The Ultimate Linux box

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The Ultimate Linux box

Postby Dutch_Master » Sat Apr 14, 2007 12:36 am

In LXF 92, the May 2007 issue, the team builds "The Ultimate Linux Box". With a pricetag of over 2,000 UK pounds and an equivalent of 4.200 Euro's in a Dutch webshop it's "a bit" :roll: overprized...

Here's my idea of "The Ultimate Linux Box", but on a budget:
Case: Antec Titan 650, with 650W PSU included, in black
Mobo: Asus M2N32 WS Professional
Proc: AMD Athlon 64 X2, 4200+, Socket AM2, Boxed
Memory: Corsair ValueSelect, 2048 MB, DDR2, PC5300, 667 MHz, set of 2
Harddisk: Western Digital WD5000KS, 500 GB, 7200 RPM, 16 MB, SATA II
Videocard: XFX GeForce 7600GT Fatal1ty, 256 MB, GDDR3, PCI Express x16
Optical drive: NEC AD-7170S, Serial ATA150
Total price would be about 875 Euro's, dunno what that would be in Pounds Sterling.

The AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ is IMHO by far the best price/performance proc you can get now. The Asus motherboard allows you to upgrade to a more powerful proc when budget permits.

Other components, like keyboard, mouse and monitor, can be re-used from a previous system. If you do want them new, I suggest:
Keyboard and mouse combo: Logitech Deluxe 650
Monitor: Belinea 1975 S1

So, what's your idea about this Ultimate Linux Box on a budget?
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RE: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby Sslaxx » Sat Apr 14, 2007 10:22 am

That's around £600, not too shabby then. And it sounds a lot more realistic than the box LXF put together (my fiancée described it as an ultimate Windows gaming box, not an ultimate Linux box!).
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Re: RE: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby Ram » Sat Apr 14, 2007 10:29 am

Sslaxx wrote:That's around £600, not too shabby then. And it sounds a lot more realistic than the box LXF put together (my fiancée described it as an ultimate Windows gaming box, not an ultimate Linux box!).


And when UT3 ( UT2007 ) is finally released it will be come the ultimate Linux Gaming Box.

lubuntu LXDE 13.10 running on AMD Phenom II*4; ASUS Crosshair III Formula MB; 4 GB Ram.....
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RE: Re: RE: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby davecs » Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:32 am

Some articles in Linux Format do make me despair, and that was one of them! My rig isn't even as "modern" as the previous Ultimate Linux Box in 2004, and that goes like a rocket and whirls Beryl cubes around the screen in PCLinuxOS, only Firefox and OpenOffice want to slow it down at all.

I'm thinking of a new rig (birthday approaching) and what better than to copy a Dutch Master? Looks good, I've researched the Mobo and it seems quite a stunner, the only downside being that it only has one IDE terminal. May have to sacrifice an optical drive (I like to have two) or maybe just copy all my data to a stack of DVDs before I can put the old one away.
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RE: Re: RE: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby Dutch_Master » Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:41 am

Thx for the flattery ;) I must say that I haven't build this box myself, but I am experienced in selecting components and building PC's. Note that the optical drive I choose is an SATA device, so re-using your old(er) IDE drive still is possible. Also, the harddrive is an SATA device (I have one of these in my homeserver) I can recommend. If you have the budget, get a second one rather then upgrading the proc. 'Cause a faster proc doesn't generally improve performance with the same rate as the price-difference suggests, but the extra storage in a RAID config does!
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Re: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby nordle » Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:08 pm

Dutch_Master wrote:The AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ is IMHO by far the best price/performance proc you can get now.


I bought purely AMD chips since 2000, but on this point I'd recommend Intel Core2 6600.

Both the X2 6000 and the c2d 6600 cost around £140, but the c2 will clock really easily with no need for voltage adjustments, with temps never above 40c, usually 35c. Lower power consumption too. Under load the c2d uses around 156w, the AMD is 235w!

Mine's been running at 2.9GHZ for 7 months no problem, which is c2d 6800 territory. Most air cooled clockers seem to hit around 3.2.
The 6000 has nowhere to go, not without excellent water cooling or a compressor!

Have a look at some benchmarks
http://tinyurl.com/yv6soz

Memory and graphics are very close, c2d slightly ahead, but encoding leaves the athlon anything from 30-90% slower.
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RE: Re: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby Sslaxx » Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:12 pm

How does the drivers issue hold up (unlike the LXF article!)?
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RE: Re: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby nordle » Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:05 pm

I think this system would be pretty good, easily clock to 3.1/3.2

Costs a lot, but not ridiculously so IMO.

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RE: Re: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby davecs » Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:05 am

Dutch-Master, can I ask you something? I printed part of the motherboard pic from the Asus site full size, and I cannot see how a decent CPU fan will fit. But something in the gen at the Asus site seems to suggest that CPU cooling is handled by the mobo itself. Is that right? I can't see from the picture how it can be?
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RE: Re: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby Dutch_Master » Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:58 am

What exactly do you mean? Just above the memory banks is the place for the proc (in white). The black ring surrounding it is the base for mounting the cooler. This redirects any force excerted on the cooler away from the CPU and directly to the PCB. The cooler elements you see in the pic on the Asus website is the heatpipe system Asus uses for cooling the power-regulators and some important onboard chips. Did you read the manual of the board? klick
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RE: Re: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby davecs » Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:44 pm

Thanks for the link. Obviously I hadn't found the manual. Useful.

I am thinking of ordering through ebuyer, they don't have the Antec case in stock but they do have THIS PSU for sale. I really fancied a Hiper but at 530w it seems they won't be adequate, and the 730w models are much dearer.

I was thinking of putting it in THIS case.

They don't have the Arctic fan I fancied, and the other ultra-quiet ones will clash with the raised cooling fins and the RAM. Is there a fan supplied with the retail version of the CPU (doesn't say at e-buyer) and is it noisy or should I buy an alternative?
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RE: Re: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby Dutch_Master » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:09 am

Coolermaster is good stuff. No objection if you settle on that. Is that a "no-name" case? I couldn't find any reference to its manufacturer. In general, a "no-name" case will do just as well as a higher priced A-brand product. But, the lower price must come from somewhere and the eye for detail is the first thing to go when cutting costs. Things like rounding off sharp corners, overall build accuracy, ease of use when putting components in or out, airflow, things like that. But it's your call (and money ;)) so if you can live with the possible disadvantages in respect to the price difference, that's fine with me.

The boxed cooler from AMD will do just fine for general use. Don't expect it to perform equally well when you go overclocking the proc, 'cause that means you're using the proc outside of it's spec's, for which the boxed cooler is designed. IIRC AMD offers their proc's only boxed, the OEM (tray) variants are intended for use by PC builders like Dell, Alternate, MyCom, etc. Don't expect the boxed cooler to be really quiet. It's not really noisy (but depends on model and underlaying proc). I suggest to go for the boxed cooler for the time being, if it disappoints you you're always free to try an alternative.
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RE: Re: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby davecs » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:21 pm

As a Type-2 Diabetic, I have to ping my fingertips every day! I've never managed that on even the cheapest case. Yet.

What attracted me to the case is the presence of a front-panel Firewire port: at present I have to dangle an extension lead from round the back!

The other thing is that Coolermaster do a 600w PSU which is supposed to be very energy effecient. One reviewer at ebuyer said that they tested it and the 600w was a good continuous rating and it can peak at 700w.

I am tempted but don't want to have to buy another one next week. LINK HERE.

Advice anyone?
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RE: Re: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby Diagmato » Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:30 pm

That article just brought on some serious critisism - after a friend read it - "So, you need to blow 2 terms worth of student loan to get a pc that runs linux? Ill stick with Windows thank you."

Linux is very good at being able to run on all sorts of machines very comfortably, but this article gave them impression to some people, that you need one heck of a powerful PC to get the most out of it, which then brought on "Linux is no better than Vista, in that case."

The ultimate Linux box would be one that is actually affordable - we argue that Linux is free in beer and libre, but that is rather flawed when someone thinks they need such an expensive PC.

That PC would attract gamers, but not for running Linux - it has a few FPS games, but no other mainstream titles. Gamers tend to want to get on and play a game, make sure their map editors work, and so forth - cedega isnt providing that entirely.

If you want to spend £2000 on a PC just so that Unreal 2007 runs nicely, then, well, I wont judge that, but you have just spend possibly £2030 to play a game.
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Re: RE: Re: The Ultimate Linux box

Postby Rhakios » Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:31 pm

Diagmato wrote:That article just brought on some serious critisism - after a friend read it - "So, you need to blow 2 terms worth of student loan to get a pc that runs linux? Ill stick with Windows thank you."


So, your friend isn't too bright then. If he read an article about the "Ultimate Windows PC" that cost in the region of £2000 (and it would, because it would contain much the same components), would he then go running to Linux or Mac?
Or, did he just not actually read the article?

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