What is even cheaper than an old laptop and more powerful than a 586 PC/104?
There is a new line of failed technology in town and it is called the thin client - a bad idea that got a lot of funding but not much brains behind it. Fortunately for Vault Dwellers, a lot of it is extremely advanced tech with nowhere to go for those pursuing traditional paradigms.
Right now if you look you will find deals where you can buy 6 thin client PCs at a time for $20.00, all fanless and driveless, low to zero heat devices all powered off Type 1 compact flash cards. These devices feature all the frills including USB, serial and parallel ports, ethernet, built-in sound and video cards and even PCMCIA expansion slots.
Ideal devices for running low demand, high performance systems like Vault OS or similar. Without the hassles of building your own tech or figuring out how to configure an individual laptop for best performance.