[semi-OT] Seachange... - Slackware

This is a discussion on [semi-OT] Seachange... - Slackware ; .... or is it a tectonic shift? The wife is now more sensitive to her computer performance than am I! So now we go hunting for new hardware. But all that is negotiable. What is not is that it run ...

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  1. [semi-OT] Seachange...

    .... or is it a tectonic shift? The wife is now more sensitive to her
    computer performance than am I! So now we go hunting for new hardware.

    But all that is negotiable. What is not is that it run Slackware 12.x.
    Ergo, that is the benchmark, and why I'm mentioning it here: What are
    you guys using for hardware? What is the most rock solid reasonably
    performing system (actually, components, I suppose) that Slackers have
    found?

    Understand that the wife is running my old Tomcat 3 w/ 133MHz Pentium,
    now in its 3rd case using who knows what generation of HD, etc. So
    virtually anything would be a marked improvement, specifically my
    currant Asus CBUX, sporting a faster (1GHz) processor, of course. So
    I'm really talking about what I should get when I hand this system down
    to her...

    A dual core Intel would be splendid, but mobo and chipset have to be
    bullet proof under Linux. I know to avoid Invidia graphic stuff, but
    nothing else in particular. I also know I could get reams of
    information elsewhere, but Slackers (bozos?) know best, I suspect; they
    are the least likely to be bull****e artists in any case.

    Suggestions, comments, caveats, etc all welcome!

    Thanks all,

    Longfellow


  2. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On 2008-04-24, Longfellow wrote:

    > But all that is negotiable. What is not is that it run Slackware 12.x.
    > Ergo, that is the benchmark, and why I'm mentioning it here: What are
    > you guys using for hardware? What is the most rock solid reasonably
    > performing system (actually, components, I suppose) that Slackers have
    > found?


    I guess you will get a wide range of opinion here. FWITW I have always
    bought second hand machines, usually Dells from their business line.
    This gives solid performance but no particular frills in terms of
    sound and video. Upgrade the ram (new) and off I go. I am typing this
    on a Dell GX270 that I did exactly that to. Cost me a couple of
    hundred when I bought it.

    Andrew

    --
    http://www.andrews-corner.org

  3. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On Thu, 24 Apr 2008 15:18:50 -0500, Longfellow wrote:

    > ... or is it a tectonic shift? The wife is now more sensitive to her
    > computer performance than am I! So now we go hunting for new hardware.
    >
    > But all that is negotiable. What is not is that it run Slackware 12.x.
    > Ergo, that is the benchmark, and why I'm mentioning it here: What are
    > you guys using for hardware? What is the most rock solid reasonably
    > performing system (actually, components, I suppose) that Slackers have
    > found?
    >
    > Understand that the wife is running my old Tomcat 3 w/ 133MHz Pentium,


    Do you mean an original, P5 pentium at 133 MHz? If so, you may be
    interested in the upgrades listed below.

    > now in its 3rd case using who knows what generation of HD, etc. So
    > virtually anything would be a marked improvement, specifically my
    > currant Asus CBUX, sporting a faster (1GHz) processor, of course. So
    > I'm really talking about what I should get when I hand this system down
    > to her...
    >
    > A dual core Intel would be splendid, but mobo and chipset have to be
    > bullet proof under Linux. I know to avoid Invidia graphic stuff, but
    > nothing else in particular. I also know I could get reams of
    > information elsewhere, but Slackers (bozos?) know best, I suspect; they
    > are the least likely to be bull****e artists in any case.
    >
    > Suggestions, comments, caveats, etc all welcome!
    >
    > Thanks all,
    >
    > Longfellow
    >

    Assuming you don't want virtualization, then this is a lot of bang for the
    buck (YMMV):

    MB: Gigabyte GA-945GCM-S2C
    CPU: Pentium Dual Core E2180
    Memory: 2G
    Video: (on board) *
    LAN: (on board)
    HD: (250-500G SATA)
    Optical: 20x DVD-RW SATA
    Power Supply: 350W is adequate

    The next step up is going to be quite a bit more expensive:

    MB: Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3R
    CPU: Core 2 Duo E6750
    Memory: 2G
    Video: pick 'em
    LAN: (on board)
    HD: (250-500G SATA)
    Optical: 20x DVD-RW SATA
    Power Supply: 400W is most likely adequate

    There is a lot of room at the "low end" too. For example,
    I am writing this on a system that I got at the local university surplus
    property. It is a Dell, Dimension 4100 (circa 2001), sold "AS IS" with no
    HD for $20.

    MB: ?
    CPU: P3 @ 933MHz
    Memory: 512M
    Video: nVidia Riva TNT2 64M AGP
    LAN: 3Com 10/100
    HD: 250G PATA
    Optical: CD-RW
    Sound: Ensoniq ES1371 PCI (separate board)
    Power Supply: 200W (probably tight for P3)

    This is very usable system for working with the web, open office, etc. I
    don't think you will be running any of that software with a P5 @ 133MHz.

    * Caveat: with some motherboards with recent intel chipsets, such as
    i945gc, make sure you get the most recent X. Probably, wait for Slackware
    12.1, or use slackware -current.

  4. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    Longfellow wrote:
    >
    > bullet proof under Linux. I know to avoid Invidia graphic stuff, but


    Why avoid nvidia? The have supported Linux for a long time and I found
    the ATI stuff to be more of a pain to setup.

    - Kurt


  5. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On Thu, 24 Apr 2008 19:09:06 -0500, ~kurt wrote:

    >> bullet proof under Linux. I know to avoid Invidia graphic stuff, but


    > Why avoid nvidia? The have supported Linux for a long time and I found
    > the ATI stuff to be more of a pain to setup.


    I agree. Wouldn't use anything but Nvidia, myself, at least for a higher
    end machine where I cared about video performance.


    --
    "Ubuntu" -- an African word, meaning "Slackware is too hard for me".
    The Usenet Improvement Project: http://improve-usenet.org


  6. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On 2008-04-24, andrew wrote:
    > On 2008-04-24, Longfellow wrote:
    >
    >> But all that is negotiable. What is not is that it run Slackware 12.x.
    >> Ergo, that is the benchmark, and why I'm mentioning it here: What are
    >> you guys using for hardware? What is the most rock solid reasonably
    >> performing system (actually, components, I suppose) that Slackers have
    >> found?

    >
    > I guess you will get a wide range of opinion here. FWITW I have always
    > bought second hand machines, usually Dells from their business line.
    > This gives solid performance but no particular frills in terms of
    > sound and video. Upgrade the ram (new) and off I go. I am typing this
    > on a Dell GX270 that I did exactly that to. Cost me a couple of
    > hundred when I bought it.
    >
    > Andrew
    >


    Is there a dell url for these machines...you're talking about buying from
    dell right.

    ken

  7. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On Thu, 24 Apr 2008 17:37:24 -0600, Douglas Mayne wrote:

    > There is a lot of room at the "low end" too. For example, I am writing
    > this on a system that I got at the local university surplus property. It
    > is a Dell, Dimension 4100 (circa 2001), sold "AS IS" with no HD for $20.
    >
    > MB: ?
    > CPU: P3 @ 933MHz
    > Memory: 512M
    > Video: nVidia Riva TNT2 64M AGP
    > LAN: 3Com 10/100
    > HD: 250G PATA
    > Optical: CD-RW
    > Sound: Ensoniq ES1371 PCI (separate board) Power Supply: 200W (probably
    > tight for P3)


    By a curious coincidence, that is almost exactly the same as the machine
    I am using for Slackware experimentation. The main differences are that
    mine had no HD (I guess the previous owners were scared of their data
    being put to nefarious purposes) and that it cost less than $20. In
    fact, I picked it up from the recycling pile in the basement of my
    apartment.... So look around you carefully :-)

    It runs the full Slackware 12.0 install, KDE and all, just fine. Not a
    rocketship, but it's not slow either, and I haven't spent any time on
    tuning it at all.

    > This is very usable system for working with the web, open office, etc. I
    > don't think you will be running any of that software with a P5 @ 133MHz.


    There's a huge difference from a Pentium, 'tis true.

  8. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On 2008-04-24, Douglas Mayne wrote:
    > On Thu, 24 Apr 2008 15:18:50 -0500, Longfellow wrote:
    >
    >> ... or is it a tectonic shift? The wife is now more sensitive to her
    >> computer performance than am I! So now we go hunting for new hardware.
    >>
    >> But all that is negotiable. What is not is that it run Slackware 12.x.
    >> Ergo, that is the benchmark, and why I'm mentioning it here: What are
    >> you guys using for hardware? What is the most rock solid reasonably
    >> performing system (actually, components, I suppose) that Slackers have
    >> found?
    >>
    >> Understand that the wife is running my old Tomcat 3 w/ 133MHz Pentium,

    >
    > Do you mean an original, P5 pentium at 133 MHz? If so, you may be
    > interested in the upgrades listed below.


    Yep. Now to be retired to duty as a mail server or the like under
    FreeBSD (or the like). It's now a teen-ager and behaves itself
    remarkably well for its age... quality does show, dontchaknow... );


    > Assuming you don't want virtualization, then this is a lot of bang for the
    > buck (YMMV):
    >
    > MB: Gigabyte GA-945GCM-S2C
    > CPU: Pentium Dual Core E2180
    > Memory: 2G
    > Video: (on board) *
    > LAN: (on board)
    > HD: (250-500G SATA)
    > Optical: 20x DVD-RW SATA
    > Power Supply: 350W is adequate


    I'll check this out. Thanks!


    > This is very usable system for working with the web, open office, etc. I
    > don't think you will be running any of that software with a P5 @ 133MHz.


    She doesn't think so either, and all she does is email, the WWW, and
    some games! It worked great with W95 when that was the most power
    available (199x?). Ah yes, W95, my last experience with that sort of
    thing...

    > * Caveat: with some motherboards with recent intel chipsets, such as
    > i945gc, make sure you get the most recent X. Probably, wait for Slackware
    > 12.1, or use slackware -current.


    This is good to know, and is exactly the kind of info I want.

    Thanks for this response!

    Longfellow


  9. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On 2008-04-25, ~kurt wrote:
    > Longfellow wrote:
    >>
    >> bullet proof under Linux. I know to avoid Invidia graphic stuff, but

    >
    > Why avoid nvidia? The have supported Linux for a long time and I found
    > the ATI stuff to be more of a pain to setup.
    >
    > - Kurt


    I got that backwards? Thanks for the heads-up!

    Longfellow


  10. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On 2008-04-25, No_One wrote:
    > On 2008-04-24, andrew wrote:


    >> I guess you will get a wide range of opinion here. FWITW I have always
    >> bought second hand machines, usually Dells from their business line.
    >> This gives solid performance but no particular frills in terms of
    >> sound and video. Upgrade the ram (new) and off I go. I am typing this
    >> on a Dell GX270 that I did exactly that to. Cost me a couple of
    >> hundred when I bought it.


    > Is there a dell url for these machines...you're talking about buying from
    > dell right.


    Not available in Australia from Dell. I actually buy from ebay.

    Andrew

    --
    http://www.andrews-corner.org

  11. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    Longfellow wrote:

    >>> ... I know to avoid Invidia graphic stuff, ...

    >>
    >> Why avoid nvidia? The have supported Linux for a long time and I
    >> found the ATI stuff to be more of a pain to setup.

    >
    > I got that backwards? Thanks for the heads-up!


    I'm not sure. Here's another data point, just in case ...

    I've had no trouble at all with ATI Radeons (various models) in my own
    systems (my home systems of late have been refurbished HP Pavilions
    purchased at liquidation time from a local retailer, and I've been
    *very* happy with these). My understanding (in the past) was that
    Nvidia adapters required that you use the included Windows driver,
    loaded via ndiswrapper. I've never needed to examine how difficult
    that is to setup, though. The ATI built-in controllers on my systems
    (three HP Pavilion desktop systems so far, and a Toshiba laptop, and
    card-based Radeons prior to the Pavilions) have worked just fine with
    Linux-native drivers (including the one supplied by ATI for X).

    Interesting to note that there seem now to be two primary players in
    the graphics controllers "game", while not so many years ago there were
    significantly more of them.

    --
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sylvain Robitaille syl@alcor.concordia.ca

    Network and Systems analyst Concordia University
    Instructional & Information Technology Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

  12. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On 2008-04-25, andrew wrote:
    > On 2008-04-25, No_One wrote:
    >> On 2008-04-24, andrew wrote:

    >
    >>> I guess you will get a wide range of opinion here. FWITW I have always
    >>> bought second hand machines, usually Dells from their business line.
    >>> This gives solid performance but no particular frills in terms of
    >>> sound and video. Upgrade the ram (new) and off I go. I am typing this
    >>> on a Dell GX270 that I did exactly that to. Cost me a couple of
    >>> hundred when I bought it.

    >
    >> Is there a dell url for these machines...you're talking about buying from
    >> dell right.

    >
    > Not available in Australia from Dell. I actually buy from ebay.
    >
    > Andrew
    >


    Never gave ebay a thought....have to give it a look.

    thanks

    ken

  13. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On Fri, 25 Apr 2008 13:43:37 +0000, Sylvain Robitaille wrote:
    > My understanding (in the past) was that
    > Nvidia adapters required that you use the included Windows driver,
    > loaded via ndiswrapper. I've never needed to examine how difficult
    > that is to setup, though.


    None of that is necessary. Download the driver from nVidia and execute it.

    # sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-169.12-pkg1.run -a


  14. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On Fri, 25 Apr 2008 13:43:37 +0000, Sylvain Robitaille wrote:

    > Interesting to note that there seem now to be two primary players in the
    > graphics controllers "game", while not so many years ago there were
    > significantly more of them.


    Nvidia, AMD/ATI, Intel. Which two were you thinking of? :-)

  15. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On Fri, 25 Apr 2008 03:08:58 -0500, Longfellow wrote:

    > On 2008-04-24, Douglas Mayne wrote:
    >> On Thu, 24 Apr 2008 15:18:50 -0500, Longfellow wrote:
    >>
    >>> ... or is it a tectonic shift? The wife is now more sensitive to her
    >>> computer performance than am I! So now we go hunting for new hardware.
    >>>
    >>> But all that is negotiable. What is not is that it run Slackware 12.x.
    >>> Ergo, that is the benchmark, and why I'm mentioning it here: What are
    >>> you guys using for hardware? What is the most rock solid reasonably
    >>> performing system (actually, components, I suppose) that Slackers have
    >>> found?
    >>>
    >>> Understand that the wife is running my old Tomcat 3 w/ 133MHz Pentium,

    >>
    >> Do you mean an original, P5 pentium at 133 MHz? If so, you may be
    >> interested in the upgrades listed below.

    >
    > Yep. Now to be retired to duty as a mail server or the like under
    > FreeBSD (or the like). It's now a teen-ager and behaves itself
    > remarkably well for its age... quality does show, dontchaknow... );
    >

    Tyan boards, at least the subset I've handled, seemed to have
    somehow avoided the capacitor failure problem which plagued other
    manufacturers: Abit, DFI, etc.

    I have some Tyan 230T's in use for various purposes. The dual processors
    keep the system responsive while under load. They were the best "bang for
    the buck," until recently. Now that title goes to Intel's Core 2
    architecture, IMO. One of the biggest changes is the much faster memory
    pipeline to the CPUs. The new architecture's uses multi-pumped DDR2 SDRAM
    and is dramatically faster than the simple SDRAM typically used by
    the Pentium III generation. Also, Core 2, as its name suggests, contains
    multiple cores which gives the advantages that I previously mentioned. The
    45nm process further reduces heat, and offers more options down the road.
    For example, the atom processor line appears poised to get the most
    out of a "few million" transitors.

    Your timing is actually quite good for upgrading. Prices have dropped
    again, and the Linux kernel supports SATA and the new chipsets- at least
    for the motherboards that I have tested (which use Intel chipsets.) Last
    year, there was a bit of a rough patch with the kernel supporting the
    hardware. AFAIK, JMicron chipsets are supported now, and also the Marvell
    ethernet controllers, which are commonly integrated into many
    motherboards, work fine. It appears to be true that the newest hardware
    will be supported best by the most recent Linux kernel. This is somewhat
    counter to Slackware's philosophy of selecting first the "tried and true"
    for stability over the "latest and greatest" for gizmos. However,
    sometimes the "bleeding edge" is the only option that will work at all.
    I am looking forward to Slackware 12.1, and it looks like it will be the
    best Slack yet!

    [ Even more OT ]

    If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would be asking Intel to give a
    deposition if there was any tit-for-tat in the Vista capable lawsuit.
    Specifically, did Intel have to give anything to Microsoft in exchange
    for them being allowed to display "Vista Capable" stickers on boxes
    using i915 and similar chipsets. Could it be that Intel promised not
    to develop AHCI mode SATA drivers for W2k and XP? This mode is
    _reserved_ for Vista only. Was there a quid-pro-quo? Luckily, this BS is
    avoided when drivers are developed in the open. AHCI mode works fine on
    the recent Linux kernel.



  16. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    marksouth wrote:

    > Nvidia, AMD/ATI, Intel. Which two were you thinking of? :-)


    The two that ever seem to get talked about. I mean I still see Matrox
    and Hercules products on store shelves, but nobody ever seems to talk
    about them either. In fact, I'd actually _forgotten_ that Intel decided
    to broaden their product line after they started losing ground on the
    CPU front ... :-/

    --
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sylvain Robitaille syl@alcor.concordia.ca

    Network and Systems analyst Concordia University
    Instructional & Information Technology Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

  17. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    Longfellow wrote:

    > virtually anything would be a marked improvement, specifically my
    > currant Asus CBUX, sporting a faster (1GHz) processor, of course. So


    just a remark on the CUBX: kernel versions 2.6.22 and 2.6.23 introduced a
    bug in the CMD-648 driver that shows up when you use both channels. It got
    fixed in 2.6.24 (so both Slack 12.0 and Slack 12.1 should be fine).

    Other than that a CUBX with a 1 GHz cpu is still a powerful machine for
    everyday use.

    Martin

  18. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    Longfellow wrote:
    > ... or is it a tectonic shift? The wife is now more sensitive to her
    > computer performance than am I! So now we go hunting for new hardware.
    >
    > But all that is negotiable. What is not is that it run Slackware 12.x.
    > Ergo, that is the benchmark, and why I'm mentioning it here: What are
    > you guys using for hardware? What is the most rock solid reasonably
    > performing system (actually, components, I suppose) that Slackers have
    > found?
    >


    Here's a list of the machines I currently own running Slack in some format:

    AMD Athlon 64 3000+ in an Abit board. (socket 754/Via Chipset/GeForce 4
    Ti4200)
    AMD Sempron 64 3000+ in an Asus board. (socket 754/Via Chipset/it's my
    file server using onboard video.)
    Dual PIII/600 on an Asus board. (Intel BX Chipset IIRC)
    A couple old Pentium 200's.
    AMD K6/2-450 as well.

    The only machine I have that's not yet dual boot or exclusively slack is
    my laptop and that's because I'm too busy/lazy to get around to doing
    it. I'm currently building a PC for my daughter - it's going to be dual
    boot too. sesamestreet.org works fine under slack.

    The only place where I've really seen support issues with Slack and
    Linux in general is scanners.

    I avoid ATI. Binary driver or not, Nvidia drivers work good under
    windows and Linux. Maybe I'm just bitter because when I used to do
    desktop support back when, ATI released drivers for some of their cards
    daily... and they were all crap.

    If it's rock solid under Windows, it should be the same under Linux. If
    it's a POS machine that hard hangs and it's not software related, don't
    expect it to be any better under Linux.

    Frankly, if you're running a Pentium 133... any Walmart $299 special
    will blow your socks off.

  19. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    On 2008-04-27, ray wrote:
    >
    > Frankly, if you're running a Pentium 133... any Walmart $299 special
    > will blow your socks off.


    But, for how long? I've heard they're junk and prone to failure.

    nb

  20. Re: [semi-OT] Seachange...

    notbob wrote:
    > On 2008-04-27, ray wrote:
    >> Frankly, if you're running a Pentium 133... any Walmart $299 special
    >> will blow your socks off.

    >
    > But, for how long? I've heard they're junk and prone to failure.
    >
    > nb


    True.
    I still build my own machines from carefully selected parts.
    For other people, if they're not gamers, I've started telling them to
    buy the cheapest system they think will meet their needs and consider it
    disposable.

    When you consider how much you'd have to pay to have someone fix your
    PC, it's almost not worth fixing them. I know two people who have
    actually tossed machines instead of paying to have the malware removed.
    Of course, I find this out AFTER they've done this... I'll take free
    two year old computers that just need windows blown away and Slack
    installed...

    Ray

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