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Old 12-23-2012, 10:26 AM   #1
tom.96
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Hardware for Linux Newbie


Hi

I currently have a Macbook and have been using linux (Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, Open Suse etc) under Virtual Box. I like them all but am most comfortable with Debian.

I'm keen to get my own dedicated linux setup and aim to purchase a Samsung monitor and just reuse my existing peripherals like the HP C4180 printer/scanner and my mac keyboard and mouse.

My query is the sort of hardware I should buy to run it. I have looked at the Raspberry Pi but want something with a bit more power for everyday tasks. My main activities are internet & email (using Seamonkey), Open office, programming in Python and C++ and the odd game of Urban Terror. My Mac is a C2D 2ghz, 2gb ram and GMA 950 64mb graphics with 80gb HDD. Ideally I would like something similar, however a bit more power (especially in the graphics dept) would be good.

Any advice welcome! (I don't have a fixed budget but for the machine (excluding monitor) I would be happy to spend up to about 250.)

Tom
Exeter, UK
 
Old 12-23-2012, 11:37 AM   #2
markush
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Hello tom.96, welcome to LQ,

the only thing which can be a problem is "too exotic hardware" which is not yet supported by Linux. But this is most likely a problem when you purchase a laptop. For a desktop computer I would say that a Intel i3 or i5, or an AMD processor will be sufficient. As of the RAM 4-8 GB should be good, the size of the harddrive doesn't matter (a complete Linux installation of a modern distribution should take about 4-8 GB of diskspace on / and for the complete system 20-50 GB are sufficient, it depends on the amount of data you want to store).

As for the graphics adapter, it should have it's own RAM and also be not too new.

When you buy the computer in a store (not online) you should take a bootable Live-CD/DVD of your favorite distribution with you and check if it recognizes all the hardware.

Markus
 
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:08 PM   #3
kareempharmacist
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by markush View Post
Hello tom.96, welcome to LQ,

the only thing which can be a problem is "too exotic hardware" which is not yet supported by Linux. But this is most likely a problem when you purchase a laptop. For a desktop computer I would say that a Intel i3 or i5, or an AMD processor will be sufficient. As of the RAM 4-8 GB should be good, the size of the harddrive doesn't matter (a complete Linux installation of a modern distribution should take about 4-8 GB of diskspace on / and for the complete system 20-50 GB are sufficient, it depends on the amount of data you want to store).

As for the graphics adapter, it should have it's own RAM and also be not too new.

When you buy the computer in a store (not online) you should take a bootable Live-CD/DVD of your favorite distribution with you and check if it recognizes all the hardware.

Markus
Good piece of advice ..you are a professional
 
Old 12-23-2012, 01:55 PM   #4
tom.96
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Excellent, thankyou. Seems as though for most Linux installations fairly modest hardware will be more than enough. In the past I've tried where possible to get a really good graphics chip as those seem to date more quickly than the cpu.
 
Old 12-23-2012, 01:59 PM   #5
beachboy2
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Tom,

markush's advice is sound.

There is no need to spend a lot of money on a suitable system which meets your requirements.

For example, this HP dc5750sff with 4Gb of RAM and an AMD 4600+ CPU will work fine:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HP-DC5750-...item1c2e96062d

At this price, or less for a similar PC, you can always add a graphics card and still be well within your budget. Try it first with just the onboard graphics.

Happy Linuxing.
 
Old 12-23-2012, 02:00 PM   #6
markush
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom.96 View Post
Excellent, thankyou. Seems as though for most Linux installations fairly modest hardware will be more than enough. In the past I've tried where possible to get a really good graphics chip as those seem to date more quickly than the cpu.
When you want to run a modern desktop environment like Unity (Ubuntu), Gnome or KDE you'll need a powerful graphics adapter.
But every distribution gives you the option to install a far more lightweight Windowmanager, for example XFCE, Fluxbox or LXDE, these don't need that much resources.
In fact, you should not try to install Linux on a computer with less than 512 MB of RAM, better 1GB.

Markus
 
Old 12-23-2012, 02:38 PM   #7
tom.96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markush View Post
When you want to run a modern desktop environment like Unity (Ubuntu), Gnome or KDE you'll need a powerful graphics adapter.
But every distribution gives you the option to install a far more lightweight Windowmanager, for example XFCE, Fluxbox or LXDE, these don't need that much resources.
In fact, you should not try to install Linux on a computer with less than 512 MB of RAM, better 1GB.

Markus
Cool, thanks. I'm looking forward to giving it a go!
 
Old 12-24-2012, 02:45 PM   #8
jefro
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Why don't you like using a virtual machine? Seems to be working for you.
 
Old 12-28-2012, 01:37 PM   #9
tom.96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Why don't you like using a virtual machine? Seems to be working for you.
Good question (sorry for the delayed response). I do like using Virtual Box, however I find it frustrating running a limited machine. My current Mac is good, but the hardware is getting old. I find that when the C2D 2ghz, 2gb Ram and GMA 950 card is split between two systems both are pretty slow. I have had messages on fedora that my graphics card doesn't support Gnome 3, and this is with as as much allocated to the virtual machine as possible. I have also have some problems with third party peripherals being recognised.

I am hoping that a dedicated Linux box will be much quicker and more reliable than my current test setup.
 
Old 12-29-2012, 11:01 AM   #10
jefro
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OK.

I have yet to find a machine I was happy with. Even spending thousands on a new system will leave you wanting in only a few months or even less.

The prices of usable systems continues to go down. Not sure I'd waste money on a used one unless it was a real bargain. I'd buy some sale product that has warranty and maybe some resale or donate ability. Even a top name computer with windows that can be reloaded is a better thing to future sale than a cut up mismatched box with no software.

I end up donating all my old stuff for the tax credit.

Not sure the UK prices but I'd think that you could find some sale or even a store demo or scratched model with a lower end processor. Maybe an amd A6 or Core i3 would be good enough. Not sure I'd play with an atom or the lower amd's.

I see old dell's for $99 with a warranty that would only be good for the most simple stuff at refurbished places. Not sure those would suit you.

Last edited by jefro; 12-29-2012 at 11:04 AM.
 
Old 12-29-2012, 01:33 PM   #11
tom.96
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Thanks - I have my eye on the HP/Lenovo PCs for around the 300 mark. They seem to have decent specs and I can choose a Samsung monitor to go with them. I think Amazon are doing a Samsung HDMI 21.5" screen for under 100 which seems like a bargain.

Tom

Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
OK.

I have yet to find a machine I was happy with. Even spending thousands on a new system will leave you wanting in only a few months or even less.

The prices of usable systems continues to go down. Not sure I'd waste money on a used one unless it was a real bargain. I'd buy some sale product that has warranty and maybe some resale or donate ability. Even a top name computer with windows that can be reloaded is a better thing to future sale than a cut up mismatched box with no software.

I end up donating all my old stuff for the tax credit.

Not sure the UK prices but I'd think that you could find some sale or even a store demo or scratched model with a lower end processor. Maybe an amd A6 or Core i3 would be good enough. Not sure I'd play with an atom or the lower amd's.

I see old dell's for $99 with a warranty that would only be good for the most simple stuff at refurbished places. Not sure those would suit you.
 
  


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