new barebones system - Shuttle SN25P vs. Biostar iDEQ300P
I want to get a barebones system to use as a Linux workstation. I realise it is a bit risky to get a state of the art system for Linux as the drivers may not be written yet but I want to use it for programming (Kdevelop) 2D (gimp) and 3D OpenGL (Blender) which make quite heavy use of the CPU so I want something that goes fast.
I have not built my own system before (since the days when CPUs had 40 pins and ran at 2Mhz) so I need some advice; I have done some research but everything I find out leads to more questions.
I would like an Nforce4 system and I understand there are 3 options:
1) Shuttle SN25P - Basic level Nforce4 chipset with PCI-Express (16x) + PCI-Express (1x) slots
2) Biostar iDEQ300P - Middle level Nforce4 chipset with PCI-Express (16x) + standard PCI slots
3) Shuttle SN26P - SLI level Nforce4 chipset with two of PCI-Express (16x) slots.
Being a linux system ethernet is much easier to use than USB and I want the hardware firewall. I understand that the Basic level Nforce4 chipset does not include the hardware firewall and instead the Shuttle SN25P uses a marvell hardware firewall instead, I think that this could be a problem as it could be less standard and may be harder to get linux drivers, or is it setup in the bios?
I donít plan to use the extra slot immediately but I would prefer PCI-Express as at some stage I would like a video input card and I think PCI-Express would be better for this?
So I like some things better on the Shuttle and others on the Biostar?
Other important issues are:
Quiet Ė I have seen a good review of the Shuttle SN25P as it has 4 fans which speed up as things get hotter?
Upgradeability Ė can I get say a 3500 CPU now and then upgrade to a dualcore in a years time? Would I have to unglue the CPU from the heatsink? I understand dualcore will require a new bios, do Shuttle and Biostar provide upgrades to bios for this sort of thing?
What graphics card is best? I understand that nvidia is better than ATI for Linux drivers is this correct? Needs good OpenGL support, I would like DVI with large screen, is it possible to get video input on the same card?
What about memory? I would like at least 1G and fast but most important it must be stable, I donít want any overclocking, I want to be sure that if there is a crash it is my software and that I donít end up chasing hardware problems. Is it important that the 2 memory cards are matched? I understand that Corsair is best?
I would welcome any advise, thanks,