Recently I got interested in 'thin clients'. Small PCs with no moving parts. Here is a really good resource:
I like having a spare small profile computer to do my Amateur Radio logging function. The only real requirement (besides a little storage space) was an RS-232 port (the logging program receives data from my transceiver via RS-232).
I found a HP t5740W on eBay for $24 shipped, with power supply, 4G of ram and 4G of flash memory.
The thin client arrived (as expected) with no OS. I looked online for advice about the best small footprint Linux and found that my personal choice, Debian, was one of the top ten. I loaded a Debian Jessie “Net Install” iso on a USB stick and gave it a try just to see what would happen with the 4G flash memory. It fit!
But just barely - there was very little space left, maybe 11% or so after installing the logging program, XLog. That's a little tight, even for my tiny ham radio app. I decided to attempt the installation of a disc drive, as mentioned in the “Mods” section of the 'Thin Clients' website above. Here's the SATA connector on the motherboard.
That's an odd connector. I am very lucky to have a Goodwill Computer Store fairly close. The knowledgeable folks there helped me pick out some potential 'donor' cables and the smallest 2.5” SATA drive they had (160Gb). Another $10 invested. Cheap works for me.
I followed the guide in the mods section for the HP t5740 (drill down: Home – Details – HP, etc). The big gotcha is the SATA data and power cables. Both must be modified to fit the connector on the mother board. Here is an image of a before and after mod for the data cable. The power cable will need a similar mod.
Click to enlarge the image. All the Xacto wounds have now healed. Note: Band-Aids are remarkably difficult to apply if the cut is on your thumb...
Photos in the mods section mentioned above show the installation of the drive better than I can. I did move the RAM memory as suggested.
Success! I now have two installations of Debian Jessie on the t5740, one on the 160Gb hard drive and one on the 4Gb flash memory. Via Grub, I can boot to either.
cln – Nick