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Review: Linspire Mini Koobox

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Hardware

A few weeks ago, I finally got my hands on a Linux-based Koobox Mini PCs. The Mini is a full PC in a very small, quiet package, and well worth a look.

Linspire sent me the top-of-the-line Koobox, which includes a Pentium M 725 1.6GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, slot-loading DVD/CD-RW drive, two USB 2.0 ports, one IEEE 1394 (FireWire) port, a 60GB hard drive, DVI video out, and 10/100 Ethernet. The video and chipset is an Intel 915GM that uses 8MB of shared memory, so you actually have 504MB of dedicated system memory. The sound chipset is also from Intel, and the system has one line-in and one line-out port for audio -- so the system sound is OK, but you're not going to have surround sound or anything like that.

The system itself is 6.5 inches square and about 2.25 inches in height -- about the size of a very fat greeting card -- and it's very, very quiet. I couldn't hear the unit at all, except when inserting or ejecting a CD or DVD; the slot-loading drive is a bit noisy when kicking out discs, though not when playing discs or burning CDs.

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