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Build The Ultimate Small-Business Server And Notebook

Today's growth-focused entrepreneurs know full well that they don't need a dedicated IT department to have serious computing power and connectivity. In this Recipe, I'll show you how to give them what they want -- and room to grow -- with an affordable pair of machines. For the "IT closet," construct a small but powerful server that can do everything but pay the rent. For the proprietor, provide a powerful, high-end notebook that offers portability without skimping on productivity.

This Recipe describes the construction of two PCs: a small form-factor (SFF, or "shoebox") Linux office server, and a Windows XP-based white-box notebook or "whitebook." Together, they should come in under a $4,000 street price.

The whitebook specifications should provide a usable desktop system for years,or perhaps more likely, until the first employee comes onboard and the boss makes it a hand-me-down in order to justify an even newer machine! The server, despite its compact size, will have the internal power and external expandability to provide a growing range of services as the new business needs.

Be sure you discuss business requirements with the user. No two environments are exactly alike, so it may be appropriate to adjust the configuration of the server to suit a specific need. For instance, a new Microsoft development partner will likely require a Windows 2003 Server-based system! However, for most general office computing environments, the Linux platform described in this article will fit the bill.


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