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Reviews of Refurbished Dell Desktop with Linux OS

by bjdluna / March 23, 2018 3:53 AM PDT

Hello,
I don't really know much of anything about purchasing computer hardware and especially refurbished hard ware. There is a listing in Amazon for a Dell refubished Desktop with the following attributes:

UBUNTU PC T3500 Workstation Computer, Intel Quad Xeon 3.06GHz, 24GB RAM, 250GB SSD, 1TB HD, Nvidia Quadro K600 1GB Video Card Dual Monitor, WiFi (Certified Refurbished)
Price: $889.99 & FREE Shipping

Any advice, personal experience or an actual review of this system - all info would be very helpful and I would be very grateful for your help!

Thanks very much,

BjdLuna

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Re: workstation
by Kees_B Forum moderator / March 23, 2018 4:41 AM PDT
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refurbished Linux
by bjdluna / March 23, 2018 12:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: workstation

It looks like everybody that has responded agrees that my choice is overpriced so I will check some more. Unfortunately I'm in a hurry to get this because I just found out I can't run the virtual vm with Cloudera Hadoop because that requires all of my memory. Also since the upgrade of R nothing is working for me on my Windows pc and I already found out I can't extend the memory up to 16GB on my Windows PC so my only choice (that I am aware of ) was to find a cheap refurbished computer with a Linux OS. It sounds like I can forget about the 24 gig Ram and go with 16 and either a 1 TB or 500mb SST hard drive. I also would like to select the linux that goes on the computer does anyone have one that is stable and good to learn on?

If I find another deal that looks interesting maybe you can advise me on that one? I really appreciate all the responses from all of you believe me I really need it!
Thanks again!

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This would be a first.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 23, 2018 12:20 PM PDT
In reply to: refurbished Linux

I checked in the requirements and did not exceed 16GB but in a VM you would rarely need more due to how VMs work.

I've run with far less RAM dedicated to the VM but why is this in a VM at all?

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Why a Vm?
by bjdluna / March 24, 2018 3:07 AM PDT
In reply to: This would be a first.

Hi,

That's a valid question. I'm taking a course in HADOOP Big Data and all I have is an 8gig Windows 10box but this software runs on Linux so their answer was to load a VM and a single node version of Cloudera in the VM. My laptop has 8 gig and what they are proposing we do takes the entire 8gig of my RAM leaving nothing for the OS, which won't work.

I am also taking R until this latest upgrade made it impossible for me to do anything. I hope they come to there senses soon and fix that mess. As far as I know the badness only affects Windows OS so there are 2 good reasons to get a decent, hopefully inexpensive, refurbished Linux desktop or laptop. I have lowered that 24 gig requirement to 16 gig and will lower other things that don't really affect what i'm doing. If anyone in this forum is familiar with R and linux is there a particular flavor of Linux OS that works best with R, such as Ubantu or anything else?

Thanks again for helping me out,

bjdluna

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Why a VM
by bjdluna / March 24, 2018 1:42 PM PDT
In reply to: This would be a first.

The only reason it is a VM is because all I have is Windows and I can run linux and hadoop thru a vm. That's the only reason I was told about this in my class.

Thanks for checking into it,
bjdluna

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I've run VMs on low memory for a reason.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 24, 2018 2:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Why a VM

In say Virtual Box the VM is hosted on another OS that caches accesses and we usually never need to give the the VM the full amount of RAM that we would on a full up install.

You need to sit back and think about how the OS in the VM is managing memory, paging file and how the host OS is managing memory and buffering disk access so that if a page event occurs in the VM then the host OS may buffer that and not incur a disk access for paging. Pretty amazing stuff.

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Running a VM
by bjdluna / March 24, 2018 2:09 PM PDT

The VM is a temporary fix to install hadoop and all that goes with it except it's only going to be the Spark part because that is the only thing I will have enough room for with this 89 gig machine. I'm not good as an admin, if that were not the case I would have probably installed a dual boot myself. So I did find out last night in my class that I can install a VM and just the SPARK portion of Hadoop for use now. The whole VM I thought would fix my issues with Windows and R but I then thought I will do this temporary fix and get a Linux box for R and the full Hadoop and more. I'm taking Data Science courses and I really like them but R just completely stopped working after some upgrade and it hasn't worked since
early march.

Thanks veyr much,
bjdluna

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Would not buy.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 23, 2018 8:18 AM PDT

Seems overpriced for used. Even at the office we would just get some run of the mill 16GB RAM with the i7 today.

Why this one?

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Why this one?
by bjdluna / March 23, 2018 11:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Would not buy.

I think Dell is a good brand and it has 24 gb RAM. So you think this is overpriced? Maybe that's due to all the RAM and 5 terabyte storage? Do you have any suggestions of where to look and what brands to choose for refurbished Linux Desktop? I chose Desktop because those are usually cheaper.
Thanks very much for your input,

Bjdluna

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My choice is not buying such a thing.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 23, 2018 11:07 AM PDT
In reply to: Why this one?

I can't tell if this is old DDR3 RAM as well. I rarely see much payback past 8GB for most folk. 16GB seems to be the sweet spot and HDD space is usually a non-issue with large drives going for not much.

I like what kees linked as 200 bucks is in line for such old desktops.

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Example.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 23, 2018 11:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Why this one?
https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Precision-T3500-Workstation-Windows/dp/B01F6LV5KQ is about 450 bucks with 24GB RAM and let's price out a big drive.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Description=5tb%20hard%20drive&Submit=ENE puts that about 150ish bucks

Linux is free for us to obtain and install. I do not advise pre-installed Linux for a very simple reason. This is your chance to learn the install routine. I run into owners that never installed an OS and they continue to pay for support where if they had done this themselves they would have saved hundreds if not more.

Your model was easy to find for less.
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why not install Linux myself
by bjdluna / March 24, 2018 3:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Example.

I am already behind and that could take forever. I would prefer for it to first be installed by the dealer and just buy it like that. I agree I don't need 24 gig for RAM I have lowered that to 16 and re-check my options.

Thanks very much for your help,
bjdluna

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Curious about that amount of RAM
by Steven Haninger / March 24, 2018 1:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Why this one?

It must either be mixed sized pairs or triple channel. I don't think triple channel got far off the ground so, if that's what the MB needs, support may be minimal. The price you'd be paying is only for the hardware and I'd think you could do much better to just build your own for that amount or less.

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24 Gig Ram
by bjdluna / March 24, 2018 3:13 AM PDT

You are right about that 24 gig that is overkill and I have lowered that requirement to 16 Gig.
So I'm rechecking now that I have lowered my RAM request.

Thanks very much for your help,

bjdluna

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they call it "work station" but...
by James Denison / March 23, 2018 11:20 AM PDT

...the statistics on it sounds more like an server for internet services, based on the parts listed and the amount of overkill for a home user. I would be leery of it, and I use Linux myself. For Linux if you have 8GB of RAM, a processor with 4 or more cores running at 3 GHz or more, and just a cheap 1TB HDD or 500 GB SSD, then you have as much as needed, even more than most today need.

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refurbished desktop with linux
by bjdluna / March 23, 2018 12:36 PM PDT

Thanks again to everyone for your advice. I am going back to see what it costs for refurbished and new desktops or laptops with Linux. There are a lot of different makes of Linux. What does everyone think is the best Linux OS for someone just starting out?

Thanks again for all of your help,

bjdluna

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Don't fall for a price trap.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 23, 2018 1:03 PM PDT

I've lost count of the times a person pays more for a Linux laptop over one that comes with Windows that we can install Linux to. I guess there are some that will pay more out of principle. That person is not me.

Excuse me while I put a few more rubberbands on my wallet.

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Price Trap
by bjdluna / March 24, 2018 3:23 AM PDT

Again you are absolutely correct as everyone else in this forum is. I am lowering the 24 gig Ram and lowering the hard drive requirements and only looking at refurbished. I definitely want the Linux installed before I buy it I don't have the time right now to struggle through a bunch of errors to learn this. I will save that joy for another day. This computer problem has already gotten me way behind in my classes so the sooner I can get this Linux Box the better.

Thanks very much for your input to my request, I really appreciate it!

Bjdluna

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Errors? In the past 5 years
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 24, 2018 6:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Price Trap

Linux has just slid onto PCs without an error. I think it's been well over 5 years since I had an install issue. It's that good.

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Easy Linux
by James Denison / March 23, 2018 7:41 PM PDT

would be

Mint with MATE or Cinnamon
Ubuntu with MATE desktop
Zorin OS

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Distros suggestions
by bjdluna / March 24, 2018 3:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Easy Linux

I don't really understand what a Distro is. It sounds like you can have one you start with and a bunch of other versions of Linux to go to also. What does it mean, for example "Mint with MATE",
I'm not used to any versions of linux except for Ubuntu.

Thanks very much for your help,
Bjdluna

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"Distro" is short for "distribution"
by Steven Haninger / March 24, 2018 5:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Distros suggestions

For the most part, it's just a name for a packaged Linux product. Each product may have an option of desktop environments which is basically it's look and feel. "Mint" is the name of a distribution that comes in a variety of flavors such as Cinnamon, Mate, and other desktop environments. Some distributions are targeted for specific purposes such as to be used as servers, workstations, general PCs, etc. It's all in the packaging but you can customize it as you wish. I see Linux as a good companion to other operating systems but not as a replacement for them. Each will have something it does better than the others. It's like having one vehicle for general "in town" use, another for hauling bricks and lumber, and another for taking on a family vacation.

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cheap DVD's
by James Denison / March 23, 2018 7:42 PM PDT

they have a working with all linux distros, sharing donations.

osdisc.com

If you want to look at some other distros

distrowatch.com

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Distros
by bjdluna / March 24, 2018 3:29 AM PDT
In reply to: cheap DVD's

Thanks for the tip on the distrowatch.com. That should be very helpful for me since I had never even heard of the name 'distro" until I recently started looking into these.

Thanks again to everybody! You all gave me some great advice and saved me from wasting some big bucks!

Thanks again,
bjdluna

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The 24 gig Ram
by bjdluna / March 24, 2018 3:17 AM PDT

You are completely correct about that RAM requirement so I have lowered it to 16 gig, >= 4 cores, >-= 3GHz and 1TB HDD or 500 GBSSD These requirements sound fine so now I am re-checking my options.

Thanks to everyone that gave me advice in this i really appreciate that very much and definitely don't have any extra money lying around to waste.

Thanks again,
Bjdluna

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I wouldn't...
by Zouch / March 24, 2018 4:42 AM PDT

Definitely over-priced, even for a Xeon based system. Bob says he has rubber bands on his wallet to keep the moths in - a mere beginner! I bought my current daily workhorse machine about 2-3 years ago, a Lenovo T500 Core 2 Duo Laptop, ex-lease, for $39 Australian. I spent about $100 on a Mac DDR3 matched pair RAM kit 2 x 4GB and a WD Black 750 GB HDD- couldn't afford a big enough SSD. Came with it's original HDD wiped but OK, since I wanted it for Linux. Solid and reliable, though from the sound of it you need more configuration.

About Linux, You mentioned that you didn't understand the references suggested and I don't think anyone explained. For Linux, you have the basic operating system, such as Ubuntu or Mint or others which are basically text mode or command line in Windows terms and then you have a choice of desktops, the GUI interfaces, such as KDE, Gnome, Mate, Cinnamon, etc. which is what James was referring to. And everyone knows that their choice is the best!

I go back a couple of decades with Linux to SuSE 7 Pro with KDE but only seriously took it up when I bought this machine. So for me, the choice was OpenSuSE Leap with the KDE desktop. It's actually the stable version based on SuSE Linux Enterorise Server, which is the professional rock solid system. It's the one I'd recommend, current release is 42.3 but if you have used Ubuntu, you may prefer to stick with that. "Distro" by the way is a shortened "Distribution" which may have meant more to you.

Back to the machine you were considering, although described as a workstation, the configuration sounds more like a server in origin. Not an issue, I have an HP Server ML110 converted to a desktop and I like it - a full tower makes upgrades wonderfully easy. I recall Dell did offer some machines with Linux pre-installed - was this one of them or done subsequently?

As others have said, installing your own Linux system is a great learning experience - Leap takes about 20-30 minutes from booting the DVD (free download) to working desktop, worth investing the time to get what you want.

On the topic of your VM to run Linux under Windows, why? If it was me, I'd go for a dual boot system instead and then run either Linux or Windows, not try to run one under the other. If you have Windows on the machine and install Linux in a separate partition, GRUB (Linux bootloader) will see it and build you a dual boot menu to choose the operating system you want to use at any particular time. I've nothing against VMs, I go back to VM/370 on IBM mainframes, it's just another layer of stuff to learn.

I hope some of this helps. Truly, I think you can do better than the machine you asked about. Most manufacturers have clearance sales on previous models and you should be able to get a Core i7 sixth generation for around the price you quote and, despite being a cheapskate, I know which one I'd choose!

Good Luck!

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What would you choose?
by bjdluna / March 24, 2018 1:57 PM PDT
In reply to: I wouldn't...

Hi Thanks very much for your info. You do know a lot about Linux. I was just wondering what you would choose if you were buying a linux box now and saving money (I'm not a cheap skate I just don't have any money--this is probably why because of my "wonderful" choices!).

So what would you select for all the options if you wanted to keep it not over $500?

Thanks again for your help,

bjdluna

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What is "R"?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 24, 2018 3:33 PM PDT
https://www.cloudera.com/documentation/enterprise/5-13-x/topics/cloudera_quickstart_vm.html#xd_583c10bfdbd326ba-3ca24a24-13d80143249--7f9d__section_d3z_wtv_ls

I see it does call out for 8GB RAM in the VM but since memory is virtual we can always go lower and let the OS swap. The thing is that this isn't as bad as running the actual OS natively. The host OS will buffer the swap and between the OS in the VM and the Host OS it actually may be just fine.

There are new folk in CompSci all the time that didn't know this and demand a much larger machine than they can get by with.
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Linux Install
by tosim00 / March 25, 2018 8:33 AM PDT

I've been using Linux(various distros), since 1998, but about 9 years ago, I settled with Linux Mint, and the MATE desktop. On a few of my machines, I dual boot with Win10, but almost never use it. If you go here: https://linuxmint.com/download.php you can d/l whichever(or all), version you choose, then burn it to a "Live CDDd". You can then boot from that DVD-it all goes into RAM, so you are not affecting your Win installation. Just be advised, Llinux will be running much slower this way, but at least you will get a
perfect idea of it. Many Linux distros offer this "Live DVD" option. If you decide to install it, there is a button on the desktop to install it. While doing that, it gives you the option to "run alongside Windows install", or to partition disk, or to format disk, then install. Will install within 30 minutes easily. Also, be aware there are several very large Mint(and Linux) , community forums that are eager to offer help.
Enjoy a great computer experience!

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