thx for the replies ... just ordered the bits ... will see how i get on.
waiting for 5 sounds tempting. thx on the VNC tips, i'll probably just SSH to the box once its all setup though. i plan to install as a server, get samba working, ntp, then install slimserver and that's most of what i need. i already tried that out on an old dell at home, and i seemed to manage ok
learning something about power management is my next task. looks like there's some funky stuff you can do with the shuttles, and as it will be on 24/7, could be worth it.