"el cheapo computer"

"el cheapo computer"

Post by kan » Sat, 31 Aug 2002 19:39:43



Dear Sirs!

Background:

My goal is to build the ultimate "el cheapo computer" :-) with a system
board that has everything, that is: graphics, network, sound e.t.c. all on
the system board. I plan to use the RedHat 7.3 distro.

Question:

Which system board(s) can be used in such a setup?

Any recommendations, experiences, warnings?

:-)

---
Regards:
Kalevi Nyman

 
 
 

"el cheapo computer"

Post by Clive Dov » Sat, 31 Aug 2002 19:24:25



> Dear Sirs!

> Background:

> My goal is to build the ultimate "el cheapo computer" :-) with a
> system board that has everything, that is: graphics, network, sound
> e.t.c. all on the system board. I plan to use the RedHat 7.3 distro.

> Question:

> Which system board(s) can be used in such a setup?

> Any recommendations, experiences, warnings?

> :-)

> ---
> Regards:
> Kalevi Nyman

I would advise against doing that.

You probably can't get a board these days without onboard sound and
graphics, but I would get a good graphics card for the AGP slot and a
good soundcard and ethernet card for pci slots.

Avoid mainboards where everything is on the mainboard and there are
only 3 pci slots. (that is most of the "name brand" computers)

Get as close to plain vanilla as you can with the best speed Intel cpu
chip that you can afford and put and the with most pci slots available
and put everything in slots where they can be replaced if you don't
like their performance or something better comes along.

The mainboard sound systems in particular are punko-junko and not very
well suppported in linux.

Once you have built your system and plugged in your soundcard, go into
the bios and disable the mainboard sound and midi.

 
 
 

"el cheapo computer"

Post by Stuar » Sat, 31 Aug 2002 19:34:59


Quote:> My goal is to build the ultimate "el cheapo computer" :-) with a system
> board that has everything, that is: graphics, network, sound e.t.c. all on
> the system board. I plan to use the RedHat 7.3 distro.

If you can wait a while, the Linux Xbox project looks promising. :)

Stuart
www.stu.org.uk

 
 
 

"el cheapo computer"

Post by Andreas Matter » Sat, 31 Aug 2002 21:15:20



> If you can wait a while, the Linux Xbox project looks promising. :)

Not bad, not bad at all... ;)

I concur with the previous post though, don't get an integrated solution,
get easily replaced standard components and even there don't go for the
dirt-cheap solution but proven technology. It boils down to the "buying
costs" vs. "Total Costs of Ownership" debate. You'll find out that the
single component system will have marginally higher up front costs but
you'll save a lot of money and work with better results in the long run.

Andreas

--
Andreas Mattern          andreas.mattern at ikm.uni-karlsruhe.de
Institut fuer Keramik im Maschinenbau Uni Karlsruhe                            

There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary,
and those who don't.

 
 
 

"el cheapo computer"

Post by Steve Wolf » Sun, 01 Sep 2002 01:51:16


Quote:> I concur with the previous post though, don't get an integrated
solution,
> get easily replaced standard components and even there don't go for the
> dirt-cheap solution but proven technology. It boils down to the "buying
> costs" vs. "Total Costs of Ownership" debate. You'll find out that the
> single component system will have marginally higher up front costs but
> you'll save a lot of money and work with better results in the long run.

    I'm curious as to why you suggest that, without knowing the intended
usage.  I've found that unless a person is planning on *, the
highly-integrated solutions work just fine - *especially* with Linux on
the machines.  I have a number of "Book PC's" around here, which are about
the cheapest (quality and price) that I've ever seen.  Under Windows, they
suck, but are usable.  Under Linux, they're terrific.  Nice, stable, and
reasonably fast.  The networking, video, and sound all work just dandy,
without a single hiccup.  As long as you're not going to play Quake 3 on
them, I haven't ever seen a reason not to use them.  They're incredibly
handy whenever I need to take one somewhere, it's like carrying a large
book.

  On the other end of the quality scale, the 1U servers that I use have
highly-integrated Tyan motherboards in them, and they work just as well.
The only usability difference is that the Tyan boards, with an ATI Rage on
them, have a bit more 3D power than the i810 solution in the book PC's.

   Of course, not all of the highly-integrated products work correctly, or
even well - but that's just as true of "regular" hardware.  ; )  If the
video on one of those motherboards went out, I'd be screwed.  Seeing as
how I'm about 100 times more likely to have a power supply, fan, or memory
stick go bad on me, I'm comfortable with that.

steve

 
 
 

"el cheapo computer"

Post by Allen Cride » Sun, 01 Sep 2002 04:06:54



> Dear Sirs!

> Background:

> My goal is to build the ultimate "el cheapo computer" :-) with a system
> board that has everything, that is: graphics, network, sound e.t.c. all on
> the system board. I plan to use the RedHat 7.3 distro.

Get an integrated motherboard. I've been deploying them for a couple of
years and they are fine. In fact, getting boards and then adding PCI cards
for every little function is a messy, expensive headache.

Don't waste your money on an Intel CPU. They are way overpriced. Their
low-end offerings are dead slow. Look at prices on Pricewatch.com. For
US$70 or so you can get an Athlon 1800+ or a pathetic Celeron 1.3. A
Pentium 4 at 1800mhz will cost $144. Total rip-off, and lousy
floating-point performance too!

Boards with the SiS740, KM266 or Nforce chipset will work fine. All of these
chipsets use DDR RAM, which ensures decent-enough video clock rates to
drive your monitor at 1280 x 1024 resolution in 24-bit color. Older SDRAM
chipsets will only support 16 bits at decent refresh rates.

Nforce chipset requires binary drivers from Nvidia. Some people prefer open
source drivers. Also, the SiS740 series doesn't have any 3d supported. It
seems the Nforce has the best performance and the highest price. The SiS
has next-best performance, and the KM266, the worst (though not far behind
the SiS).

Quote:

> Question:

> Which system board(s) can be used in such a setup?

> Any recommendations, experiences, warnings?

> :-)

> ---
> Regards:
> Kalevi Nyman

 
 
 

"el cheapo computer"

Post by Andreas Matter » Sun, 01 Sep 2002 08:13:04



>> I concur with the previous post though, don't get an integrated
> solution,
>> get easily replaced standard components and even there don't go for the
>> dirt-cheap solution but proven technology. It boils down to the "buying
>> costs" vs. "Total Costs of Ownership" debate. You'll find out that the
>> single component system will have marginally higher up front costs but
>> you'll save a lot of money and work with better results in the long run.
>     I'm curious as to why you suggest that, without knowing the intended
> usage.  I've found that unless a person is planning on *, the
> highly-integrated solutions work just fine - *especially* with Linux on
> the machines.  I have a number of "Book PC's" around here, which are about
> the cheapest (quality and price) that I've ever seen.  Under Windows, they
> suck, but are usable.  Under Linux, they're terrific.  Nice, stable, and
> reasonably fast.  The networking, video, and sound all work just dandy,
> without a single hiccup.  

I agree that highly integrated tiny pcs are something nice and might
constitute a class on their own. I understood the poster that he wants a
standard midi tower system, cheapest. All the mini-systems that I know
of aren't really cheap...

As for my suggestions:

-Integrated network: just check how many people have problems with Realtek
cards... ;) The only other "regular" AFAICT is 3Com which might well be due
to the huge number of fakes flodding the market. Then you get slower data
transfer rate, highter cpu utilization and problems even when they're set up
properly.

-Integrated graphics: Speed is not the issue for 2D, but the signal quality
is usually worse. If you really want to work on that machine that is a
factor.

-Sound: I agree, integrated sound is ok for most people. Actually it's
becoming more expensive to buy mainboards *without* sound than the other way
round.

Quote:> As long as you're not going to play Quake 3 on
> them, I haven't ever seen a reason not to use them.  They're incredibly
> handy whenever I need to take one somewhere, it's like carrying a large
> book.

Thata is true but I don't think that you can get them cheaper than some
dirt-cheap duron model.  

Quote:>   On the other end of the quality scale, the 1U servers that I use have
> highly-integrated Tyan motherboards in them, and they work just as well.
> The only usability difference is that the Tyan boards, with an ATI Rage on
> them, have a bit more 3D power than the i810 solution in the book PC's.

1U servers are built for quality, the original poster wanted a dirt-cheap
system! Of course you can get high quality integrated solutions, but for a
price.

Quote:>    Of course, not all of the highly-integrated products work correctly, or
> even well - but that's just as true of "regular" hardware.  ; )  If the
> video on one of those motherboards went out, I'd be screwed.  Seeing as
> how I'm about 100 times more likely to have a power supply, fan, or memory
> stick go bad on me, I'm comfortable with that.

Ah, memory, my favourite topic... Get Infineon, they have 10 year warranty
and I've never had any sort of problems with them, something I can't say of
cheap no name memory.

Andreas

--
Andreas Mattern          andreas.mattern at ikm.uni-karlsruhe.de
Institut fuer Keramik im Maschinenbau Uni Karlsruhe                            

There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary,
and those who don't.

 
 
 

"el cheapo computer"

Post by DerNewsBibe » Sun, 01 Sep 2002 09:20:26




Quote:> > I concur with the previous post though, don't get an integrated
> solution,
> > get easily replaced standard components and even there don't go for the
> > dirt-cheap solution but proven technology. It boils down to the "buying
> > costs" vs. "Total Costs of Ownership" debate. You'll find out that the
> > single component system will have marginally higher up front costs but
> > you'll save a lot of money and work with better results in the long run.

>     I'm curious as to why you suggest that, without knowing the intended
> usage.  I've found that unless a person is planning on *, the
> highly-integrated solutions work just fine - *especially* with Linux on
> the machines.  I have a number of "Book PC's" around here, which are about
> the cheapest (quality and price) that I've ever seen.  Under Windows, they
> suck, but are usable.  Under Linux, they're terrific.  Nice, stable, and
> reasonably fast.  The networking, video, and sound all work just dandy,
> without a single hiccup.  As long as you're not going to play Quake 3 on
> them, I haven't ever seen a reason not to use them.  They're incredibly
> handy whenever I need to take one somewhere, it's like carrying a large
> book.

>   On the other end of the quality scale, the 1U servers that I use have
> highly-integrated Tyan motherboards in them, and they work just as well.
> The only usability difference is that the Tyan boards, with an ATI Rage on
> them, have a bit more 3D power than the i810 solution in the book PC's.

>    Of course, not all of the highly-integrated products work correctly, or
> even well - but that's just as true of "regular" hardware.  ; )  If the
> video on one of those motherboards went out, I'd be screwed.  Seeing as
> how I'm about 100 times more likely to have a power supply, fan, or memory
> stick go bad on me, I'm comfortable with that.

> steve

hm could u name me an adress or else where i can buy such a book pc?
would be nice
thx

DerNewsBiber

 
 
 

"el cheapo computer"

Post by Dick Kistle » Sun, 01 Sep 2002 08:54:10





> > > I concur with the previous post though, don't get an integrated
> > solution,
> > > get easily replaced standard components and even there don't go for
the
> > > dirt-cheap solution but proven technology. It boils down to the
"buying
> > > costs" vs. "Total Costs of Ownership" debate. You'll find out that the
> > > single component system will have marginally higher up front costs but
> > > you'll save a lot of money and work with better results in the long
run.

> >     I'm curious as to why you suggest that, without knowing the intended
> > usage.  I've found that unless a person is planning on *, the
> > highly-integrated solutions work just fine - *especially* with Linux on
> > the machines.  I have a number of "Book PC's" around here, which are
about
> > the cheapest (quality and price) that I've ever seen.  Under Windows,
they
> > suck, but are usable.  Under Linux, they're terrific.  Nice, stable, and
> > reasonably fast.  The networking, video, and sound all work just dandy,
> > without a single hiccup.  As long as you're not going to play Quake 3 on
> > them, I haven't ever seen a reason not to use them.  They're incredibly
> > handy whenever I need to take one somewhere, it's like carrying a large
> > book.

> >   On the other end of the quality scale, the 1U servers that I use have
> > highly-integrated Tyan motherboards in them, and they work just as well.
> > The only usability difference is that the Tyan boards, with an ATI Rage
on
> > them, have a bit more 3D power than the i810 solution in the book PC's.

> >    Of course, not all of the highly-integrated products work correctly,
or
> > even well - but that's just as true of "regular" hardware.  ; )  If the
> > video on one of those motherboards went out, I'd be screwed.  Seeing as
> > how I'm about 100 times more likely to have a power supply, fan, or
memory
> > stick go bad on me, I'm comfortable with that.

> > steve

> hm could u name me an adress or else where i can buy such a book pc?
> would be nice
> thx

> DerNewsBiber

Try http://www.veryComputer.com/
expensive, but the approach is interesting. I guess that some businesses
would buy a computer like these by the carload.

Dick Kistler

 
 
 

"el cheapo computer"

Post by kan » Mon, 02 Sep 2002 00:29:31


Thank you most kindly for all those knowledgable answers. I am amazed by the
speed of answers and the interest you all show to my newbie questions.
Thank you very much! I hope I can return the favour one day! I will tell
you the results of my escapades when the first el-cheapo is working!

Yours:

Kalevi Nyman
---