There still seems to be a lot of interest in DIY Asterisk appliances. Make that DIY PBX appliances in general, because the Freeswitch folks are just as active in this regard. My prior article giving an overview of suitable target platforms continues to be well received, even six months after it was originally published.
One of the host platforms mentioned in that article was the HP range of thin clients. Every day I get an email from the HP SMB Outlet listing the refurbished and overstock offering du jour. In todays list I notice that they include a quantity of 24 HP T5735 thin clients offered for $ 149 each.
These little boxes would make great little DIY embedded PBX systems. Here are the specs:
- AMD Sempron 2100+ CPU clocked at 1 GHz
- 1 GB DDR-2 memory (1 SODIMM)
- 1 GB internal flash storage
- PS/2 mouse & keyboard ports
- 6 USB 2.0 ports
- On-board audio
- ATI Radeon X1250 graphics with support for up to 1920 x 1440, or up to 24 bit color depth
- 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
These little beasts are fanless and only draw around 18 watts. There is also an expansion chassis available that allows the addition of a riser for one PCI card.
At $149 each these devices are cheaper than a net-top. Granted, they’re not quite as powerful as a new net-top…they’re plenty enough to host a SOHO PBX or small music server.