Originally Posted by chansen0421
I don't know what is in these days, as far as, specs go for a PC. I want to be cheapish (my range is $300-$800 total including shipping), but I also would like all that I can get.
I'd aim for the cheap end, but then I'm a cheapskate...
Another thing I don't know is what is supported by the Linux OS these days. For example, if I get an Intel quad core, will Linux be OK with that?
A quad would be supported, but it will probably only bring minor (if any) advantages to a desktop machine. Now, for a server that might be a different matter.
And the final think I don't know (I hope it is the final thing) are the system requirements for the distros I have chosen. I can't seem to find this information.
If I stop answering your direct questions and tell you stuff that might actually help:
First, choose between Intel and AMD. AMD has been the default choice for enthusiasts for a number of years but that situation has turned around completely since the introduction of 'core2' products. These days, the only arguments for AMD (IMHO) are:
- at the low power consumption end, in some respects AMD's idle power dissipation is somewhat better (often not decisively) than intel
- Some of AMD's chipsets with integrated video are pretty good; not something that can be said for Intel's own
- AMD's three and four core parts, particularly the cheapest, are just about competitive
- Intel will have a big change in chipset/socket/architecture in Q4, so don't expect new parts for the existing arch after that
- Be very wary about motherboards that take a standard chipset and add on extra stuff (e.g., extra pata ports, extra raid arrays) - quite often these cause installation headaches. But its not a big issue if you can happily live without the 'extras'.
If one of those hasn't got you, then go Intel. The 7200 comes well reccomended. I doubt that you need/would feel any advantage from quad, but you could buy an AM2+ AMD board and upgrade to a quad when the prices drop. Performing the same trick with Intel would be, well, tricky, as there probably will only be a brief period when Quads for the now-current but, by then, obsolescent arch will be cheap.
If onboard video meets your requirements, then it can save you cash (and you probably only need a separate video card for recent games and the majority of games aren't available for Linux. Which saves you money
Get enough RAM. DDR2 is cheap. DDR3 isn't yet, but it may become so once Intel has settled on it with its new arch (and the market has had time to settle after the shock) - but that might be a year.
Hard disk space is cheap and recent hard disks tend to be fast. Get a cheap big disk, but think about backup. Don't consider PATA for hard disks (but still just arguably for a DVD drive).