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Hello, I've been multi-booting several Linux distros alongside Windows and OS X for the past six months or so and I've really enjoyed it. I want to make the switch ...
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  1. #1
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    Looking for Advice on a New Computer


    Hello,

    I've been multi-booting several Linux distros alongside Windows and OS X for the past six months or so and I've really enjoyed it.

    I want to make the switch over to Linux full time however I have to share our current machines with my Girlfriend, who has no interest in Linux.

    Thus I need a new machine of my own and this is where I could use your help.

    My current PC is housed in a Corsair Obsidian 800D and I no longer need or want a PC of that size. I've been looking at small form factor PCs but I'm unsure how small I can go . I currently run three monitors for example and would not wish to go back to a single monitor setup.

    I've also consdiered building my own machine, although I wouldn't say I'm an expert I've built my last two machines successfully.

    Could you recommend something with a small form factor that would be suitable for Linux?

    I realize I've rambled quite a bit but if you need any further information please let me know.

    Thank you for your time.

    Bleu

    PS.

    I live in the UK although I have no issue with ordering form overseas UK based websites would be preferable.
    Last edited by Bleu; 10-13-2013 at 11:25 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
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    You have lots of options. The smallest computer I have that runs a full Linux desktop is a Raspberry Pi. I have it running with the Pidora distribution (which is Fedora 18 recompiled for the arm/pi). I actually use this as a test web server for developing websites.

    You probably don't want to go that small with your multiple monitors, though (and I'm not sure how you'd use them anyway).

    I just upgraded my desktop to an AMD FM2 - an A8 chip, these come with integrated ATI graphics. Fedora 19 works with 3D acceleration out-of-the-box, I don't need (or, indeed, want yet) the AMD catalyst drivers which don't work with the ATI 7560D graphics chipset on the processor die. I also got a Micro ATX mainboard to go into my existing weeny case.

    I got the quad core AMD chip, but the dual core ones are about 30 quid at ebuyer, they are rated at 65W, which is a bit more than the 3W my pi runs but is still light on the power (note - these don't have the same video chipset as the A8 ). If you go down this route, some care must be taken over selecting the right FM2 mainboard to ensure the right number of DVI out ports on the back to suit your monitor requirements.
    Linux user #126863 - see http://linuxcounter.net/

  3. #3
    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    I live in Texas. I always liked these mini boxes,

    HP

    I get better deals here in Texas though than you Brits do.
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    Thank you both very much for your time.

    @Rokytnji: Those look neat but I don't really use eBay and would be skeptical when buying from eBay especially when it comes to electronics. Perhaps I'm stuck in the past it's diffidently something I'll investigate further.

    @Roxoff: I'm glad you mentioned the Pi I've been meaning to get one or two of these for tinkering purposes and I may just do that now you've mentioned it.

    I was planning to use Intel/Nvidia purely because I've been told they work best with BSD systems and that is something I have to consider and should have mentioned beforehand. Having said that I'll have a look on eBuyer now and see what I can see.

    I have some old bits I was planning to use in my system I'll update the thread later with a list of possible components.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleu View Post
    Thank you both very much for your time.

    @Rokytnji: Those look neat but I don't really use eBay and would be skeptical when buying from eBay especially when it comes to electronics. Perhaps I'm stuck in the past it's diffidently something I'll investigate further.

    @Roxoff: I'm glad you mentioned the Pi I've been meaning to get one or two of these for tinkering purposes and I may just do that now you've mentioned it.

    I was planning to use Intel/Nvidia purely because I've been told they work best with BSD systems and that is something I have to consider and should have mentioned beforehand. Having said that I'll have a look on eBuyer now and see what I can see.

    I have some old bits I was planning to use in my system I'll update the thread later with a list of possible components.
    I have two Raspberry Pi's - one is my XBMC media centre, the other my dev web server. I've been an nVidia user for such a long time, for many years ATI cards just didn't have the driver support in Linux. But they've been slowly addressing this since AMD bought out ATI a few years ago, and the power consumption (and cost) benefits of a single chip FM2 make a compelling argument - and now the video drivers are core to Fedora too.

    I spent about 80 quid on an nVidia 430GT video card 18 months or so ago for my desktop PC. About three weeks ago I bought an AMD A8 quad core CPU with this radeon 7560D chipset on-board for 65 quid. The Radeon is -much- quicker than my nVidia card.

    One word of warning about eBuyer - they've changed the courier they use to deliver stuff, so the free 5 day delivery can be extremely ropey. If you're getting kit at the moment it shouldn't matter as they've got a free next day delivery promotion running.
    Linux user #126863 - see http://linuxcounter.net/

  6. #6
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    Case - COOLERMASTER HAF XB

    CPU - Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Processor i7-4770k (3.5GHz) 8MB Cache

    MOBO - ASUS® MAXIMUS VI IMPACT: Mini-ITX, LG1150, USB 3.0, SATA 6GBs, WIFI

    RAM - 16GB KINGSTON HYPERX BEAST DUAL-DDR3 2400MHz X.M.P

    GPU - 4GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 770


    Does anyone think I'll run into problems running Linux/BSD with these components? Please share your thoughts on my build. Thanks for your time.

    Regards,

    Bleu

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleu View Post
    Case - COOLERMASTER HAF XB

    CPU - Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Processor i7-4770k (3.5GHz) 8MB Cache

    MOBO - ASUS® MAXIMUS VI IMPACT: Mini-ITX, LG1150, USB 3.0, SATA 6GBs, WIFI

    RAM - 16GB KINGSTON HYPERX BEAST DUAL-DDR3 2400MHz X.M.P

    GPU - 4GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 770


    Does anyone think I'll run into problems running Linux/BSD with these components? Please share your thoughts on my build. Thanks for your time.

    Regards,

    Bleu
    You will have no problems whatsoever. If you buy two of these, you could send one to me and I'll test it all for you... It's not just the memory that'll be the 'Beast'. Just so we're clear here - you do know that list doesn't include a hard disk, don't you? You've probably got it all covered, but I should hate this kit to turn up, you spend ages assembling it and only then discover you're a bit missing.
    Linux user #126863 - see http://linuxcounter.net/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxoff View Post
    You will have no problems whatsoever. If you buy two of these, you could send one to me and I'll test it all for you... It's not just the memory that'll be the 'Beast'. Just so we're clear here - you do know that list doesn't include a hard disk, don't you? You've probably got it all covered, but I should hate this kit to turn up, you spend ages assembling it and only then discover you're a bit missing.
    Thanks very much for taking the time to reply Roxoff. I forgot to include my SSDs, I'm thinking of using Kingston Technology HyperX 3K 240GB SSD.

    I'm going to try two of them in Raid 0 to see if there is a noticeable difference in speed. If not I'll use one to clone my system.

    As I'm not immune to things breaking my system from time to time.

    Thanks again,

    Bleu

  9. #9
    Linux User sgosnell's Avatar
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    If you want really small, but more powerful than the pi, take a look at SolidRun's cubox-i. You'll have to wait a month or so before they start shipping, but the specs blow the pi out of the water, even the most basic model. The high-end models are much more capable. You'll need essentials like a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc, but if you have those it might work. It may be more work to get it up and running than you want, though. That remains to be seen. For a standard PC, almost anything will work, just do some shopping and pick the case size you like. Linux will run on almost anything.

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    Thanks for replying Sgosnell those CuBoxes look pretty cool but I'm not sure they are right for me. I'm looking for something a bit bigger but not too big.

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