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low power linux box

hey everyone,
ok, i'm sick and tired of dual booting windows/linux.  i use linux for
everything save a single video game and some dvd programs.  i figured i'd
just give up the stupid game and try to get the dvd programs working in
wine.  after weeks and weeks of trying (i even subscribed to transgaming),
i couldn't get wine to run the dvd programs (although cedega came closer
than standard wine).

i'm young, single, got a good job...why don't i just build a cheap linux box
for my everyday uses, keep my current machine for windows, and buy a KVM

now here's my issue.  my linux box will probably stay running 24/7.  i want
something that consumes as little power as possible.  my current machine is
an athlon xp 2400.  i notice if i leaving running all the time, my electric
bill is substantially higher and my house is noticably warmer.

on the other hand, i will be compiling from sources often (especially KDE
stuff), so i need something beefy.  are there any low power, but high
performance options out there?

i really have no idea about this subject, so i'm looking to the bright
people of this mailing list to give me suggestions.

maybe i could just get a normal desktop but set it up to kinda go into
standby mode if unused for xx minutes?  what kind of linux support is
available for that?  how well does it work?  how much power is saved?  will
the system wake up if i ssh into it?

thank you very much for the help and suggestions.

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