Well I read the article in Tom's Hardware, it appears more of a rant against the 100FSB than against the chip itself. Yes, 100FSB is obsolete, 133FSB is obsolete, likely even the 200Mhz buss is too. In a world of 266-400Mhz system bus speeds 100Mhz is slow... well ok.
These cubes offer an alternative to muscle, they aren't more, bigger, faster, they offer less, smaller, cooler and quiter. Tom doesn't appear to be reviewing with such concerns (nor should he, his orientation is toward the processor itself) ...
My thought is a 933Mhz C3 or a 1.2Ghz Celeron (underclocked if possible to 66mhz fsb, this ONLY to reduce power consumption permitting a fanless heat sink solution) would be a nifty quiet system to have around.
A cube such as this permits me to preserve my memory investment in the I-Opener as well as the hard drive, the new system won't be so fast that my 512-2MB cached 4400RPM notebook drive won't be a bottleneck of any staggering proportion. Thus more than half my upgrade investment in the I-Openers is preserved by the purchase of one of these $250 boxes, there is a $50-$120 investment in a new processor. Here the question of the C3 vs Celeron comes up, my belief is I'd start with a C3 but want the option to eventually go with a fast Celeron as an upgrade path. For a cost of $300-$350 I'd eseentially replace an I-Opener with all but screen, an LCD screen 15" runs about $300 depending on where you purchase...
I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts on how the heck to just convert an I-Opener into a VGA display:-o This would be like having my cake and eating it too:-o
Anyway, my question is really do I need/want a 2.2Ghz P4 or an Athlon 2000+? At some point these systems have gone beyond my immediate and near future needs, the costs and noise factors are also generally ignored. I've spent too many happy quiet hours with an I-Opener perhaps, with only a small noise of the hard disk searching now and then to really enjoy prolonged sessions on my older multi-fanned system.
Finally, any system I buy today will be obsolete tommorow, in 3 years it'll be effectively junk. I'd prefer to preserve some of my investment... hard drives, monitors, and what not. The only real loss I feel for the I-Opener my daughter uses will be the loss of the screen and ultra small footprint... however her brothers are almost old enough to start to play:-o They don't know it's a horribly slow and obsolete system, in 2 years they'll likely be handed down her horrible cube hehe.