What kind of computer do you use to run your autom


Sorry if I posted this to the wrong forum. I am starting to look at having a dedicated computer to run home automation software on and was wondering what other people are using? Since the computer will be running 24/7, I am concerned about power consumption. VIA makes ITX motherboards with processors that use very little power but by the time you buy the case, motherboard, memory, laptop hard drive, and Windows XP pro it can get pretty expensive. So I started to look at buying a basic laptop from Dell with a Celeron M processor. Is this pure genius, or a really bad idea to have a laptop tucked away in a closet running all of the time? I’d like to hear what other people are using, and what your experiences have been.

I would just stick with a regular desktop PC. Laptops are not rated to run 24/7, I personally would just stick with a regular desktop pc, so you can expand in the future (which will happen if you are serious about home automation). You can buy an AMD mobile processor for your desktop board if you are really worried about power consumption, but I run 10 machines 24/7, and it doesn't make a big difference.
It doesn't take much to run Homeseer. My Homeseer box has an AMD T-Bird 1.3 GHZ with an Epox EP-8K7A motherboard (Via Chipset) with 512 MB 266 FSB DDR Ram, plus an 80 GB Western Digital Hard Drive and an older CDR Drive. I just use the on-board sound since it only does voice announcements. All of this is in an Antec SLK-835 Case with an Antec 400 Watt power supply (overkill on the supply).

I do use a Thermalright SLK-800 Heat Sink so I can use an 80mm Fan on the heat sink and throttle down its RPM's to keep the noise to a minimum. The operating system is Windows XP Pro with SP2.

Stick with a regular PC. I am glad I did because I was able to add an ATI TV Wonder VE in a spare PCI slot for video capturing my front door camera.

My Homeseer box just runs and runs (very stable). The only time I reboot it is when I am updating/adding/changing software. I also run Main Lobby server and WebCamXP (video streaming/archiving software) full time on that box as well.

Probably more than you wanted to know, but that's just the way I am ;) .

I usually look at the sales at Fry's and Best Buy (local stores) and also frequent Newegg.com and ZipZoomFly.com. ChiefValue.com is also another source to check on. Whenever I find something on sale (for a really good price) I'll buy it and start accumulating parts if I know I'm in need of a PC.
I use an old P3 766 Mhz, 384 MB of RAM, 40 gig HD, running Win XP Pro. I don't use voice recognition with HS yet, but do most other things folks around here do. Or at least I try. :p Very stable overall.
HS2.0 seems to require even less cpu than HS1.7. You might want to upgrade some RAM, not that it takes any more than 1.7. VR can potentially be offloaded onto a second - faster PC than the server with HS2.0 as well.
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who replied. I ended up ordering a PC Chips MATX motherboard and a VIA C3 processor that runs at 1.2ghz, with 512mb of ram. The only thing that I am not sure of is the onboard video on the motherboard, hopefully it wont be horribly slow. Do most of you run anti virus software if the machine will be connected to the internet? It seems like a no- brainer, but I thought I would ask. How does something like the Homeseer Pro-100 get around this?

Onboard video is fine, I believe it even has a built in mpeg2 hardware decoder. It just won't be the best platform to play the latest games. I have a Via 1Ghz in my car, and it does everything including animations and video.