MSN reported last month (as did BusinessWeek and others) that the new Dell EC280 was unveiled in China, with prices ranging from about $335 to $515. It's a shame that the system will only be sold in China: some of the very things that Dell said would appeal to Chinese would be interesting here: low price, lower power consumption and compact size.
"It's actually one-eighth the size of an ordinary desktop and comparable to Apple's (APPL) Mac Mini. It uses an Intel (INTC) Celeron processor, commonly found in laptops, rather than a Pentium. And the PC consumes far less power—65 watts compared to an ordinary PC's 250 watts. Because it uses less power, it only needs one fan, which makes it much quieter."
Let's see... small, compact, quiet and inexpensive. Not a bad combination.
Dell's Dimension C521 is roughly 15" square (that's it on the right, next to the larger Dimension E521), a little more than twice the size of the Apple Mac mini, but it offers more expansion possibilities than the mini (with one PCI, one PCIe and a PCIe x16 graphics slot).
And at about half the price of a mini, the Dimension C521 might be a good small-format choice.
Additional info, 042207: I found a reference to HP's Pavilion Slimline s3000y series (that's a mouthful) in my email box, a third of the size of other Pavillion PCs with a gloss finish and the latest Intel dual-core procs. (The AMD models are noted with an 'e' suffix in place of the 'y.')Worth noting as it appears to be about 10" square, but I could not find the dimensions on the HP product website. Still, IMHO, it's easier to ask for a mini than it is to remember Pavilion Slimline s3000y...