I am currently testing an Atom unit from Habey. Passively cooled with heat pipes that are embedded in a fined die cast case. It also has the NVidia ION chipset. I also used a OCZ Vertex 30GB solid state drive (smallest I could find, but only $80 after all the rebates). I used a 2GB memory module. The whole package was around $490 with shipping.
Currently testing with Ubuntu 9.10. By using UNetbootin it installed in around 8 minutes (of course all the service packs took longer to download and install). It will boot up and be ready to run in about 15 seconds (5 of that is waiting on the BIOS).
So far it seems to run very well for a client. You will notice it is a little slower than a desktop at unpacking the jar files, but once the interface is up it seems to do well.
The Habey PC from newegg:
newegg.com/Product/Product.a … -_-Product
The OCZ SSD from newegg:
newegg.com/Product/Product.a … 6820227393
The RAM from newegg:
newegg.com/Product/Product.a … 6820231163
Check out the other stuff from Habey (some looks very interesting, they have a passively cooled Core 2 Duo):
The next items to try are KUbuntu. I have read it is supposed to be a little more optimized than Ubuntu. I also want to try SUSE, since they have a configuration website where you can build your own image with any additional packages you may need (like the java runtime). Anyway, I am still new to Linux so I am sure there are more people around that can comment on which one makes the fastest client for use with Ignition.