System purchase advice for Linux newbie wanted.

System purchase advice for Linux newbie wanted.

Post by Wade Masshar » Fri, 23 Jan 1998 04:00:00

I'm a Mac user who has gotten his feet wet in the Linux world with MkLinux
for the PowerMac/PowerMac clones.  I've been pleased with it, but for
various reasons I would like a separate machine devoted solely to Linux
(my Mac does triple duty: MacOS/MkLinux/BeOS.)  After careful
consideration, I've come to the conclusion that it makes more sense at
this time to go with an Intel-based Linux machine than to purchase another
PowerMac for MkLinux.

Since I'm new to the Intel world, I've been looking at the companies on
the Linux home page <> that sell complete Linux
systems <>.  I figure a complete
system that comes with Linux installed is a good way to go for someone new
to both Linux *and* Intel PCs. A company called Advanced System Labs
<> offers the following setup for $1616.  You can see
it (and others) at <>.  So, I have
two questions: 1) is ASL a good company to buy from? and 2) is this a
reasonable machine for Linux and for the price?  Any guidance is
appreciated.  I'm also considering going with the UltraWide SCSI (Adaptec
2940UW) version (see <> for
complete specs) of this system instead, since I can add drives, etc. later
with little fuss.  It is my understanding that, in general, SCSI will use
less CPU during transfers than  EIDE.  Is it worth $300, though? Hmmm.

Here is the complete configuration for the non-SCSI version
underconsideration from <>:

AS-ProIIA Pentium II Workstation

Includes 233-333MHz Intel Pentium II Processor with 64M
SDRAM, 6.4G Ultra ATA hard drive, 32X EIDE CDROM,
4MB Matrox Millennium II AGP, 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet
adapter, Red Hat Linux 5.0 2 CD set including the Linux
Archives, Live File System, Red Hat Users Guide Book,
and Xi Graphics Accelerated-X Server.

233MHZ, 64MB   $1,616
[rest of table showing 266 & 300 MHz at various RAM configurations deleted]

   ASUS P2L97 (ATX form factor)

   Genuine Intel Pentium II series 32-bit processor
   with MMX, 512K secondary cache

   Intel Natoma 82440LX
   Dual channel UltraDMA/33 bus master IDE controller

  Memory Subsystem
   3 DIMM banks supporting up to 384MB of synchronous
   unbuffered DRAM (10ns)

   Memory configuration:
    64MB: 2 32MB SDRAM modules
   128MB: 2 64MB SDRAM modules
   256MB: 2 128MB SDRAM modules
   384MB: 3 128MB SDRAM modules

  Graphic Subsystem
   Matrox Millennium II AGP 64-bit graphic accelerator, 4MB WRAM
   standard, expandable to 16MB WRAM, resolution up to
   1920x1080 in 16.7 millions colors, 250MHZ RAMDAC

  Hard Disk Subsystem
   Quantum Fireball ST 6.4G Ultra ATA drive, 33MB/s,
   5400rpm, 128K cache

  SCSI Subsystem

  CD-ROM Subsystem
   Toshiba 32X EIDE

  Sound Subsystem

  Network Subsystem
   Intel EtherExpress Pro 10/100B

  System Slots
   One (1) AGP slot
   Four (4) 32-bit bus mastering PCI slots
   One (1) 16-bit ISA slot
   One (1) shared PCI/ISA slot

  System I/O
   Infrared (IrDA) port
   Two RS-232C 16550 serial ports
   One ECP/EPP Bi-directional parallel port
   2 USB ports
   1 PS/2 Mini DIN keyboard port
   1 PS/2 Mini DIN mouse port

  Floppy Drive
   One Teac 1.44M 3.5-inch drive

   Logitech MouseMan 3-button PS/2 mouse

   Keytronic KT-2000 104-key with mechanical tactile
   click response, Windows Keys for Windows 95

   235W Mid tower ATX case, FCC Class B
   Three (3) accessible 5.25" drive bays
   Two (2) accessible 3.5" drive bays
   One (1) internal 3.5" drive bay
   Dual cooling fans

   Red Hat 5.0 ELF-based Linux system and Xi Graphics
   Accelerated-X commercial X Server


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1. Advice on system purchase

        I am in the final phase of purchasing a new system to
        run (primarily) Linux and NT.
        I have selected a Zenon Pentium system as follows:
                ECS motherboard w/ SIS chipset, 75 mhz CPU
                16mb ram
                PCI SCSI controller - NCR53c810
                1 GB SCSI disk
                ATI Mach 64 w/ 2mb vram

        The total cost is about $2500.

        It is not too late to bail out on this if there is any
        reason to avoid any of the items I have listed above,
        or if anybody knows how to put an equivalent system together
        for less money.  Also, if anybody has any experience dealing
        with Zenon, good or bad, I'd appreciate your comments.

        My second choice was a gateway 2000 system, but I could not
        get the SCSI configuration I wanted for the price, and it came
        with a bunch of software I was not very interested in.


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