A couple of weeks ago, I bought a second new desktop system, returning the Mac Mini (and eating the $60 restocking fee). The Acer Aspire L310 advertized at CompUSA -- $310 after rebate -- has a larger hard drive, shares with the Mac a built-in wireless network, is very quiet, has a card reader and a total of six USB ports of which two are the front with the firewire, headphone and mic ports. And still the size of a hardback.
The old machine is good enough to work on, but its year-end failure kept me looking for a replacement and one that took up little space and used less power. I would fill it with Ubuntu Linux goodness. You know me.
The Acer does use half the power of the old HP. But even Google gave me little information about it, and is ostensibly not ever sold in the US! Is it, I wonder, European stock shipped to more permissive countries following the EU "Restriction of Hazardous Substances" (RoHS) directive from last summer? (The power source is distinct and the mouse was marked RoHS approved.) Non-RoHS cell phones are coming this way; wouldn't it be ironic if my green goal got me an un-green machine. I'll have to research it.
But this little desktop is essentially a laptop -- the others the Acer Aspire series are laptops; the chipsets are common to laptops -- without the monitor or internal battery. And Linux has a hard time with some laptop hardware. To make a long story short, I've had to give up Ubuntu Linux for another distribution that would give me any Ethernet access at all. So I'm using Fedora Core 6, the successor to Red Hat Linux. It may be even easier than Ubuntu -- Fedora Friend automates adding tidbits which, for a number of reasons (some legal) are not included in the default installation -- and now I don't know which way I'll go when both Ubuntu and Fedora update in April!