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  1. #1
    Linux Engineer drl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Saint Paul, MN, USA / CentOS, Debian, Slackware, {Free, Open, Net}BSD, Solaris

    New workstation


    About 10 years ago I ordered a custom box from Los Alamos Computers. It lasted well, but I wanted to take advantage of new technology, as well as expand the memory beyond 4 GB.

    Rubberman had mentioned builder ZaReason, so I contacted them. I sent them my requirements, and we had an email exchange.

    One issue was that stable Debian ("8", "Jessie") was not quite ready for Intel Skylake, so instead of Intel, I choose AMD ("hex core", best bang for the buck, anyway), and Debian supports that well. I may miss having the upgrade-ability to 64 GB of memory rather than 32 GB, but my previous custom workstation lasted 10 years, so I'll be good for a while.

    I've had 4 custom boxes (including a pricey, but really fast Alpha workstation) over the years, but many of the custom builders have gone out of business, or shifted over to providing commodity boxes (like Los Alamos Computers) -- not necessarily bad, but I don't necessarily want what the supplier has in stock.

    I received the box during the holiday rush. I had it sent to the local UPS store to avoid having it sit outside for any length of time, both in terms of temperature as well as vulnerability.

    We have a small shop so noise reduction is a factor. The local Dell VM server ( PowerEdge T110 II ) and this workstation are quiet enough that we often cannot detect that they are on.

    I'm experimenting with using a minimal Debian as a base, and doing the day-to-day work in a VM that sits on top of the base. I don't much like RAID5, so I use an SSD 3-disk RAID1 for the base, and use LVM in the VM. This allows for very quick VirtualBox snapshots before system updates. If all goes well, then I can incorporate the changes in the VM, and install the changes in the base system without worry (mostly). If it does not go well in the VM, then I can revert to the snapshot very quickly, and do some investigation. If I have enough room in a box, I use RAID10, but I had only room for 3 in the current workstation.

    One reason for LVM is the flexibility of partitioning. Another reason for using LVM is that our backup facility is in a completely separate box. It uses rsnapshot. It reaches out to my workstation every 4 hours, and, if set up correctly, will do a copy-on-write LVM snapshot before it does the backup. Note than the VBox snapshots and LVM snapshots are two different things -- see for information on the latter. After the backup, it removes the LVM snapshot. That allows me to keep running, and keeps the backup consistent. The backup activity is not usually noticeable when I am working.

    The VM also allows me to allocate cores as needed for work, although 3 for base, and 3 for VM has worked well so far.

    So, thanks to Rubberman for the pointer to ZaReason. And thanks to ZaReason for a very good build. They were really knowledgeable and accommodating to work with.

    Best wishes ... cheers, drl

    (Someday, I hope the forum and I can agree on a longer length for the signature line, at which time I can update that.)

    inxi -c0 -F
    System:    Host: base-leap Kernel: 3.16.0-4-amd64 x86_64 (64 bit)
               Desktop: KDE 4.14.2 Distro: Debian GNU/Linux 8
    Machine:   Mobo: ASUSTeK model: M5A78L-M/USB3 v: Rev X.0x
               Bios: American Megatrends v: 2101 date: 12/02/2014
    CPU:       Hexa core AMD FX-6350 Six-Core (-MCP-) cache: 12288 KB 
               clock speeds: max: 3900 MHz 1: 1400 MHz 2: 1400 MHz 3: 1400 MHz
               4: 3600 MHz 5: 2000 MHz 6: 1400 MHz
    Graphics:  Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD/ATI] RS780L [Radeon 3000]
               Display Server: X.Org 1.16.4 drivers: ati,radeon (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
               Resolution: 1920x1080@60.00hz
               GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on AMD RS780 GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 10.3.2
    Audio:     Card-1 Advanced Micro Devices [AMD/ATI] RS780 HDMI Audio [Radeon (HD) 3000 Series]
               driver: snd_hda_intel
               Card-2 Advanced Micro Devices [AMD/ATI] SBx00 Azalia (Intel HDA)
               driver: snd_hda_intel
               Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k3.16.0-4-amd64
    Network:   Card: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller
               driver: r8169
               IF: eth0 state: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full
               mac: 38:2c:4a:ba:b3:15
    Drives:    HDD Total Size: 750.2GB (10.9% used)
               ID-1: /dev/sda model: Crucial_CT250MX2 size: 250.1GB
               ID-2: /dev/sdb model: Crucial_CT250MX2 size: 250.1GB
               ID-3: /dev/sdc model: Crucial_CT250MX2 size: 250.1GB
    Partition: ID-1: / size: 229G used: 77G (36%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/dm-0
    RAID:      Device-1: /dev/md0 - active raid: 1 components: online: 3/3 - sda1 sdc1 sdb1
    Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 35.0C mobo: 24.0C
               Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: 2083 sys-1: 1442
    Info:      Processes: 224 Uptime: 13 days Memory: 7188.7/31974.1MB
               Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 2.2.19
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    ( Mn, 2.6.n, AMD-64 3000+, ASUS A8V Deluxe, 1 GB, SATA + IDE, Matrox G400 AGP )

  2. #2
    Sweet, Six cores and tons of ram.

    I bet compile times are minutes and or seconds depending on what you are doing. Sounds like a beast of a box.

    I can't complain myself. Since I get the dregs from city management building as they upgrade to Windows 10 gear (with my taxes).

    What I lack in quality. I make for in quantity (and price, since the gear is free for me).

    Lets see. You have ati graphics and sound. 750 Gig SSD hard drive by crucial (raped ape fast I bet). Running cool as a winters day on cpu temps.

    It sure is a nicer box than any I own.
    I refuse to let fear and fear of others rule my life. It puts my humanity at risk.
    Accepting Death is the only way to stay alive.

  3. #3
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    I can be found either 40 miles west of Chicago, in Chicago, or in a galaxy far, far away.
    When I am ready for a new system (probably later this year when I have some spare change) I will probably go to ZaReason as well. They have some nice workstation/server machines. I want dual cpu's with 6-8 cores each, 32+GB of ECC RAM, and a 2TB system disc - I have plenty of other 2TB discs to fill up the system! And a good nVidia graphics adapter and HD audio as well! My current system is now over 8 years old - dual quad-core Intel Penryn processors, 8GB ECC RAM, and tonnes of disc space. The built-in HD audio is great, and I am running a now-dated nVidia 8800GT graphics card - it handles dual HD displays and can display a full screen HD video on each screen at the same time without noticeable stutter! It was a custom build, with an Intel workstation/server motherboard. At the time (early 2008 ) it was as high-end as you could buy/build! It has never run anything but Linux - CentOS and Scientific Linux. It is running CentOS 6.7 right now.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!


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