Out of curiosity, I recently ran some power consumption tests on my own PC, which admittedly uses the latest hardware available in the market. The results were somewhat disturbing, sucking down about 300 watts at idle, and nearly 500 watts when under load. Combined with a 30" LCD and a number of additional devices attached to it, things start to add up, particularly the power bill.

But what is the best way of going about building a low-powered desktop computer that still has enough guts to get the job done? Enter the Gigabyte GC230D Atom motherboard, measuring just 17 x 17cm (6.7 inches), this tiny board incorporates an Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor and all other basics for less than $100.

You may have heard of the Atom 230 CPU already, built using a 45nm design process, boasting a core area of just 25mm2 and a thermal design process of a mere 4 watts!

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