A good enough PC?

What could be a good enough PC? Well, it’s not a computer, rather an offer tagerting people who just want internet, writing, accounting, but they’re not gamers and technologies aren’t their favourite topic.
I don’t think that’s a matter of age, excepted for the games. It’s for people who avoid complexity, who will rather like the consumer device than the computer which can do everything. A question of perception: the device is the usage.

Of course, music, picture and video are part of our life and flow from the net anyway. Hence, a good enough PC should handle that, at least for viewing and playing. Maybe converting file, though, it could take a long time because for such a product, there are two constraints: the design and the price.

The design. Since the device is presented to fullfill the minimal needs, its dimension should be as well minimal, one wouldn’t want a tower for that. Similar to an external cd burner in size, thus, one can’t invest in a special and costly heat dissipator and so the processor can’t be very fast (between 800Mhz and 1Ghz)

The price. That’s simple. Currently a low-end computer starts at 500$, hence the cost saving should be interesting, that is to say, the product should cost no more than 300$. What do we have inside for this price? Certainly a mini-itx motherboard, though, I don’t know if the most suitable of them are yet good enough, and a 2.5″ hard-disk. 256 Mo of RAM, usb, at least one fire-wire, stereo audio in-out, a modem, ethernet and a wi-fi card, for the graphical part a VGA would suffice. All that could stay in the range, I guess.
Yes, there’s no internal cd/dvd burner. An external one isn’t so costly nowaday and one better even has to offer it as an accessory, with certainly a better margin and one still stays far below the 500 bucks. So, the buyer takes it or delays his purchase without regret in regard to the money saved.

What will be the OS? Sure, can’t be Vista! Will be Linux. Of course there is there a hiding cost which isn’t reflected in the product’s price since a distro wouldn’t run on it out of the box without some developement, moreover, one better has to keep the control on the OS than letting the buyer alone. Besides that, a distro invested in a given hardware could bring some interesting stuffs that somebody could adapt or reuse more widely.

Since it will be Linux (or FreeBSD) the external peripherals should be recommended, but the targeted people won’t buy more than a printer, a multi-fonctional one. Maybe they could be interested to buy this kind of printer with a computer embedded? One touches there to the representation of the computer.

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