Hardware recommendations for a newbie. - Hardware

This is a discussion on Hardware recommendations for a newbie. - Hardware ; Hi all. Just a quick query about hardware compatibility with Linux distros...apologies if this has been done to death already, but googling provided links primarily to *.advocacy groups... Basically I'm looking at buying a new PC to run both Linux ...

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Thread: Hardware recommendations for a newbie.

  1. Hardware recommendations for a newbie.

    Hi all.

    Just a quick query about hardware compatibility with Linux
    distros...apologies if this has been done to death already, but googling
    provided links primarily to *.advocacy groups...

    Basically I'm looking at buying a new PC to run both Linux (likely
    OpenSUSE) and WinXP. I've just enrolled to do a whole bunch of
    certifications - mostly MS based, but also the CompTIA Linux+ cert. I'm
    just not sure how to go about things. There's a monthly 'Computer fair'
    local to me where several vendors can build a box to specs, depending on
    what the customer wants (and obviously, what the budget allows) who can
    build what seems like a decently fast machine for around $500AUD.

    What I'm not up to speed on is processors - AMD? Intel? Pentium? I'm
    only familiar with the Intel stuff from being a Mac user. Is there any
    consensus as to which components are best suited to running Linux with
    minimal hassles?

    What I really don't want to run into is incompatibility problems with
    things like video cards etc - I need this to work with a 24" Acer LCD
    screen at 1920x1200. Neither wireless networking or printing will be
    required though.

    My only prior experience with Linux is running a dual boot setup with
    Ubuntu/Mac OS 10.4 on my current computer - a G4 PowerMac. The display
    was never quite 'right' when booting into Ubuntu. If I can get a new,
    much faster system running reasonably cheaply I'll likely retire the Mac
    altogether.

    Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    --
    Cheers,
    Andy.

    The Usenet Improvement Project | http://improve-usenet.org/
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  2. Re: Hardware recommendations for a newbie.

    Andy wrote:
    > Hi all.
    >
    > Just a quick query about hardware compatibility with Linux
    > distros...apologies if this has been done to death already, but googling
    > provided links primarily to *.advocacy groups...
    >
    > Basically I'm looking at buying a new PC to run both Linux (likely
    > OpenSUSE) and WinXP. I've just enrolled to do a whole bunch of
    > certifications - mostly MS based, but also the CompTIA Linux+ cert. I'm
    > just not sure how to go about things. There's a monthly 'Computer fair'
    > local to me where several vendors can build a box to specs, depending on
    > what the customer wants (and obviously, what the budget allows) who can
    > build what seems like a decently fast machine for around $500AUD.
    >
    > What I'm not up to speed on is processors - AMD? Intel? Pentium? I'm
    > only familiar with the Intel stuff from being a Mac user. Is there any
    > consensus as to which components are best suited to running Linux with
    > minimal hassles?
    >
    > What I really don't want to run into is incompatibility problems with
    > things like video cards etc - I need this to work with a 24" Acer LCD
    > screen at 1920x1200. Neither wireless networking or printing will be
    > required though.
    >
    > My only prior experience with Linux is running a dual boot setup with
    > Ubuntu/Mac OS 10.4 on my current computer - a G4 PowerMac. The display
    > was never quite 'right' when booting into Ubuntu. If I can get a new,
    > much faster system running reasonably cheaply I'll likely retire the Mac
    > altogether.
    >
    > Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.
    >

    Methinks one quick guide is to avoid anything but plain-vanilla
    hardware. The fancy stuff (ie all-in-one motherboards, USB dongles to
    create printer ports, etc.) all come with vendor supplied drivers.
    Usually, these are for Windows only (no doubt they'll soon be Vista only).
    Without said drivers, the hardware doesn't usually work too well on
    Linux. The Linux distro people do a grand job putting up drivers where
    they can, but there's just too much proprietary hardware out there for
    them to cover it all.

  3. Re: Hardware recommendations for a newbie.

    On Sat, 19 Apr 2008 16:39:11 +1000, Andy wrote:

    > Hi all.
    >
    > Just a quick query about hardware compatibility with Linux
    > distros...apologies if this has been done to death already, but googling
    > provided links primarily to *.advocacy groups...
    >
    > Basically I'm looking at buying a new PC to run both Linux (likely
    > OpenSUSE) and WinXP. I've just enrolled to do a whole bunch of
    > certifications - mostly MS based, but also the CompTIA Linux+ cert. I'm
    > just not sure how to go about things. There's a monthly 'Computer fair'
    > local to me where several vendors can build a box to specs, depending on
    > what the customer wants (and obviously, what the budget allows) who can
    > build what seems like a decently fast machine for around $500AUD.
    >
    > What I'm not up to speed on is processors - AMD? Intel? Pentium? I'm
    > only familiar with the Intel stuff from being a Mac user. Is there any
    > consensus as to which components are best suited to running Linux with
    > minimal hassles?
    >
    > What I really don't want to run into is incompatibility problems with
    > things like video cards etc - I need this to work with a 24" Acer LCD
    > screen at 1920x1200. Neither wireless networking or printing will be
    > required though.
    >
    > My only prior experience with Linux is running a dual boot setup with
    > Ubuntu/Mac OS 10.4 on my current computer - a G4 PowerMac. The display
    > was never quite 'right' when booting into Ubuntu. If I can get a new,
    > much faster system running reasonably cheaply I'll likely retire the Mac
    > altogether.
    >
    > Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.


    Desktop systems are very Linux compatible these days as long as you stick
    to the main chipset providers, i.e. Intel, Nvidia, AMD.The highest
    performance CPUs these days are the Intel Core2s, AMD is fine for low
    performance systems but they don't have anything that competes with Intel
    at the high end. Laptops are generally pretty compatible also except for
    the WiFi cards, there are several vendors of WiFi chips that have little
    or no Linux support. Intel WiFi will work right out of the box, Intel is
    committed to fully supporting Linux so anything Intel is a safe bet.

    My recommendations are a 45nm Core2, E8xxx (dual core) or E9xxx (Quad
    Core). A motherboard with an Intel Chipset and a graphics card with an
    Nvidia chipset. If you get an AMD system then get a motherboard with an
    Nvidia chipset. If you get a laptop then get a Lenovo. Lenovo sells the
    T61 with SUSE installed. Dell sells Ubuntu systems but they only offer it
    on their crap laptops with obsolete processors and low res screens. The
    T61 is available with a 1650x1080 screen and the latest 45nm Mobile
    Core2s. All Nvidia graphics cards will work with Linux. Nvidia provides a
    binary driver that they keep up to date and has performance equal to or
    better than their Windows driver. Intel provides open source drivers for
    their graphics chips so you won't have to install a binary driver to get
    3D (Nvidia is 2D with the kernel drivers and 3D with the closed source
    direvers). However Intel graphics are very low end. ATI/AMD graphics were
    problematic in the past but they have open sourced their drivers and are
    doing a much better job of supporting Linux now. I have no personal
    experience with ATI so I can't say first hand that you won't have any
    problems but I think that it's unlikely to be an issue unless you get a
    cutting edge card. I've never had a problem with Nvidia which is why I
    recommend them.

    When you are selecting your motherboard I suggest you read the customer
    reviews on Newegg. Newegg has extensive reviews and Linux users are
    pretty good about posting their experience, if you don't see any mention
    of Linux for a board then skip it and find one where their is a review.

    As for distros, I've found that Fedora has the best hardware
    compatibility. Ubuntu tends to run a little behind Fedora and their
    installer isn't quite as good although it's pretty decent.



  4. Re: Hardware recommendations for a newbie.

    On Sat, 19 Apr 2008 16:39:11 +1000, Andy wrote:

    > Hi all.
    >
    > Just a quick query about hardware compatibility with Linux
    > distros...apologies if this has been done to death already, but googling
    > provided links primarily to *.advocacy groups...
    >
    > Basically I'm looking at buying a new PC to run both Linux (likely
    > OpenSUSE) and WinXP. I've just enrolled to do a whole bunch of
    > certifications - mostly MS based, but also the CompTIA Linux+ cert. I'm
    > just not sure how to go about things. There's a monthly 'Computer fair'
    > local to me where several vendors can build a box to specs, depending on
    > what the customer wants (and obviously, what the budget allows) who can
    > build what seems like a decently fast machine for around $500AUD.
    >
    > What I'm not up to speed on is processors - AMD? Intel? Pentium? I'm
    > only familiar with the Intel stuff from being a Mac user. Is there any
    > consensus as to which components are best suited to running Linux with
    > minimal hassles?


    Yes. All three plus VIA. Linux runs on virtually every major CPU platform.
    You may not know, but there were versions which ran on the PPC platform as
    well.

    >
    > What I really don't want to run into is incompatibility problems with
    > things like video cards etc - I need this to work with a 24" Acer LCD
    > screen at 1920x1200. Neither wireless networking or printing will be
    > required though.


    None.

    >
    > My only prior experience with Linux is running a dual boot setup with
    > Ubuntu/Mac OS 10.4 on my current computer - a G4 PowerMac. The display
    > was never quite 'right' when booting into Ubuntu. If I can get a new,
    > much faster system running reasonably cheaply I'll likely retire the Mac
    > altogether.
    >
    > Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.


    Boot a Live CD on a system like what you want, if there is any question.

  5. Re: Hardware recommendations for a newbie.

    In article <66ue56F2l3ft8U2@mid.individual.net>, ray
    wrote:

    > On Sat, 19 Apr 2008 16:39:11 +1000, Andy wrote:


    > > What I'm not up to speed on is processors - AMD? Intel? Pentium? I'm
    > > only familiar with the Intel stuff from being a Mac user. Is there any
    > > consensus as to which components are best suited to running Linux with
    > > minimal hassles?

    >
    > Yes. All three plus VIA. Linux runs on virtually every major CPU platform.
    > You may not know, but there were versions which ran on the PPC platform as
    > well.


    Yes, I am aware - I ran one of them on a G4 PowerMac, and was fairly
    disappointed. It seemed that it had been half-finished, then abandoned.

    It sounds like compatibility problems have been addressed in the last
    few years (certainly with up-to-date hardware), which is excellent news.

    --
    Cheers,
    Andy.

    The Usenet Improvement Project | http://improve-usenet.org/
    The StupidFilter Project | http://stupidfilter.org/main/

  6. Re: Hardware recommendations for a newbie.

    On Sun, 20 Apr 2008 14:59:23 +1000, Andy wrote:

    > In article <66ue56F2l3ft8U2@mid.individual.net>, ray
    > wrote:
    >
    >> On Sat, 19 Apr 2008 16:39:11 +1000, Andy wrote:

    >
    >> > What I'm not up to speed on is processors - AMD? Intel? Pentium?
    >> > I'm only familiar with the Intel stuff from being a Mac user. Is
    >> > there any consensus as to which components are best suited to running
    >> > Linux with minimal hassles?

    >>
    >> Yes. All three plus VIA. Linux runs on virtually every major CPU
    >> platform. You may not know, but there were versions which ran on the
    >> PPC platform as well.

    >
    > Yes, I am aware - I ran one of them on a G4 PowerMac, and was fairly
    > disappointed. It seemed that it had been half-finished, then abandoned.
    >
    > It sounds like compatibility problems have been addressed in the last
    > few years (certainly with up-to-date hardware), which is excellent news.


    Mainstream hardware has been well supported for a very long time. I've
    been using Linux since the PII days and I've never run into a desktop
    system that wouldn't run Linux. When there is a major generational change
    in hardware you might have to compile your own kernel until your distro
    catches up, but eventually it will. The PPC Mac versions had a limited
    audience so they didn't get the same level of effort that PC versions
    got. Think about it, Mac users buy their systems because they love the
    Mac so they don't have a big incentive to run Linux. Also OS-X is based
    on BSD so it's a *nix anyway. The people that I knew who ran Linux on Mac
    hardware did it because they needed a PPC development platform for the
    embedded PPC systems they were developing code for. As long as they could
    run GCC and Xemacs they were happy, they didn't all the bells and
    whistles that a full Linux distro comes with.

  7. Re: Hardware recommendations for a newbie.

    In article ,
    General Schvantzkopf wrote:

    > Mainstream hardware has been well supported for a very long time. I've
    > been using Linux since the PII days and I've never run into a desktop
    > system that wouldn't run Linux. When there is a major generational change
    > in hardware you might have to compile your own kernel until your distro
    > catches up, but eventually it will. The PPC Mac versions had a limited
    > audience so they didn't get the same level of effort that PC versions
    > got. Think about it, Mac users buy their systems because they love the
    > Mac so they don't have a big incentive to run Linux. Also OS-X is based
    > on BSD so it's a *nix anyway. The people that I knew who ran Linux on Mac
    > hardware did it because they needed a PPC development platform for the
    > embedded PPC systems they were developing code for. As long as they could
    > run GCC and Xemacs they were happy, they didn't all the bells and
    > whistles that a full Linux distro comes with.



    Yep. Given that at the time PPC had already been replaced by Intel in
    new Mac hardware that all makes sense. Don't get me wrong, it installed
    and ran OK, but there were little niggling things that made it not worth
    the while of messing around with. This time, I'll be buying the machine
    with Linux in mind. Can't wait :-)

    --
    Cheers,
    Andy.

    The Usenet Improvement Project | http://improve-usenet.org/
    The StupidFilter Project | http://stupidfilter.org/main/

  8. Re: Hardware recommendations for a newbie.

    Andy wrote:
    > I'll look towards an Intel machine (dual core will be sufficient) and
    > Nvidia graphics.


    I would go with ATI graphics cards. The specifications are available for
    many of the cards, and open source drivers can be developed, if they are
    not already available.

    I am using older Radeon cards with open source 3D, but I think many of
    the newer cards work fine now.

    Technical specifications are available for ATI Radeon HT2000 chipset and
    Radeon X1000 and newer graphics processors, so open source drivers can
    be developed, if they are not already available.

    Nvidia graphics ties you to vendor supplied binaries, with no public
    source code or technical specifications currently available.

    Regards,

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley,
    393 Quinton Road West,
    Quinton, BIRMINGHAM.
    B32 1QE.

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