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Barebones Linux Box?

Discussion in 'PC Forum' started by Haite, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. Haite

    Haite Forum Moderator

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    So some of you know that I'll be changing my major to Computer Science this spring. I've been mulling around putting together a barebones Linux box for a while now, and it has even more appeal with the major change. I'd use it as a second computer for browsing the internet, mail, programming and compiling, and other general computing mayhem, while my Windows box would become more specialized for gaming.

    To this end, 3D performance doesn't have to be there. I might even go with onboard video. If not that then an entry level 3D card, like an ATI X300 or nVidia Geforce 6600 or something.

    I/O needs to be good, so I think I'll be going with an SATA disk, but space doesn't have to be too big. I can transfer to and from the 320 gigs in my Windows box easily (maybe I'll gigabit the two together in my dorm room).

    RAM doesn't have to be huge since I'll just be doing general computing, but I want to keep it fast. 512 of DDR400 sounds more than adequate.

    Processor is where it gets complicated. The processor will probably be the most important part of this system for a number of reasons. I'll probably be doing a lot of compiling, but maybe some multimedia (CD ripping, for example), and maybe even content serving (like a file dump for me on the campus network). The catch is that I want to keep this box as quiet as possible. Think of it almost like a multimedia PC - it should blend into my environment, so I can keep my loud P4-based gaming box off unless I'm gaming. For this reason, I was thinking of going with a Pentium M because you can get small form factor barebones with socket 479.

    The downside to Pentium M is the current Intel 855 chipset is really a notebook chipset, and its features are lacking - i.e. no SATA, only PATA. I never want to go back to PATA again. Ever. I heard that by now Intel should have come out with their new Pentium M desktop chipset, but all I see out there so far is the Intel 915 Go, which is for notebooks only.

    That leaves the Athlon 64 as an alternative. The pros of the Athlon 64 are: it's a proven architecture, both on Windows and Linux, its chipsets all have full feature sets, it's not as hot as a Pentium 4. That said, it's still a lot hotter than a Pentium M, especially under load.

    Oh yea, I already mentioned small form factor, but basically this is all gonna be in one of those little Shuttle cube-type computers.

    Opinions?
     
  2. MisterHalleck

    MisterHalleck Peasant

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    There are companies out there that make mounting brackets that adapt 2.5" laptop drives to fit in a 3.5" drive bay. You'll lose performance and space but it will be absolutely inaudible. Underclock the computer so you can skimp on fans, and you should have a really quiet computer. That will probably require PATA though.
     
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  3. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    I swear my Shuttle enclosure kills my hard drives. 2 hot :bendover:
     
  4. MisterHalleck

    MisterHalleck Peasant

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    Full-tower ftw :)

    j/k...

    Actually I have been toying with the idea of making my own watercooling system. With custom-built Peltier plates on either top or bottom of the hard drive you could get it super cool.
     
  5. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    Don't put the peltier on backwards. BURN :bendover:
     
  6. Haite

    Haite Forum Moderator

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    The only 915-based Pentium M board I've found is made by AOpen and it's regular ATX or Mini ATX (can't remember offhand). Either way, I can't get a small form factor system to have all the features AND a Pentium M, so I may go with the smallest tower I can find. Size, noise, and price are really my biggest selling points here.

    Size matters extra now too because my family is moving such that I'll have to fly to college now, and thus won't be able to lug all my stuff back and forth any more.
     
  7. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    Mac mini? It is basically Linux.
     
  8. MisterHalleck

    MisterHalleck Peasant

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    mac mini ftw
     
  9. Lurk

    Lurk Peasant and Donator

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    Corrected. :D
     
  10. Haite

    Haite Forum Moderator

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    Type ">console" into the Username box at Log-in and then hit return. Voila! Mac -> Unix.
     
  11. cowofwar

    cowofwar Peasant

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    What were you before? Music major or something?
     
  12. Haite

    Haite Forum Moderator

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    Yes, I was (and currently am).
     
  13. cowofwar

    cowofwar Peasant

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    You could be the guy that writes programs for electronic pianos.
     
  14. Haite

    Haite Forum Moderator

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    I'm studying computer science for undergrad. and then going to law school. :)
     
  15. cowofwar

    cowofwar Peasant

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    You could be the guy that writes the software license agreements for the software written by some guy for electronic pianos.
     
  16. Haite

    Haite Forum Moderator

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    :D

    I want to practice information and computer-related law. It will probably have a strong emphasis on intellectual property rights. It's a very new field of law that has hardly any legislation either nationally or internationally yet.

    So anyways though, about the Linux box, I think all I need is a case/mobo, RAM, and the processor. I'll use onboard audio and video, and cannibalize a hard drive and DVD drive from computers and spare parts. Then I'll get a KVM switch for my monitor and peripherals.
     
  17. BaleFire

    BaleFire MSC Footman

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    Here's a site that builds quiet computers. It sounds like you're into building it yourself, but it might be worth checking out for ideas: http://www.endpcnoise.com/.

    My dad ordered a computer from them, and it is mighty silent.
     
  18. SpocKirk

    SpocKirk Forum Moderator and Donator

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    noise-cancelling headphones are around $100. wear them at all times. woo! I just saved you a bunch of money.
     
  19. Calendryll

    Calendryll MSC Commander and Donator

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    On your car insurance?
     
  20. SpocKirk

    SpocKirk Forum Moderator and Donator

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    :rofl:

    no, using noise-cancelling headphones while driving might cause a crash and actually increase your car insurance payments
     

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