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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?
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Eventually I would like to either build a computer or buy one that is very linux compatible or one without W preinstalled. Could anyone offer any advice on where I should look to? How to manuals, or linux machine websites?
I'm very much a newbie to all things computer related but I want to teach myself as much as I can.
"Could anyone offer any advice on where I should look to?"
1. Most motherboards come with a lot of chipsets preinstalled for IDE controller, sound, video, etc. So if you are interested in a particular motherboard then you should use Google to find out if all of its chipsets are supported by Linux. Chipsets which are not supported by Linux are a waste of money.
2. For most things the total cost of the spare parts are greater than the assembled unit. To be specific: If you bought all of a car's parts individually and assembled them you would have a much more expensive car than if you just bought a new car from a dealer. This idea also holds true for computers with an interesting twist. The cost of Windows is such a large part of a computer's price that you can assemble a computer without Windows from parts cheaper than you can buy a new computer with Windows installed.
3. I have been using home computers for about 15 years. I have never bought a new computer and for the last 4 or 5 years I have only bought parts. It is definitly cheaper to avoid the Microsoft tax as long as you know enough to not waste money on components that it turns out that you cannot use.
Always, always, always build your own systems.
Did I say 'always' enough?
Try and get your hands on any old systems and parts you can. Most people simply throw away computers they think are too old because they can't surf the net very fast with a dial-up connection. Sales people tell them they need a faster processor and they bite like hungry carp.
This includes 386, 486 and the like.
Just remember that these old systems may not make great 'daily workstations', but they can make very efficient routers and servers for such things as Apache.
I agree that building your own is the way to go. The rig I built (basically a Pentium 4 at 2.4Gz, 512Mg RAM, 80G HDD, Intel MOBO, CD-RW, Antech case) cost about $750 out the door. At the time, a comparable system from Dell was running about $1600. To be honest, building your own PC is a lot easier than it might seem -- there typically are only about 8 or 9 main components in a basic PC (mobo, CPU, RAM, HDD, CD-RW, video card, NIC, floppy, sound card) [Note: I'm well aware you can add a lot of other things, I'm just trying to outline the typical basics.] Putting things together generally is pretty foolproof (most of the plugs will only fit in one way) and the only reason it might seem intimidating is because you just haven't done it before. Check out this site for a pretty good overview: http://www.pcmech.com/byopc/index.htm
In any case, I'd highly recommend NewEgg http://www.newegg.com/ as a superb vendor. Good luck with whatever your decision is. -- J.W.
Thanks everyone, what wonderful advice! I will definitely build my own. Thanks for the chipset compatibility headway. After I build it, I will definitely post back here. I love this forum! You are all so great. Linux and Linux users rule!
I like to shuffle parts down a chain of PCs. For example, I buy a new DVD-ROM for PC #1 and move it's optical drive to #2 and that one to #3 and retire the oldest CD-ROM in the chain. It's like I upgraded three machines for the price of one. Of course, it's really only cost effective because the labor is free. LOL
Anyone want to buy a NEC 3X SCSI CD-ROM with 7 caddies BTW? I just retired it. Paid $500 for the thing in 1995, believe it or not.