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 Post subject: Possible motherboards/CPUs for a Linux system
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 1:39 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:15 pm
Posts: 15
Hello all,

I've been reading this board on and off for a year or two now, but this is my first post.

I'm currently planning my first venture into quiet-PC-building.

I had been thinking the new machine could be based around the Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 and Asus P5B-Deluxe, and run WinXP. But then I changed plan and decided to run Linux, most likely Ubuntu. And Google reveals various problems running Linux on the Asus P5B boards, which I'm not convinced have all been fixed yet.

So I want to take a step back and choose a more Linux-foolproof motherboard, likely to cooperate straightaway with a Live CD.

Had a look at the list of "Intel Core2 Recommended Boards" in the sticky thread here. But there aren't many listed there yet, and I've been unable to confirm that any of them are going to cooperate 100% with Linux.

Not sure where to go next.
a) abandon C2D and investigate other CPUs & mobos on the SPCR lists for Linux compatibility?
b) browse Linux discussion groups to find current recommended Linux specs and come back here to ask about them?

Either way I've got an uneasy feeling that I'm likely to end up in vast jungles of accumulating data. Most of the Linux/hardware compatibility reports seem to come in gradually from users, so despite the existence of various databases on the subject, you can be wading through a lot of Google to be sure one way or another. I'm hoping you can help me get a shortcut or at least a good compass bearing through this metaphorical jungle :-)

So my main questions right now are...

1. Has anyone here recently built a quiet system to run a Linux desktop, and if so, what mobo & CPU did you use? And did it work straightaway or not? Including SATA drives or not?

2. Is there a corner of this site which I've missed, which is all about Linux systems? (I hope :-) )

3. Or, failing that, any recommendations as to my best next direction of research?

My new machine will mainly be for word processing and internet, plus a local Apache to run some (smallish) databases on MySQL with PHP. I'm not predicting any use in the foreseeable future which would require especially fast graphics.

I'm thinking Antec P150 tower case, and ATX form factor.

I'm not much seduced by the "have to have the latest goodies" temptation, but by the same token I'd like this machine to last me at least five years if not ten (especially the sound-proofing bits, which could potentially carry over into an upgraded configuration later). So on the money front, I'm leaning a bit towards "make sure I'm not going to be disappointed when it's up and running" (especially regarding noise, but speed too) rather than "make sure I don't spend more than I can absolutely justify".

Thanks in advance for any clues!

Jennifer


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 2:22 pm 
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My 939-based AMD system works perfectly fine with Knoppix and Trinity live CDs, as far as I can tell. AMD AM2 should work fine under Linux with nVidia-based motherboards such as the 6150SE. 65-nm parts, such as Brisbane dual cores, are energy-efficient and reasonably fast.

Of course the C2D is faster but the AMD is more than enough for the tasks you've listed. I'm pretty sure there must be some mainboard for C2D that works fine under linux, too, but I can't make suggestions for that.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 3:37 pm 
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Location: Germany
1st: Why no integrated graphics?
2nd: The C2D platform needs more power than the AMD platform. Evidence here and here - you can find more on google. You don't need the speed of the C2D, so you might think about a MCP61 (aka 6150SE = single chip Geforce 61x0) or an AMD 690G. For power consumption read here.

I know that the printed german magazine C't tests for Linux compatibility. So let's look up my favourite AMD 690G. About the M2A-VM: Fedora and Ubuntu crash without acpi=off. For further tests, they updated Fedora to a newer kernel and the problem vanished. Graphics driver was the fglrx, sound worked as well. About AHCI of the SB600 here, general support was added with 2.6.17 here (german). I can't help you about web research and AMD 690G compatibility more, which is a pitty.

EDIT: SB600 and Linux


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 5:57 pm 
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I recently set up a e4300 with p5l-vm.

The p5l-vm onboard gigabit doesn't work out of the box with the current Ubuntu 6.10, but will with the next (Feisty, due in ~3 weeks). This is because the driver wasn't incorporated into the linux kernel until recently.

Otherwise everything else works fine, including SATA.

If you go with a motherboard more than 3-6 months old, I can't see you having too many problems, and there are many motherboards that fit into that category. Unfortunately, it does seem to be poorly documented (in terms of a consolidated summary) as to which mobos work without any fiddling.

I have also read that the Intel p965/sata issues are sorted in the next Ubuntu also. In short, Feisty should be the way to go; I'd find a few mobos you like, then google them with Feisty as well; there are plenty of people using the Beta, and that should give you an idea of the compatibility.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:31 pm 
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Welcome to SPCR, Jennifer!

My Athlon 64 X2 4200+ and nVidia based Gigabyte mobo, and nVidia 7600GS video works fine with Ubuntu 64bit 6.10 (Edgy Eft). The only thing I can get working yet is the dual video cards. That and the boot screen was B&W until I found a Boot Manager to install.

In the past, I have used SuSE, Linspire, Knoppix -- and Ubuntu is easily my favorite.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:27 pm 
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I am running Linux From Scratch 6.2 on a p5b-e. I had a lot of trouble at first trying to use IDE hdd and dvd drives on the JMicron controller. I was using 2.6.20.1 kernel version. I later learned that kernel didn't have a driver for the JMicron IDE controller, so I decided to go SATA only. I bought a SATA dvd drive and an IDE to SATA converter for my IDE hdd. Both worked. This kernel also did not have a driver for the Attansic onboard LAN device, so I installed an old Realtek PCI LAN card, which worked immediately. I have not yet tried the onboard sound.

During my research, I came across the advice from someone who suggested you are better off using hardware which is one or two generations old if you are using Linux. I don't like that idea, but it may be right.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:56 am 
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Linux is all about driver support. The same applies for windows, but everybody makes absolutely sure that's OK. In general you can say that the more common the hardware is, the better the (linux) support is. The Core2Duo is a great CPU and will work flawless with linux. An intel motherboard chipset is also very common and will also work out of the box.
A lot of other hardware like the onboard JMicron sata controller, found on many boards does also work with linux. but I don't know if that is out of the box, or that you do have to install the driver yourself. The JMicron JMB363 product page is clearly stating the linux support.
But the more rare the (onboard) 'toys' get, the more chance there is nobody bothered to write linux drivers.

If you want to run linux on your box, you should get common hardware, and check for driver support for every card and chip you get. Nvidia graphics cards, especially the boards based on the nvidia reference design do work fine under linux. Onboard vga solutions are not always based on the reference design but are tweaked by the motherboard manufacturer. If something goes wrong with linux drivers, these kind of things do have a high probability. But as long as you stick to reference boards and reference implementations it will work fine.
And often linux is a little bit harder to install, but there are many forums and communities which are willing to help with trouble. As long as you have common hardware with some linux support the problems are all fixable.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:45 am 
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Location: UK
I agree with all that was written above. With Linux, sometimes new motherboards (or more specifically, new controller chipsets on the motherboard) don't have any Linux drivers, until the Linux kernel is updated to deal with them. If you use a very new Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu Feisty, and hardware that is a few months old, you should be fine.

For non-gaming purposes I would also agree with using onboard graphics and using AMD to save power (and thus temperatures and fan noise). I'm using an ASRock ALiveNF6G-DVI motherboard with onboard Nvidia 6150SE (aka MCP61) graphics in Ubuntu Feisty with no problems.

I'm not so sure about your hope for things to last 5 or 10 years. Things like CPU sockets change over time so old CPU heatsink/fans may no longer work on new motherboards. Even case types change eventually, so you might not even be able to use an old case on a new build.

You might want to check the Ubuntu Forums too, if you haven't already.


Last edited by pelago on Sat Apr 07, 2007 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: interim thanks
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:29 am 
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Thanks everyone for the info - lots of useful clues there.

Haven't had a chance to follow it all up yet (unexpected work this week) so just thought I'd say an interim thanks to be going on with :-)

more later...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:54 am 
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Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The list of Linux compatible motherboards is too long for you to start your search there.

The list of silent PC suitable motherboards is also too long to list.

However, there is one easy thing to check when shopping for a motherboard--avoid any motherboard with a fan on it! Many fancy motherboards have northbridge chipset fans. You can typically replace the chipset cooler with a passive heatsink, but why go through the effort when you could have just as easily gotten one without it?

If you feel that you will want to undervolt and/or underclock your motherboard to reduce heat buildup, then that's another thing to check your motherboard for. It's a popular technique here on SPCR because reduced heat means less airflow is needed and less airflow can mean less noise.

However, many of us don't bother with undervolting or underclocking. I always have gotten whatever is cheapest, and unsurprisingly none of my motherboards are capable of undervolting or underclocking. No big deal, I have no problems putting together silent rigs regardless. I even slightly overclock a couple systems for an extra bit of performance.

Oh, I also never put much thought into Linux compatibility when making purchases. I haven't been burned yet, but since I always get whatever is cheapest that means I get older hardware more likely to be supported by Linux.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:19 am 
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Hello all

First a couple of clarifications/elaborations arising from my original post.

One thing I didn't mention is the use of Dragon Naturally Speaking. It's not top of my list of important things, because in practice I rarely use it. But part of the reason I don't often use it at the moment is that it's unfeasibly slow on this machine. The faster it ran, the more likely it would in future be used more often (for transcribing recorded speech and "training" it by the results, though probably not for real-time dictation and commands). So that's the one existing thing which might justify more processing power. Other than that, more power is just a way of future proofing against later more demanding programs, to put off the day when I have to embark on this process again...

NatSpeak doesn't affect graphics requirements, though. The answer to jojo4u's question is that I did start off looking for a board with on-board graphics, just didn't find one which also met my other preferences/specs. This may have been because I was initially looking at ATX boards, whereas it seems most of the on-board graphics ones are micro ATX. As far as I recall, my initial starting point was just "ATX has more room on it for adding cards later, which is a form of future proofing". I'm not sure whether that's actually going to matter to me though - perhaps not, as long as it's got as many card slots etc as I need for now.

Anyway, back to now. Having followed up lots of clues from all your suggestions, I'm liking the idea of AMD AM2 dual core or possibly 939. So took that as my starting point for a motherboard hunt.

I took as my primary tactic (a) find a motherboard which looks plausible, (b) Google it in conjunction with Linux (or Ubuntu or Dapper/Edgy/Feisty). However, no amount of that has yet revealed a board which is running Linux and not giving someone problems - even when at the same time the board has been described by others as very good for Linux.

There seems to be a tension as well between "old enough to have been tried out by some Linux people and had its problems ironed out one way or another" and "recent enough to still be on sale". Though there's always the possibility of a second-hand one.

So I'm beginning to think that no matter how much more research I try to do, ultimately it'll be a leap in the dark. The best I can do is to avoid the boards which are giving lots of people problems. And perhaps I have to accept that the chances are against the system working "out of the box" (as it were), and trust that I'll be able to overcome any obstacles (with help of course).

I wanted to ask pelago, about the ALiveNF6G-DVI, have you got USB running OK?

I did look at the Asus M2A-VM but found this:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=2414436
(Ubuntu problems for >1 person, a fairly recent thread). So bit wary of that, though it's obviously worked for some people.

And, people in general, a much more basic question: any likely reasons why I might regret choosing a micro ATX board rather than an ATX one, provided it's got the right connections?

Thanks again for all assistance.

Jennifer


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:24 pm 
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Jennifer wrote:
I'm liking the idea of AMD AM2 dual core or possibly 939.


939 is EoL and more expensive than AM2 when available. Only interesting if you already own some parts you won't feel like throwing away or selling.

Jennifer wrote:
any likely reasons why I might regret choosing a micro ATX board rather than an ATX one, provided it's got the right connections?


When you need to cram many expansion cards into the same machine, that's when you regret not having enough PCI slots.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:51 am 
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Jennifer wrote:
One thing I didn't mention is the use of Dragon Naturally Speaking.


I don't think Dragon Naturally Speaking is available for Linux, unless you can get it working in wine.

Jennifer wrote:
I wanted to ask pelago, about the ALiveNF6G-DVI, have you got USB running OK?
Well, it's funny you mention that, because now I think about it I've been having a bit of trouble getting a USB keyboard to work. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't and I have to unplug and replug it in for it to work. I don't think it's a Linux problem though, as when it goes wrong it goes wrong in the BIOS too - that is, I can't press F1 to get into setup. The problem might be with the keyboard itself - I haven't tried any other USB keyboard. A PS/2 keyboard I have works fine, and a USB mouse has worked 100%. I haven't tried any other USB devices.

Why do you ask, Jennifer? Have you heard something specific about the ALiveNF6G-DVI and USB?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:18 pm 
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Quote:
I don't think Dragon Naturally Speaking is available for Linux, unless you can get it working in wine.


No you're right, that would be running on an old Win98 which I've got to keep around for legacy reasons. (I'm actually thinking of having one Win98 as a dual boot with Linux and one on top of VMware Player on top of Linux. Complicated, I know, but means I'll only have to actually reboot for a few things which need to communicate with the outside world, e.g. a USB printer I occasionally use which isn't fully supported under Linux, as iirc VMware and USB don't play nicely together)

Re USB:
Quote:
Why do you ask, Jennifer? Have you heard something specific about the ALiveNF6G-DVI and USB?


Yes, exactly - this thread had someone with a problem and no reported answer:
http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-360375.html

Not that that's any more worrying than what I've found for any other board :-)

(and as a friend rightly said the other night, you could probably Google someone having problems on Windows with every motherboard that exists too... and it's not always really the mobo's fault...)

so, yeah, just wanted the reassurance of a datapoint on the side of "at least someone's got it working OK".


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:54 pm 
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Jennifer wrote:
(and as a friend rightly said the other night, you could probably Google someone having problems on Windows with every motherboard that exists too... and it's not always really the mobo's fault...)

This is exactly right. Besides people generally being stupid, you also have to consider that problems are more likely to drive people to post than having everything working flawlessly. I do agree that it is nice to find at least one example of someone who got things working in a similar fashion to your plans, but this is often a quixotic mission. Considering that you are looking at ~ $100 boards, it is probably not worth fretting too much over (just buy it from Newegg or some other place with a liberal return policy). Anyway, isn't the fun of Linux having to figure out how to get things working? If you don't enjoy such things, spending $120 for Windows is probably well worth the time it saves on setup/configuration.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 6:20 am 
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Hi Jennifer, while your desire to "futureproof" is theoretically a good idea, I would suggest that you save yourself some money and hassle and just get something which is adequate for your present needs. Technology moves so fast that in the end it won't make any difference. If you want to keep your machine for five years minimum, it doesn't matter what you get now - any relative difference will have become fairly insignificant by then.

The main limitation I find with older PCs is the amount of RAM, and I suggest spending extra on this for maximum usability into the future. I doubt that you will use many slots, especially if you get a micro-ATX board with decent onboard graphics, good quality sound, gigabit ethernet, wifi, usb2, firewire... what else do you need?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:34 am 
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Gigabyte has an AM2 mobo,as I recall M61P-S3 that is a full size board with onboard video.

Scan Newegg user reviews for a cross section of issues,resolutions,satisfaction etc. I recall some comment about maybe LAN wasn't working for an old kernal-but the new kernal fixed everything.

I like to scout the New egg user feedback,looking for stuff with quite a few responses (a good sample) and few unresolved or common negatives. I factor in that some folks will screw up-not use anti-static procedures or try to overclock like mad on stock cooling. Likewise,UPS may leave the box in the rain after using it for a lunchtime soccer game :( I like to see that those who build a lot of computers might find a mobo their current favorite,or that noobies first buils go fast and easy. A Tech Review site basically takes one unit-and an expert spends a day with it benchmarking for how it overclocks for gamers. Real world....I'd prefer a cross section of 50 people who live with the thing full time.


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 Post subject: Well...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:33 am 
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For sh*ts & grins, I threw together a breadboard Ubuntu system based on the following from my 'retired / upgraded parts' bin:

Opteron 144 (can still find this from NewEgg for ~ $70)
AsRock 939Dual-SATA2 (can find the 939Dual-VSTA at Newegg for ~$70)
2x256MB DDR333 RAM
40GB 5400RPM 2.5" SATA
FX5200 AGP video card

I had no driver issues with this version and it just fired up. Now all I need to do is scrounge a chassis. Remember, Ubuntu doesn't require as much grunt as Windows, so you don't necessarily need the newest and fastest, especially with regard to multi-core and RAM. The 144 is easy to cool, and the AsRock supports both AGP and PCIe, so you have some upgrade capability (it also has a CPU expansion slot for an AM2 daughter card if you wish to go that route, but you'll probably pay more for identical performance). :D

Note: I installed the 32-bit version of Ubuntu. With the 64-bit version I had all sorts of problems (drivers as well as application)

-Derek

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 5:34 am 
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Jennifer wrote:
Re USB:
Quote:
Why do you ask, Jennifer? Have you heard something specific about the ALiveNF6G-DVI and USB?


Yes, exactly - this thread had someone with a problem and no reported answer:
http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-360375.html

Not that that's any more worrying than what I've found for any other board :-)

Ok, well apart from the intermittent keyboard problem (which must be the keyboard itself not a Linux problem given that when it doesn't work it doesn't work in the BIOS setup screens too), I've had USB devices working in Ubuntu Feisty on that mobo. Note that the link above is used an old alpha version of Feisty, not the final release.


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 Post subject: How I'd Approach building a new Linux Box
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:06 am 
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Location: Forkbomb, New South Wales
Settle on a vendor for your CPU, and troll the Google and Ubuntu forums for chipsets, and see which chipsets are giving people problems, like G965, for example. Newegg is a nice source for lists of the chipset identifiers, if you're not into following every twist and turn of consumer semiconductors.

Example corresponding warning about the DG965 series:
http://dev.osso.nl/peter/blog/2006/12/2 ... cks-balls/

If your chipset has been out for a few months and you don't see any hits, it probably works. People are much more likely to spend the time to write a blog or forum post when they're unhappy and can't make something work.

Like others have mentioned , I'd stick to a motherboard with a chipset that's a year old. For general purpose computing, Linux doesn't need as much wasted electricity, er MIPS, as Windows does to make a usable computer.

My six year old Celeron (Coppermine) desktop is still quite usable, and for many tasks, like web surfing, light graphics work with The Gimp, or word processing with OpenOffice, it's just as fast as my E6420 and T7200 machines. (It also serves as my home web server, running the LAMP stack, but it maybe gets 500 unique hits a week)

I think the age of the components is something like: mean: 3.5 years, min: 6 months (Video card) max: 12 years (Ethernet card)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 6:11 am 
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Hello again all,

As I'm now at the "shopping list" stage, I've jumped thread to over here:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=337770#337770

Thanks to everyone who's added posts in the last few days, and thanks again for the first lot. I do feel like I'm beginning to get my bearings in the territory :-)

Jennifer


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 12:28 pm 
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I'm also researching this heavily as I want the option of running either XP or a Linux distro (or two). I would probably use Ubuntu and Debian.

If you conduct a search on the Ubuntu forums, you can obtain some info about using an Intel-based motherboard including one based on the P965 chipset. This is what I am considering buying. You can avoid some headaches by buying SATA drives, a SATA HD and SATA DVD drive. The JMicron controller on the Intel motherboards causes problems on some Linux kernel versions. But, from what I've read, the most recent kernels have solved the problem. For Ubuntu, the most up-to-date 'Feisty Fawn' has worked around the JMicron problem and most people have reported few or even no problems with their linux install. I assume the newest version of Debian (testing?) would have the same situation.

I plan on using the most up-to-date kernel (or pretty close to it) anyway so this is good news as far as I'm concerned. Many of the P965 chipset motherboards are competitively priced and with the Intel CPU price cuts, I only need to know how compatible AMD's current motherboards will be with their new processors. I consider the *current* AMD X2 hardware to produce more heat than the Intel Core 2 Duo line so Intel is preferable from that perspective.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 1:26 pm 
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Quote:
I consider the *current* AMD X2 hardware to produce more heat than the Intel Core 2 Duo line so Intel is preferable from that perspective.


ADO parts (Brisbane & Windsor EE) have same TDP as C2D,generally the same price as older ADA parts.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 3:09 pm 
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pputer wrote:
I consider the *current* AMD X2 hardware to produce more heat than the Intel Core 2 Duo line so Intel is preferable from that perspective.


AMD has more efficient chipsets available, so it's better under idle (see Dell review in SPCR). Under load it uses a bit more.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 11:09 pm 
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My Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Brisbane is the 65W version.

It's overclocked 10% and running Folding @ Home 24/7. It's currently using the stock heatsink/fan and thermal pad... it's not silent... but quiet enough that I can't be arsed to go to the loft to find an 80L and decent goo to reduce the noise.



Pete

P.S. I'm running on an Asus M2V mobo with 2GB crucial RAM, a SATA boot drive, PATA data drive, USB backup drive, DVD +/- drive etc on Open Suse 10.2 X64 for anybody researching Linux and compatible modern Motherboards


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 2:55 pm 
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Location: california
pputer wrote:
I consider the *current* AMD X2 hardware to produce more heat than the Intel Core 2 Duo line so Intel is preferable from that perspective.

Ever so slightly if any. A 65w AM2 x2-3800 on an ecs 6100 motherboard folding flat out draws 79 watts with 1 stick of DDR2 memory, a single hard drive and a single cd. A e4300 on an ecs p4m800pro2 draws 75 watts folding with 1 stick of DDR memory, a single hard drive and a single cd drive. Both measurements are from the wall with a kill-a-watt meter. Any difference is well within possible efficiency differences in the power supplies or the motherboards or the memory. I would be hard pressed to say intel or amd consumed more power when comparing the C2D to the EE X2's.

Though, the older S939 X2's, those are hotter..

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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 5:50 am 
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 12:44 am
Posts: 10
Location: Arlesey, Beds, UK
jaganath wrote:
ADO parts (Brisbane & Windsor EE) have same TDP as C2D,generally the same price as older ADA parts.


I'm considering a 4600+ for it's reasonable price/performance and, as you say, the ADO and ADA parts are around the same price. This being so, why would anyone want the ADA? There's a glitch on Amazon UK where the ADO is 3x the price of the ADA. They won't sell many of those.

I'm also looking at a PC to run Ubuntu. I don't need mega graphics performance for now so I'm looking at on-board. The Asus M2npv-vm looks okay. Is there anything similar in ATX format in case I decide I might need more than 2 PCI slots?

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AMD X2 4600+ on Asus M2npv-vm in Antec NSK4400. 2GB RAM, 250GB PATA HD, Haupauge DVB-T PCI


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 2:15 pm 
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Posts: 12
Location: Switzerland
I would have a look at the Suse hardware-compatibility list. Debian also has a compatibility list. What about to search the forum of the big distributions for your dream-components?

My personal experience (although I still have a Athlon XP system): Nvidia Linux drivers work better; no fancy parts (Standard chipsets), but quality brands (parts). My Asus a7v8x-x works with Debian, Ubuntu and Suse out of the box including network and sound. Ok, that doesn't help you, because you want a new Linux-PC. Most of the hazzle are produced by wireless components.

Why don't you buy a Dell Linux-System or ask your salesman to assemble a 100% compatible Linux-computer?


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 4:25 am 
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Location: Arlesey, Beds, UK
gipfeli wrote:
Most of the hazzle are produced by wireless components.

Why don't you buy a Dell Linux-System or ask your salesman to assemble a 100% compatible Linux-computer?


In my case I don't need wifi on my home PC. Dell Linux systems are not an option in the UK and I prefer to build myself.

I think the main thing apart from wireless that needs checking is the chipset for the on-board graphics if you intend to use that. From what I understand nvidia will give better compatibility and performance than Intel, Via or others. The nvidia drivers are not open source, but they work. There's the new AMD/ATI 690 chipset, but I don't know if that is supported yet.

At least life is easier than a few years ago. These days most hardware is supported as long as people have had enough time to work it out. It's probably best to avoid the latest innovations until the manufacturers start proving their own drivers. Perhaps the Dell deal will encourage that.

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AMD X2 4600+ on Asus M2npv-vm in Antec NSK4400. 2GB RAM, 250GB PATA HD, Haupauge DVB-T PCI


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 10:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 1:44 am
Posts: 76
Location: Australia
I've just set up an 690G (Asus M2A-VM) with Ubuntu Feisty 32bit. You need to set the HPEC to off in the BIOS first. Everything was auto-detected alright. (SATA hdd and dvd, USB, ethernet) S3 suspend and hibernate seem fine.

The video initialised in VESA mode, and the only real support seems to be in the binary ATI drivers - which are easily installed in Feisty. However, the binary driver has some limitations, like not having xvideo support.

The only company to really support open source in video cards is Intel, and they have good open source drivers for desktop usage (as opposed to gaming). It's just a pain there are no Intel chipsets with low idle power consumption. From what I can tell there are no open source nvidea drivers, and the ATI open source drivers are reasonably good for the older chipsets, but not available for the new ones.

For the binary drivers, nvidea is much better than ati though - but ideally you'd want to avoid the binary drivers if possible anyhow.


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