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Old 03-04-2012, 03:59 PM   #1
tsingi
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Which kickass hardware for dev box?


Not sure where to post this.

I want to build myself a kick ass dev box.

If you look on the net, most posts in this area are for windows gaming, if there is a GNU/Linux post it's prolly 2003 or something. If anyone knows of a link to a current build thread, please post it!

I've been looking at hardware for about a week now and I think I need some advice.

Here is a short list of requirements, all subject to change...

CPU: i7

MOBO: USB3, SATA6, fast memory, RAM (space for) 64G or more, raid?, video?, bus, slots, clockable?

RAM: 32G or more fast ram, matched to Mobo and CPU

Storage Space:
SSD root drive.
200Gig up fast storage, scsi? raid?
Partial to Seagate.

Video: to drive three monitors.

Nic: Gigabit

Cooling: I'd like to be able to overclock on demand, so a liquid cooled CPU.

PSU: size?

Case: Smaller is better, but not very important.

Cost: I'm in the process of ending my support for a woman I can't stand, so I want to build myself something nice, I deserve it. OTOH I don't want to throw money at the last 5% (for instance). IT IS a Linux box.

Anything else to consider?

Last edited by tsingi; 03-04-2012 at 06:16 PM.
 
Old 03-05-2012, 03:29 AM   #2
Slackyman
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I think that your configuration is a good one, but I shouldn't use a SSD root drive unless it is a RAM SSD drive.
SSD drive has a limited lifecycle no matter what producers say and no matter which high-reliability solution is adopted: I cannot trust a SSD drive.
Second: why the three monitors?
Third: it looks more a gaming config than a dev one! :P
 
Old 03-05-2012, 04:21 AM   #3
cascade9
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CPU: i7 2600/2700. 2600/2700 are 'normal' versions, 2600K/2700K are the overclockable versions, 2600S is the lower powered version. Not the fastest i7 CPUs around, that would be one of the new 6 core LGA 2011 CPUs. Youre looking at $600 US minimum for just the CPU, not worth it, stick with teh 4 core i7s.

AMD Phenom II X6/Bulldozer is wroth a look, in particular if you cant afford the $300-350 on a i7 2600/2700.

MOBO: Z68 chipset, prices vary from $90 up to $200+, depending on the manufacturer and features. I'd probably get a GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3, about $160.

RAM: Do you really need 32GB? That is as big as most 'consumer' level motherboards/chips will go. 32GB (8GB x 4) of 'slow' DDR3 (DDR3-1066/1333) is about $250. 32GB 'fast' DDR3 (DDR3-1866+) is $400+, depending on brand and speed. If you really want to have 64GB of possible RAM with intel, you are going to have to pay up and get a LGA 2011 setup.

Storage Space: OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G.

You probably wont need a 'fast' drive for storage, and with 200GB and the prices of HDDs today, RAID isnt worth it. I'd probably get a WD green for storage, or a WD Black if you really feel you need more storage drive speed.

Video: AMD 6770 with eyefinity. To run 3 moniotrs with nvidia geforce cards requires 2 cards, AMD 6XXX cards can run 3 monitors from a single card with eyefinity.

It should be possible to get a slightly lower card (eg AMD 6670 with eyefinity) but the sheer numbers of 6770s around make them better supported IMO.

Nic: on the motherboard.

Cooling: forget water cooling. Its not worth the extra cost and complexity over a good aircooler...and to be honest, the best water coolers arent much better than the best air coolers. Most water coling 'kits' are outclassed by the better aircoolers. Anyway, its just as easy to overclock with air cooling as water cooling.

PSU: Seasonic X650 Gold, X750 gold if you cant find the 650.

650 watts is more than you would need with a i7 2600/6770 setup. But the X650s are hard to find now, X750 gold is more common.

Case: Too_many_options.
 
Old 03-07-2012, 10:42 AM   #4
tsingi
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CPU: i7 2600K (~$300)
MOBO: (Z68) GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3, (~$160)
RAM: DDR3 1333 ($120/$240 16/32G)
SSD: \ drive OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G (~$210)
DISC: i.e. 1/2Tb Sata6 (Many options) ($100)

We're going to go over $1000, but that's OK.

~~~~~~~ Notes ~~~~~~~

Slackyman:

SSD's are getting better. A sysadmin at work boots his linux box from one and he says it boots incredibly fast. Not that I boot often, but everything else would be faster as well.
Three monitors because I like to work on two and use the third for media. Media being research/video etc. I use three monitors at work and feel the lack when I work at home.

cascade9:

RAM: I don't really think I need 32gigs of ram now, certainly not 64 or 128, but I may very well want that in the future. Thinking to far into the future when designing a computer is generally a waste of time though, so I guess 32 will do. I'd be more comfortable with 64.

PSU: I was hoping to get away with less than 650W. Thinking of heat. I have a 750 in my current puter, but it has a lot of drives in it. I certainly don't want a PSU blowing up on me though, I've had that happen and it took out a motherboard.

Video: There are several video options for the motherboard above, I'm curious to know what the board alone could drive, it looks like 2 monitors.
In my experience AMD doesn't have very good Linux drivers. This is a disappointment to me. Back in the day, ATI Mach drivers were what you preferred on Linux. AMD said they were going to open up to Linux when they bought ATI, but that hasn't turned out to be the case.
AMD Does say in the spec sheet that eyefinity is supported on Linux, and the ability to drive 6 monitors is sexy. However I can't find any posts that says they have gotten it to work on Linux, there are lots of posts that want to know when this will come about. Here is the page on AMD's site dated March 1, 2012. Contrary to what the spec sheet says: "There are plans for Linux support in an upcoming update to AMD Catalyst™ software." The site provides what they refer to as an "AS IS" beta driver preview.
 
Old 03-07-2012, 11:42 AM   #5
Slackyman
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I'm not against SSD!
Only... think about the fact that a dev workstation have to write a lot on disk duuring configure/make/make install.
I'm not saying it's not safe but this will surely NOT be my first choise even if, yes, its speed is impressing!
 
Old 03-07-2012, 12:55 PM   #6
salasi
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Broadly, Cascade9's list looks pretty reasonable to me; I wouldn't want to spend that much, but your mileage has obviously varied.
  • I wouldn't buy that much RAM. with 4 ram slots, you can afford to buy 16G (still generous, IMHO) and buy another 16 later if the initial 16 seems in any way inadequate.
  • Using an SSD boot drive seems very reasonable, for a computer that gets booted much (mostly I suspend and resume, or have computers that are continuously on, so it wouldn't help me much, but your use case seems to be different) but the key point is to arrange things so that the data on the ssd is read-mostly and used in the boot process, in which case life really won't be an issue.
  • It still seems to be a bad time to be a (mechanical) hard disk buyer; prices are still not back down to the level they were at before the Thailand floods, but if you have to buy now, you have to buy now, so you might as well just bite the bullet, knowing that today's prices won't look all that clever, historically, when looked at in a year's time. That's the way it is with computer stuff generally, I'm afraid.

For the CPU, the first thing that you would want to know is whether you can utilise 'loads of cores'; not everything can. If you can't, you want a small number of individual cores that are each as fast as possible, and then you really don't need to look any further than whatever Intel Sandy Bridge part seems to cost an appropriate amount.

If you can use loads of cores (maybe doing loads of workstation stuff, including writing DVDs and other I/O at the same time as whatever you are working on), then getting more cores for your money from AMD might just still be a plausible (end of the PHII line, some of the Bulldozers (for most people, the top end of the Bulldozer line is spending more money than actually gains you anything, and the 2module/4core (FX4xxx) or possibly the 3module/6core (FX6xxx) variants would be every bit as fast), but I don't see any area in which AMD has a decisive lead over Intel, and with Intel the upgrade path, if you ever want use it, is clearer.
 
Old 03-07-2012, 01:49 PM   #7
TobiSGD
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I still fail to see the point in spending a hundred bucks or more for a SSD just to get a fast booting system.
The whole point of a SSD is to be blazing fast in reading and writing data. There is no other advantage for desktop systems in using a SSD. So why should anyone buy such a thing and then set up the system not to use it? That makes absolutely no sense. Even if you write several gigabytes to a SSD every day you will still get a lifetime of a few years out of it, so who cares about the lifetime? If it is dead there will be much faster and bigger drives available for the same price.

I personally think that it is much more reasonable to use a totally different approach to determine which writes should be done on a SSD:
1. Tasks that fit into RAM (and most compile jobs will on machines with the amount of RAM you plan to buy) should be done in a tmpfs, not on a mass storage off any kind. You won't get faster than that.
2. Tasks that will not benefit from the speed of a SSD (like downloading files or storing your holiday pics) should be done on a mechanical disk.
3. All other tasks should be done on the SSD.
4. In opposition to most others opinion I recommend to put your swap partition on the SSD. On machines with that huge amount of RAM like you want you will hardly use it, but if you have to you will really benefit from that.
 
Old 03-07-2012, 03:15 PM   #8
jefro
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You are wasting your money on some of that stuff. A dev box for linux is a much different beast than a windows gamer.
What are you going to develop? That would provide the answer to what you need.
 
Old 03-08-2012, 04:02 AM   #9
cascade9
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LOL @ 'windows gamer' jefro.

For a gamer, I would suggest very different parts- just get an i5, its not worth the extra for an i7 (hyperthreading wont help much for gaming, and niether will a few MB or MHz). Up the video card to at least a HD 6870/GTX 560. Drop the RAM to 8GB, or 16GB max (depending on the video card chosen and how much main system memory was allocated to the video card for gaming).

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsingi View Post
RAM: I don't really think I need 32gigs of ram now, certainly not 64 or 128, but I may very well want that in the future. Thinking to far into the future when designing a computer is generally a waste of time though, so I guess 32 will do. I'd be more comfortable with 64.
I really doubt that you 'need' 32GB now, or even 16GB. If you only use 4-6GB, having more than 8GB is just going to cost you more money. It wont make thr system any faster.

IMO you are better off getting a bit more RAM than you really need at the time, and upgrading either when you do need extra RAM, or when that memory stnadard starts becoming obsolete. Its a lot cheaper that way....8GB DDR3-1600 costs less now than 4GB DDR3-1333 did a year, year annd half or so ago.

BTW, you will not be getting 64GB RAM support from any of the current LGA 1155 (intel) or AM3+ (AMD) boards. To get 64GB/64GB+ RAM support, you will have to get a socket FM1 (AMD, and no, dont bother with FM1) LGA 2011 (intel, overly expensive) or some intel or AMD server board.

I'd also get DDR3-1600 at least, not DDR3-1066/1333.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsingi View Post
PSU: I was hoping to get away with less than 650W. Thinking of heat. I have a 750 in my current puter, but it has a lot of drives in it. I certainly don't want a PSU blowing up on me though, I've had that happen and it took out a motherboard.
The PSU wont be hotter simply because its got the capability to have a higher output.

650 watts should be fine with the sort of setup you want to run.

You are far more likely IMO to have a junk 'yum-cha' PSU blow up than a quality power supply, and seasonic is one the best PSU makers around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsingi View Post
Video: There are several video options for the motherboard above, I'm curious to know what the board alone could drive, it looks like 2 monitors.
In my experience AMD doesn't have very good Linux drivers. This is a disappointment to me. Back in the day, ATI Mach drivers were what you preferred on Linux. AMD said they were going to open up to Linux when they bought ATI, but that hasn't turned out to be the case.
AMD Does say in the spec sheet that eyefinity is supported on Linux, and the ability to drive 6 monitors is sexy. However I can't find any posts that says they have gotten it to work on Linux, there are lots of posts that want to know when this will come about. Here is the page on AMD's site dated March 1, 2012. Contrary to what the spec sheet says: "There are plans for Linux support in an upcoming update to AMD Catalyst™ software." The site provides what they refer to as an "AS IS" beta driver preview.
Pretty sure that the onboard video will run 2 monitors, but why would you? Its going to 'eat' some of your main system RAM for one thing.

AMD did open up quite a bit after they bought ATI. They've released technical papers on the GPUs, and have devs working on both the closed source and open soruce drivers. Which is more than you can say for nVidia, they only work on the closed drivers now. The open source nVidia drivers get no support of any kind from nVidia, not even technical papers.

That AMD page is outdated (it probably wasnt 'As of March 31, 2010'). There is plenty of people out there running eyefinity setups with linux-

http://phoronix.com/forums/showthrea...bout-eyefinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by salasi View Post
Broadly, Cascade9's list looks pretty reasonable to me; I wouldn't want to spend that much, but your mileage has obviously varied.
I wouldnt be spending that much myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by salasi View Post
If you can use loads of cores (maybe doing loads of workstation stuff, including writing DVDs and other I/O at the same time as whatever you are working on), then getting more cores for your money from AMD might just still be a plausible (end of the PHII line, some of the Bulldozers (for most people, the top end of the Bulldozer line is spending more money than actually gains you anything, and the 2module/4core (FX4xxx) or possibly the 3module/6core (FX6xxx) variants would be every bit as fast), but I don't see any area in which AMD has a decisive lead over Intel, and with Intel the upgrade path, if you ever want use it, is clearer.
Never think that with intel you've got a 'clearer upgrade path'. 90%+ of the time, its simply not true.....

In this case, it might look that way if you dont know how intel operates. Sure, they have suggested that LGA 1155 'sandy bridge' CPU supporting motherobards will also work with upcoming 'ivy bridge' CPUs. I'll believe it when/if I see it. They also said similar things when they released LGA 1156. Thats just the most recent example of intels long time 'upgrades, yes, of course' becoming '....opps, no, we cant be bothered' or 'yeah, sure, its just 2 years late and costs twice as much as a new motherboard/CPU setup' habit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
I still fail to see the point in spending a hundred bucks or more for a SSD just to get a fast booting system.
The whole point of a SSD is to be blazing fast in reading and writing data. There is no other advantage for desktop systems in using a SSD. So why should anyone buy such a thing and then set up the system not to use it? That makes absolutely no sense. Even if you write several gigabytes to a SSD every day you will still get a lifetime of a few years out of it, so who cares about the lifetime? If it is dead there will be much faster and bigger drives available for the same price.
I'd tend to agree. Though I would hope that a good SSD will have a lifetime of longer than a few years.

But I also think that $300+ on a CPU, or $250+ on RAM could be considered just as wasteful as $200 worth of SSD.

Same thing applies, what costs $250 now will probably cost $125-150 in 18 months time.
 
Old 03-08-2012, 04:56 PM   #10
tsingi
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Maybe I'm going a little overboard on my specs.

One issue that I deal with is a real time kernel. I have a studio quality audio card and I am developing an interface to a CnC milling machine. The real time kernel on the box I am using now results in flaky desktop operation, so I'm throwing some money at it. Maybe I don't need to, it's Ubuntu, I would have dropped it by now if I didn't have so much media crap set up on this box that I don't want to put the effort out to reconfigure. No more Ubuntu. They change all the config stuff which is annoying.

So I want a smooth running real time kernel on the new box. It could very well be that a little extra memory and a faster CPU is all I need. I have 8 gigs of RAM on my current server which will continue to serve as a media/file server (10 TB) when I build the new box. This is one reason why I'm not concerned about having a lot of disk space on the new box.

When the CnC project is a little further on I'll have a single board computer on the milling machine and I won't need the real time kernel for that any more. I'm not sure what the UI SBC will be, we are using an Arduino to run the steppers.

I rarely have to do huge compiles.

Last edited by tsingi; 03-08-2012 at 05:09 PM.
 
Old 03-09-2012, 09:26 PM   #11
tsingi
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OK, It's being built.
 
Old 03-12-2012, 03:44 AM   #12
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsingi View Post
Maybe I'm going a little overboard on my specs.

One issue that I deal with is a real time kernel. I have a studio quality audio card and I am developing an interface to a CnC milling machine. The real time kernel on the box I am using now results in flaky desktop operation, so I'm throwing some money at it. Maybe I don't need to, it's Ubuntu, I would have dropped it by now if I didn't have so much media crap set up on this box that I don't want to put the effort out to reconfigure. No more Ubuntu. They change all the config stuff which is annoying.

So I want a smooth running real time kernel on the new box. It could very well be that a little extra memory and a faster CPU is all I need. I have 8 gigs of RAM on my current server which will continue to serve as a media/file server (10 TB) when I build the new box. This is one reason why I'm not concerned about having a lot of disk space on the new box.
I would have checked your RAM and CPU usage before throwing money at it.

Its more than possible that neither your RAM or CPU use was anywhere near used up, and the 'flaky desktop operation' is due to the RT kernel. And/or it being a *buntu.
 
Old 03-12-2012, 05:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
You are wasting your money on some of that stuff. A dev box for linux is a much different beast than a windows gamer.
What are you going to develop? That would provide the answer to what you need.
I agree, this is not a dev box, it is more of a gaming rig (but without the good video card).
 
Old 03-12-2012, 08:39 PM   #14
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I compile 15K - 20K lines of code on a Ubuntu VM, clean build, in 5 - 10 minutes on an i5 with 8Gb of RAM laptop. The only thing is that I have an external monitor and keyboard/mouse. Software development is 90% text editing. How often do you do clean builds?
Don't waste your money. Get yourself 1 or two large monitors (19 or 21 inch), nice keyboard/mouse, nice chair. Most guys I know work on laptops these days. Consider that before you pull the trigger.
 
Old 03-13-2012, 05:30 AM   #15
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ventsyv View Post
Get yourself 1 or two large monitors (19 or 21 inch)
19-21" isn't considered large anymore (at least were I live), 22" is pretty much standard, many people have 24". Posting this from a nice 27" monitor, rocks with wmii, plenty of room to do your editing.
 
  


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