Another great weekend has come and gone, almost keyboard-less but still  great. Enjoying the last warm rays of sun before autumn glides over this part of the globe, we decided to take a little trip to Aachen for some shopping. While Nyana looked around for shoes (Of all things) I took a little walk past the shopping windows of some of my favorite computer shops. And I was shocked ! Computers these days are dirt cheap ! And I really mean dirt cheap ! A few years ago when the computer prices were a lot higher, I used to hop over to Aachen regularly for parts. They had cheaper shops (Cash and carry shops, just a counter with a lot of boxes behind it) where you could order online and pick up your parts. These shops also had the advantage that the German VAT rates added only 6% to the price , while over here in Belgium we paid 21 percent. So I regularly popped over to “Germania Generosa” to get parts for myself or for friends and family.

It all changed when the whole computer-retail market crashed and Dell started offering computers dirt cheap. The hardware evolution became so rapid that it was no longer interesting to upgrade and the VAT  rates in Germany jumped to 16 percent. Soon many of the small retail computer shops went belly up or started selling the same low cost crap that the stores over here offered. Meanwhile I had switched to macs and did not need a lot of pc hardware anymore.

But with the idea of rolling out a central fileserver at home, using linux, I peeked around the pricelists of some of my favorite shops and found their prices to be very cool indeed. A quick calculation estimated the cost of a new pc ( an ATOM 1.6 processor, 2 gigs of ram, 500 gig harddrive, case) at 207 euros ! Dirt cheap !  Since this little machine is going to be our home linux server / mediacenter  I’m not sure if this little Intel mainboard with onboard atom processor is going to be powerful enough, but I’ll sure as hell try to score a new box under 300 euro’s !

The only down side  to this story is that I’m gonna have to rely on some help from the shopkeepers to select the right hardware : There is no way I can keep up with the hardware developments these days. So if anyone has any good suggestions for a good mainboard / processor / graphics card to do the trick .. let me know !

Links : Datec , HIQ computer.

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