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Author Topic: It's Dead Jim  (Read 3418 times)
Monty67
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« on: October 20, 2007, 06:41:50 am »

Well wouldn't you know it, a few days after I convert my aging P3 (ex VL box) into my home's firewall DCHP Smoothwall thing, my W2K machine dies leaving me nothing to call my own. Yes we own a laptop that has XP on it but my wife needs that to connect to work which only works with (drum roll) you guessed it, windows.  So messing with her now perfectly working system is not an option.

So the time to build a proper linux box has come alot sooner then later. I say this because I thought that I was going to take my time and slowly pick out my parts while I search for great deals. For example I bought a nice case for 20 bucks (after refund).

With all that out of the way, I come to the VL community for advice on my new system. Hopefully I can get back up and running ASAP so I can follow thru with my promise to Vec to help out once it's built.

Here is what I am looking to build. I don't want a gaming level system but one that can run all the Beryl type stuff. Every Linux box that I have owned has had poor graphics so I would to finally make the leap to having a decent video card. AGP or PCIx (Super PCI ;-)) is fine. I would also like mobo, dvd burner and power supply suggestions if you have them. Once you have those components the rest should be alot easier but if you want to give advice on stuff like audio, HDDs and memory, go for it.

If possible I would love to just install VL and run without having to config and load drivers and such. I'm a family man so my free time comes in short bursts.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated in helping me build my new system. 





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Dweeberkitty
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2007, 08:48:17 am »

Monty67,

When I built my computer, I had limited funds. I found, at the time (about 6 months ago) that motherboards with PCIx were too expensive. I wanted a good video card but to buy a good video card and a PCIx motherboard was too much money for me. I found that NVIDIA had still made a REALLY fast video card for AGP, NVIDIA Geforce 7800GS. That is the one that I use and it runs Beryl super smooth on my 22" widescreen monitor. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130274

I would suggest that you buy an NVIDIA video card. I hear that ATI's Linux support is getting better, but NVIDIA has historically had the better Linux support. Also, almost every single NVIDIA card that you buy will be supported under Linux. The NVIDIA and ATI drivers are also included in Vector since 5.8 SOHO.

As for memory, you might want to find a motherboard that supports DDR2. When I upgraded to that stuff from my PC2700 ram, it blew me away it was so fast.

For a hard drive, it really doesn't matter very much, I personally use Maxtor. There's really not many driver issues for hard drives with Linux.

I'm not an audio expert, so I just use whatever came built in with my motherboard. You will need to check and see what chipset they use for it and see if it works under Linux. Also make sure you do the same for the built in Ethernet card. I failed to check that on the motherboard that I bought and I had to find a separate card for it since Linux doesn't support the built in one that I have.

I really don't have any suggestions for a motherboard except just check to make sure that Linux has all the drivers for it. Most motherboards these days should work. It's just a matter of finding the one that has the specs that fit you the best.
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Registered Linux User #443399
Desktop: Intel Pentium D 3.33Ghz, 320GB hard drive, 2 gigs DDR2 533mhz RAM, NVIDIA Geforce 7800 GS, X2GEN 22" widescreen monitor;
Laptop: Dell Mini 9, Intel Atom 1.6Ghz, 1GB ram
Multimedia Bonus Disc website: http://www.vectorlinuxsolutions.com/
nightflier
Administrator
Vectorian
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Posts: 3941



« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2007, 08:56:25 am »

Desktops are fairly straight forward and inexpensive nowadays, especially if you have a wired network connection. Things change quickly, but here are some of my experiences:

Video cards: Intel usually works great out of the box. For higher performance, I prefer nVidia. ATI's new direction may put them on top in the future, but for now nV drivers seem to work better.

My Sony AW-Q170A-B2 DVD burner was cheap and works well with K3B.

Seagate hard drives have long warranty. Western Digital make quiet ones.
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bigpaws
Vectorian
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Posts: 1833


« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2007, 12:05:55 pm »

Asus boards have always been good for me. You can now
get boards with video (nvidia 6100) and such included. There
is controversy about 64 bit and dual core. I have not run a 64 bit
OS for a comparison.

My current setup is an AMD X2 4200 with a gig of RAM.

The area that I see being a plus is the dual core virtualization. I can run XP and W2K
virtualized without alot of difference vs running natively. My requirements for windows
are for support not doing too much else.

HTH

Bigpaws


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GrannyGeek
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Vectorian
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Posts: 2567


« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2007, 12:35:12 pm »

Don't get a motherboard that has an AGP slot. AGP is very obsolete now. PCIe is now mainstream.

If you have onboard video as well as a PCIe slot, you can run with onboard video, which may be sufficient forever and if not, you can pick up a PCIe card for as little as $30 when you feel the need. Onboard sound should be fine IF you can find out that it's compatible with Linux. The newer High Definition Audio chips can be very problematic with Linux. I've got SigmaTel HDA CODEC audio on my new laptop and I can't get sound to come out of the speakers, and Web searches show me that I have plenty of company.

I would not settle for less than a 64-bit dual core processor and 2 gigs of RAM. 64-bit dual core is the future, and dual core should give you a performance boost even with a 32-bit OS, as the cores can share the load (one handling one program that's running, another core handling something else, etc.). I should have said dual core is the *present* because quad core is now going mainstream. With 2 gigs of RAM you have the power for virtual machines, which are a terrific option. In fact, if something turns out to have serious hardware problems with Linux but works with Windows 2000/XP/Vista, you can run a virtual machine on Windows, install Linux in it, and that incompatible hardware will work just fine because the VM "fools" the guest OS into thinking the hardware is stuff with which the guest OS is compatible and the VM takes care of translating between the virtualized hardware and the actual hardware. That's the only way I've been able to run VectorLinux on my laptop, which has seemingly unsolvable problems with wireless and sound on the actual VL partition but runs like a champ in the VM. With enough RAM and CPU power, the system in the virtual machine runs just about as well as it would on a real partition.

Power supply depends on the video card. High-powered video cards need more power (duh!), so I'd go with 500 watts if I were buying. I have 350 watts in my Athlon desktop, but my PCIe video card there is low-end and not very demanding.

DDR2 is standard memory now. Even really cheap motherboards are using it. You have to use the kind of RAM required by your motherboard. I've never had a hard drive or CD or DVD burner that wouldn't work with Linux. My current hard drives are two Western Digital UDMAs, a Seagate UDMA PATA, and a Maxtor SATA, plus the Seagate (apparently) in the laptop. I also have four external hard drives (one FireWire and three USB 2) which I made with regular Ultra ATA hard drives that I put in a case. The drives are two Western Digitals, one Maxtor, and one Seagate (I think), but it may be another WD. No Linux problems with any of them.

Have fun! Building a computer is always a memorable experience.
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
The Headacher
Louder than you
Global Moderator
Vectorian
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Posts: 1545


I like the bass to go BOOM!


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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2007, 04:32:24 pm »

Quote
Asus boards have always been good for me.
I've heard that a lot. However, I had a really bad experience with the service over here when something did break, but that might be something Asus Holland (the Dutch ASUS headquarters) specific.

Onboard sound should be fine IF you can find out that it's compatible with Linux. The newer High Definition Audio chips can be very problematic with Linux. I've got SigmaTel HDA CODEC audio on my new laptop and I can't get sound to come out of the speakers, and Web searches show me that I have plenty of company.
Unfortunately, pretty much everything seems to come with intel HDA nowadays. And for a lot of people it works just fine. However, some models don't seem to work quite as well under Linux.

I'm expecting my new Asus laptop next week, which will replace one that couldn't be repaired (or at least the repair guys failed to fix it 3 times in a row, it's being replaced by ASUS now because I still had warranty ). After reading your trouble with intel HDA I'm very worried about the sound. Some of you might know I'm an audio junky, and if the sound doesn't work properly the laptop is pretty much useless to me. If I really can't get that to work I'll have to sell it and invest in another laptop, but I'd rather not..
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Most music on my soundcloud page was arranged in programs running on VL.
carsten
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Posts: 137


I know why birds sing ...


« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2007, 11:25:23 pm »

Howdy,
my condolence to this tragic loss. The very best, they often leave to early ... Cry

For a new machine I would just take care, the the DVD burner is Lightscribe capable. Lightscribe gives a cool effect and looks much better than Eding-smears.
Carsten
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Tam exacte ut oportet, non ut licet!
GrannyGeek
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Vectorian
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Posts: 2567


« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2007, 12:47:14 pm »

After reading your trouble with intel HDA I'm very worried about the sound. Some of you might know I'm an audio junky, and if the sound doesn't work properly the laptop is pretty much useless to me. If I really can't get that to work I'll have to sell it and invest in another laptop, but I'd rather not..

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you that your sound will work. There are so many variations of Intel HDA, some of which seem to be Linux friendly. I hope you get one of those.

I don't suppose that the laptop has Windows XP or Vista installed on it, or once did (meaning you have a restore cd)? If so, you can run VL in a VirtualBox virtual machine under Windows and your sound will be fine. Last resort, I know, but better than selling it unless you can get back what you paid for it. I'm assuming that the laptop has at least a gig of RAM and a powerful processor (as most newer laptops do). If the computer has enough horsepower, a virtual machine can work great. If not, it would be too slow and unresponsive.
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
The Headacher
Louder than you
Global Moderator
Vectorian
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Posts: 1545


I like the bass to go BOOM!


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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2007, 12:05:00 am »

Quote
There are so many variations of Intel HDA, some of which seem to be Linux friendly. I hope you get one of those.
Me too Smiley.

Quote
I don't suppose that the laptop has Windows XP or Vista installed on it, or once did (meaning you have a restore cd)?
I'm not sure what OS it will come with, but I'm guessing some Vista (still waiting for it). It will probably come with restore cd's. At least the last one did.

Quote
If so, you can run VL in a VirtualBox virtual machine under Windows and your sound will be fine. Last resort, I know, but better than selling it unless you can get back what you paid for it.
I'm not too sure what running Linux inside Vista will do to my latency, but I fear realtime audio will be hard to accomplish. I haven't paid anything for this one, it will replace a computer I paid 999 Euro's for. I won't be able to sell it for that much, that's for sure.

Quote
I'm assuming that the laptop has at least a gig of RAM and a powerful processor (as most newer laptops do). If the computer has enough horsepower, a virtual machine can work great. If not, it would be too slow and unresponsive.
The service guys said it would come with 2 GB's of RAM and a 1.66 GHz Core 2 Duo, so that should be enough I think. OTOH it seems like the ATI x2300 card is "capable" of using a lot of that..
« Last Edit: October 22, 2007, 03:57:28 am by The Headacher » Logged

Most music on my soundcloud page was arranged in programs running on VL.
BlueMage
Vectorite
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Posts: 274



« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2007, 02:35:48 am »

Monty, I'm going to echo support for the nVidia 7800GS - it's a good mid-range card which you should be able to get in either active or passive cooling.  I'm also going to suggest you forget AGP-based systems for this - PCIe is what you want, if for no other reason than should an upgrade be required, you've already got the backend there to handle it.

For mobo, Gigabyte GA-P35C-DS3R is what I'd recommend - it's the basis of a budget gaming rig, meaning it's got good features for the price.  Additionally, as best I can tell it's quad-core ready out of the box, so there won't be any additional fiddling required if you go the QX6*** route for your CPU.  For comparison, I've got a QX6700 in my Vista beast, and it flies, so I can just imagine how Vector would perform with anything like that sort of grunt backing it.
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Acer Laptop:  Vector 5.8 SOHO Final & Windows XP Professional & USB (still alive!)
Compaq POS (almost dead): Vector 5.9 Light Beta 5
Quad-core BEAST: Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit & Vector 5.9 64-bit beta-2
Old 500MHz media box:  Vector 5.8 SOHO Final (dead)
701 EeePC:  Puppeee (based on Puppy 4.01)
rbistolfi
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Vectorian
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Posts: 2265


« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2007, 05:44:15 am »

I'm not too sure what running Linux inside Vista will do to my latency, but I fear realtime audio will be hard to accomplish. I haven't paid anything for this one, it will replace a computer I paid 999 Euro's for. I won't be able to sell it for that much, that's for sure.

You will lost the outstanding realtime capability of the Linux kernel, thats for sure. You can assign real time priority to a windows process too, but is not very stable in my experience.
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
Jorge Luis Borges, Avatars of the Tortoise.

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Jumalauta!!
Monty67
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Posts: 66



« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2007, 12:35:57 pm »

A big thanks to everyone who has been throwing suggestions my way. You can't image how helpful you guys/gals have been.

Many Many Many Thank Yous!!!!!
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nightflier
Administrator
Vectorian
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Posts: 3941



« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2007, 02:39:17 pm »

Have fun building your new machine. May it live long and prosper.
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GrannyGeek
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Vectorian
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Posts: 2567


« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2007, 06:46:20 pm »

I'm not too sure what running Linux inside Vista will do to my latency, but I fear realtime audio will be hard to accomplish.

I don't even know what "realtime audio" is, so I can't draw on my experiences. All I do is listen to music and that's fine in the virtual machine. I can't get any sound from the actual hardware when I run Linux in its own partition.

Quote
The service guys said it would come with 2 GB's of RAM and a 1.66 GHz Core 2 Duo, so that should be enough I think. OTOH it seems like the ATI x2300 card is "capable" of using a lot of that..

When I'm using VirtualBox with VL 5.8 Standard, to which I've allocated 512 megs of RAM, Windows reports 1.06 gigs of physical RAM in use (out of two). This motherboard has onboard nVidia video. Vista Performance reports that there are 64 megs of dedicated memory and 271 megs of shared system memory being used. VirtualBox makes a pretty big hit on the CPU, as CPU usage hovers around 50% while the virtual machine is running.

VL in the virtual machine also reports CPU usage in its own VM. I don't know how that's related to CPU usage in the host system. I tried to use Picasa for Linux in the VM, but CPU usage in the VM reached 100% and slowed down Picasa in the virtual machine to the point that it was unusable. I removed Picasa for Linux. In an actual VL partition, Picasa for Linux is speedy enough. But in the VM, horrible. GQview works fine though a bit slower than on a physical partition, so it was definitely a Picasa for Linux problem (or maybe a Wine problem--Picasa for Linux runs under a customized Wine).
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
TonyH9904
Member
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Posts: 19


« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2007, 03:55:00 pm »

 Hello again,
    I have to second BigPaws and the Asus motherboard. Just had to rebuild my computer, ran out Sunday to Compusa, didn't want to wait and order here and there. They had an Asus M2R32-MVP, Cross-fire Ready motherboard, 149.00
2 PCI-express slots,  It is an athlon AM2 socket type. 4 slots for DDR2 memory, 8GB max. 2 reg PCI slots, 1 IDE ribbon cable connector, and I think 4 SATA connections. Onboard ethernet by gigabyte (Marvell 88E8001) and onboard audio 8ch HD audio (ADI AD1988A)   and a host of other stuff I don't quite know about yet
   I was still using Soho5.1 and once I booted into this new hardware, the VASM configured my cheap geforce card ok,
 but couldn't do a thing with this new audio (need Alsa 1.0.12 or newer). System was sort of sluggish opening FF and kde apps. Just loaded VL 5.8 standard and it works awesomely.
OH yes, there was a 25.00 on-site rebate on that card last Sunday, the people who worked there didn't know about until they rang it up. This seems like a gamer-oriented MB but so far it works nicely with Win2000Pro and VL.
TonyH

                                                                                                             
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