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Old 09-12-2009, 04:02 PM   #1
lin123
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Question Building a linux computer


Hello; I am going to build a linux computer for home use and wanted to get an idea of the best hardware for a linux system. I would first like to know what kind of motherboard and cpu to start with.

Thanks
 
Old 09-12-2009, 04:08 PM   #2
masonm
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Check the HCL, it should answer all of your hardware questions.
 
Old 09-12-2009, 04:27 PM   #3
iphigenie
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The HCL is a ton of forum posts going back years, one per item of hardware - not the most helpful starting point

In my experience:

* most "mainstream" motherboards will work, some clever/high end features on the expensive motherboards might not. I have no idea which work "better" (but would love to know) but if you buy things in the "normal" prices (i.e. nothing super new or hard core) they just should work. Pick the ones that are on offer, go on the manufacturer's website and check if they say anything about linux compatibility (the HCL here seems quite out of date on boards)

* wired network cards will work - i have not encountered one that didn't in ages

* any normal drive will work - pick the sweet price point

* if you buy a dedicated graphics card, at this moment (sep. 2009) nvidia is a better bet. The same tends to go for built in onboard cards. Most of the time if you dont plan to play 3d games then pretty much all cards can be made to work. It can get tricky as some of the shipped driver versions are iffy it can be a pain if your distro choses to boot straight to that and freeze (see below). In all cases another version of the driver will work.

* most soundcards work, including USB ones, the tricky bit is sometimes the input (microphone) - that is something you might need to look up if you want voice chat

* if you want wifi, check the HCL as not all work - better to buy a PCI or USB wifi card that is known to work as many on-board options do not.

* if you are going to use fancy input tools (i.e. gaming keyboards, that kind of stuff), some keys might not work unless you spend a lot of fiddly time creating a keyboard definition. The normal keys will work, though

* webcams are a lottery, built in ones rarely work so again look at the hardware list and pick a USB one that is known to work

As I said earlier some of the versions of graphics drivers can be buggy, and some distributions are too helpful and go straigt to the special driver not allowing you to set (or revert) to a more generic one if the specific one doesnt work. It can get annoying so make sure you choose a distribution that has the option to boot to command line for your first attempts as it is a pain to try to fix a distro that boots to GUI then freezes. You can always install the one you really want once you have figured out the drivers that work and don't work.

It gets better with every release of the kernel

Last edited by iphigenie; 09-12-2009 at 04:31 PM.
 
Old 09-12-2009, 04:37 PM   #4
29t88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iphigenie View Post

* if you want wifi, check the HCL as not all work - better to buy a PCI or USB wifi card that is known to work as many on-board options do not.
I have an acer aspire 5735Z Laptop And I Use Its WIFI On 3 Linux Distros (Havnt tried others with it) I also got a network Card with Wireless And Lan Outputs, 3 Of Them Actually, They Work Fine On All My Other Computers
 
Old 09-12-2009, 10:26 PM   #5
DragonSlayer48DX
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Actually, it depends on which distro you plan to use. I've tried several that wouldn't work at all, yet others swear by them, and some claim that what works for me wouldn't work for them. AFAIK, there's no 'hard-core' instruction manual- it's basically a trial-and-error situation. However, some issues can be corrected with just a little research.

Cheers
 
Old 09-13-2009, 12:17 AM   #6
Smartpatrol
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...

Last edited by Smartpatrol; 03-11-2010 at 10:24 PM.
 
Old 09-14-2009, 08:36 AM   #7
iphigenie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonslayer48dx View Post
Actually, it depends on which distro you plan to use. I've tried several that wouldn't work at all, yet others swear by them, and some claim that what works for me wouldn't work for them. AFAIK, there's no 'hard-core' instruction manual- it's basically a trial-and-error situation. However, some issues can be corrected with just a little research.
In most cases it is purely a kernel version question - drivers seem to be hit and miss over time, and one that works in one kernel could be broken in an earlier (or later) kernel. I have found that most of the time if one distro didnt work, any others using the same kernel wouldnt detect the hardware properly either. (i.e. very few implement any additional cleverness to detect/workaround hardware issues).

Now in most cases it's not hard to figure out what the issue is (say you really want that distribution) and a)switch to another kernel version OR b)compile fixed drivers but I have found it way easier to figure out which kernel and driver version work by trying to see which disros work and checking what they use. You can then return to the distro you really want knowing what you need to change (warning: you might not, Slitaz is still on my machine and there to stay)

For example I have an Hp2133 mininote - Via CPU, chipset and graphics, broadcom network (wired, bluetooth and wifi). I have found that nearly no debian/ubuntu based distro will happily work - often the graphics driver chosen is broken, but even when they have a better version (eg: Mint) the wireless is iffy (will usually work once right after boot, but you cannot change networks, logout, lose signal, then it is gone and impossible to get working service back again unless you reboot). On the other hand slitaz and slackware worked fine with their standard choices and options.
I tried literally 20 live and not live distros until I found some that work :S but now I can probably make just about any distribution work on it.

Reversely, on my gaming laptop (nvidia based) Mint, Sabayon, Slackware, Gnusense etc. worked nicely, but Slitaz just gets the wrong video drivers and won't be convinced not to try...
 
  


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