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I am wondering if such a thing exists. I am looking for a small computer (board, etc..) that I can literally just put a usb drive on in order to boot from, and then it get its power from USB or CAT5e. Any ideas?

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Because there are so many possibilities, please tell us what you need it for. Does the screen have to be powered too? –  Posipiet Sep 19 '09 at 5:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Scope out the JackPC. They run a RISC processor though, which may be limiting.

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+1 - I love me some JackPC. –  TheCleaner Sep 19 '09 at 3:05
    
How is a RISC processor limiting? –  Amuck Sep 19 '09 at 6:53
    
The relative (to x86) lack of software is limiting. –  Stu Thompson Sep 19 '09 at 8:16
    
It can't run full-blown windows and it needs a Linux distro compiled for it. –  MDMarra Sep 21 '09 at 23:19

I stumbled on to this post and noticed that the accepted answer's link is broken and due to the age of the OP, probably irrelevant.

Anyway, these days (March 2014) a popular, low-power computer is the Raspberry Pi.

It can be powered from USB, and even patch cables, but there are some caveats. (Additional hardware required for patch cable power, for example.)

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