Hardware to recommend?

Hardware to recommend?

Post by JT » Sun, 21 Feb 1999 04:00:00



I am wanting to set-up relatively low cost system (around $550 excluding
monitor) and need some advise as to all components:

  motherboard
  CPU
  video
  memory
  sound
  modem
  hard-disk
  cd rom
  etc...

If there is anyone out there with a recommended setup please let me (and
everyone else know)

Thank you
JIM

 
 
 

Hardware to recommend?

Post by Rod Roar » Sun, 21 Feb 1999 04:00:00



>I am wanting to set-up relatively low cost system (around $550 excluding
>monitor) and need some advise as to all components:

>  motherboard
>  CPU
>  video
>  memory
>  sound
>  modem
>  hard-disk
>  cd rom
>  etc...

>If there is anyone out there with a recommended setup please let me (and
>everyone else know)

Probably a system with something like a FIC VA503+ mainboard and a
K6-2/333 is the best compromise between dirt-cheap pricing and
non-obsolescence.  The Intel Celeron is also a good buy.  

-- Rod
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Sunset Systems                           Preconfigured Linux Computers
http://www.sunsetsystems.com/                         Starting at $499
----------------------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

Hardware to recommend?

Post by Plinio Barbeit » Sun, 21 Feb 1999 04:00:00



> I am wanting to set-up relatively low cost system (around $550 excluding
> monitor) and need some advise as to all components:

>   motherboard
>   CPU
>   video
>   memory
>   sound
>   modem
>   hard-disk
>   cd rom
>   etc...

> If there is anyone out there with a recommended setup please let me (and
> everyone else know)

> Thank you
> JIM

You're thinking of buying the parts based on what USENET already knows
to work and is supported by the manufacturers.  A novel idea :)

My question is slightly different -- I'm trying to figure out what is
the most *maxed-out* system for Linux I can build that will work
perfectly with available/supported drivers (I don't mind playing around
with kernels as long as I know it's going to work).  Therefore, I
address this question to anyone that has tried to add fairly late model
parts to their system and succeeded.

I'd also like to know if the manufacturer has a good record of linux
support and which version worked with the part in question.  Even *with*
slightly older hardware I know a linux system is still going to blow
away some of the OSes bloating out of control out there...

Motherboard: BX; Have you been able to get a 133Mhz bus clock board with
heat alarms, sleep mode clock speed reduction, AGP (2x AGP?) to work?

CPU: Has anyone gotten a Celeron to work up to 700Mhz or is this a smoke
generator :) ?

Hard disk: What is the largest overall size or partition that can be
used?
(The 18G's are out now and the 50G's will follow soon, and I know linux
is probably my best hope for using all of the capacity without resorting
to 1M sector sizes or something...)

SCSI host adaptor: Looks like Mylex and Advansys might have the best
linux support up to now, but does anyone have a multichannel 80
Mbyte/sec card working? Or one that will allow adding a slower device
(CD) to it without throwing a wrench into the transfer rates?  I've been
told that it's better not to mix and match with IDE, is this true?
Anyone have RAID working?

CD: I don't expect a compatibility problem as long as it speaks SCSI
(even with 40x, TrueX, what have you) but let me know of any exceptions.

Monitor: Hopefully the brand doesn't matter with late-model monitors and
I just have to worry about whether it supports the video card's DAC
clock speed, right?

Video card: Based on the discussion in another linux group, it would
seem like no one has the just-out 16M NVIDIA RIVA TNT based cards
working yet -- but have any 8M card drivers succeeded?  If not, how
about any card with AGP (lessening the need for gobs of on board video
memory)?

Memory: PC100 SRAM DIMMS ought to be transparent, but let me know if
they're not. Max size is not the biggest concern, but if you've
populated your board to 1G and can use all of it I wouldn't mind hearing
about it.

Sound: Have the PCI sound cards reached "supported" status yet (they're
supposed to be less interrupt intensive than the ISA cards and therefore
more conducive to performance)?

Modem: I don't expect any problems with whatever the latest 56k modem
is, but let me know if I should be wary.  Anyone using a cable modem
with linux?

Network: 100Mbit cards are mainstream by now, right?

Thanks for any help with any of these decisions...

                                                                --PB

 
 
 

Hardware to recommend?

Post by Alle » Mon, 22 Feb 1999 04:00:00


        I know you have a target price in mind, but would it not be
better to start with what job you want this machine to do?  Reason
being that even if you can build or buy a fairly cheap, but good
screwdriver, it still won't hammer nails well, to use an analogy?  


>I am wanting to set-up relatively low cost system (around $550 excluding
>monitor) and need some advise as to all components:

>  motherboard
>  CPU
>  video
>  memory
>  sound
>  modem
>  hard-disk
>  cd rom
>  etc...

>If there is anyone out there with a recommended setup please let me (and
>everyone else know)

>Thank you
>JIM

Allen

(email addy; user ID portion has a numeral one in place of word
onespoiler, and of course, delete the bogus secondary domain of nospam.)
fight spam everywhere!!!

                The irony is that Bill Gates claims to making a
                         stable operating system and
             Linus Torvalds claims to be trying to take over the world.

                 Linux; The Official OS of the New Millennium

                          http://www.linuxlink.com

 
 
 

Hardware to recommend?

Post by Rod Roar » Mon, 22 Feb 1999 04:00:00



>My question is slightly different -- I'm trying to figure out what is
>the most *maxed-out* system for Linux I can build that will work
>perfectly ....

I hope you know there's no computer you can build that will make you
more popular with women.  So the answer will depend on the intended
use.  What's your goal?

-- Rod
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Sunset Systems                           Preconfigured Linux Computers
http://www.sunsetsystems.com/                         Starting at $499
----------------------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

Hardware to recommend?

Post by Eric Lee Gre » Mon, 22 Feb 1999 04:00:00




Quote:>My question is slightly different -- I'm trying to figure out what is
>the most *maxed-out* system for Linux I can build that will work
>perfectly with available/supported drivers (I don't mind playing around
>with kernels as long as I know it's going to work).  Therefore, I
>address this question to anyone that has tried to add fairly late model
>parts to their system and succeeded.

>I'd also like to know if the manufacturer has a good record of linux
>support and which version worked with the part in question.  Even *with*
>slightly older hardware I know a linux system is still going to blow
>away some of the OSes bloating out of control out there...

>Motherboard: BX; Have you been able to get a 133Mhz bus clock board with
>heat alarms, sleep mode clock speed reduction, AGP (2x AGP?) to work?

Not at 133Mhz. We don't overclock or etc. because our systems are designed
for 24/7 operation (i.e. they're never turned off, ever).

Quote:>Hard disk: What is the largest overall size or partition that can be
>used?

You can't afford it :-). I think it's in the terabyte range. The biggest
setup I have personally done had ten 18gb Barracudas in it for a total
capacity of 180gb. This was attached to a 5-channel RAID controller.

Quote:>SCSI host adaptor: Looks like Mylex and Advansys might have the best
>linux support up to now, but does anyone have a multichannel 80
>Mbyte/sec card working? Or one that will allow adding a slower device

Cards based upon the Symbios chipsets are also a best bet, because
Symbios (now owned by LSI Logic) is a chip vendor, not a board
vendor. That means that they release all the technical details so that
people can build boards with it. Meaning better drivers. Intraserver
and DigitalScape are two companies that explicitly support Linux and
release cards based on these chipsets.

We have successfully used an Intraserver 6201 board with Linux. This
is a 2-channel board based on the Symbios 53c896 chipset. However, it
did require Gerard's latest 53c8xx driver. Under some BIOS's it may
require a slight hack to the 2.0 kernel's PCI bus scan to get both
functional devices reported. On the 2.2 kernel, the PCI bus scan is a
"make xconfig" option, and if your BIOS does not report both
functional devices, you can configure the kernel to do its own BIOS
scan. This works better with most modern motherboards.

For more channels, the 5-channel RAID controller that I used is an
ICP-Vortex GDT controller. It works great, has excellent performance,
etc.

Quote:>(CD) to it without throwing a wrench into the transfer rates?  I've been
>told that it's better not to mix and match with IDE, is this true?
>Anyone have RAID working?

ICP-Vortex directly supports Linux. Their GDT driver was written by
them, themselves, and they have a Linux version of all the support
tools for their GDT RAID controllers. As far as I can tell they were the
second RAID controller to be supported under Linux (DPT was the first).

Most Ultra2 cards based on the Symbios chipset have a "SCSI Buddy"
chip that creates a separate bus for the CD-ROM and tape drives. It is
still on the same channel, but a separate bus. Thus the SCSI chip
slows down only when it's talking to the CD-ROM, and runs full speed
when talking to the rest of the hard drives. The LVD ICP-Vortex boards
use this "SCSI Buddy" chip on one of the channels so that a SCSI CD-ROM
can be connected without affecting the rest of the bus.

There's no problem with running IDE CD-ROMs with SCSI hard drives. But
do not try to use an IDE ZIP and SCSI hard drives. This confuses many
BIOS's (which will try to boot off the IDE ZIP rather than off the
SCSI hard drive), as well as confusing the Red Hat installer. Also, if
you have both SCSI and IDE hard drives, the installer and many BIOS'es
will automatically default to the IDE.

Quote:>Memory: PC100 SRAM DIMMS ought to be transparent, but let me know if
>they're not. Max size is not the biggest concern, but if you've
>populated your board to 1G and can use all of it I wouldn't mind hearing
>about it.

Boards based upon the BX chipset need *BUFFERED* 256mb SDRAM modules
to get to 1G.  Many of the older ones will also require a BIOS update
to properly configure that much memory. I have successfully populated
an ASUS P2B-D board to 1G before (it was an older board that did
require a BIOS update). The default Linux kernel will only use around
900mb of that memory, but can be fairly easily patched to access up to
2gb (at the expense of some virtual memory space). The patches are
floating around on the Internet.

Quote:>Sound: Have the PCI sound cards reached "supported" status yet (they're
>supposed to be less interrupt intensive than the ISA cards and therefore
>more conducive to performance)?

Sort of. There is actually no difference in performance unless you use
bigger buffers than the default OSS drivers will do.

Quote:>Network: 100Mbit cards are mainstream by now, right?

Yes, but be careful. With the purchase of Digital Semiconductor by Intel,
cards based upon the Digital Tulip chipsets are becoming rare and far
between. Most former Tulip customers have switched to something called the
"Lite-On PNIC", which is a sort of cut-rate Tulip clone that does not work
well at all.

So far, the two most reliable 10/100 cards are also the two most
expensive -- the Intel EtherExpress Pro/100, and the Digital/Cabletron
DE-500. Both will set you back somewhere around $100-$120 retail (less
wholesale, but not much less). Some people swear by 3Com, and some
people swear at 3Com, so I avoid them. Basically, for most uses the
EEPRO100 is slightly cheaper and has slightly better performance, but
the DE-500 is preferable if you're going to be using gated (apparently
the eepro100 driver has some problems with that). We sell the DE-500
because we don't know what use they're going to make of the machine
and we don't want to have to stock two different cards (one for gated,
and one for everything else), but for most people the EEPRO100 is also
an excellent choice.

--

  "Microsoft will compete ... by adding features" -- Ed Muth, Microsoft

 
 
 

Hardware to recommend?

Post by Michael Meissne » Mon, 22 Feb 1999 04:00:00



> My question is slightly different -- I'm trying to figure out what is
> the most *maxed-out* system for Linux I can build that will work
> perfectly with available/supported drivers (I don't mind playing around
> with kernels as long as I know it's going to work).  Therefore, I
> address this question to anyone that has tried to add fairly late model
> parts to their system and succeeded.

Lets see, ASL will happily sell you a quad 450Mhz xeon server (1meg L2 cache, 2
gig of memory, 99gig/192gig raid 5 disk subsystem, 35/70GB DLT Tape Drive) xeon
for $50,467,  On top of that, add in the $2,500 SGI 19" flat panel display and
16 meg Number Nine Revolution-4 digital video card (I'm not sure the server box
has an AGP slot though or whether the Number Nine is AGP or PCI -- details).

--
Michael Meissner, Cygnus Solutions (Massachusetts office)
4th floor, 955 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

 
 
 

Hardware to recommend?

Post by Hilaire Fernande » Mon, 01 Mar 1999 04:00:00



> I am wanting to set-up relatively low cost system (around $550 excluding
> monitor) and need some advise as to all components:

>   motherboard
>   CPU

Don't use AMDK6.
If you are lucky you  can intall Linux if not your are on your own.
Actually I have 25 K6AMD and I can't install at all Linux (reset when I
try installing)

--
Hilaire Fernandes
Dr Geo project http://members.xoom.com/FeYiLai/dr_geo/doctor_geo.html

 
 
 

Hardware to recommend?

Post by Michael Lee Yoh » Tue, 02 Mar 1999 04:00:00


Quote:>Don't use AMDK6.
>If you are lucky you  can intall Linux if not your are on your own.
>Actually I have 25 K6AMD and I can't install at all Linux (reset when I
>try installing)

I have had two K6's (1 K6 and 1 K6-2) and have installed Linux without a
problem whatsoever.

We also have a 300MHz K6-2 in the department that runs Solaris x86 (a very
finicky UNIX-OS) without a problem.

***************************************************************************
* Michael Lee Yohe                                   Office:      TH N318 *
* UAH ASPIRE System Administrator                    Office: 256-890-6904 *
* UAH CS Assistant Administrator                       Home: 256-828-2667 *

***************************************************************************

-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: PGP 6.0.2

<encoded_portion_removed>
fg==
=Zn1I
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

 
 
 

Hardware to recommend?

Post by Vincent Cunniff » Thu, 04 Mar 1999 04:00:00




> > I am wanting to set-up relatively low cost system (around $550 excluding
> > monitor) and need some advise as to all components:

> >   motherboard
> >   CPU

> Don't use AMDK6.
> If you are lucky you  can intall Linux if not your are on your own.
> Actually I have 25 K6AMD and I can't install at all Linux (reset when I
> try installing)

Nonsense... I personally have 4 K6 machines in the house (2xK6, 2xK6-2),
and have had absolutely no problems whatsoever with any of them, on a
wide range of hardware. I have *never* seen a problem with a K6 chip,
nor have I ever heard of a problem with the K6 series and linux.

The K6 series are an excellent, low cost CPU, although they do suffer
a little in floating point performance compared to the more recent
Intel offerings. However, if you are running a server or standard
office machine, they're a perfect solution.

Furthermore, many of the most recent 3d games support the 3dnow
instructions included with the K6-3 and K6-3 CPU's, bringing them
almost back up to parity even with the latest Intel chips.

Regards,

Vin

 
 
 

Hardware to recommend?

Post by Andrew Comec » Thu, 04 Mar 1999 04:00:00





> > > I am wanting to set-up relatively low cost system (around $550 excluding
> > > monitor) and need some advise as to all components:

> > >   motherboard
> > >   CPU

> > Don't use AMDK6.
> > If you are lucky you  can intall Linux if not your are on your own.
> > Actually I have 25 K6AMD and I can't install at all Linux (reset when I
> > try installing)

> Nonsense... I personally have 4 K6 machines in the house (2xK6, 2xK6-2),
> and have had absolutely no problems whatsoever with any of them, on a
> wide range of hardware. I have *never* seen a problem with a K6 chip,
> nor have I ever heard of a problem with the K6 series and linux.

Here is two more:
I have built two K6-2 systems; both CPUs (300 and 333 MHz) work at
100x3.5 MHz. No crashes whatsoever.

Best,
Andrew

http://www.math.sunysb.edu/~comech/tools/CheapBox.html

 
 
 

1. Recommended backup hardware?

I am buying a Pentium system with 2 GB disk for use at
home as both a Linux and Win95 box.

Are there some good hardware solutions for backing up
both linux and Win95 partitions? Can one use Linux to
back up the Win95 partition so that only a backup
through Linux is needed?

The postings about Jaz and Zip drives are confusing:
can one actually use a Zip drive with a Pentium/Linux
system?

        Thanks,

        Henry

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7. Please recommend a networking hardware

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9. recommended method for hardware to report events to userspace?

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