)
It may look slightly ghetto, but it works fantastically well. Funny about the cables there - I normally take extreme
care in organizing them to make them super-pretty, but this time I just figured, well, it's gonna look kinda ghetto anyway, might as well embrace it
Anyway, the fan there is an 800RPM Slipstream mounted with 1.8mm Stretch Magic, and does a great job of cooling everything silently (funny how it's almost as big as the board!). Even the hard drive is running fairly cool so far, in these winter months. I'll keep an eye on it during the summer, but I think it'll do just fine.
The electrical tape is to silence those horrible blinking lights
There's more of it on the back too!
I run the system headless, and use Remote Desktop if I need to access it. So there are only two cables coming out of the back - the ethernet cable and the power cord. Nice n' tidy.
As far as noise, the Slipstream is inaudible unless my ear is right up to it, and the Samsung F1 is extremely quiet too - although I do feel a small bit of vibration in the case, so I could probably mount the drive on softer foam or suspend it and it would be even quieter, but honestly I keep the system under my desk and I don't hear it all.
According to my Kill-A-Watt, the whole system uses ~34w at idle at ~47w at full CPU load. Pretty damn good, considering my main PC uses close to 100 watts at idle.
I've been running this little box for coming up on 3 months now with WinXP, and it's doing great.
-Intel D201GLY2 mini-ITX motherboard /w onboard Celeron 220 (1200 MHz)
-Samsung F1 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive
-800RPM Slipstream fan
-PicoPSU-90 + 60w power brick
-HP 8655C case
~34w idle; ~47w load
I just want to mention the case... it's very
cleverly designed. I actually made some measurements and found that some shockingly high-end hardware would fit inside - not only a full ATX motherboard, but also a full 10.5-inch video card, presuming it's in a lower PCI-E slot; a 180mm PSU (so even an 850 watt would be possible); and I even found a couple of motherboards (even an obscure LGA1366 one) where the CPU socket was in just precisely the right spot for a TRUE to fit too.
The thing is, there would need to be some cutting in order for all that to get proper airflow, and I just don't even know where to even start with that sort of thing, so I never did it... I think it would be awesome to do eventually though. The ultimate stealth case.