Need advice on new system config

Need advice on new system config

Post by No Spa » Tue, 21 Oct 1997 04:00:00



Thanks in advance to anyone who responds.

1) If I put a fast scsi cd, fast scsi scanner, and an ultra scsi disk
   on the same scsi bus, is the bus clocked at the fast scsi rate, thus
   reducing my ultra scsi disk to a fast scsi disk?  Does it matter
   if the cd/scanner are powered off, powered on, or transferring data,
   or if the cd mounted/unmounted.  And why do scsi cd's only come in
   16x when ide's come in 24x?

2) Does linux support APG?  If so, does it take advantage of any new
   APG features?  If I want to run at 1280x1024x24, which needs 4 MB,
   is there any reason to get 8 MB video memory.  I thought that for PCI
   linux and W95 games could use the extra memory as a buffer.
   However, since AGP is supposed to allow the video card
   to use main memory would this still be useful or not?

3) IRQs.  Seams like everything needs an IRQs these days.  Last I
   heard there were only 16 and some were already dedicated.  If I need
   at least one each for com1, com2, lpt1, ir, usb1, usb2, 10baseT,
sb16,
   scsi, live TV, modem, and mouse.  That's already 12.  Does this mean
   I need to be careful about the config, so that only mutex device use
   the same irq, or does pci have a way to share so that it doesn't
   matter.  Is running out of I/O addresses a problem too.

4) Do any of the live TV capture cards come with FM?  Are they
upgradable
   to new digital TV standards?  Is it better to just plan on buying a
   new board when the time comes.  In particular, I want to be able to
   capture live tv/video to disk (MPEG-2 or AVI, I guess) and FM to some
   type of sound file (maybe wav?).

4) On my current system (486-25, 16 MB 30 pin simms, ISA, IDE) I see a
   very clear drop in performance when two processes are doing a lot of
   disk i/o at the same time.  In particular, if I am downloading from
   the net (at 33.6) and compiling a 2000 line file with g++, the cpu is
   only 80% busy and yet browser will only be downloading 1 K/sec
(instead
   of 2-2.5) and it often "stalls" and the compile will take about twice
   as long.  This tells me that the cpu is loosing a lot of cycles
waiting
   for IDE I/O to complete.  The real issues for me is if this is caused
   mostly by the ISA and 486-25 or by IDE.  I don't want to buy a new
   EIDE/DMA system and find that the cpu is now 10-20%
   busy while I get the same delays waiting for I/O to complete.
   I'm sure scsi will help based on what I've seen in the flame-wars.
   The question is will PCI EIDE/DMA on a P200 (or a PII-233) help any.

5) What is an "over-clocked" cpu or motherboard?  Does that mean one of
   the two (or both) is being clocked faster that the spec would like,
   but it works?  Does this shorten the life of any of the parts?

6) I am currently looking at two systems.  A higher end dual PII-233,
   a lower end single P-200.  Or maybe something in the middle (like
   a single PII-233 with IDE).  The main
   questions I have here is how to figure out how much power I need now,
   how long it will be enough power, and will I be able to expand
   when I need to?  If I get the P-200 below I would expect to have
   to replace the entire system in three to four years.  If I get the
   PII-233, then in 3 to 4 years, I would hope to be able to upgrade to
   dual PII-333 and maybe another 32 - 64 MB of ram.  Is this realistic?
   I bought an EISA system around '90 since it looked like it was going
   to kill micro-channel, but along came VESA and PCI and both pretty
   much died out.  I don't want to buy the PII system and find out
   that I can't upgrade, but need to start over.  I download most of
   the P and PII spec's from the intel's home page.  Do these numbers
   provide a linear relation between the P and PII performance?  How do
   I determine/estimate what these numbers might be for my 486-25
system.
   I would expect at last 4 times faster based on the Mhz, but there is
   a lot other improvements too, such as faster disks, PCI, APG, ...

7) Any h/w that I should be shure to avoid?  I've that the "big foot"
   drive is cheap but compatable with a lot of systems, so upgrading to
   one might not work out.  Any meaningful quality difference between
   the Asus or SuperMicro motherboards.  Are they good?

8) Any other advice from your experience (both good and bad) is desired.

   PII-233:
   Asus P2L97 or SuperMicro P6DLS Motherboard?  (Are these any good?)
   PII 233 Mhz CPU with heat sink and fan and slot 1 terminator
   64 MB SDRAM (2 x 32MB)
   Dual 2.x GB Ultra Wide SCSI II/III disks (scsi id0 and id1)
   16x Fast/Ultra SCSI II/III CD-ROM
   1.44 Floppy Disk
   Qtronics PS2 104 Keyboard with built-in PS track ball
   APG 4/8 MB video card (with direct draw for live TV card)
       (I want to 1280x1024x24 which needs 4M, if I get more can linux
       use take advantage of the extra mem under x?  Doe APG which I
       belive lets the video card use main memory make this
un-necessary).
   Live VCR/TV/FM card with MPEG-2, AVI, and WAV capture.
   17" monitor w/ built-in speakers (viewsonic 17G???)
   Use my old modem and sb and 10baseT for now.

   P-200:
   MB w/ 200, MMX, 3PCI, 3ISA, 72/EDO, IDE, 2S/1P, FD
   Pentium 200 Mhz MMX CPU with heat sink and fan (or K6-200)
   32 MB 72/EDO RAM (2 x 32MB)
   Dual 2.x GB IDE hard drives.
   24x IDE CD-ROM
   1.44 Floppy Disk
   Use my old AT kbd and serial mouse (or new if ps2 inf)
   PCI 4 MB video card, (ATI all in one?)
   Generic 17" monitor
   600 DPI Color Parallel Scanner
   Color Parallel Printer
   Use my old modem and sb and 10baseT for now.

d_u_m_m_y_at_n_e_t_w_i_z_n_e_t

 
 
 

Need advice on new system config

Post by No Spa » Tue, 21 Oct 1997 04:00:00


Thanks in advance to anyone who responds.

1) If I put a fast scsi cd, fast scsi scanner, and an ultra scsi disk
   on the same scsi bus, is the bus clocked at the fast scsi rate, thus
   reducing my ultra scsi disk to a fast scsi disk?  Does it matter
   if the cd/scanner are powered off, powered on, or transferring data,
   or if the cd mounted/unmounted.  And why do scsi cd's only come in
   16x when ide's come in 24x?

2) Does linux support APG?  If so, does it take advantage of any new
   APG features?  If I want to run at 1280x1024x24, which needs 4 MB,
   is there any reason to get 8 MB video memory.  I thought that for PCI
   linux and W95 games could use the extra memory as a buffer.
   However, since AGP is supposed to allow the video card
   to use main memory would this still be useful or not?

3) IRQs.  Seams like everything needs an IRQs these days.  Last I
   heard there were only 16 and some were already dedicated.  If I need
   at least one each for com1, com2, lpt1, ir, usb1, usb2, 10baseT,
sb16,
   scsi, live TV, modem, and mouse.  That's already 12.  Does this mean
   I need to be careful about the config, so that only mutex device use
   the same irq, or does pci have a way to share so that it doesn't
   matter.  Is running out of I/O addresses a problem too.

4) Do any of the live TV capture cards come with FM?  Are they
upgradable
   to new digital TV standards?  Is it better to just plan on buying a
   new board when the time comes.  In particular, I want to be able to
   capture live tv/video to disk (MPEG-2 or AVI, I guess) and FM to some
   type of sound file (maybe wav?).

4) On my current system (486-25, 16 MB 30 pin simms, ISA, IDE) I see a
   very clear drop in performance when two processes are doing a lot of
   disk i/o at the same time.  In particular, if I am downloading from
   the net (at 33.6) and compiling a 2000 line file with g++, the cpu is
   only 80% busy and yet browser will only be downloading 1 K/sec
(instead
   of 2-2.5) and it often "stalls" and the compile will take about twice
   as long.  This tells me that the cpu is loosing a lot of cycles
waiting
   for IDE I/O to complete.  The real issues for me is if this is caused
   mostly by the ISA and 486-25 or by IDE.  I don't want to buy a new
   EIDE/DMA system and find that the cpu is now 10-20%
   busy while I get the same delays waiting for I/O to complete.
   I'm sure scsi will help based on what I've seen in the flame-wars.
   The question is will PCI EIDE/DMA on a P200 (or a PII-233) help any.

5) What is an "over-clocked" cpu or motherboard?  Does that mean one of
   the two (or both) is being clocked faster that the spec would like,
   but it works?  Does this shorten the life of any of the parts?

6) I am currently looking at two systems.  A higher end dual PII-233,
   a lower end single P-200.  Or maybe something in the middle (like
   a single PII-233 with IDE).  The main
   questions I have here is how to figure out how much power I need now,
   how long it will be enough power, and will I be able to expand
   when I need to?  If I get the P-200 below I would expect to have
   to replace the entire system in three to four years.  If I get the
   PII-233, then in 3 to 4 years, I would hope to be able to upgrade to
   dual PII-333 and maybe another 32 - 64 MB of ram.  Is this realistic?
   I bought an EISA system around '90 since it looked like it was going
   to kill micro-channel, but along came VESA and PCI and both pretty
   much died out.  I don't want to buy the PII system and find out
   that I can't upgrade, but need to start over.  I download most of
   the P and PII spec's from the intel's home page.  Do these numbers
   provide a linear relation between the P and PII performance?  How do
   I determine/estimate what these numbers might be for my 486-25
system.
   I would expect at last 4 times faster based on the Mhz, but there is
   a lot other improvements too, such as faster disks, PCI, APG, ...

7) Any h/w that I should be shure to avoid?  I've that the "big foot"
   drive is cheap but compatable with a lot of systems, so upgrading to
   one might not work out.  Any meaningful quality difference between
   the Asus or SuperMicro motherboards.  Are they good?

8) Any other advice from your experience (both good and bad) is desired.

   PII-233:
   Asus P2L97 or SuperMicro P6DLS Motherboard?  (Are these any good?)
   PII 233 Mhz CPU with heat sink and fan and slot 1 terminator
   64 MB SDRAM (2 x 32MB)
   Dual 2.x GB Ultra Wide SCSI II/III disks (scsi id0 and id1)
   16x Fast/Ultra SCSI II/III CD-ROM
   1.44 Floppy Disk
   Qtronics PS2 104 Keyboard with built-in PS track ball
   APG 4/8 MB video card (with direct draw for live TV card)
       (I want to 1280x1024x24 which needs 4M, if I get more can linux
       use take advantage of the extra mem under x?  Doe APG which I
       belive lets the video card use main memory make this
un-necessary).
   Live VCR/TV/FM card with MPEG-2, AVI, and WAV capture.
   17" monitor w/ built-in speakers (viewsonic 17G???)
   Use my old modem and sb and 10baseT for now.

   P-200:
   MB w/ 200, MMX, 3PCI, 3ISA, 72/EDO, IDE, 2S/1P, FD
   Pentium 200 Mhz MMX CPU with heat sink and fan (or K6-200)
   32 MB 72/EDO RAM (2 x 32MB)
   Dual 2.x GB IDE hard drives.
   24x IDE CD-ROM
   1.44 Floppy Disk
   Use my old AT kbd and serial mouse (or new if ps2 inf)
   PCI 4 MB video card, (ATI all in one?)
   Generic 17" monitor
   600 DPI Color Parallel Scanner
   Color Parallel Printer
   Use my old modem and sb and 10baseT for now.

d_u_m_m_y_at_n_e_t_w_i_z_n_e_t

 
 
 

Need advice on new system config

Post by Mark Ha » Wed, 22 Oct 1997 04:00:00


: 1) If I put a fast scsi cd, fast scsi scanner, and an ultra scsi disk
:    on the same scsi bus, is the bus clocked at the fast scsi rate, thus
:    reducing my ultra scsi disk to a fast scsi disk?  Does it matter
:    if the cd/scanner are powered off, powered on, or transferring data,
:    or if the cd mounted/unmounted.  And why do scsi cd's only come in
:    16x when ide's come in 24x?

scsi bus speed is negotiated seperately for each target (and, ironically,
it's negotiated at narrow/slow speeds...).  when not involved in an
operation, the other devices simply aren't listening.  scsi cdrom's are a
miniscule market compared to eide, and so move slower, cost more, etc.

: 2) Does linux support APG?  If so, does it take advantage of any new

AGP is a tweaked single-vard version of PCI; Linux isn't really involved.
I beleive our faithfull XFree friends are working on AGP support.

:    APG features?  If I want to run at 1280x1024x24, which needs 4 MB,
:    is there any reason to get 8 MB video memory.  I thought that for PCI

8M is indeed vast overkill.  having a little more video memory than
you need for the screen buffer does make sense, since X caches pixmaps
and fonts in such memory.  also, I believe that some drivers use 4 bytes
even for 24 bpp mode (don't really know, since even 16 bpp seems extravagant
to me ;)

:    However, since AGP is supposed to allow the video card
:    to use main memory would this still be useful or not?

AGP is mainly a hack to permit really dumb vid cards to support 3d games.
for bandwidth reasons, I think noone is even suggesting using main
dram for the frame buffer, but for texture maps.  of course, all reasonable
cards have texmap caches onboard, and besides, little non-game graphics
uses texmaps...

:    scsi, live TV, modem, and mouse.  That's already 12.  Does this mean
:    I need to be careful about the config, so that only mutex device use
:    the same irq, or does pci have a way to share so that it doesn't
:    matter.  Is running out of I/O addresses a problem too.

PCI solves most of this, though current PCs still integrate most basic
peripherals in an ISA-compatible way that consumes IRQ's.  you do have to
be careful, though it's not a serious problem for most machines.

: 4) On my current system (486-25, 16 MB 30 pin simms, ISA, IDE) I see a
:    very clear drop in performance when two processes are doing a lot of
:    disk i/o at the same time.  In particular, if I am downloading from

no kidding.  your disk system has been obsolete a long time.  any current
machine can sustain 10 MB/s to disk quite easily, even just using the
busmastering ide controlelr built in the motherboard.  most 486's are
lucky to see 1 MB/s...

:    as long.  This tells me that the cpu is loosing a lot of cycles
: waiting
:    for IDE I/O to complete.  The real issues for me is if this is caused

actually, your machine is not merely _waiting_ on IO, but laboriously
copying each word of it by hand (so to speak)

:    I'm sure scsi will help based on what I've seen in the flame-wars.

this is an urban legend.  it's easy to measure the CPU overhead of
both busmastering ide and scsi, and they are basically identical.

: 5) What is an "over-clocked" cpu or motherboard?  Does that mean one of
:    the two (or both) is being clocked faster that the spec would like,
:    but it works?  Does this shorten the life of any of the parts?

if components overheat, they will surely die young.  good airflow is
the key to solving that.  further, agressive-enough overclocking will
cause physical degredation inside the chip, which is not avoidable
by cooling.  finally, the main reason that overclocking is usually
a poor idea is simply that you simply can never hope to completely
verify that the system works correctly.  (the space of operations
and operands is simply too large to exhaustively test.)

: 6) I am currently looking at two systems.  A higher end dual PII-233,
:    a lower end single P-200.  Or maybe something in the middle (like
:    a single PII-233 with IDE).  The main
:    questions I have here is how to figure out how much power I need now,
:    how long it will be enough power, and will I be able to expand
:    when I need to?  If I get the P-200 below I would expect to have
:    to replace the entire system in three to four years.  If I get the
:    PII-233, then in 3 to 4 years, I would hope to be able to upgrade to
:    dual PII-333 and maybe another 32 - 64 MB of ram.  Is this realistic?

sure, all those options are realistic.  I'd strongly suggest you use
IDE first, since it's breathtakingly cheap, and works very well.
depending on what you're doing with your machine, you'll see at least
a 4x improvement in speed, probably more like 10-20x.  on the other hand,
in 4 years, any machine you buy today will look quite archaic.

:    much died out.  I don't want to buy the PII system and find out
:    that I can't upgrade, but need to start over.  I download most of

you can indeed not upgrade

:    the P and PII spec's from the intel's home page.  Do these numbers
:    provide a linear relation between the P and PII performance?  How do
:    I determine/estimate what these numbers might be for my 486-25
: system.

the spec95 benchmarks are extremely reliable measures of compute-bount
performance speed.

:    I would expect at last 4 times faster based on the Mhz, but there is
:    a lot other improvements too, such as faster disks, PCI, APG, ...

all of these depend very strongly on how you use your system.

: 7) Any h/w that I should be shure to avoid?  I've that the "big foot"
:    drive is cheap but compatable with a lot of systems, so upgrading to
:    one might not work out.  Any meaningful quality difference between
:    the Asus or SuperMicro motherboards.  Are they good?

Asus and Supermicro are probably the two best MB vendors.  the Bigfoot
drive is big, slow and only marginally cheaper than other MUCH faster
ide drives.  I highly recomend the IBM deskstar5, seagate medalist pro.
the new/big maxtor and wd drives are probably just as good, but I haven't
personally tried/tested them.

:    PII-233:
:    Asus P2L97 or SuperMicro P6DLS Motherboard?  (Are these any good?)

excellent.  the 440lx chipset is much better than the 440fx.

:    PII 233 Mhz CPU with heat sink and fan and slot 1 terminator
:    64 MB SDRAM (2 x 32MB)
:    Dual 2.x GB Ultra Wide SCSI II/III disks (scsi id0 and id1)

there are much cheaper alternatives, probably just as fast or faster.

:    16x Fast/Ultra SCSI II/III CD-ROM

I've never heard of an ultra scsi cdrom.  remember that 16x is only
2.4 MB/s, so even slow/narrow/async scsi is plenty fast.

:        use take advantage of the extra mem under x?  Doe APG which I
:        belive lets the video card use main memory make this
: un-necessary).

no, it's still quite necessary.  thank goodness the video card isn't
stealing n*200 MB/s bandwidth from main memory.

regards, mark hahn.
--

                                        http://neurocog.lrdc.pitt.edu/~hahn/

 
 
 

1. Advice needed on configuring new system for Linux

I am going to be building a computer very soon, and I would like any and
all advice that you experts can shed on the process. A list of the
componpents that I wish to assemble is at the bottom of this post. I also
have some specific questions.

1) I intend to run RedHat Linux 4.0, and use the bundled Metro-X server. What
   is the best video card for this?
2) What is the best sound card for Linux?
3) I have heard that Sony? has come out with a new floppy controller-based
   1GIG tape back up system targeted for the desktop market. Has anyone
   heard about this? Does anyone have a better alternative for backing up a
   1 GIG disk?
3) Where can I get the best prices for these components?

I want to spend less than $2000 dollars. I'm going for the most bang for
the buck, with reliability. Not bleeding edge speed and problems. I want to
run at least 1280x760 resolution.

*Any* helpful comments will be appreciated.

Motherboard with Pentium or Pentium Pro  processor.
32MB Ram
4X SCSI CD-ROM Reader
SCSI Interface Card
3.5" Floppy Disk Drive
1GIG tape backup (Sony?)
Video Card
Mini-Tower Case w/ 250 Watt power supply
2 10MB/sec Ethernet Adapters
Sound Card
Speakers
17" Monitor
36.6kps  Modem
600 watt UPS
101-key keyboard
Logitech Mouse

I already have a 1GIG SCSI Fixed Disk Drive.

Thanks,
Dan



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