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Old 07-17-2004, 10:46 PM   #1
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New Linux Box - Specs and Distro decision help requested

Hello all, I'm planning on building a new Nix Box with the following items. Do any of these raise a red flag with drivers?

ShuttleX SB75S (875P mobo, gig lan, SATA, 250w Power supply, dual channel)
Pentium 4c Northwood 800FSB 3.0ghz
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
SATA Seagate 160gb HDD
Creative SB Audigy 2 ZS
Unknown DVD-RW

With those in mind, can you suggest a distro that would be able to accomidate many of them on the driver level? IE, I know some are better with SATA support than others.

Also, I plan to use the box as a general secondary desktop, and use with network security tools (Nessus, Snort and the like). I may host a few dedicated game servers now than, but its primarily my network security/desktop box. I'd like to be able to listen to MP3s, use peer to peer services, IRC, host dedicated game servers, and all that other general "stuff" as well.

Any Distro suggestions? I'm leaning towards Slackware 10, Debian, or Gentoo at the moment (despite my n00bosity), but I'm open to others. Thanks.
Old 07-18-2004, 09:13 AM   #2
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chivalricronin; um interesting, have doubts on choice of powersupply, ? as
a server that may underserve power needs. depending size of clients served. did not state memory size only the ddr rate. the more memory more effeiciency. up goes power needs.
Old 07-18-2004, 09:22 AM   #3
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Old 07-18-2004, 01:50 PM   #4
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Those Shuttle boxes rock. They have basically zero expansion capability though, with only 1 PCI slot, so at least for me, the question becomes: Do you want to use onboard LAN, or onboard sound? I ended up putting a NIC in the PCI slot and going with the onboard sound. (I've got an SN45G with the nvidia chipset, which required me to install the nforce drivers to get things to work) and so if you go with a sound card in the PCI slot, you'll have to use the onboard LAN. Please note that I'm saying this as a totally neutral comment; I'm not saying it's either good or bad, but rather that it's something that you should be aware of up front.

That being said, I would expect your choices to work out well, although I don't use SATA and can't comment on it. As for a DVD burner, I have had good success with Lite-ON, which can be found at excellent prices at NewEgg.

As a general comment with ATI cards with Linux, although the cards will work just fine right out of the box, enabling 3D acceleration and other advanced features will take a bit of work, and you may need to do a custom recompile of the kernel. ATI does support Linux, but not as forcefully as they might. Note that this comment is not distro-specific; it applies across the board.

I want to be clear that none of the above should be taken as discouragement or in a negative way -- you are making a great choice. I would just like to alert you to things that perhaps may not have been visible to you initially (although you may have already fully known about all of this). As a general comment, those very small form factor boxes come with certain limitations (essentially expansion capability) that don't apply to a regular tower PC, and getting the very latest functions/features of the very latest hardware components (such as that 9800) can take a bit of work, although the experience you might gain will be well worth it in the long run.

As for a distro choice, I'm a big fan of Slackware, but my best suggestion would be try several of them yourself, then decide which one best fits your needs and preferences. Many of the most popular distros are available for free download at LinuxISO

Good luck with the project, in any event -- J.W.
Old 07-19-2004, 09:10 PM   #5
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Thanks J.W. !

This particular shuttle has onboard gig lan, so I believe I'll be using that, leaving room for my PCI sound card. I've actually been looking into the new P series shuttles (, but alas they don't support Northwood processors. Ack, I guess I forgot to mention that most of the items going into the shuttle I already have in - and will remove from - my watercooled system when I upgrade it.

As for a distro I was thinking Slackware as well, Slack10 to be specific.

Thanks again for your help. I'm sure I'll need to come and ask you guys many things once I get my rig up and running.
Old 07-20-2004, 01:35 PM   #6
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Excellent choice ChivalricRonin. Slack v10.0 is just solid. -- J.W.


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