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Old 12-21-2006, 09:10 AM   #1
Abomb
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Building a Linux box.


Alright guys, time to ask for some advice. I wasn't sure where to put this thread because it can relate to multiple topics (hardware, software, distro, programming, etc.) so I decided this was the best place.

First off, let me state my case. I am a Computer Science student and I'm looking to build the ultimate Linux box. What hardware would you recommend I put into the box? Obviously, I don't need a lean mean gaming machine. The PC I'm using right now is a Dual Slot 1 Pentium III 500Mhz, which I'm looking to drop in a better video card (2x agp are quite cheap!). However, I may just retire it to the server line for a new one.

So that system will do just fine, but what would you guys recommend?

CPU: Intel Core Duo or AMD Dual Core? I've seen some great progress with the Core Duo which could mean something. What clock speed would be good?

Motherboard: Okay, don't need the latest greatest, but how cheap is too cheap? Mid-range motherboards with all the features but not lacking in the performance department.

Graphics: Subjective right? Game programming and model rendering is quite extensive on the GPU, but would on-board video suffice or should I invest in a mid-range PCI Express card? And lastly, ATI or nVidia? I hear many people raving about how nVidia cards are easier to install then ATI ones. I've only had ATI and Intel and they've gotten me by. Though I felt like murdering my last PC when I had to deal with ATI drivers the last time.

Sound: Just like many others here, coding for hours at a time is expected - going to need to listen to some tunes. On-board or no on-board? Got any specific sound cards you like? Could include what headphones or speakers you recommend.

RAM: Anything special or something to fit in the slot?

Case: Nothing big! Carrying cases around campus is not what I had in mind. Whats a good decent mid-size case that doesn't look horrible or destroy my hands on the inside?

Distribution: What distro would be the most lean and mean, yet up to date and reliable? I was thinking of going with xubuntu (seems to run pretty good on my current PC). Of course I could go with just a simple WM and be done with it, but XGL should be an option. If it is a Linux box, it should use whatever is available for Linux.

Accessories: I see alot of little USB goodies from sites like thinkgeek. What do you have lying around your PC that's a great addition? This PC is for work and play, and it shouldn't be boring!

And what should a good Linux box cost? I'm aiming for somewhere between $500 - $1000. I've done some research on what I would build for a Windows gaming box, but would you say would be the best setup for Linux? Let me know! Any input is appreciated!
 
Old 12-21-2006, 09:28 AM   #2
rickh
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http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9061
 
Old 12-21-2006, 09:31 AM   #3
odd2k
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I don't understand why you want "the ultimate linux box" as you call it. One of linux' key features is that you don't need a very powerful pc to use it. You didn't even mention what you are going to use the box for, so answering the above questions is kind of a moot point.

What do you mean with 'ultimate'? Do you want to run powerful graphic applications. Do you want a powerful server with large I/O throughput? Or do you just want a "bitchin' rig" just for the sake of it?
 
Old 12-21-2006, 09:41 AM   #4
Abomb
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@rickh

Thanks for the link! Good information there. After looking over the site, I've noticed that the system they put together is quite overkill. "Video cards: matched pair of eVGA GF 7900GT 256 (NVIDIA SLI)" that right there will bump me over the budget! lol

@odd2k

Well it's going to be used at school, for doing programming mostly. Obviously I don't need a powerful rig but something modern in the current decade would be nice. Definitely don't need a 'bitchin' rig. The question is more of a hypothetical one, what would you put together to run Linux on? What hardware would you use? I guess I didn't make my purpose clear enough.


Thanks for the replies guys.

Last edited by Abomb; 12-21-2006 at 09:54 AM.
 
Old 12-21-2006, 02:27 PM   #5
Micro420
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One thing I would watch out for is the built-in NIC. I have built several Linux boxes at my work and one motherboard I ordered, an ASUS VM-1394, has a built-in NIC. After several attempts of installing Ubuntu 6.06, 6.10, and CentOS4.4, I could not get the NIC to be recognized. I just put in a spare 10/100Mbps NIC I had laying around. That was most annoying.
 
  


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