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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 07-09-2008, 10:45 AM   #1
mahdif
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Buying a linux-compatible PC


I want to buy a modern, powerful PC in a few days. as i only use linux, I want my PC to be fully linux-compatible and deliver the best performance. As I don't know much about computer hardware, I need your kind advice. Money is not a problem, and I use my computer for gaming too.
I've heard many good things about Intel Dual Core processors, but I'm not sure if AMDs are better. I have a monitor and a DVD writer, so please give me your suggestions for other hardware, including brands and models. Thanks a million, I really need your help!
 
Old 07-09-2008, 11:09 AM   #2
farslayer
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My suggestion is to use Google.

Find a PC model you are interested in and search for the model and the term 'Linux'. this holds true for most hardware.

for instance.. Dell Optiplex 320

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...ux&btnG=Search
http://gentoo-wiki.com/HARDWARE_Dell_OptiPlex_320

And you can see by the post Linux will run on the Optiplex 320 but not without a bit of voodoo and contortions.. so The Optiplex 320 would not be a good choice imho.. (I'm running Linux on one of these at work, and it was somewhat painful to get installed)
 
Old 07-09-2008, 11:45 AM   #3
kenoshi
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I used to be an AMD fan until they slacked off and let Intel take over...if you are looking for performance, just go with Intel core 2 duos or quad core cpus...you get more bang for the buck.

I run my system on ASUS P5E3 deluxe + wifi, with some nice Hyper-X DDR3 sticks from Kingston (1333FSB), some cheetah 15k SAS drives on a LSI raid card, with creative X-FI (well I only use sound from my windows boot, didn't bother configuring it for my Fedora boot) and Nvidia 8800GTX, and I'm a happy man.
 
Old 07-09-2008, 11:48 AM   #4
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahdif View Post
I want to buy a modern, powerful PC in a few days. as i only use linux, I want my PC to be fully linux-compatible
Almost all PC hardware is Linux compatible. You might want to do the google searches farslayer suggested after you have a tentative selection, just in case you find some exception. But generally, you don't need to worry much about Linux compatibility in selecting hardware.

Quote:
I use my computer for gaming too.
I don't, so I'm not qualified to give you detailed advice on that. But I understand many games are difficult to get working on Linux. What games do you use? Are you already using them in Linux on some older computer?

If you run into hardware compatibility issues, more likely it will be with the games rather than with Linux itself.

Quote:
I've heard many good things about Intel Dual Core processors, but I'm not sure if AMDs are better.
I think AMD dual core processors are better than Intel. I also think dual core is best for most home systems (rather than single or quad), but you seem to already be headed in that direction.

Performance really depends on what you're trying to do.

Most people mainly surf the web. Most performance issues are in their internet provider, not in their own computer. Dual core, a decent amount of ram and a fair amount of free space on the hard drive are all that makes any visible difference to performance beyond the internet provider.

If you run some intensive home application, such a video editing, you probably have software that doesn't use multiple threads well (if at all), so a quad core would under perform a lower price dual core. The file I/O (if not the processing itself) probably justifies getting 8GB of ram and using a 64 bit OS (to make good use of ram for file caching and reduce the number of disk accesses).

But gaming probably does very little file I/O, and probably uses little enough ram you might not notice a performance difference between 2GB and 4, much less between 4GB and 8. Probably the graphics card would matter most, but more expensive isn't necessarily better and I can't tell you which is better.

Quote:
please give me your suggestions for other hardware, including brands and models.
The last system I put together used an AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Windsor 3.2GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103228
If I built another system now, I would definitely use that same CPU again (and I was very happy with the retail version with standard cooler included, rather than using the OEM package and trying to select a third party cooler.)

I used a Gigabyte motherboard. It works, but there were enough issues with the BIOS etc. that I wouldn't use Gigabyte again. I'd go back to Asus (which I used for the Windows system I put together from parts before my Linux system).

I can't suggest a good video card for gaming. I don't use one. For non gaming, it is much simpler to select a motherboard with built-in ATI or Nvidia graphics, then install the closed source driver from ATI or Nvidia. If you're an open source fanatic, you may need a lot of effort to select graphics that work well with an open source driver. The Nvidia closed source (still zero cost) drivers seem to work better than any brand open source drivers and ATI closed source drivers aren't far behind Nvidia. All the ATI and Nvidia I've tried work well enough with some open source driver (such as vesa) to get the Linux GUI up to access the web site to get the better driver.

Last edited by johnsfine; 07-09-2008 at 12:08 PM.
 
Old 07-09-2008, 03:04 PM   #5
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I bought one Gigabyte board GA-P35-DS3 and one Intel board DP35DP, I've gotten both of them to work well with Linux, but the Gigabyte one was much harder to get working properly because of the JMicron SATA/IDE controller. Even so the Intel board has a Marvell IDE controller (also known not to be a good Linux-compatible company), but luckily I've had no problems with it but have not used it, no so with the JMicron controller, it caused problems even when I was not using it, so I had to disable it specifically.

Really, almost anything you're gonna find will be linux-compatible, but the degree varies. Best think to do, run a search for the component or computer model you want to buy and see what kind of problems might arise.
 
Old 07-09-2008, 11:24 PM   #6
onebuck
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Hi,

You can look at the 'HCL' at the top of the LQ window to get some insight.

BTW, Welcome.
 
Old 07-10-2008, 03:47 AM   #7
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Here's another good hardware compatibility site:
http://hardware4linux.info/
 
Old 07-10-2008, 11:22 AM   #8
pellicle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
Almost all PC hardware is Linux compatible.
except of course mine ... sure, most things are working basically, but getting things like wireless lan going seems to be a nightmare. I've not even been able to get the latest distro of Ubuntu to see my PC RT2561 card.
 
Old 07-10-2008, 12:09 PM   #9
shroomy_bee
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If you're going to buy a pre-built computer then you should choose one that comes with linux already (to match or best match the kernel / distro you use); or alternatively just look them up on a search engine to find out what hardware they have in them!

I haven't tried this myself, but for running many (recent but not brand new) Windows games inside linux, Wine is meant to be good at that. There's also a lot of linux-specific games, which you probably already know about.

I have a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L motherboard, and so far haven't had any trouble trying linux's out on it; the Jmicron IDE chip seems to work fine for me - usually I run XP from a SATA-II so in order to boot up or use any IDE the BIOS needs to be changed. I found it wasn't a problem changing it to use an IDE hdd, and it let me format it to ext2 and install Puppy 4.00 (which I'm using justnow on a much older machine, and it still works fine - the hdd scanned for the new hw when plugged in).
Also the onboard sound chip (Realtek 888-something) works fine for the linux's I've tried so far.

Also maybe of interest to you: Hardy Heron (latest Ubuntu) on the liveCD even recognised a PS2 game controller I use for games (via an adapter, and driver on Windows, to a USB port) and I didn't even need to install or change anything. And it worked.

Only real incompatible issue I found so far is that Knoppix Security doesn't work booting live on SATA DVDs, but it just isn't written to look for them.

The Ubuntu and openSUSE forums (the main forums) list a lot of graphics cards and other hardware that is known to be compatible - there's a lot of graphics cards for example that are listed as working right away, no problems.
 
Old 07-10-2008, 12:31 PM   #10
shroomy_bee
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Just a note - RAM is very much needed for gaming and intensive audio / visual editing and creation. Running 32-bit Windows (XP or Vista) usually means, default anyway, that you won't get the system to see above 3.5GB of RAM, with linux of course that isn't the case.

Games perform best on non-buffered non-ECC RAM, because it's faster; but for workstations you'd be better getting buffered and / or error-checked RAM (eg like server memory) because it means if you say are encoding something or rendering, then you're way more guaranteed to get no errors.
In practice though of course you can get away with buying gaming RAM to make animations and music etc - just not to 'professional broadcast standard'!

( - check out 'overclockers' forums - there's loads, and loads of folks that oc use all kinds of linux's: a lot of them post their hardware specs in their sigs, so it's easy to see what they are running; plus hardware is their special subject and that often includes gaming also - for a heads up if you want some really fast uber-rig, then find someone that can run Crysis at high settings on their hardware and who also runs the linux you want to use on that same hardware )

If you're going for any Intel dual core, then get a 64-bit one, since plenty of linux distros can use that. I think any AMD is going to be 64-bit, from the last bunch of years anyway. Generally AMD has faster bus speeds than Intel, but less cache.
Get a good cooler too! The Artic Pro 7 is good if you don't want to spend too much (and even if you do spend it's still good, so are many others) - anything quad-rated is going to do good cooling.
 
Old 07-15-2008, 11:24 AM   #11
mahdif
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Thanks for your kind replies. I've heard that Asus motherboards have problems with ACPI in linux. And I've heard good things about Abit and Supermicro boards. Any ideas?
 
Old 07-15-2008, 12:40 PM   #12
H_TeXMeX_H
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I was gonna buy an Abit board, as I also heard they are usually compatible, but this is only when the components are not something like Marvell Ethernet and JMicron SATA, even tho you may have luck getting these to work, many don't.
 
Old 07-15-2008, 04:01 PM   #13
tredegar
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Quote:
I've heard that Asus motherboards have problems with ACPI in linux.
I haven't had any trouble with Asus (but not built a PC for 2yrs)
Remember Asus are linux-friendly - They made the Asus EEE Linux PC, and I hear that their higher-spec MoBos are to be released with an "instant-on" lunux kernel and some basic applications in ROM. Search, or try this link: http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl.../10/07/0614246
So, don't write Asus off too quickly.

You have good advice in the above posts.

I think we all have a minor panic when it's time to upgrade hardware: We have often had to work hard to get previous hardware working well with linux, and do not want to go through the same headaches again, but when we upgrade, we naturally want faster, better, easier to use hardware. That said, linux is getting better all the time. Much better.

My thoughts: Big name MoBo, Intel wireless (NOT atheros, though they can work, eventually), NVIDIA graphics, 3-Com or Intel Ethernet chipsets.

Nowadays I tend to let my local, neighbourhood, no-brand, PC shop assemble my new PCs.
They know I run linux, and are happy to swap hardware at little or no cost if it refuses to work with linux. They also remember and appreciate my repeat custom. If you go to a big-name supplier, they'll say "But it comes with Vista, and that's all we support".

If it is any consolation, a number of friends / colleagues have presented me with laptops over the last year, and said "Put linux in it please". My heart has always sunk (There goes my weekend), but (k)ubuntu has generally installed easily. I expect many other current distros will too.

Jump in.
 
Old 07-15-2008, 10:51 PM   #14
onebuck
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Hi,

I've used Abit, asus, pc-chips and several other brands without trouble for Linux. Sure some required more work on my part but that was expected. I do like 'asus' but at one time 'Soyo' was a cheap and reliable MB. I now find the 'PC-chips' to be a cheap and reliable Linux board.

For 64 bit I prefer 'asus' hands down!
 
Old 07-15-2008, 11:58 PM   #15
mahdif
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Ok
Thanks everyone
I made up my mind to buy an Asus P5E3 Premium mobo and an Intel® Core™2 Extreme Processor. An nVidia graphics card with 512 MB of RAM. Any ideas?
 
  


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