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Building a new Linux Computer

by itsdigger / February 1, 2014 7:49 AM PST

The old Dell motherboard is falling apart lol so time to play.

Wanted to keep a small case, no gaming or anything intense.

Looking at this case ( fits perfectly where I need it)

This processor

This MB

This Ram

2 month old WD 1TB HDD
6 month old Asus optical drive

Might throw this GPU in , not sure if I need to but I have it

I also have the 6 month old 400 watt single rail PSU from the Dell if the 5oo watt one in the new case sucks.

Opinions Please


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you could save $100 easy
by James Denison / February 1, 2014 12:45 PM PST

going AMD on mobo and processor, it not for gaming, mainly for internet and word processing.

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thought about that
by itsdigger / February 1, 2014 6:44 PM PST

figured if Linux ever pulled a rabbit out of their hat and got to be a serious gaming platform, I could upgrade the i3 to an i5. I don't see that happening though.

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what I'm using now on Linux box
by James Denison / February 2, 2014 3:13 AM PST
In reply to: thought about that

I decided that socket A mobo with 850 Mhz processor was just not enough.

I upgraded to a socket AM3 motherboard and a Sempron 145 single core (2.8 Ghz). I paid $20 plus shipping on the motherboard sold "as is" for "parts only" since it was open box untested by a bulk buyer on EBay. I'd checked others who'd done the same and only a few got a bad board. Mine worked, yeah. I paid $25 for the processor + HSF. I have another same CPU and HSF still in the original AMD box, just in case, same price. The case was on sale at tigerdirect months ago for $20 free shipping, so I bought two of them, one used for wife's upgrade. The PSU was Antec 450W continuous with 80% efficiency for about $40 (not 80 plus since has manual voltage switch). Added a $10 3.5" media center with USB port and flash media reader slots. DVDRW drive wa Lite-On I think, it was under $20. The hard drives are legacy, already had them. No case fan needed. No floppy drive installed. The 4GB RAM was around $40 in all.

So for about $150 spent gained quite a bit more capability for Linux.

I might put the ASUS mobo with the CPU, RAM and HSF on EBay and probable get about $20 back on it, making it even cheaper upgrade.

I have no problems on broadband service, running Youtube videos at 720p HD and also catching up missed TV programs. No problems rendering them, no buffering, no delays. However for my wife's PC running W7 and hooked to a HDTV, I did put her in a dual core 3.2 Ghz processor on an AM3 motherboard.

My specs as seen in Linux;

mint14@mint14 ~ $ inxi -v2
System: Host: mint14 Kernel: 3.5.0-28-generic i686 (32 bit) Desktop: N/A Distro: Linux Mint 14 Nadia
Machine: Mobo: Gigabyte model: GA-MA78GPM-UD2H version: x.x Bios: Award version: F7 date: 10/08/2009
CPU: Single core AMD Sempron 140 (-UP-) clocked at 2712.549 MHz
Graphics: Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI RS780 [Radeon HD 3200]
X.Org: 1.13.0 drivers: ati,vesa,radeon (unloaded: fbdev,fglrx) Resolution: 1024x768@0.0hz
GLX Renderer: N/A GLX Version: N/A
Network: Card: Realtek RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller driver: r8169
Drives: HDD Total Size: 280.1GB (3.3% used) 1: model: ST3120814A
2: model: WDC_WD1600AAJB
Info: Processes: 138 Memory: 784.6/3908.2MB Client: Shell inxi: 1.8.4
mint14@mint14 ~ $

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She's a beaut !
by itsdigger / February 2, 2014 3:38 AM PST

I was happy with the Dell 530s until Friday when the 3rd of 4 usb ports broke while doing my 6 month canned air. Figured heck with it. Put enough time and money in this old jalopy.

I was gonna build a Linux computer here while back and it ended up being a Win 8 comp for the niece to play games on.

Building " My Linux Machine" (kids aren't touching this one)

It should be pretty fast with the i3 ( over kill I know) but I get to re use some of the new stuff from the Dell too
so I'm ok with it.

I need to figure out if the built in GPU in the i3 is as good as the HIS Radeon HD 6670 1GB card I have . I probably won't notice a difference since there's not gonna be any gaming .

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I had actually
by itsdigger / February 2, 2014 5:00 AM PST
In reply to: She's a beaut !
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I've been watching this one today
by James Denison / February 2, 2014 9:27 AM PST
In reply to: She's a beaut !

But decided to let it slide by since I have extra AMD CPU's and don't want higher priced Intels, but you might be interested. Seller has good rating and checking his other offerings, I suspect his story on where he got it is true. New this cost about $150.

7 hours left, no bid, starts $25 for 1155 Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H motherboard with lots of stuff onboard. This is one of the ultra durable with all solid capacitors, not just solid for the CPU circuit.

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Thanks James
by itsdigger / February 2, 2014 9:40 AM PST

But I put in my orders at half time. Denver's gettin' their a$$es handed to them lol


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here's some stats I sent friends.
by James Denison / February 2, 2014 10:27 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks James

Re: super bowl starting second half

score is 20-0 favor of Seattle.

There has never been a skunk or shutout in super bowl history. That possibility currently exists as I type this.

My favorite score for a game is;

XXIX Jan. 29, 1995 San Francisco 49, San Diego 26

can you guess why?

the highest score ever was against Denver by San Francisco about 24 years ago.

That is also the all time largest point spread.

XXIV Jan. 28, 1990 San Francisco 55, Denver 10

The lowest losing score was by Miami in 1972 against Dallas.

VI Jan. 16, 1972 Dallas 24, Miami 3

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I still can't figure out
by itsdigger / February 3, 2014 3:07 AM PST
In reply to: She's a beaut !

if the graphics in the i3 is better than the HIS Radeon HD 6670 1GB graphics card I have but it seems that
since the i3 uses my installed RAM but the 6670 has a 1GB of dedicated Ram built into it , I should use the 6670.

Or is that dumb newbie thinkin' again?


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(NT) Why not try each & see which works best?
by wpgwpg / February 3, 2014 3:15 AM PST
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that's the best method
by James Denison / February 3, 2014 3:45 AM PST

Specs can't tell you everything, especially how a discrete graphics card will act in your system. It can only give you some reference points of what should be.

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I've been using the 6670
by itsdigger / February 3, 2014 3:53 AM PST
In reply to: that's the best method

in my Dell Linux machine but it had the Pentium Dual Core E2160 / 1.8 GHz .

This thing's gonna SMOKE !


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Think I figured it out
by itsdigger / February 3, 2014 3:48 AM PST
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Performance Comparison is the only way to be sure
by James Denison / February 3, 2014 11:08 AM PST
In reply to: Think I figured it out

Have fun reading this.

It depends on so much. Bus speed, bit path, watts allowed, RAM type utilized, etc.

All things equal the card in a slot (discrete) is better than a chip on the board, but if the card has half the RAM to what can be shared to onboard chip, then the onboard likely can beat the card. At least it used to be that way when cards were striving to get past 100 MB in RAM or VRAM, but I'm not so sure once you get over a certain amount of RAM for both, even if the card has half as much, that is true any longer. Performance testing for comparisons is about the only way to be sure anymore.

If you really want some fun, figure out this chart, LOL!

shows possible combines between CPU, GPU, onboard chip, RAM on card, shared RAM, etc.

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Hmm, getting something different here.
by James Denison / February 3, 2014 12:08 PM PST
In reply to: Think I figured it out
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See! I've been having difficulty too
by itsdigger / February 3, 2014 12:57 PM PST

trying to figure this thing out. What it boils down to is since this is an i3 with a G2 graphics that uses my supplied RAM, it's not on par but a cut below the 6670 card with dedicated 1GB RAM and it's such a low drain on the PSU , it's almost moot, plus I get the extra 1GB with the 6670.


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My Linux experience is limited but about the only thing
by Steven Haninger / February 2, 2014 7:09 AM PST

I'd recommend...if you've not done do a thorough search on the MB to see if anyone has had Linux issues with it. If the board has been out for a while, you're probably OK. If it's fresh from the oven, you're the one who's probably toast. I think the H87 chipset has been out long enough for drivers to be working well but I don't know about the particular sound device or network device. Those are the one's I've had problems with on occasion. You'll want to make sure those aren't some entry but follow older standards. As well, sometimes Intel seems to have it's own special drivers or utilities to get the best performance from newer HDs and controllers. Having a Linux equivalent that would take advantage of those intel designs would be a help when going with limited processing power.

I've been away from my experimental Linux rig for a bit because it's been on loan for a couple months and being used with an installation of XP. I wouldn't mind trying with all new hardware as you're doing but my old experiences with Linux on anything but older machines was an exercise in frustration. Good luck and keep people posted.

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SolydK worked on the
by itsdigger / February 2, 2014 7:31 AM PST

new i5 we built last month no problem(1155 socket). I did find 1 Linux user that say's this in his review of the new MB:

"Works great with a Gen 2, i7 processor. I'm using it for a Linux ( fedora ) based, plex media pc"

so I'm guessing it's been around . If I have to I'll swap Windows 8.1 into the new build and put Linux on last months build. lol


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I don't think the processor has ever been the issue
by Steven Haninger / February 2, 2014 8:52 AM PST
In reply to: SolydK worked on the

It would be the chipset and some on board devices. Intel does some funny things that require tweaks to get the best performance from hard drive technology. You'll read plenty of complaints by people building a Windows PC who say their hard drive performance is poor. The cure is often to install Intel's storage manager utility or some RAID driver even if RAID isn't used. I would wonder if Linux distros know of this and have the same ability. For the most part, if the drive works at all, no one bothers to check if it's optimized. My own problems, however, have been with LAN, sound and WiFi. I'm anything but experienced with finding and installing arcane Linux drivers though I consider myself quite capable with Windows. At any rate, what's life worth if it offers no challenges? Happy

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We're gonna find out
by itsdigger / February 2, 2014 9:22 AM PST

The only problems I've had with audio and wifi were with Ubuntu and Mint also with the ATI Radeon Graphics driver. I had to use the Turks Graphics driver which worked fine

With Debian , SolydXK , Gentoo, Mandriva or Fedora ,the only trouble I had was if I installed the ATI Radeon Graphics drivers but I stayed with Turks without issue

With Gentoo though I had trouble with my Samsung Laser Printer Driver

I will say that with Every distro using wifi,I was never able to connect to the 5 GHz speed for some reason but with All Distros I connected to 2.4 GHz just fine.


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Not had LAN problems
by James Denison / February 2, 2014 9:34 AM PST

generic drivers usually work OK with them if no specific driver. Most problem are the wifi chips. Better for those to go with a plug in like USB type which is a bit older. Interestingly I have no problem with an old Zydas 1211 wifi dongle on Linux, but my wife's new windows 7 installation had enough problems trying to get it working, I just put the Zydas third party software on to run it on W7.

One thing is sure, if the Live DVD works everything OK, then it doesn't on full install, then just a matter of finding the right driver in the Package Manager and loading it. Sometimes you have to blacklist or uninstall whatever driver is erroneously being used though.

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My new Linux Computer ROCKS
by itsdigger / February 10, 2014 4:04 PM PST

I put it together on the bench with the 6670 1GB GPU and it posted straight away.

Put it together in the case and the 6670 wasn't putting out a signal but the onboard graphics worked and my HDD with Linux already installed from when it was in the Dell booted right up.

Linux saw my 6670 but still no signal so I thought maybe this new MB needed a new driver so I installed the fglrx ATI display driver and as usual that was a mistake as when I rebooted didn't get a signal from onboard or the 6600.

Hmm. Sumpin's sneaky here! Well I thought since I have it good and jazzed up I'll try James's favorite and installed Mint Cinnimon (Petra) same thing, onboard worked but the 6670 didn't. Than the Cinnimon Desktop kept crashing . I rebooted a few time and got tired of sending crash reports. Same old story with Mint ,( sorry James, Mint Still Sucks!).

I reinstalled SolydK ran all the updates and was thinking maybe the 6670 just wasn't gonna work until I stuck my nose back into the Gigabyte instruction manual. Rebooted into BIOS and went into peripherals and enabled the PCIe 1 slot ( the 6670) to be the first graphics boot and BINGO. Restarted and the 6670 fired right up with a beautiful desktop. It beats the onboard i3 Intel graphics all to hell.

Other than that no issues with audio or Lan or anything else.

This is s slick little set up.


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by itsdigger / February 11, 2014 12:18 AM PST
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Steve , You wanted to know
by itsdigger / February 13, 2014 12:50 AM PST

how this turned out


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I saw that but
by Steven Haninger / February 13, 2014 12:56 AM PST

your PC is already 2 days old. Obsolescence comes quickly these days. You should be planning to replace it by now, shouldn't you. Grin

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by itsdigger / February 13, 2014 12:59 AM PST
In reply to: I saw that but

no, I think I'll hang on to these for a few years

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