USB Print Server vs. Full Windows PC: Which is better value?

By | April 16, 2009’s sale always has great items for sale. Today I visited looking for some inspiration, and I found nothing less than this little box.

Our situation at school is quite complex: we run four personal computers for each teacher, and we have a fifth box (a small Asus Eee Box PC) set up to handle our printers. In truth, we run the fifth PC to supply our printers, provide backups for our important data, and occasionally run extra tasks for me such as providing the in-school blog.

Of course, with two full-scale systems and three mini-systems running all day every day, we’re using a lot of extra electricity. But a couple of boxes like the one below could really help cut our CO2 emissions while providing basic printing services.

The D-Link Express EtherNetwork DP-301U Print Server offers a number of advantages to a small workspace such as ours: it’s straightforward to install, takes up very litte space when operating, needs no external monitor!, consumes very little power at all, and (from comments) seems to be quite reliable for users with its no-fuss install, and easy operation.

Given my own personal experience with D-Link routers, one serious hit, and one very poor miss (DLink DI524!) that ended in the recycle bin, I’m willing to take a punt on such a device as this especially at its sale price. Looking at other equivalent devices on Amazon made me realize just how inexpensive this device is! Only $20.00 for one box. And you can order several at a time, if you need to.

With the prices I saw on other similar products, it would be more sensible just to buy an Asus Eee Box and have an extra PC that you can use for other stuff. But this product seems quite inexpensive that forgoing the other advantages seems almost worth it! Would you buy?