[sf-lug] the build-a-box project -- LIST

jim stockford jim at well.com
Wed Sep 6 08:23:17 PDT 2006

i'm gonna have to read that again. what a gold mine.
thanks! Maybe I'll take the 500MB RAM sticks back
for a couple of 1GB sticks. Julie claims that dual
sticks is faster than a single stick, given the same
total RAM.

On Sep 6, 2006, at 1:17 AM, Rick Moen wrote:

> Quoting jim stockford (jim at well.com):
>> Asus P5P800 SE motherboard with Intel 865PE chipset
> Modern motherboards consist (mostly) of two chip clusters (actually, 
> two
> chips in total, integration having proceeded to that point),
> dubbed the north bridge and south bridge chips, plus maybe two or three
> extra peripheral chips not yet emborged^W integrated into the main two
> clusters, usually ethernet, video, and/or Firewire (aka IEEE-1394).
> When a motherboard integrator (like ASUS) says "Intel 865PE chipset",
> it's really a reference to the north bridge -- which ironically has
> basically nil relevance for driver support issues.
> In this case, we have:
> Intel 865PE north bridge:  This is the part that talks to the CPU(s) 
> and RAM.
>                            In this case, it supports an 8xx Pentium D 
> series
>                            P4 Prescott/Celeron D CPU out of the box, 
> and
>                            the BIOS can be reflashed to support a 9xx 
> series
>                            CPU as well in a Socket T (aka LGA 775).  
> Does
>                            DDR400 aka PC 3200 SDRAM DIMMs in up to four
>                            184pin DIMM sockets.  Buy unbuffered, 
> non-ECC
>                            DIMMs for this puppy.  It maxes out at four
>                            1GB sticks.  If you're feeling lucky and buy
>                            really good RAM _and_ are careful with 
> cooling,
>                            the BIOS Setup's frequency-setting options 
> are
>                            even overclocking-friendly.  (Good luck with
>                            that.  Send me a postcard.)
> Intel ICH5-series south bridge:  This is the part that supports all of
>                            the other I/O functions.  This ICH5 drives 
> four
>                            regular ol' PCI slots (no PCI-X, no 
> PCI-Express)
>                            at 800/533MHz and one AGP 4x/8x slot (0.8V
>                            and 1.5V only).  Four USB, two PS/2, one 
> legacy
>                            serial, one legacy parallel, blah blah.  
> ICH5 chip
>                            drives 2x SATA (Linux ata_piix driver) or 
> two chains
>                            of PATA aka legacy IDE (Linux piix driver) 
> for
>                            mass storage.
> ICH5 is a pretty traditional south bridge chip family at this point --
> the current offering being ICH7 -- so it poses no real challenges for
> drivers.
> Separately on this motherboard, there's a Intel 82540EM gigabit 
> ethernet
> chipset (Linux e1000 driver) and a ADI AD1888 sound chip.  Linux 
> snd_atiixp
> (?) ALSA driver support for this markedly improved a/o 2.6.13 and 
> later.
> No integrated video -- so you need a video card, preferably AGP, of
> course.
> Form factor is regular ol' ATX (30.5 cm x 21.3cm).  Requires a regular
> ol' ATX 12V PSU.  AMI BIOS.
>> Pentium 4 processor 531 3GHz 800 MHz FSB 1MB L2 Cache
> Actually, up to 3.8 GHz in-spec, more if you do overclocker tricks.
>> "Intel EM64T supporting 64-bit computing" "Intel Hyper-Threading
>> Technology"
> Yeah, all that.  Dual-core if you want to pay for one.  (Don't forget,
> depending on role, most Linux boxes, most of the time, are I/O and
> RAM-bound.   It's a really rare Linux box's CPU that isn't loafing
> almost all the time.  Personally, I'd sink the discretionary money
> elsewhere -- unless you're a 3D gamer, in which case you throw money in
> big wads at the video card and a bit for the CPU as well.)
>> "Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) for fan speed control"
> You _may_ be able to assert software control of that.  You will
> definitely be able to monitor it.
>> two kingston KVR400X64C3A/512 RAM sticks
> Me, I'd buy two 1GB sticks, but it's your money (and already spent 
> ;->).
> Kingston's all right.  Personally, I like Crucial or (better) Mushkin
> EMS, but choice of local vendor's really more important, and you know
> these folks.
>> Western Digital WD800JB 80GB hard drive
> Nice average PATA drive.  Inoffensive, and they don't run hot.
>> No-big-brand-name-sticker, little teeny NEC Corporation credit DVD
>> R/RW and CD-R/RW drive Model ND-3550A
> I used to say, treat these like they're a little fragile, but they're 
> so
> inexpensive these days that who cares?  ;->  Anyhow, it's ATAPI, and
> thus runs off the aforementioned piix driver and the rest of the
> bog-standard drivers/ide subsystems.  No problems there.
>> Plastic bag with CD ROM and yellow sticky with hand writing "Driver
>> for ATI RD 9500 Pro 128 MB VG"
> Who-hoo!  Frisbee!
>> Sony model MPF920 Floppy disk drive
> (Party like it's 1989!)  Hope you didn't forgo a perfectly good pack of
> chewing gum for that one.
>> Sparkle Power Int'l Ltd (SPI) Switching Power Supply Model No
>> ATX-300PA Max DC output 300W
> These are really good.  I keep a few of these around as spares.
> But where's the video card?  Is that the ATI 9500 Pro that went with
> that frisbee^W driver CD?  Either you didn't list the card explicitly,
> or I stupidly snipped it.  Anyway:
> Hmm, let's see:  Radeon 9500 Pro AGP....
> That's built on an R300 NE (PCI ID = 0x4E45) graphics processor.  Which
> means you can almost certainly get really decent 3D performance using
> just the standard X.org (e.g., v. 6.9 and up) open-source "radeon"
> driver and Mesa open-source 3D libraries, without having to resort to
> ATI's proprietary, binary-only fglrx driver set.
> On account of the sound chip if for no better reason, you should for
> heaven's sake stick to distros using modern 2.6.x kernels, and stay 
> away
> from antique chozzeroi that still use 2.4.x kernels in the 21st century
> (**cough** RHEL3 **cough**).
> Basically, you should have no driver problems with any _modern_ distro.
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