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Budget Linux Build Help Needed

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by mark2741, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. mark2741 New Member

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    Older guy here who has been out of the build/hardware loop for quite some time and need some advice. About 7 years ago I built a system to run Ubuntu, but unfortunately found out the hard way that the motherboard wasn't supported and to this day the thing just doesn't run right with Ubuntu, so I went with Windows (Vista, then 7) on it. It's been sitting collecting dust as I mainly use a laptop, but I'm finishing my basement and want a decent desktop down there to use as both a file server but also for my son to do some light gaming on. I plan on dual-booting Windows 7 on it but primarily it will be a linux machine. Internet, Minecraft, Gimp, etc.

    To keep costs down I would like to re-use as much of the existing case and the drives. Here is what I currently have:

    • Case: Antec Nine Hundred
    • Mobo: Gigabyte GA-8IDML
    • CPU: AMD x2 64. I am away from the computer right now but I believe it is 1.4ghz 2-core model?
    • RAM: 8GB (I believe PC133 - my guess is that is no longer useful these days? : (
    • HD: 10,000RPM Raptor (I put this in a few years ago as a boot drive)
    • Nvidia 7300 (GS?) I forget the exact card but I believe that's it.
    • Creative Soundblaster

    I'd like to stay under $150 total but if I need to go up a little I can. Will re-use the case, DVD drives, and maybe the hard drives. To keep things simple, I'm thinking I'm fine with onboard graphics and sound?

    I saw this combination mentioned as a good option on anand:

    BIOSTAR H61MGC LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
    +
    Intel Celeron G530 Sandy Bridge 2.4GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6182/fall-budget-system-buyers-guide/2

    I am not partial to Intel vs AMD. I don't care. I've read that Biostar mobos are good for linux but not reliable from a pure hardware standpoint.

    While I want to go relatively cheap with this system, I also don't want to limit myself for the future if another $25 is needed to get into a motherboard that is better long-term, hence I'm hoping you guys can help! : ) I want to ensure maximum compatibility (preferrably 100% 'out of the box') with linux.
     
  2. Chevalr1c

    Chevalr1c

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    What did actually refuse to work on the previous board? All mainstream network and audio chips Realtek and VIA released the last decade should work with Linux. Just asking, btw.

    I do not know how reliable Biostar is nowadays, it is said they improved (just like ASRock) but I don't know how much. ;) Anyway, the network controller and onboard sound chip should work with all mainstream Linux distros like Ubuntu and Linux Mint, out of the box. Graphics too, if you stick with the onboard graphics.
    When it comes to RAM, 4 GB of DDR3-1333 should be plenty, also for Windows.
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  3. Ikaruga

    Ikaruga

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    It's too weak for gaming, you would not only need to buy a new motherboard but also a new video card as well. The cheapest option is clearly to buy a new second-hand motherboard with onboard graphics or a cheap discrete graphics card. Both can be done around $50-70 each. Suggesting any hardware is really hard since your post includes an Intel motherboard with an AMD CPU, so I will go for the more expensive new hardware approach from now on.

    If you only go for brand new stuff and there is absolutely no more money than $150-170, its much more difficult: I would try to sell the CPU+RAM+MOTHERBOARD+VIDEOCARD combo because the sooner you get rid of those the better. I would keep the CASE, the PSU and the HDD, and invest into a A6-5400K($70), + a FM2 motherboard ($50-60-ish), + 8GB RAM ($40-45-ish). That APU would run Minecraft and some games in 720p just fine, and you could add a second discrete HD 6570 (dual-graphics) later if it's really needed.
    There was a news here on TPU which stated that AMD cut prices on the A4-5300, and it's $30 now, but I guess that's still needs time to reach retails (well, it's not an unlocked CPU nor it has dual-graphics support anyway)

    People are running ubuntu on FM boards, so it works, but I'm not sure about 100% compatibility. I'm not even sure where to check that anymore tbh, because the official database is useless since we have "UbuntuFriendly", and different versions broke different things all the times.

    The main concern about the setup above might be that you have to use AMD Catalyst which is not open source (there is an open source AMD driver, but it performs much worse and it has a dated feature set). If you want better Linux compatibility and greater computing power and lower power consumption, go for an Intel CPU as somebody suggested for you. Intel has a good open source graphics drivers, but the performance is much lower compared to AMD, and Minecraft will knee it quite easily on heavy scenarios.
    The main problem with your request is that you want to keep the budget around $150, but you also want to play games. This is not possible from that kind of money. The Intel HD graphics in the G530 won't be much faster than the 7300GS, so if you want more performance, you gonna need to save up some money and put a cheap discrete card next to the G530 or go for a CPU with stronger IGP.

    (please note again, that all this is suggested only because I don't know what CPU or motherboard you have, and the upgrade path with buying second hand stuffs is probably cheaper and more efficient.. but in the case if 478 socket, I would not be able to suggest any motherboard anyway.)


    Also before you go further:
    1, Are you sure that the PSU is still reliable after 7 years?
    2, If your 10K drive is sata1, make sure you check the compatibility with the mainboard you want to buy, there are some rare incompatibility exceptions in that area:)
     
  4. Chevalr1c

    Chevalr1c

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    Seven Hells, where on earth do you see a combo of an Intel mobo with an AMD CPU. :( Read the posts before you reply... (see my later reply)
    And Minecraft should do fine on a HD graphics GPU, right? Unless one maximises the window of that game, which I doubt will be done (I usually play with a window of roughly 1000x600 or so). Anyway, we will take no risk and go the AMD route.

    The Linux 3.x kernel supports virtually every network controller out there, as long as Mark2741 stays away from Broadcom (which does not always guarantee out of the box functionality). Sound? Both ALSA and the generic kernel that Debain-like distros provide support the integrated audio solutions abvailable to consumers. Again just stay away from exotics (and dedicated sound cards, just in case, to avoid the need to compile drivers).

    So, time for a dual core AMD APU with sufficient graphical power (I recommend using the propietary drivers, not the open source drivers), a decent and affordable motherboard with Realtek ethernet and sound chips (VIA should be ok too, but Realtek is a better choice generally) and some RAM.
    Ikaruga had a point though, when he suggested getting a new PSU due to reliability concerns.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
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  5. Jstn7477

    Jstn7477

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    OP, your system specifications make absolutely no sense. You listed a Socket 478 AGP motherboard, a PCIe video card, an AMD CPU that doesn't exist, an unfeasible amount of ancient SDRAM and a hard disk that the board you listed doesn't have an interface for. I'll have to agree with the others that there isn't an "incompatible system" with Linux, as I run Ubuntu machines ranging from years 2002-2012 perfectly fine on Ubuntu 12.04.
     
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  6. Chevalr1c

    Chevalr1c

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    Ikaruga, I should apology. I overlooked the board in the list and therefor did not google the model. Indeed it is an Intel board. Sorry.
     
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  7. Ikaruga

    Ikaruga

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    Nah, Only those who do nothing make no mistakes, so don't worry about it:)
    When I saw that strange CPU mobo "combo", I just ignored the whole thing. I also have to admit that I didn't read it very carefully because it didn't make much sense.


    Also:
    -Fun fact:There were some 7300GS AGP cards.

    -Basic HD graphics can't handle Minecraft well, I know that from experience.

    -Sometimes you can see that one of the raid modes, or USB functions, etc.. fail to work properly with one version of the OS, and than it works just fine with an other one, so I was not sure what he meant about 100% compatibility.
    For example, I have an ion based HTPC, and sometimes I have problems with flash accel under ubuntu, while sometimes I don't, so it's not that simple that everything works all the times, especially with dated motherboards or chipsets like the 478 rig here. (it's the same with windows btw)

    edit: The bottom line is that I was trying to help based on the available info, and I suggested something for $150-170.... that's all:)
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
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