Recommend hardware for Linux box.
If this is not the correct forum, I'm sure someone will let me know :) . Please pardon the length of this post; I hope to provide the necessary information.
There are two objectives I hope to achieve: 1) to install a RAID 1 array for backup/redundancy, and 2) to put together a Linux box. I haven't previously done either. I have zero interest in overclocking [am I the only one :-)?]; my primary concern is stability. I prefer a Canadian source for the components. All the prices below are $CDN, and I've included shipping and tax.
For a very long time, I've been wanting to put together a Linux box, and now I hope to do so, as inexpensively as possible. Components I already have, include monitor, keyboard, mouse, 160GB WD Caviar PATA, 2 x 80GB WD Caviar PATA, 40GB WD Caviar PATA, 40GB IBM PATA, 40GB Maxtor PATA, 250GB Acomdata External USB2.0, Yamaha CD-RW, NIC100 PCI, Leadtek GeForce 2 64MB 4x AGP video card, and Gigabyte GA-7VTXE mainboard (VIA KT266A chipset). A DVD-ROM and 3.5 floppy are cheap. Some of those hard drives are presently on my Windows box, so they won't all be going in the Linux box; but any of the currently used ones can be swapped out.
What I need: a CPU, memory, a case and power supply, and a PCI RAID controller.
The case and p/s I've already picked out (about $220), but feel free to recommend them anyway :) .
For the RAID controller, I was considering the Promise Fasttrak 100 TX/2 or TX/2000 at about $115 to $140. The 7VTXE mainboard takes up to an XP 3000 processor ($145 locally). Memory, 2 x 512MB sticks for about $145.
That's $700, which seems outrageous, considering the number of components I already have. But here's where it gets even more interesting: for only very slightly more than the cost of the RAID controller card, I can get a new socket 939 mainboard with onboard serial/parallel RAID, dual 1G NICs, firewire2, and lots of other goodies! The same 1G RAM (dual channel) won't cost any more, and the Athlon 64 3000 will be about $100 more.
So really, the new board route will be only $100 more than using the old mainboard, and be (I presume) much faster. The hard part is in choosing the mainboard. I would like a 939 board, and I would like an nForce chipset, because it supports RAID across parallel and serial drives. I don't presently have any serial ATA drives, but the thing is that the VIA chipset boards I've found either don't meet other requirements, or have only one RAID-capable IDE channel--and it's no good to put two drives in a RAID 1 array on the same cable. I also need the mainboard to be AGP, to use my video card. PCI-E mainboards are similarly priced, but then I would need a new video card, and PCI-E video cards can be very expensive. [Unless there's a cheap PCI-E card that will in fact provide performance equal to my old GeForce 2 4x AGP card?]
So, should I go with the old mainboard, or with a new one. Either way, please recommend some good components :D . Thanks for reading, and all input is appreciated.