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If just a cruncher, you could probably install a 40 Gig 7200 RPM drive for approximately $85, and it would serve you well. You can, of course, get away with smaller, slower drives if you have them hanging around, but at the expense of some speed.
If this is to be your primary machine, then you probably want to put a large-capacity drive into it, especially if you will be downloading MP3's, etc. Look into larger capacity drives such as 130GB and larger. Also look into SATA drive systems if your motherboard supports it, and most now do.
The BOINC website actually had some information relative to running BOINC on a machine without a hard drive.
Direct download: »www.schreiter.info/download/boin···.4.0.zip
More detailed discussion here: »gocoding.com/page.php?al=petousb