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Lazy Foo

I'm planning on building a Linux/Windows machine

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I'm happy to say I'm close to having enough for a new computer. I plan on having Linux as my primary OS. I've gotten fond of linux because the windows partitions at school always have some sort of malware on them. Of course I still plan to use XP. So basically I want a computer that has good compatibility with both OSes. I plan on gettin SuSE Linux BTW. I plan to get a good computer, not top of the line, not bare bones. I plan on using it for: Programming games for windows/linux Generic video editing (just splicing combo videos) I do need to point out that I know next to squat about hardware. I've been so busy learning programming I forgot to learn about anything else about computers. Here's a rundown of what's going on so far: Motherboard - I need it to be SATA HD compatible. Also I would like to have some sound, video, and networking functions built into the board. The reason is I need to have a new functioning computer ASAP seeing as this one crashes at random, and this way I can hold off on getting the sound/video card for a little bit. During that time I don't have a real sound, video cards I just plan on doing some basic web development with HTML. Hard Drive - I plan on getting a SATA HD. DVD-RW - I just want it to be a decent speed. CPU - I plan to get an AMD for 64-bit Linux. That and I hear good things about the company. RAM - I plan on having 512MB. GPU - I plan on getting an nVidia card. I plan on working with OpenGL a lot. SPU - I have no idea what kind of sound card I should get. I would like a decent one though, I do some generic sound editing. TV - I would like a good tv tuner card so I can play my dreamcast/PS2/VCR on it. Linux compatibility prefered, but what I really want is high quality reception. Budget - $1500. I have $900 now and I plan to spend the next 2 paycheck on it too. Taking all of this into consideration, what do you guys think I should get? What compatibility issues should I be concerned with?

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I highly recomend making sure that the integrated video chip is an NVidia one, preferably geforce3 or more, reason being that you will need hardware acceleration for gamming on Linux. I hear ATI's support has gotten better, but to be in the safe side, I'd say go with NVidia.

You may want to check which sound chips are best supported by ALSA as well, but in general almost any chip will do.

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You don't want integrated video.

You absolutely want 1024 MB of RAM; 512 is too little these days. Especially if you like doing transitions between video effects. Make that two 512 MB sticks to get the benefits of dual-channel memory.

You probably want to get two identical SATA drivers, and run them as RAID-1. That way, if one drive dies, you have a copy on the second drive.

I've found newegg.com to be honest and reliable for parts. I would strongly suggest building your machine on your own from parts. If it feels scary to you, there are tutorials on the web, or you can ask a friend who knows how to do it to come over for a saturday afternoon (it'll take shorter than it takes installing Windows).

The later versions of SoundBlaster Audigy drivers are not as flaky as before, so I can now recommend something like a SoundBlaster Audigy 2 sound card. Some Audigys come with FireWire inputs, which would be good if you do video editing (and have a DV/firewire video camera).

An NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 256 MB graphics card is likely to perform well for most games, and is reasonably affordable (i e, in the $150 range). It's probably the best price/performance point right now.

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Quote:
Original post by hplus0603
You don't want integrated video.

...

An NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 256 MB graphics card is likely to perform well for most games, and is reasonably affordable (i e, in the $150 range). It's probably the best price/performance point right now.


hplus0603 is right, personally, I wouldnt be caught dead buying a mobo with integrated video, but if your budget is sooooo tight you cant get a video card separatelly, you have 3 choises 1 - recycle the one in your current computer for the time being 2 - buy a really cheap one for the time being or get the integrated one.

if you do get the integrated one, well, you know what to look for, PLUS make sure the MOBO does come with an AGP or (even better) a PCI express slot (PCI Express cards seem to be cheaper than AGP nowadays on top of being faster).

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As alternatives to the 6600GT, consider:
Radeon X800 ($150)
Radeon X800 GT ($140)

I'm not an ATI fan as such, but these fall at the same price point as the 6600GT, and the top one in particular outperforms the 6600GT considerably (yes, in OpenGL as well, D3 aside). Not only that, it outperforms the X1300 Pro and X1600 XT as well.

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Quote:
Original post by hplus0603
You don't want integrated video.


He did put a separate GPU on the list too.
As I understand it, he want integrated so he can boot it immediately, without waiting for the GPU to arrive (and of course, it's useful as backup if your GPU dies, or you need to find out which part is causing random crashes).

I think both these reasons are valid enough.
Go with integrated + a proper GPU then.
As for motherboard, I'd say go with NForce 4. Seems to be *the* mobo of choice on AMD systems. (and they recently launched a version with integrated video too)

Promit: Then there's just the slight problem that he wants Linux as his main OS. So I'd probably stick with NVidia then. :)

And yeah, get more ram. Definitely.
As for soundcard, dunno how much you're going to need it.
If you want something good, the Creative Audigy 2 is surprisingly cheap. Otherwise, stick with the integrated sound.

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I recently bought a new computer, and here are the (partial) specs:

CPU - AMD Athlon 64, Socket 939, Venice core (ADA3200DAA4BW)
check out this link: http://fab51.com/cpu/guide/opn-64-e.html

Mainboard - MSI K8T Neo2 FIR (6702E)
supports up to 4GB RAM, integrated network, sound, firewire, raid (promise and via chipset) and more

RAM - Kingston KVR400X64C3AK2/2G
works fine in dual-channel mode

HDD - Samsung SP2004C
SATA, 200GB

Suse Linux 9 in 64bit mode boots fine from the SATA-HDD.
BTW lots of RAM makes every system faster.

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Quote:
Original post by Lazy Foo
Any TV tuner cards?

I would like to watch TV and play my consoles on this thing. Linux compatibility isn't a huge issue here, I just want high quality picture.


I have an old bt878 based card that works fine under Linux, though I did have to fiddle with the modules file to get it working. My brother has a newer one, also bt878 (I think it's a Pinnacle) that gets detected out of the box.

I dont know if there are other chips around, but I guess just look for a card with a bt878 chip.

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I wouldn't recommend installing a 64bit OS. I have installed several 64bit Linux flavors such as Ubuntu and Gentoo, but because 64bit is so new, there will be a lot of problems. One example is the lack of a 64bit Flash plugin. I would install a 32bit OS because there really is no need for a 64bit one. Unless you like to live bleeding edge and spend a lot of time fixing and finding stuff...

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Hardware recomendations aside (since it seems like you've got a pretty good handle on things.) If you have plenty of money now, which $900 is, theres no reason to skimp on stuff. I've built very good, complete PCs for ~600, for 10-12 hundred you can build a PC thats better than all but the most uber gaming rigs. One hint is to buy components just behind the technology curve, you'll get the best price/performance and lifetime that way. Get a mobo with the newest socket types so that there will be an upgrade path for you in a couple years. IE the latest processor sockets such as AMD's 939 or 940 and PCI express.

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Make sure you get a dedicated video card. Integrated graphics are pretty bad. With a budget of $1500 you should be able to build a blazing pc that can handle both Windows and Linux tasks. Just get a big hard drive so you have enough room to store tons of files between the 2. A gig of ram might be nice as well since you said you want to work with some video editing stuff.

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