Virgin Computer...what should I do with it?
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (3GHz) 64bit, 6mb cache (will probably overclock to 3.5 though I've heard rumors that 4.25 is possible without errors...)
4GB DDR2 Ram (upgradable to 8)
Nvidia GeForce 9500 GT 512mb pci express
320 GB harddrive (I plan on adding some more hard drives, it can take 5)
420W power supply
20x DVD R/RW Dual Layer Drive
I just got a new desktop, and I need some help deciding the partition table and operating system/s to put on it.
The first Distro I used was Debian + Fluxbox which I used for a year. One day I went to my school's LUG with a question about debian, and instead of helping me they handed me an Ubuntu CD. I installed, didn't like gnome, so I used fluxbuntu for 2 years (its a server install of ubuntu with flux and rox-filer), after I hated one of their updates, I switched to Xubuntu for a year. The bugs in ubuntu are driving me crazy so I need to switch.
I've got a virgin computer, and I want to make the most of it's capabilities.
What I want in my operating system:
The ability to upgrade without a reinstall
A system that is fast and stable
Easy to install and uninstall software--exspeically drivers (I'm a fan of debians apt-get)
Full or close to full support for my hardware.
Something I won't have to spend months to configure. Been there, done that. I need a working system NOW, I no longer have time to be a larva. (unfortunately)
Something that can take abuse; I like to experiment with things, I usually have around 10 open programs running (opera, pidgin, skype, conky, rhythmbox, sometimes gimp, blender, etc) I use 8 desktops and switch between them and the programs. I also have a habit of leaving my computer on for months on end without rebooting. (After I got it out of the box, my BF sadly stroked the cpu and told it he was sorry. Lol)
What I plan on using it for:
Regular Workstation, e-mail, movies, IM, etc.
Running virtual machines:
I would like to run windows xp under a virtual machine, but I'm wondering if this is a good idea with my hardware, or should I dual boot? I also want to try out other linux distributions via virtual machine.
Ideally I would have linux on one monitor and windows xp vitalized and used on another monitor. If this would decrease the graphics card utilization, how much of a hit would it be, could I play games in the visualized windows OS and if I used a 64 bit windows OS would it work? How much would this slow my computer? Should I just test it out to see?
I also want to install LAMP and test software for a webserver. (I work for a non-profit who desperately needs upgrades)
I would also use it for any other experiments that I HAVE to try.
I have some questions:
Is getting a 64bit OS worth it?
Should I dual boot with windows or virtualize it?
I'm leaning toward installing Debian testing and gentoo (I want to learn about the ports system) as the main OS's. I might consider linux mint if its more stable than ubuntu. Someone told me this, though I doubt its true.
I will probably use xfce as the UI.
Any other OS suggestions would be appreciated. I”m not familiar with Red Hat, but if it fits my requirements I would consider switching. I sort of want to test out gOS, but I don't know if it would make a good main OS.
I have a 350GB hard drive and will put a 250GB drive in the computer.
Should I have /boot on its own partition? If so how could I make /boot be shared by different OS's?
I was thinking maybe I should do something like this:
250 GB drive:
/boot (500mb) should I use less/more?
/Main linux OS (20 GB)
/home (300 GB)
The tabbed partitions would be logical drives in an extended partition.
/Other OS (20 GB)
Should I have a sepperate partition for the virtual machines?
Sorry there is so much in this post...maybe I should have split it up...
My suggestion: Debian or Arch
Debian and Arch are two that come to my mind. Debian is a gem. Satisfies all most all of your expectations except that you will not have newer versions of software if you install the stable release. Arch is also equally good except that you need to spend some time installing it. As of this post you still have to edit text files to get it running. But once installed you will find nirvana in 'pacman'. It being rolling release you don't have to again reinstall the OS unless you mess up something irrevocably.
As for partition sizes, as Mike told, 4GB swap is too much. But again with kind of storage you have those couple of GBs don't matter... :)
/boot need only be 100 MB. If you are using GRUB/LILO as your bootloader then /boot is not required.