Make Projects: Small Form Factor PCs
Publisher: Maker Media, Inc
Final Release Date: April 2008
Pages: 304

Shoebox sized and smaller, small form factor PCs can pack as much computing muscle as anything from a PDA to a full-sized desktop computer. They consume less power, have few or no moving parts, and are very quiet. Whether you plan to use one as a standalone PC or want to embed it in your next hacking project, a small form factor PC may be the next thing you build.

Small Form Factor PCs is the only book available that shows you how to build small form factor PCs -- from kits and from scratch -- that are more interesting and more personalized than what a full-sized PC can give you. Included in the book are projects for building personal video recorders, versatile wireless access points, digital audio jukeboxes, portable firewalls, and much more. This book shows you how to build eight different systems, from the shoebox-sized Shuttle system down to the stick-of-gum sized gumstix.

With thorough illustrations and step-by-step instructions, Small Form Factor PCs makes it easy for anyone who wants to get started building these tiny systems. Small form factor computing is taking off, and this guide is an absolute must for anyone who wants to get in on the launch.

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(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


This was a joy to read...

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Make Projects: Small Form Factor PCs:

I really like this PDF. The projects are interesting, the instructions are clear and easy to follow, and there are some unique solutions to common problems (such as system noise). The authors do a good job portraying what you can expect to encounter when taking on similar projects. They give you lots of real world advice and warnings about potential pitfalls (such as how to use a hub to connect two systems when you don't have a cross-over cable). I learned quite a few things that I did not previously know (such as the difference between the wlan and wifi interfaces under Linux).

If you are new to Linux and BSD the instructions should be very easy to follow, but don't be surprised if you have to do some searches on the web if you run into unexpected snags. This book is a very good resource, but I do not think that any book like this can be a complete treatise on the subject it attempts to cover.

The material in the book is quite up to date, but the material covered ages very quickly. For example, the authors use a 200 Mhz gumstix board with built-in Bluetooth that I have not been able to find. There is a 400 Mhz version, but no 200 Mhz version. This is probably a good thing since the authors had to make some adjustments that they thought were related to the slow speed of the processor they were using, but it does illustrate how quickly this material ages. It is impossible to future proof something like this.

Even though the material will slowly lose some of its value as time goes on I still expect to refer to this PDF when I work on similar projects because of the real world advice included. I love how the authors will give you search terms to get started if you want to do something related, but not covered in the book as well as their warnings about pitfalls they ran into.

If you are into tinkering and don't mind spending between $300 and $500 on your projects then you'll love this book. Even if you don't have that type of money to spend, this book will provide valuable advice if you are wanting to setup your own audio jukebox, MythTV system, wireless network extender, OpenBSD firewall, or any of the other projects contained within the book. I highly recommend it.

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