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Acer Veriton VN2620G-UC887L (DT.VFGAA.001)  Nettop Computer - Intel Celeron 887 1.50GHz 2GB DDR3 320GB Linux - Gray, Black
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Great price, good CPU, includes everything (CPU, HDD, memory), compact form, HDMI/DVI, serial port, GbE, good Linux compatibility.

Cons: No VGA for legacy components. External power supply brick. Not as small as NUC. HDD removal a bit difficult.

Other Thoughts: I bought 3 of these boxes for general purpose use. Need an extra FTP server? You got it. Need an XBMC media player? You got it. Want to try out a new Linux install? Do it with this box. Need a PC to capture photos from your USB microscope camera? This is the box for you. Need a print server? Want to collect and record some data? Need an extra NAS? And so forth.
I tried Openelec-XBMC, Linux Mint, Ubuntu, it all worked flawlessly. These boxes are cheap enough and good enough that you can use them for almost any low-intensity computing purpose around the house, lab, or office space. The inclusion of a serial port makes it easy to use them for industrial applications, like replacing an 386 computer in some old industrial equipment. For every application, just use a separate dedicated box - this is what I think is called "Linux as an appliance".
The next one I am going to use will be an FTP server (Linux of course) that will try to run OCR on incoming scanned documents.

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SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 3870 100215L 512MB 256-Bit GDDR4 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

Pros: Good value for the money, had enough GPU power to last for three years even on a 2560x1600 LCD.

Cons: Flaked out on me in its later years. Eventually kept crashing windows reproducibly.

Other Thoughts: This has been my primary video card from 12/2007 - 12/2010, and during that time I was generally very happy with it. However, I had occasional system crashes and BSODs, which I couldn't really pin down. Eventually the BSOD started referencing ati2dvag.dll I tried changing the power supply, reinstalling the drivers, tried a completely new windows installation, but it still kept crashing especially when I dragged (F7) a circuit schematic around the screen rapidly in SWcad / LTspice for a maybe 20 seconds (that became my test method). It only was stable when I uninstalled all ATI drivers completely, but that's not a workable arrangement either. In retrospect, ATI seems to have issues with their GPUs as evidenced by the "VPU recover" option which is supposed to catch GPU crashes. I mean, why would they need this as a standard feature in their drivers? From now on, I'll validate all GPUs regularly with memtestG80.exe

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Rosewill RNX-GX4 Wireless-G Broadband Router / Open Source & DD-WRT Firmware support IEEE 802.3/3u, IEEE 802.11b/g
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: less than 1 day

Pros: It has two antenna ports, which you can use for antenna diversity (better reliability in complex environments). The router also accepted the third-party Tomato firmware right away from the upgrade webGUI, but you need to make sure it is an ND (new driver) version of Tomato. For me, the optimal firmware choice for this router seems to be "TomatoUSB Kernel 2.4 NoUSB Std", i.e. file tomato-ND-1.28.8750-Std.rar (Noob reminder: Of course you need to unpack the RAR file and upload the TRX file).

After the firmware update, some default settings were corrupted (such as the letters in the router IP field), but a thorough NVRAM reset corrected this: Administration->Config->Reset to Defaults->Erase All.

Cons: It gets hot and would benefit from better cooling / heatsinking. Also, the black glossy case attracts fingerprints.

Other Thoughts: The included power supply is also well built, it has 9V 700mA capacity, and the router only pulls 250mA max.

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Sebastian O.'s Profile

Display Name: Sebastian O.

Date Joined: 10/13/03

  • Reviews: 13
  • Helpfulness: 7
  • First Review: 12/01/03
  • Last Review: 05/24/14
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