So I’m making my first stab at building up a Wintel hardware box in over a decade, and wow. Interesting experience. The featureless black box above is the case I’m using, and I already have it and the power supply in my grubby little paws. Today, I just ordered a huge batch of parts — everything but the actual processor and the wifi card, and I’ll be picking those up next Friday after work.

Those of you that know me have known of my preference for Mac hardware for a long time now. I’ve been a Mac user since the days of System 7.1, have stuck with the company through thick and thin. So you might be wondering about my new hardware purchase.

The thing is, I am in need of a lightweight server space — it doesn’t need a shit-ton of horsepower or hard drive space. It’s going to run headless and be something I can administer via Remote Desktop on my Mac. So, what’s the purpose? Apache, ruby on rails, MySQL, and some other lightweight stuff. Nothing fancy.

I’m sure you’ll tell me that I could get something similar by buying a Mac Mini, and while that’s all good in theory, I’m not willing to pay the extra money for the aesthetics and super-compact size of the Mini. Now, if Apple could make an el-cheapo $300 box on a MicroATX board, that fit the above description, I’d consider buying one.

So when this thing’s done, it’ll be “sandbox” on my internal network and it’ll be running Ubuntu. (Yes, I know CentOS would be lighter and more applicable, but I enjoy command line interfaces like I enjoy being kicked in the balls.)

Big ups to my friend Dan, who helped point me in the right directions on this one.