excellent write up of the research, planning, and results of a basic linux build. I'm somewhat surprised to see better performance of thier custom linux build when compared against a windows emachine.
Build a $200 Linux PC - How To by ExtremeTech
taken form conclusion
And you know what? We're happy with the results. No, the system isn't ideal for a lot of things—and we're probably going to stuff in a larger hard drive and maybe another stick of memory before too long—but it fills exactly the need we had for a cost-effective second or third system that could plow through the everyday stuff and leave the stronger computers for the more intensive tasks. A fast-booting, decent-performing, ready-to-go Linux system primed for future upgrading for less than two Benjamins? There's something really satisfying about that, and we plan to keep the system on hand to use regularly, whenever we need a quick Linux fix.