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 Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:24 pm   Post subject: Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

Hey dudes, I'm planing on building a new desktop soon. I've only owned laptops for the past 4 years, and I'm looking to build myself a good desktop for gaming, development and other stuff.

So I'm looking for an open suggestion on what kind of hardware I should put in it. I'm going to be running Windows (Vista, likely), and Linux for sure, either Ubuntu, Arch, or something else.

What I want is good hardware that is *really* compatible. Compatibility is more important than performance for me.

So, my requirements/guidelines:

- Powerful hardware, including (especially) video card with dual-outs. I'd like something that will have good linux driver support. My current Radeon HD 2600 doesn't fair so well.
- Large disk space, for 2-3 operating systems, school work, projects, and of course, games
- Both ethernet & wireless card
- Only 1 optical drive, probably a dvd-rw, as I don't use it much
- Decent sound card, but again, driver compatability

So I'm thinking I'll probably go with the whatever the current mid-high range CPU is at the time, a decent Nvidia card with proven driver support (my previous experience with ATI hasn't been pleasurable), and either 1 or 2 500GB drives. I'll be running 2 20" monitors soon (currently only have one), so dual-head support is needed.

My current laptop is Atheros wifi, which I have been happy with, so I'll probably go with that. I really don't know two much about sound cards, or optical drives, and I'm not sure whether to go 32 or 64 bit, as the details of each still confuse me. One more thing, motherboards, I really don't know what's out there and how it's going to affect me as a dual-os gamer/developer.

Let the discussion begin, and my thanks! Smile

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:38 pm   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

All the items I am posting here can be found at Tiger Direct. I am trying to keep it affordable so obviously I won't go for the $2000 CPU.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (great for overclocking. Can be safely overclocked to over 3.2 GHz)
GPU: XFX GeForce 9800 GT 512MB (has S-Video and dual DVI and nVidia has waaaayyyy better Linux support than ATI)
RAM: Corsair Dual Channel TWINX 4096MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Memory
HDD: 2 Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB Hard Drives ($130 each)
Eth: D-Link - DFE-530TX+ - 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN Adapter (cheap LAN adapter, it's not gigabit though)
Wifi: Linksys WMP54G PCI Wireless Adapter (This was the only brand name wifi adapter that I saw and it's the only one that looks like it may be supported in Linux)
CD: LG GH22NS30 Internal 22x SATA Super-Multi SecurDisc Drive ($35 CD/DVD Writer)

You don't really need a sound card unless you want surround or are really paranoid about it frying your mobo. Oh yeah, I didn't choose the mobo because I know that a lot of people are picky about what they get for that. Personally, I wouldn't spend a lot on a motherboard, but my friend spends the most on it so I don't know your opinion for that. How much would you spend for a motherboard?

About 64-bit, I would say go for the 64-bit version of Windows if you are getting XP x64 or Vista x64 because it is definitely faster. I wouldn't recommend the 64-bit version of Linux though because there aren't as many drivers and programs that fully work with it (from my experience).

BTW, I didn't want to put the links because it would get all messy so if you want to see the items, go to and copy and paste the items I wrote.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:12 am   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

Save on the CPU. In my recent build I went for the Intel E5200. It's a 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo with 2MB of L2 cache. It's not the fastest thing out there, but it's no slouch either.

4GB of RAM is a good idea. Choose your motherboard/chipset carefully if you want to be able to upgrade to 8GB in the future.

As for video cards, the 9800GT mentioned is hugely powerful, but I would suggest saving a fair chunk of money and grabbing a 512MB 9600GT instead.

For the best performance you may wish to invest in either a 10K RPM hard drive or solid state drive for your "OS disk." 750GB hard drives are a nice price/performance sweet spot.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:42 am   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

I second the nvidia card. Also for 64 bit Linux, the only real issue I've had was Flash. Adobe finally realized it's 2008 now and 64 bit has been out somewhere around forever and promises 64 bit Flash for Linux soon (it's in alpha now, I have yet to try it).

Any other 32 bit only plug-ins are usually wrapped up for you to use anyways.

Go with Arch, screw Ubuntu.

Oh, and definitely don't bother with XP. Too many people are living in the past and won't let that thing die.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:45 am   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

If you plan on doing any RAID storage, don't use anything greater then 500GB. 1TB drives are nice, but in the time it takes to rebuild a RAID you are likely to have a second drive fail on you. 500GB is big enough to get good value, but small enough that rebuild times are managable.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:32 am   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

Yeah, I think 1 TB is MORE than enough.

I know the 6600 is a good CPU, but the 5300 dual-core fairs about the same performance-wise. I did some research on it through work.

Like I said, I'll likely go for an Atheros wifi card, as I've had good experience with it on my laptop. And I think Gigger-bit LAN as well, as my laptop's got it and I might as well move to gigabit network soon.

Also, 10K RPM drives and solid state ones, how much do they run for a decent one? I think even 250GB for OS drive and 500GB-1TB for data is good, so i could save some money on the OS drive there.

Keep 'em coming. Also, I do need mobo advice, as I really don't know that much about it, besides to match up bus speeds Razz

Edit: Also, talk to me about RAID. I know what it is, it's benifits, but why would I want it for a home PC? I'd go for a RAID 0 probably, but that's 2x the cost in HD and more complication.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:42 am   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

If you're hoping to run Windows and Linux, I'm not sure a RAID would be a good idea. RAID 0 wouldn't be twice the cost in HD, all it does is bridge two HDDs so they look like a single one.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:27 am   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

Solid state drives at TigerDirect

A VelociRaptor drive

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:49 am   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

Thats "cheaper" but I still find all of these HDs expensive...Solid State are just wow Neutral
For sound, I recommend getting a USB headset, cheap and pretty good sound for most of them Very Happy Better than wasting cash on a sound card.

By the way, the 780i chipsets are known to be giving major issues, especially the ASUS 780i motherboards, from video corruption to being highly unstable at stock settings as well with the Q6600 processor. I have an ASUS P5N-T Deluxe and wow, half the time I kept getting video corruptions, now I had to install NVIDIA's beta drivers; Everyone who has tried using the quad core with this motherboard hasn't been able to get it stabilized even at stock settings -.-

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:22 pm   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

I think I'll stick with a dual-core CPU. And I'll want a soundcard for speakers! I only use a headset when I play some games, depending on the circumstances at the time (e.g. girlfriend's home).

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:27 pm   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

You play computer games at your girlfriend's home? Wow...I need to get a sound card for my PC, but that would also mean a new power supply, and I can't afford that at the moment. I'll save my money for when I build my own.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:32 pm   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

No, I play video games at my apartment, where both my me and my girlfriend live Smile

But yes, I did play video games at her house when she lived at home Razz I suppose I should mention that I was at her house about 4-6 hours a night after work/school, 5 days a week Razz

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:01 pm   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

I'd love to get one of these boards. Take a look through the rest of the site. (Yes I know they are server boards.)

edit: Wrong link!

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:34 pm   Post subject: Re: Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

I built this box for the gf 8 months ago, everything from NCIX:

1 x Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Dual Core Processor LGA775 3.0GHZ Wolfdale 1333FSB 6MB Retail
1 x Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L ATX LGA775 P35 1333FSB 1PCI-E16 3PCI-E1 3PCI SATA2 Sound GBLAN Motherboard
1 x Corsair XMS2 TWIN2X2048-5400C4 2GB 2X1GB PC2-5400 DDR2-667 CL 4-4-4-12 240PIN Dual Channel Memory
1 x GeForce 9600GT 512MB OEM 650MHZ GDDR3 1.8GHZ PCI-E Dual DVI-I
1 x Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro LGA775 2500RPM 45CFM
1 x Compucase 6C28B ATX Case Black 4X5.25 2X3.5 4X.3.5INT W/ Front USB & Audio No PS
1 x Antec Truepower Trio 650W Power Supply ATX12V V2.0 Active PFC SLI Certified 120MM Fan
1 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA2 8.5MS 7200RPM 16MB Cache Hard Drive 5YR MFR Warranty
1 x Samsung SH-S203B Black SATA DVD+RW 20X8X16 DVD-RW 20X6X16 DL 18X/12X INT DVD Writer OEM W/ Vista SW

switch the drive and gpu for your choice. Think it came to <$800 then. Probably <$600 now.

Quad would have been overkill for her (and the performance increase is nil for most games), and the Wolfdale is a superb core. Easily overclockable to 4GHz without enhanced cooling system.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:29 pm   Post subject: RE:Gaming/Linux Computer - A Plan

The Arctic Freeze 7 Pro is delicious. I love mine 8D
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