Find the answer to your Linux question:
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
I'm starting the process of purchasing parts for a desktop. My target price range is $300-$400. I want to be able to comfortably run a modern linux-based operating system, but ...
Enjoy an ad free experience by logging in. Not a member yet? Register.
  1. #1
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    3

    Advice for Building an Affordable Desktop


    I'm starting the process of purchasing parts for a desktop. My target price range is $300-$400. I want to be able to comfortably run a modern linux-based operating system, but do not necessarily need an advanced system. It will be used for internet (including videos on hulu.com), office related tasks, and some light editing of standard definition mpeg4 video. I'd like some room to potentially do upgrades and updates in the future. I'm looking for any kind of suggestions or advice that might be helpful, because I've never done anything like this before.

    Here are the parts and approximate prices that I've found so far, shopping primarily on pricegrabber.com. Again, feel free to comment on anything.

    • Intel DG41TY motherboard - $70 (X4500 GPU, G41 chipset)
    • Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz E4600 - Already in possession
    • Cooler Master Elite 330 Mid Tower - $50
    • Antec BP350 350 Watts Power Supply - $35
    • Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 160GB HDD - $50
    • Corsair 2 x 2GB DDR2 800Mhz RAM - $100
    • LG GH22NP20 Dual Layer DVD±RW Writer - $40


    The prices add up to about $350, which works for me.

    A couple questions off the bat... the motherboard is a micro-ATX, and the case and power supply are advertised for ATX. Is this a problem, or are they interchangeable in this way?

    Also, I'm going to need a way to access my 16GB SDHC card from my camcorder. What is the cheapest/fastest way to do this? Would it be better to get an internal card reader that plugs directly into the motherboard, or will an external adapter achieve the same transfer rate at a lower cost? Does make or model matter regarding this piece? Keep in mind, linux-compatibility is paramount.

    Otherwise, are there any obvious weak spots, or any pieces that are obviously overkill? Do the prices seem reasonable? Is there anything that is missing? Will all the cords and connectors I need be included, or will I need to purchase that separately? I plan on getting a used monitor from craigslist or a pawn shop, and cheap keyboard/mouse/speakers from Wal-Mart.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    oz
    oz is offline
    forum.guy
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    arch linux
    Posts
    18,733
    Quote Originally Posted by wrkerr View Post
    A couple questions off the bat... the motherboard is a micro-ATX, and the case and power supply are advertised for ATX. Is this a problem, or are they interchangeable in this way?
    Welcome to the forums!

    Yes, that case is ATX / Micro-ATX compatible.

    You can run an online calculator at different computer case and power supply manufacturer websites to see if your power supply will be adequate. It probably will be unless you'll be adding lots of peripherals. Do a google search for computer power supply calculator for several calculator options. I'd recommend doing the calculation on at least two different websites.

    You might want to consider a better fan for your CPU because the fan that comes with them is usually not all that great, although they are better than nothing.

    If your hard drive and dvd drives are retail models, they should have cables included with them. If they are OEM models, they may or may not have the necessary cables included, which seems to vary wildly by model and vendor. In short, don't count on them having cables if they are OEM.

    Best of luck with the new build...
    oz

  3. #3
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,651
    I would recommend spending an additional $30-$50 on a larger harddrive. I just purchased a 1 TB drive from newegg for $85. 160 GB fills up surprisingly fast these days.

  4. $spacer_open
    $spacer_close
  5. #4
    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NH, USA
    Posts
    3,149
    i actually find that stock intel fans are more than adequate as of the last processor I bought, about 2 years ago

    i'd surmise that 350w is plenty of power for that machine

    I'm not sure i've heard of an internal SD card reader for desktop, though it may exist. I've seen ones that go into the case, but they only plug into a USB directly on the motherboard anyway, so the USB bus is still the limiting factor speedwise.

  6. #5
    oz
    oz is offline
    forum.guy
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    arch linux
    Posts
    18,733

    speaking of fans and heat sinks

    Quote Originally Posted by coopstah13 View Post
    i actually find that stock intel fans are more than adequate as of the last processor I bought, about 2 years ago
    One thing that I noticed recently is that the fans that included with at least some Intel CPUs are getting smaller, or perhaps just more compact. I bought a core 2 duo a few years ago that came with a fairly nice fan and heatsink, but then the core2 quad that I bought a few months ago had a smaller fan and heat sink. It might be that the newer fans are more efficient, but I didn't bother to investigate since I use 3rd party fans.
    oz

  7. #6
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    I can be found either 40 miles west of Chicago, in Chicago, or in a galaxy far, far away.
    Posts
    11,677
    More power is more better... Go with at least 450W. Hard drives are cheap these days. For $55 from Buy.com you can get a Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200rpm drive including free shipping. For SD card readers, I prefer to use a USB thumbdrive format for SD/SDHC cards. They are really cheap (about $10) and let you use an SD card just like a USB thumb drive. Linux will automount them just like a thumb drive.

    Weak spots? Video. Get an inexpensive nVidia-based video card. You can get any number of geforce cards for about $50. Example, also from Buy.com - PNY GeForce 9400GT w/ 1GB ram and VGA + DVI + HDTV/SDTV outputs - about $55 including shipping.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  8. #7
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    3

    Smile Case & Power Supply

    Rather than purchasing the case & p.s. u. separately you'd be better buying an Antec Sonata III case that comes complete with a 500W PSU for a similar outlay. The case is known to be quiet and the single rear fitted 4 inch fan is adequate for normal needs altho' another 4 inch fan can be fitted to the front if desired but is not really necessary. The more and/or smaller fans only increase noise levels. After extensive researching plus talking to the pro's this is what I did when choosing components for a new build last year.

  9. #8
    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NH, USA
    Posts
    3,149
    Quote Originally Posted by Rubberman View Post
    More power is more better...
    I wholeheartedly disagree with this. You should only get as much power as you need plus some room for growth if necessary. It will cause excess heat and waste and cost more to buy now, and from utility cost.

  10. #9
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    I can be found either 40 miles west of Chicago, in Chicago, or in a galaxy far, far away.
    Posts
    11,677
    Quote Originally Posted by coopstah13 View Post
    I wholeheartedly disagree with this. You should only get as much power as you need plus some room for growth if necessary. It will cause excess heat and waste and cost more to buy now, and from utility cost.
    Well, we'll have to agree to disagree then! I've seen many systems fail because of inadequate power supplies. The difference in heat generation for a given load is nominal between a 350W and 500W supply. In fact, if you are getting near the load limits of the smaller supply, it is likely to generate more heat because of inefficiencies than the big one. Sort of like using too small an engine to pull a big load - it overheats and blows up.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  11. #10
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    3
    Thanks for the tips everyone. I've certainly got quite a few things to think about...

    One main thing though, some of the information I gave was wrong. The processor that I'm going to be using actually turned out not to be a Core 2 Duo, but a Core 2 Quad. It's the 2.4 GHz Q6600 Core 2 Quad, with a 95 watt TDP, or Thermal Guideline. The motherboard I'm planning on getting has a max TDP of 95 watts. Intel's website says they support each other, but I wanted to make sure that wouldn't cause problems.

    Also, a friend told me that I should match the FSB speed to my RAM speed to achieve optimal performance. As is, my motherboard only supports RAM up to 800MHz, but the processor has a FSB at 1066MHz. Would this warrant getting a more expensive motherboard? Thanks again everyone!

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •