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Old 11-26-2008, 06:30 AM   #1
arnuld
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Building a Linux Box


Hello There,

I am building a Linux Box. After reading ESR's ULB article, I have dropped the idea of quad-core processor. Rather than what most people do, instead of Intel I am going after 64 bit AMD Athlon dual or Phenom triple core system, both are much cheaper than quad-core. I have used AMD Athlon 64 on ASUS's K8V-MX motherboard for 2 years and it was excellent (except for using gnash).


GOALS:
  • To use Arch Linux as machine's native OS
  • play movies or songs
  • NO Video Games
  • GNU Hurd as 2nd OS
  • using Flash-Drives from Kingston, Transient or i-ball
  • connecting my friend's digital cameras for getting/sending pictures

thats it. Choice are limited here in my city, so I have this idea after making a round in the computer market here:
  1. AMD Athlon X2 (or Phenom X3)
  2. ASUS Motherboard
  3. 22 inches LG LCD W2242S or W2252TE, see here
  4. 2 360 GB SATA Hard-Drives (one for back-up)
  5. 1 SONY DVD-RW, 1 DVD-ROM (DVD-ROM is here for I will do all reading work in it. It will be used like hell.
  6. 2 x 2GB RAM (1000 MHz)
  7. Numeric UPS
  8. Logitech Mouse + keyboard (my favorite)
  9. 2 extra pair of fans for extra cooling


What you people suggest. I am in Hyderbad, India, so will not have much choices in motherboard except of ASUS, Gigabyte or MSI. As per ESR's article FSB is more important which actually belongs to motherboard itself, so I will see which model of ASUS is good on that.

  • what about video card: ATI Radeom or Nvidia . Do I need them ?
  • What about ASUS's on-baord audio/video support in Linux ?
  • you have better recommendation for flash-drive ?
  • Anything else ?


Thanks in Advance

Last edited by arnuld; 12-09-2008 at 01:12 AM. Reason: Need New Advice
 
Old 11-26-2008, 08:12 AM   #2
monsm
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I have been running custom built PCs with Asus motherboards for almost 10 years (3 machines in all). I am very happy with them.

I guess one approach you could do is to decide on a CPU and then make a shortlist of motherboards that fit the CPU and then choose the one you like best on a price/performance comparison.

On-board sound is fine for most cases, although I guess you might be able to get higher quality surround-sound systems (e.g. the latest Sound blaster cards) as a separate card. I would try the on-board sound first. If it isn't high enough quality it is easy enough to disable it and add a separate card later.

In my experience NVidia have better Linux support. However we might expect better ATI support too now that AMD have taken them over. Lots of people use ATI graphics cards, so its not much of an issue. An alternative that could make economic sense is a motherboard with onboard video card. If you are not playing demanding games, that might be a good alternative.

Most, if not all motherboards support USB 2.0, so flash and digital cameras shouldn't be a problem on any. Google a bit before you buy and use the HCL here on LQ to check the Linux support for the various components.

Mons
 
Old 11-26-2008, 09:22 AM   #3
Xolo
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Personally I would not bother with the tricore processors.

And the guide you linked is rather old (2001) to be a fair guide for modern hardware.
While IDE/SCSI still exist, SATA, ESATA and SAS are now King of the Hill and can't be compared fairly.
Bus speeds are now in the Ghz, moot point for simple multimedia (There is an old PII/450 chewing through live audio+video 24/7 four meters from where i'm sitting right now)
Dual versus Tri? Tri is just a market hack for selling broken Quads.

You can earn back the extra cost of a quadcore processor by choosing the right motherboard, either with onboard video or without onboard but with a real videocard.
'Real' videocards do have the advantage of having their own processor and memory, and as such do not burden your motherboard with extra workload. ATi or nVidia, personally I would pick nVidia but there is no real difference in the low end market here.
Depending on what you really do with your computer, you may not even notice the difference between having a real videocard or not.
And as you yourself said, "NO Video games", perhaps onboard video will do for you, saving you the cost of a videocard that you could spend on a higher end processor.
As for the two 360GB SATA drives, you want one for backup purposes? make sure you do not hook it up permanently, unless you wish to have it fail at the same time or sooner than your primary drive. Larger drive capacities equal more responsibility for your backups, and if A fails B won be long.
You cannot rely on the motherboard RAID to keep you safe, either. it will happily destroy your RAID set when either drive fails.
The UPS, make sure you choose a high enough capacity and a reliable brand! cheap UPS equipment can ruin a lot more than you care to lose.


That's my tuppence on the matter

Last edited by Xolo; 11-26-2008 at 09:34 AM. Reason: Typo and forgetfulness
 
Old 11-26-2008, 10:51 AM   #4
beachboy2
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arnuld,
For a decent quality power supply I recommend Antec, Corsair or Seasonic. A cheap PSU is a very false economy, especially when it fails and destroys your nice CPU and motherboard! Also get a Belkin Surgemaster multi-socket or similar. It will protect all your electrical items and has a lifetime guarantee.
There is a good PSU included with this Antec Case.

CASE & PSU Antec NSK6580 with 430w PSU (Recommended).
There is also an Antec NSK4480 with a 380w PSU

CPU AMD Athlon 64 5400 x2 (2.8 MHz)

MOBO Gigabyte GA-MA770-DS3 AMD 770 Socket AM2+ 8 channel audio ATX
(Top quality, using solid capacitors, but needs a separate graphics card. Works perfectly with Linux. I have one myself). Asus do a similar one but the Gigabyte one gets better customer feedback.

OR Gigabyte GA-MA69 690G mATX
OR Gigabyte GA-M68SM-S2L GeForce 7025 Socket AM2 onboard VGA 6 channel audio mATX
These last 2 have onboard graphics.

RAM Corsair 2GB or 4GB 6400DDR2 (runs @800 MHz to match above CPU @2800 Hz, which is exactly divisible by 400*). Corsair RAM has a lifetime guarantee. Get the 4-4-4-12 if you can, as opposed to the 5-5-5-15 variety).

GRAPHICS CARD Definitely go for Nvidia for Linux. Try XFX/Nvidia 7600GS or 8500GT or 8600GT (all fanless).

CASE FANS Akasa Ultra Quiet Amber 120mm/92mm
HDDs 2 x Samsung Spinpoint (SATA) or similar
OPT DRIVE Samsung or Sony or LiteOn SATA DVD/RW
KEYBOARD Logitech 200 Classic
MOUSE Logitech Optical RX250


*The CPU speed (the real one, not the “compared-to-whatever-factor”) should always be modulo 0 when divided by 400 - that is, when your motherboard/chip combinations support DDR400 or DDR2-800 memory. For an AMD X2 dual core processor, use the ones with 2000, 2400, or 2800 MHz. Here the so-called “wait states” are even more important than the bare clock speed, so get the 4-4-4 ones.

Let us know when your new pc is up and running.

Last edited by beachboy2; 11-26-2008 at 10:59 AM.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 11:30 AM   #5
AuroraCA
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XOLO wrote:
Quote:
Dual versus Tri? Tri is just a market hack for selling broken Quads.
Do you have any citations or references to document this assertion? I would like to investigate this further.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 11:45 AM   #6
jay73
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I would definitely not get an AMD quad unless you can get your hands on one of the newer series (deneb). They consume way too much power and the performance is rather poor for a quad core (they basically get kicked all over the place by intel alternatives); also, for your listed purposes, quad is overkill anyway.
Make sure to get an AMD2+ motherboard;while AM2 may be cheaper, it would place a limit on your CPU options.
By the way, be careful picking an ASUS mobo. I am a former ASUS fan but I am getting increasingly disgusted at the kind of crap they will put on their boards nowadays just to save another penny (although, as a rule, they are not exactly cheap). If you bought ASUS a few years ago, you could rest pretty assured that everything would be supported - not any longer so.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 11:54 AM   #7
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnuld View Post
2 360 GB SATA Hard-Drives (one for back-up)
Disk drives are very reliable. You're not building a transaction processing system (banking or online ordering etc.) so a second hard drive is an expensive insurance to buy for the very unlikely event of a hard drive failure.

When you take into account other low probability computer disasters (flood, fire, theft, etc.) none of which gains any protection from the second hard drive, an extra hard drive is a big premium insurance policy against a small fraction of a small risk.

Quote:
[*] 2 x 2GB RAM (1000 MHz)
Either I'm confused about what spec the 1000 MHz represents or you're buying much more expensive than you should.

Quote:
As per ESR's article FSB is more important
That only applies to Intel systems. For AMD systems forget the FSB speed and for ordinary AMD systems ignore the HyperTransport speed as well.

For best speed, the CPU internal clock should be evenly divisible by the RAM's external clock. Typical RAM external clock for decent AMD systems would be 400MHz, but price CPU and RAM together, subject to motherboard limits (if you can find out what they are) to get the best you can at a reasonable price. RAM wait states also matter.

The L2 cache size is also significant for the effective memory performance. This may be out of date info, but last time I investigated such things, AMD L2 cache sizes varied from low (1MB individual per core) down to painfully low (anything less) and didn't give you the option of high (such as the typical Intel 3MB shared by 2 cores). Given AMDs superior interface to RAM, a 1MB L2 individual per core may be competitive with Intel's 3MB shared by two cores, but the AMD chips with less than 1MB L2 cache per core represent a clear performance flaw.

Quote:
What about ASUS's on-baord audio/video support in Linux ?
I always use onboard audio/video, but I don't play games or watch movies. My guess is that onboard is good enough even for movies, but I'm not an expert on that.
Onboard can save you a lot of money and effort. It also places a much lower demand on the power supply. If you use an add in video card make sure your power supply can handle the extra load.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 01:26 PM   #8
Xolo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuroraCA View Post
Do you have any citations or references to document this assertion? I would like to investigate this further.
Of course.
See the following links, and Google will find you more of the same:

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/240/1/
http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=6334
http://www.techwarelabs.com/reviews/.../index_2.shtml
http://www.crunchgear.com/2007/09/18...ip/#more-13381
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-9780049-37.html

Etc.

You may also read in one of the above that AMD does intend to manufacture 'true' Tri core Phenoms at some point.

There are interesting comments at Slashdot about the possible reasons behind delivering a Tri core to the market:
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/23/154232#

I did word my previous reply a bit harshly, but the majority of the Tri cores will be partly disabled Quads. It makes sense, at least to me.
But the value, to me (again), is also not that great. Prices do change rapidly lately, so who knows. The OP hasn't commented on price in their region.

Last edited by Xolo; 11-26-2008 at 01:32 PM.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 01:31 PM   #9
AuroraCA
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Xolo wrote:
Quote:
Of course.
See the following links, and Google will find you more of the same:
{links}
Thank you. I was not aware that this was common knowledge.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 01:33 PM   #10
Xolo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuroraCA View Post
Thank you. I was not aware that this was common knowledge.
That's alright, I should remember to provide references when I make statements like this

Edit:
Is there something wrong with the quote feature of this forum? bits of text that aren't part of the message make it between the quote marks..

Last edited by Xolo; 11-26-2008 at 01:34 PM.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 02:41 PM   #11
beachboy2
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I disagree that second HDDs are expensive insurance against HDD failure. Quite the contrary. There are, however, various alternatives (see below).
I am sure that most people on these LQ forums, being far-sighted, will not find themselves in the position of the OP on this thread, since they will have backed up their critical data AND, most importantly, also double-checked that their backup system actually does work when it is required to do so.

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...-noise-686043/

Whichever backup system you use is immaterial as long as you DO HAVE a backup system which actually works.
You can have a second, matching internal HDD, which need not be mounted at every boot.
You can have a USB external drive, HDD enclosure, media player, network backup away from your home site etc, etc.
The deciding factor, as usual is cost. Barring special offers, the second, matching internal HDD is usually cheapest. It is your choice.

I use G4L (g4l) to periodically clone my sda drive to my sdb drive.
http://sourceforge.net/project/showf...ease_id=627515

If things go seriously pear-shaped, then make sure you have downloaded and burned to a CD, SystemRescueCd from:-

http://www.sysresccd.org/Main_Page

Also keep handy plenty of printed user notes from SRC's site, ready for a rainy day, because “when the electricity goes off, you don't want to find out that your torch batteries are flat and you cannot find the candles”.


Anyway, this is getting off topic regarding arnuld's original post. Does anybody else have any suggestions for arnuld's Linux Box?
 
Old 11-26-2008, 06:54 PM   #12
lazlow
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I have got to tell you that for the applications you have listed you are specing out a system that is massively overkill (wasting money). For the apps you have listed I would get a Asus EEE Box (roughly $300 US). It uses a 1.6GHZ atom processor (roughly equivalent to a 1ghz PIII), is about the size of a hardcover book, and uses next to no electricity. Add on or two USD drives for backup and you are done.
 
Old 11-27-2008, 01:55 AM   #13
arnuld
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
For a decent quality power supply I recommend Antec, Corsair or Seasonic. A cheap PSU is a very false economy, especially when it fails and destroys your nice CPU and motherboard! Also get a Belkin Surgemaster multi-socket or similar. It will protect all your electrical items and has a lifetime guarantee.

There is a good PSU included with this Antec Case.

CASE & PSU Antec NSK6580 with 430w PSU (Recommended).
There is also an Antec NSK4480 with a 380w PSU

CPU AMD Athlon 64 5400 x2 (2.8 MHz)
I did not know anything about this. Really Thanks a lot

Actually, here in Hyderabad (India), such types of branded cabinets are not available. Over the years, all I have seen are local brands like:
  1. i-ball
  2. Frontech
  3. Intex


Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
MOBO Gigabyte GA-MA770-DS3 AMD 770 Socket AM2+ 8 channel audio ATX
(Top quality, using solid capacitors, but needs a separate graphics card. Works perfectly with Linux. I have one myself). Asus do a similar one but the Gigabyte one gets better customer feedback.

OR Gigabyte GA-MA69 690G mATX
OR Gigabyte GA-M68SM-S2L GeForce 7025 Socket AM2 onboard VGA 6 channel audio mATX
These last 2 have onboard graphics.
I have noted them down. Will check


Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
RAM Corsair 2GB or 4GB 6400DDR2 (runs @800 MHz to match above CPU @2800 Hz, which is exactly divisible by 400*). Corsair RAM has a lifetime guarantee. Get the 4-4-4-12 if you can, as opposed to the 5-5-5-15 variety).
RAMS available here are: HITACHI, Transient or Kingston. May be SIMMTRONIX is available too. IBM RAM is too expansive to be bought.




Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
GRAPHICS CARD Definitely go for Nvidia for Linux. Try XFX/Nvidia 7600GS or 8500GT or 8600GT (all fanless).
Okay, I checked them they are not that expansive.



Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
CASE FANS Akasa Ultra Quiet Amber 120mm/92mm
HDDs 2 x Samsung Spinpoint (SATA) or similar
OPT DRIVE Samsung or Sony or LiteOn SATA DVD/RW
KEYBOARD Logitech 200 Classic
MOUSE Logitech Optical RX250
SATS DVD drives are not available. 2nd, I prefer Seagate Hard-Drives though.

BTW, just a question, are SATA OPT drives compatible with Linux ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
*The CPU speed (the real one, not the “compared-to-whatever-factor”) should always be modulo 0 when divided by 400 - that is, when your motherboard/chip combinations support DDR400 or DDR2-800 memory. For an AMD X2 dual core processor, use the ones with 2000, 2400, or 2800 MHz. Here the so-called “wait states” are even more important than the bare clock speed, so get the 4-4-4 ones.
I did not get this last point. I was only able to understand one thing: if I am getting DDR2-400 MHz RAM then CPU should be 2.0, 2.4 or 2.8 GHz. Except that I did not get anything, especially what you mean by 4-4-4 and 5-5-5 .

As per your advice, I will by 2.4 or 2.8 with DDR2-800 MHz RAM though.
 
Old 11-27-2008, 02:00 AM   #14
arnuld
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
Either I'm confused about what spec the 1000 MHz represents or you're buying much more expensive than you should.
a DDR2 RAM 1000 MHz and another with 800 MHz are available. Is there something wrong with specification ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
For best speed, the CPU internal clock should be evenly divisible by the RAM's external clock. Typical RAM external clock for decent AMD systems would be 400MHz, but price CPU and RAM together, subject to motherboard limits (if you can find out what they are) to get the best you can at a reasonable price. RAM wait states also matter.
yeah, as beachboy2 said: DDR2-800 matches with with 2000, 2400 or 2800 MHz of clock frequency


Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
My guess is that onboard is good enough even for movies, but I'm not an expert on that.

Onboard can save you a lot of money and effort. It also places a much lower demand on the power supply. If you use an add in video card make sure your power supply can handle the extra load.
450W of SMPS ?
 
Old 11-27-2008, 04:19 AM   #15
beachboy2
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lazlow has a point regarding the EEE Box but I doubt whether that is available locally for arnuld.
Many people overestimate the wattage for their PSU.
Here is a good place to check your required power.
http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/
You probably do not need more than 340w so a 380w or 430w PSU will be fine.
SATA optical drives are fine with Linux in my experience.
 
  


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