"I have read Vista consumes more power then XP on the same PC. " Could be, but straight out of the box Vista is doing more things than XP. You'd have to go down a list of services and manually configure "apples to apples" to get meaningful numbers, i.e. make sure indexing was on/off for both, make sure the firewall was on/off for both, and so on. Vista has a larger footprint (takes more drive space) but then again, Vista has some ungodly number of hardware
drivers in it, 70,000 against 20,000 in XP.
And, you'd have to ask if the motherboard was simply able to run Vista, or designed for it. Recent designs actually shut down power to different systems when they are not used, so while an XP system may always supply power to the video system and hard drive system--Vista can shut them down to save power, IF the motherboard is designed to support it. There's a lot of "ignore the man behind the curtain" that's been done in Vista and not widely publicized. (Some of it is even an improvement.<G>)
One of the Japanese makers recently started shipping
128GB solid state hard drives, I think for laptops. I'm sure they are above my price
range.<G> Conventional flash RAM apparently once has a 5000-cycle life, the unconventional stuff can do 100,000 cycles but carries a stiffer price
The coatings you are talking about are generally called "conformal coatings". The problem is that they WILL change the electrical
characteristics of the motherboard, and since motherboards run at microwave frequencies these days it is VERY easy to "detune" them and break them with just a simple coating. Might or might not work, but you'd have to be willing to risk trashing the board. And then the coating might cause components to overheat as well. I've heard a number of people suggest the idea--but none from manufacturers, and none who have tried it yet.