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Old 07-21-2009, 11:12 AM   #1
TL_CLD
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Slackware 13 probably deserves some new hardware - what to get?


Hey all,

When Slackware 13 is released, I intend to upgrade my current two main workstations from 12.1 to 13 and from somewhat "old" hardware, to something new and shiny.

But what to get?

These two computers are mainly used for programming (Ada, C, PHP, XSL), a bit of graphics (GIMP), lots of writing (LyX, OpenOffice) and running Windows in Virtualbox plus a collection of different Linux distros. I usually have some 2-3 vbox'es running concurrently.

My monitor is a Samsyng SyncMaster 2443BW (1920x1200). I would love to be able to experience all the new KDE4 visual effects, so the graphics card must be able to deliver the goods. I don't do any gaming, so I suspect I have no need for extremely high performance in the 3D department though.

So what should I get? A brand? A DIY box? Intel? AMD? nVidia? ATI? Should I go 64bit, or stay with tried and tested 32bit?

I do have two requirements: It must be a desktop enclosure/cabinet, and I must have DVI output on the graphics card.

Any and all suggestions are more than welcome.


/Thomas
 
Old 07-21-2009, 11:33 AM   #2
GrapefruiTgirl
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Wow, you're really asking for a flood of opinion here!

I'll start

IMHO, I would go for an nVidia card and an MSI motherboard. These are all I've ever bought (I have other stuff I 'acquired' but not bought) and will continue to buy these brands/chipsets because the Linux compatibility is very good, and the hardware (MSI motherboards) IMO are as good as you can want to have (mind you as I said, this is a place of opinion, so everyone has their preference). Both my current and old MSI boards worked marvelously under Linux, with no odd-ball hardware, no driver-less wireless cards, etc.. All good, out of the box.

I'm using PCI-E nvidia cards (7200/7300GS) which are quite low-end comparatively, but they each offer 3 outputs (SVideo, VGA, DVI) of which you can use two at any time. The cards were around $60.00 CDN at the time I got them). They do everything I ask them to do, which does not include playing games, though they probably would play games decently I guess, I've never tried.

As for 64 vs 32 bit: Pretty soon, most anything but the lowest end hardware will likely support 64 bit. There's a good chance that you could go shopping right now for a 32bit system and come home with a 64 bit system and be no worse for wear or for pocketbook; and if you stick with 32bit software for now anyway, then no big deal-- but atleast you'll HAVE the 64bit if you decide you want it (this is the way I went-- had no intention of going 64bit, but got a MB and CPU that are both *capable* and now, today, here I am going 64bit, so go figger-- it was a worthy investment a year ago).

The AMD/Intel debate is ongoing, and I'm not going to throw wood at the fire. Suffice it to say that I prefer Intel. Nothing more, nothing less, I just 'prefer' it

Sasha

PS - Have fun and good luck with the new parts selection! Shopping is GOOD!
 
Old 07-21-2009, 12:12 PM   #3
samac
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I would build a custom box. You get what you want and you can ensure all the components work perfectly with linux. I would also go for hardware that is at least 6 months old or better still a year, that way it will cost you a fraction of the price. I would keep the monitor, keyboard, mouse, dvd drive, and hard drive. Get a motherboard/cpu/cooler & memory bundle off ebay (or from your favourite retailer), also get a new case with a big power supply (400W minimum) and also a new hard drive (it will probably be faster and your old one will always come in handy).

Then add a graphics card (nvidia are my favourite) and if you are into multimedia in a BIG way get a decent sound card. However most modern motherboards have pretty decent graphics, sound and network built in.

Anyway thats how I do it.

samac

P.S 64bit, Intel, NVidia

Last edited by samac; 07-21-2009 at 12:13 PM.
 
Old 07-21-2009, 12:20 PM   #4
Bruce Hill
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Build yourself a custom box. Did my first one in 1984, and except
for laptops I've never had anything else.

IMO Nvidia, 64-bit AMD, Asus board. Stick with PATA burners ...
libata still doesn't do well enough for them with SATA.
 
Old 07-21-2009, 12:25 PM   #5
tuxrules
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Dare I suggest, AMD Phenom X4(Quad-Core), lot of RAM as you're doing graphics and virtualization and add NVIDIA card (probably GeForce 9 Series). Phenoms are relatively cheap as compared to intel processors and perfom great. I am myself tempted to buy one

I've always used NVIDIA cards (BTW, never used ATI) and they've been a pleasure to work with.

GrapefruiTgirl has already suggested MSI board but also look into Gigabyte & Asus boards. There are some nice boards out on newegg which have passive cooling (if you're bothered by the noise).

Ofcourse I'm assuming you're going to custom built this

Last edited by tuxrules; 07-21-2009 at 05:32 PM.
 
Old 07-21-2009, 04:53 PM   #6
TL_CLD
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Thanks for all the great suggestions.

How about those fancy new SSD drives? Are the worth the rather steep investment? I dare say the Intel ones are looking mighty fine.

So far all of you are suggesting the DIY method. Are there really nobody with any good brand experience?

/Thomas
 
Old 07-21-2009, 05:02 PM   #7
Biggen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TL_CLD View Post
Thanks for all the great suggestions.

How about those fancy new SSD drives? Are the worth the rather steep investment? I dare say the Intel ones are looking mighty fine.

So far all of you are suggesting the DIY method. Are there really nobody with any good brand experience?

/Thomas
If you are going SSD, make sure it is SLC (single level cell) design as it will increase your number of writes.

I'd still be skeptical about SSD though. Not only are you going to pay high per GB of storage, I'm still not "sold" on them being up for constant usage.
 
Old 07-21-2009, 05:46 PM   #8
dugan
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http://www.anandtech.com/storage/sho...spx?i=3531&p=1

According to anandtech's tests, all ssd's except for Intel's and OCZ's suffer from half-second lag spikes. I have a low-end G.Skill SSD and they're very apparent.

For constant usage though, I would think SSDs are more reliable. They don't have a motor to wear out, and they don't get head crashes.

Last edited by dugan; 07-21-2009 at 05:48 PM.
 
Old 07-21-2009, 06:00 PM   #9
GrapefruiTgirl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TL_CLD View Post
Thanks for all the great suggestions.

How about those fancy new SSD drives? Are the worth the rather steep investment? I dare say the Intel ones are looking mighty fine.

So far all of you are suggesting the DIY method. Are there really nobody with any good brand experience?

/Thomas
I think (and this is just my two cents here) that it might not absolutely be that people have had no good experiences with 'box' computers, but instead, these days anyhow, you can build a comparable machine for the same or less than you will pay for a box with an expensive logo or emblem on the front. Not to mention, you know exactly what's in it, and by that I mean:

For Windows, it's good enough to know that it has 'Gigablah LAN' and 'a built-in 234862346K modem' and 'millions of colors onboard' but for a Linux machine, it's nice to know you're not getting 'Giga-no-drivers-exist-for-Linux-for-this-LAN-device' or '23478827364K Win-modem HAHA' or 'you'll love to hate this SiS video card'.

Then again, if you can find the components you like, in a branded box at a price you like, by all means..

Sasha
 
Old 07-21-2009, 10:36 PM   #10
Cheesesteak
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I sorta just finished my new build:

Intel Core i7 920 2.66 GHz ( D0 stepping) => Drove almost 2 hours to get one on sale for $199.99 at MicroCenter
Intel DX58SO motherboard
6 gigs Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 RAM
500 GB Seagate 7200rpm SATA hard drive (for Slackware, maybe a MS Windows partition....)
1 TB Western Digital 7200rpm SATA hard drive (storage, music, VM images...)
GeForce 9600 GSO with 1 GB memory (passively cooled)
HP DV1170 DVD burner
Antec 300 mid-tower case
Prolimatech Megahalems CPU cooler

I had a store credit at a local computer shop, so I picked up an Antec Basiq 550 watt modular power supply. It lasted 2 hours, then went poof. PSU tester shows that it failed in a manner that could have possibly damaged system components... Returned the dead unit, then ordered a Corsair 750 watt modular power supply from Newegg this morning. Salty price, but it's got a hefty 62A single 12V rail and will afford me the capacity to drive a more powerful video card, should I choose to go that route.

I chose the passively cooled video card because I've been on a string of bad luck where cooling fans have failed on video cards, causing instability and card death. That, or they're just noisy and drive me up a wall.

For the 2 hours the system ran with the Antec power supply... yeah, it's fast. Especially when upgrading from a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4. I hope my system survived the failed power supply without further casualty.
 
Old 07-21-2009, 10:40 PM   #11
Bruce Hill
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Cheesesteak, you've got too much money in a desktop machine.
 
Old 07-21-2009, 11:14 PM   #12
Cheesesteak
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The Pentium 4 system has lasted a long time... I wanted to make my new rig go the distance, too.
When you don't pay a Microsoft tax every few years, you can roll that dough into your hardware.

Last edited by Cheesesteak; 07-21-2009 at 11:15 PM.
 
Old 07-22-2009, 07:18 AM   #13
SavoTU
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I would recommend building your own every time and spending money on it i built mine 8 years ago and its still running without to much modification and its all ways on. Its had a new psu last year and 1gig of ram added and i upgraded the graphics card a couple of years back for a cheap agp one. Oh and a new hdd as i made the mistake of buying a IBM death star when i built it and that clicked for years before it went pop.

It is now on its last legs the motherboard capacitors are leaking a little and i haven't decided whether to fix them or get a new one yet because i like my board its a abit at7 max (not having serial isn't such a problem these days).

I worked on PC World help desk a while back and all the machines they stocked where built with cheap parts and needed to be constantly replaced. So i wouldn't recommend badged machines
 
Old 07-22-2009, 12:34 PM   #14
onebuck
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Hi,

Roll your Own!

'Tom's Guide' is a good place to start. Look at their 'Forum' for some good hardware information.
 
Old 07-22-2009, 04:05 PM   #15
Cheesesteak
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The icing on the cake will be when I get an SSD for an OS drive. Intel announced new SSD's yesterday, which is great timing :-) I already got the feeling that my hard drive is holding my CPU back.
 
  


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