[sf-lug] new computer

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Nov 13 01:59:36 PST 2007

Quoting Alex Kleider (a_kleider at yahoo.com):

> I'm seriously considering building myself a "hefty" linux box.

As Christian says, it make a considerable difference what specialty if
any you intend to tailor this thing for.  However, this comes across as
a gamer box, nei?

>         SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B - OEM 

SATA ATAPI support (CD, DVD, tape, and similar drives) was added in
Linux kernel 2.6.14.  So, if you intend to use the above drive in your
distro's installer, you'll need to make sure the installation kernel is
version 2.6.14 or above.  (That's pretty recent.)
>         Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA
> 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (I probably don't need anything this big: would
> going smaller make it less likely to break?)

I honestly doubt you can _buy_ anything smaller, any more.  Time's
winged arrow moves on....

>         SeaSonic S12 Energy Plus SS-550HT ATX12V / EPS12V 550W Power
> Supply (some have advised 650W: necessary?)

Dunno.  Add up estimates for your big-ticket amperage draws, to hit the
ballpark.  If in doubt, go for slightly heftier.

Note:  Dodgy or overstressed power supplies are the second most fearsome
killer of electronic components, right behind heat buildup -- and I tend
to assume that offbrand PSU (power supply unit) manufacturers are lying
when they imply reliable delivery of X watts.  A PSU that's trying to
deliver a bit more than it's capable of will very often go unstable and
kill all your attached hard drives, and possibly other things.

Me, I'd go with a really known-good brand that I _know_ really is 550W 
of reliable power long before I'd go with some unfamiliar brand that
promises 650:  Antec, Cooler Master, PC Power & Cooling.  There are
probably other reliable brands, but those three are the ones that come
to mind (and are the ones I'd pay extra for).

I see that Central Computer sells Seasonic.  That might make them a good
risk, but I've personally not heard of them before.

>         Koutech IO-RCM620 USB 2.0 3.5"/5.25" Card Reader

Not known -- but the model KW-21 CS works:
>         mushkin 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
> Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996527

You're a man of good taste in RAM, sir!

>         EVGA 122-CK-NF63-TR LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel
> Motherboard

Northbridge:  Nvidia Nforce 680i SLI
Southbridge:  Nvidia Nforce 680i SLI MCP (which is same as prior 590 SLI MCP)
              (thus _possibly_ the "nv" SATA driver?)
Ethernet:  dual-port something, probably Nvidia.  Uncertain.
Sound:  "Azalia" High Definition Audio
Firewire:  Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A
Video:  maybe Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX, maybe Nvidia 8800 GTX

More about all this below.
>         Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 Conroe 3.0GHz LGA 775 Processor Model
> BX80557E6850
>         (The E6750 2.66GHz is an alternative: would it be better to
> stay conservative?)

Either of these is ridiculously excessive for most needs.

>         TRENDnet TV-IP400 640 x 480 MAX Resolution RJ45 Advanced Pan &
> Tilt Internet Camera Server

I'm not sure I understand the datasheet about this device correctly:
Seems like it connects to your ethernet network and DHCPs.  Then, it
somehow streams out video -- some level of JPEG compression? -- and
there's something about how you can get to that streaming content either
using a Java-equipped Web browser or using something called "IPView
software".  Web browsers with either Java or ActiveX can control camera
pan/scan, etc.

So, there you go; seems to just need a Web browser with a JRE plugin.

OK, getting back to that motherboard:  The "forcedeth" ethernet driver
will either work or not, video drivers will either work or not, audio
drivers will either work or not, SATA drivers will either work or not,
depending on how bleeding edge your distro's kernel and X11 software
are.  Nvidia just, well, really sucks at cooperating with the open
source community, which is one reason why I'd stay far, far away from
its chipset, especially the newest ones at any given time.

But then, if you're a gamer, you're probably an Nvidia fan, and are
going to go there anyway.  ;->  And you're going for balls-to-the-wall 
performance and maximum framerate, and don't care about stability, power
conservation, noise reduction, I/O robustness (other than video), video
picture quality, or ability to be happy just with genuine open source

(I'm not a gamer.)

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