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Thread: Hardware for linux

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    Hardware for linux

    Can any of the experts here recommend hardware compatible to use with Linux OS, must have hdmi 1080p, Ideally everything on motherboard with micro form factor.

    Something with good support and build in Drivers.

    Thanks

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Re: Hardware for linux

    Well i wouldn't call myself an expert, but the concensus seems to be that going the nvidia route tends to give something like Ubuntu less headaches than AMD/ATI.
    I'd be seriously tempted to recommend an Intel chipset based motherboard, and then add in an nvidia graphics card, rather than the nvidia chipset motherboard even though it looks easier, simply because nvidia chipset motherboards still throw random wobblies, and i just dont trust them.
    This Gigabyte board for £47 is a fair price.
    This 9400GT will take over 1080p decoding and is passive, however it's worth checking with Scan directly that it comes with a little DVI -> HDMI convertor dongle. I've had a quick look through nvidia's low end board and cant see one with native HDMI, but those convertors do the job ok.
    I should mention however that my personal experience of AMD's cards on Ubuntu has been fine since i dont do any 3d gaming under Ubuntu, so this card might be worth it:
    HD4350 for £29. I've heard that AMD does 'proper' things with the audio passthrough too (which i think means that the graphics card does audio processing - can anyone else confirm?).
    I've recommended the P35 chipset motherboard over the P45 since a) it's had more time to bed down with drivers and b) you have no need for the graphics improvement.

    Other than this, a cheap dual core CPU like an E5200 will do the job nicely.

    Do you need any advice on any other components?

    Edit: Would it be Mythbuntu that you'd be considering by the way, or something else?
    Whatever you do, i'd be very interested in hearing your experiences. 2 Years on, and i still consider myself at the experiementing stage and havent fully committed to a Linux HTPC (which i'd love to do - maybe soon, who knows)
    Edit again: Reading the Mythbuntu requirements page they clearly are not happy with AMD/ATI graphics cards! LOL. I do remember reading that AMD are looking into producing open source drivers, however it's all just hot air until it arrives.
    Last edited by MSIC; 29-10-2008 at 08:01 AM.
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    Re: Hardware for linux

    Thanks for the reply, yes Mythbuntu is exactly what i was thinking with amd however build in navida with hdmi as appose to dvi to get that much better value for money.

    I could consider intel with separate graphics card but not one without hdmi direct, but that would push the cost up, and being micro from factor you have to think what you can fit in too.

    It does seem the GPU of R4350 has built-in audio codec. Through the simple adapter, DVI will be converted to HDMI output with 8 channel LPCM surround sound. Users do not need to transfer SPDIF sound from motherboard or audio card into graphics card, just a simple HDMI cable enables it to output video and audio directly to a TV or projector."

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    Re: Hardware for linux

    Also if you want to make a recommendation on an enclosure, that would help see what you think is the best to go for at the moment.

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Re: Hardware for linux

    I'd still recommend the Nvidia card over the AMD, but after more searching i've discovered that MSI do different versions of the 9400GT, some with HDMI sockets on directly
    The manufacturer's code has a 'H' at the end, like this one:
    http://global.msi.eu/index.php?func=...6&prod_no=1588
    Although Scan don't seem to stock them, ebuyer do. Don't worry about the card fitting in either, it'll be fine - these lower end graphics cards are smaller and dont use too much power. They are only 'lower end' in their 3d gaming abilities however, for your needs they are perfect!
    So let's do a quick spec:
    Motherboard: Gigabyte G31 for £48
    CPU: Intel E5200 for £58
    Heatsink/Fan: Akasa 965 £10
    Graphics: MSI 9400GT with HDMI for £45.
    Memory: 2 x 1GB of Corsair TwinX for £28
    Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F1 640GB for £46.
    Optical drive: DVD rewriter for £17 (even if you get a blu-ray drive too, i find that having 2 drives doesnt hurt for this little money)

    Enclosure: This is i suppose where it get's interesting, and really depends on many factors such as where you want it to be (living room, bedroom?), how important is quiet (probably very), cost, whether you want it to blend in to Hi-fi equipment or to be visibly a PC etc.
    I would have to recommend Silent PC Review as a great website to read around first. Seriously, dont rush this decision!
    If it were me though, building a HTPC, i'd go for something like this Antec that comes with an absolutely fine Power Supply, for £75.

    The total comes to a little over £320, plus postage from a few places.

    Edit: The other thing i suppose that i havent got much personal experience in, is going to be how (or if) you want to record content onto the machine. Typically for this i guess we are talking about a TV card, but i'd recommend that you read loads in the Mythbuntu help forums for ones that work, as i know some can be quite twitchy.
    Then again, with stuff like bbc iplayer etc coming on in leaps and bounds, maybe you dont need a TV card?

    Edit again: I knew SPCR was good, they've even reviewed the case i mentioned
    Check it out here:
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article591-page1.html
    It's certainly worth 15 mins of your time. I'm also wondering if getting the HSF they used (the Zalman) might be wiser, because at least you know it has plenty of head clearance. The Akasa I suggested is a little taller.
    Last edited by MSIC; 28-10-2008 at 12:46 PM.
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    Re: Hardware for linux

    Quote Originally Posted by MSIC View Post
    Edit again: I knew SPCR was good, they've even reviewed the case i mentioned
    Check it out here:
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article591-page1.html
    It's certainly worth 15 mins of your time. I'm also wondering if getting the HSF they used (the Zalman) might be wiser, because at least you know it has plenty of head clearance. The Akasa I suggested is a little taller.
    I would be more tempted by a small tower cooler like the Scythe mini ninja (pretty sure it fits) due to the airflow design in the case I just feel this would be a better solution with the hot air being pushed towards a fan rather than circulating around the case for a bit.

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    Re: Hardware for linux

    My choice was on antec 2480 or micro fusion and yes for the living room. Maybe you read my other thread about price match, but we both almost concluded the same thing.

    One other reason I was thinking on amd was low power consumption.

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    Re: Hardware for linux

    P.s I want to use it for dual purpose pc/media center.

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    Re: Hardware for linux

    Well an obvious choice then would be to swap the above motherboard & graphics card combo that i recommended for something like this:
    Asus M3N78-VM. Is great value for money at £53, comes with a HDMI socket and the onboard graphics are good enough for all video decoding needs.
    That then would be lower power than my Intel suggestion, and combining it with a CPU like X2 5000 energy efficient model, at £38 seems a bargain.
    Add a quiet HeatSinkFan like a Zalman or Scythe that Webby mentioned and you're away.

    This still avoids the AMD graphics pitfalls that i cautioned you about. Plus it shaves about £60 off the total purchase price

    You can read (if you want) about comparing the 8200 chipset (which is in the above motherboard) with other chipsets, their power consumption etc, in this Anandtech article. And this one here too.
    Last edited by MSIC; 29-10-2008 at 08:21 AM.
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    Re: Hardware for linux

    I have a PC running myth, but only on standard definition. SD video is easily crunched in software, but Nvidia seem to have removed mpeg acceleration support from their cards and ATI have yet to produce anything usable so HD video has me worried. Then there is the problem of HDCP and all that encrypted content/transport shenanigans.

    On the upside, ATI seem to be promising proper video support at some point in the future. If they get it right, then they will become the preferred Linux GPU.

    TBH, Myth was a backup in case my now 8 year old TiVo gave up and whilst fun isn't really up to the grade compared to a TiVo and I just couldn't downgrade from TiVo to Sky+.

    I am looking with interest at this Nero PC TiVo which is currently only available in the states but should hopefully hit our UK shores early next year.

    I am an utter Linux enthusiast, but this will probably get a copy of Windows installed on my HTPC (as I am even more of a TiVo enthusiast).

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    Re: Hardware for linux

    Asus M3N78-VM is a very good find and has many features and good possibility of future upgrades, unfortunately it's out of stock at the moment. Does this board have any reviews?

    @ DanceswithUnix what card are using for your tv, I've heard some tv cards could cause problems and it works fine with others.

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    Re: Hardware for linux

    What is your budget? because you realy could do this quite cheap.

    Mobo - G31 board (as above) I think Gigabyte is a good bet for Linux compatability
    CPU - you could even go with a E1200 CPU for a £20 saving, but the E5200 is a nice option, both these Intel chips have low power consumption
    GPU - nvidia Card over ATI for Linux, a 8500gt would do the job, I just got a "new" 8600gt off ebay for £20 to put in a Linux Media centre.
    RAM - you could survive with 1gb instead of 2gb
    DVD - No personal experience with Optarc, can only recommend Pioneer as the 20xDL writer I got my dad is so much quieter than my Samsung or Toshiba

    Yeah still get the nice Antec case though as it looks so much nicer than the cheaper ones, plus you get large fans and a good PSU.

    Do you plan on limiting the DVD writer's read speed to make it quiet? if so I would be interested in how you do it as there doesn't seem to be a 100% effective easy way.


    Good article for a low power PC, of course you would need to factor in the GPU (the E7200 & E5200 would be very similar I guess) but below 40watts idling before adding a GPU is pretty damn good.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...-g31,2039.html

    Link to GPU power requirements

    http://archive.atomicmpc.com.au/foru...s=2&c=7&t=9354
    Last edited by Maccer101; 29-10-2008 at 07:07 PM.
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    Re: Hardware for linux

    I've found Abit A-N78HD and thinking of getting it unless anyone thinks I shouldn't, It's similar to Asus above but downside is it docent have a com port and one other.

    Abit A-N78HD + amd 5200+

    Other than that I think what MSIC has suggested is best you can get currently.

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    Re: Hardware for linux

    Yep, i think you might be right, the A-N78HD looks like a good one. HDMI socket out, the really quite good 8200 chipset from nvidia, and no rubbish ports circa 1992.
    Why the 5200+ CPU? Is it an energy efficient (or "B.E.") version?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maccer101 View Post
    GPU - nvidia Card over ATI for Linux, a 8500gt would do the job, I just got a "new" 8600gt off ebay for £20 to put in a Linux Media centre.
    Admittedly £20 isn't much, but in terms of graphical horsepower it's way over what is needed. Not a bad choice though. A 9400GT would be better, but only if it's cheaper. But looks like we're going with onboard graphics anyway from the 8200 chipset.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maccer101 View Post
    RAM - you could survive with 1gb instead of 2gb
    I'd agree with this, but for the cost... come on! You know you want 2 Gig
    Quote Originally Posted by Maccer101 View Post
    Do you plan on limiting the DVD writer's read speed to make it quiet? if so I would be interested in how you do it as there doesn't seem to be a 100% effective easy way.
    Good idea. I've seen utilities such as Nero do this in Windows, i've no idea what does it for Ubuntu.
    Last edited by MSIC; 30-10-2008 at 09:15 AM.
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    Re: Hardware for linux

    Anything over 5200+ I think is 800mhz and the 5000+ is divided down and it's 600mhz so for only 10 quids more you are getting a little better value for money.

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    Re: Hardware for linux

    Quote Originally Posted by adder View Post
    Asus M3N78-VM is a very good find and has many features and good possibility of future upgrades, unfortunately it's out of stock at the moment. Does this board have any reviews?

    @ DanceswithUnix what card are using for your tv, I've heard some tv cards could cause problems and it works fine with others.
    I use a Hauppauge freeview TV card, I think it is model 909. Not a bad card, though the TV through port on it seems to have a ton of noise on it so I couldn't daisy chain 2 in a row as the second card see any stations. I guess using a splitter would get that working, but have not bothered wiring one up yet as single tuner is enough. The cards are so cheap I bought 2 so I could have one in my workstation to play with an not risk trashing the main server that runs the backend (my HTPC is only a front end and has no capture card in it).

    Ideally I would like a satellite card with CAM so I can watch Sky on it, but can't find such a beasty which has Linux support.

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