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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

So, I took a break from Linux to build a Windows gaming rig. And now its been way too long since Ive used a real computer. So I want to do a dedicated Linux build. My entire life I have purchased Windows computers, either reformatted the HDD with Linux, partitioned and added Linux using Grub, or run Distros from a pen drive.

Its time for me to put together a well thought out Linux rig. But I need suggestions on mainly motherboards and cases. I want this thing to be lightning fast (which is never a problem with Linux) but I also want it to be fairly small. If anyone has ever built a dedicated Linux desktop then I would love to either hear your ideas or point me in a direction where some great Linux builds are being shown off.

Thanks!

-D

PS: My Backtrack laptop is an older AMD and that always ran fairly fast but my last desktop was a Dell with a cheesy little Intel CPU and that ran Ubuntu, Pentoo, and Kali. But since both computers were older, and stock as shipped from factory, there was really no way of telling if I was really getting good performance or just how much performance I could get with these distros.
 

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With most mainstream cpu's these days offering m-itx you can generally get a very fast pc in a smallfoot print case.

That said, what is the budget? Also, dedicated linux means multiple things to different people... what do you plan to use it for?

Either way, I'd get the best socket 1150 cpu + z97 parts you can afford and definitely get an SSD

I'm using a g3258 w/ 4gb ddr1600 for my linux box and it's fast... but I'm also only using lubuntu 64bit
 

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Define "small". Do you want a tiny rig like an ITX or just something mATX?

Anyways, I would go with an Intel board and Nvidia graphics card, assuming you want dedicated graphics for gaming potentially. Otherwise integrated Intel graphics would do the job.
I'd also get an SSD, definitely worth it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMatthewStewart View Post

Hey guys,

So, I took a break from Linux to build a Windows gaming rig. And now its been way too long since Ive used a real computer. So I want to do a dedicated Linux build. My entire life I have purchased Windows computers, either reformatted the HDD with Linux, partitioned and added Linux using Grub, or run Distros from a pen drive.

Its time for me to put together a well thought out Linux rig. But I need suggestions on mainly motherboards and cases. I want this thing to be lightning fast (which is never a problem with Linux) but I also want it to be fairly small. If anyone has ever built a dedicated Linux desktop then I would love to either hear your ideas or point me in a direction where some great Linux builds are being shown off.

Thanks!

-D

PS: My Backtrack laptop is an older AMD and that always ran fairly fast but my last desktop was a Dell with a cheesy little Intel CPU and that ran Ubuntu, Pentoo, and Kali. But since both computers were older, and stock as shipped from factory, there was really no way of telling if I was really getting good performance or just how much performance I could get with these distros.
Maybe look into some of the top end Intel NUC's. They wouldn't be "lightning fast", but they would be pretty nippy, they run silently and come in a sexy Mac-mini form factor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloCamo View Post

With most mainstream cpu's these days offering m-itx you can generally get a very fast pc in a smallfoot print case.

That said, what is the budget? Also, dedicated linux means multiple things to different people... what do you plan to use it for?

Either way, I'd get the best socket 1150 cpu + z97 parts you can afford and definitely get an SSD

I'm using a g3258 w/ 4gb ddr1600 for my linux box and it's fast... but I'm also only using lubuntu 64bit
Heres what it would be used for: Ubuntu would be used for (of course) web surfing, "word style" document creation (Ive grown to love Libre office), and I like to test and try out a lot of new programs that require manual compiling and building. For Backtrack, well I use it for what Backtrack does
smile.gif
But imagine the basic gambit of most used software that comes shipped with the distro. Except for the Social Engineer Toolkit...even though thats used a lot its not used as much by responsible, core users of BT. So, actually, 4gb @1600 would probably be more than fine. I cant imagine needing more. SSD is a good idea but what size do you think I need? My first Ubuntu machine was running awesomely with only 80gb of free space and it took me over a year to actually get close to filling it up
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSCoder4ever View Post

Define "small". Do you want a tiny rig like an ITX or just something mATX?

Anyways, I would go with an Intel board and Nvidia graphics card, assuming you want dedicated graphics for gaming potentially. Otherwise integrated Intel graphics would do the job.
I'd also get an SSD, definitely worth it.
Great question. RIght after I posted this I was trying to compare mini-itx and Micro-ATX and I was going to come back here and ask if I could use a micro-ITX for this project. And youre spot on about gaming. I would like to be able to play the Linux friendly games in my steam account. I have an extra sapphire r9 290 vapor-x oc edition. But thats a huge card so I may have to get something smaller. Unless I can find a really slim case that will house it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plan9 View Post

Maybe look into some of the top end Intel NUC's. They wouldn't be "lightning fast", but they would be pretty nippy, they run silently and come in a sexy Mac-mini form factor.
Thanks. I will check into those. I have only heard the name before and I know nothing about this line. But thats why I posted the thread...for the ideas that wouldnt have popped into my head!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMatthewStewart View Post

Great question. RIght after I posted this I was trying to compare mini-itx and Micro-ATX and I was going to come back here and ask if I could use a micro-ITX for this project. And youre spot on about gaming. I would like to be able to play the Linux friendly games in my steam account. I have an extra sapphire r9 290 vapor-x oc edition. But thats a huge card so I may have to get something smaller. Unless I can find a really slim case that will house it.
your 290x will work OK at least, my 7950 was OK, but the 760 runs circles around it due to the drivers.

I think you could use a Node 304 for it, that's my case suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSCoder4ever View Post

your 290x will work OK at least, my 7950 was OK, but the 760 runs circles around it due to the drivers.

I think you could use a Node 304 for it, that's my case suggestion.
That sounds familiar. I wonder if that is one of the cases I found last night. I may just get a 760. I used to have the MSI 7950 OC/Boost and that card was awesome. Ran Crysis 3 maxed. Of course it was only at 1920x1080, but still maxed without issue
 

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@OP

Personally I'd go for 8GB of RAM rather than 4GB. Modern desktops (KDE, GNOME) seem to want 2GB all to themselves (or at least a 4GB machine is the bare minimum to run them). If you ever want to run a couple virtual machines on your desktop, 8GB will serve you better.

Also, as others have said, the Intel CPU & chipset paired with nVidia graphics is a virtually unbeatable combination.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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Originally Posted by parityboy View Post

@OP

Personally I'd go for 8GB of RAM rather than 4GB. Modern desktops (KDE, GNOME) seem to want 2GB all to themselves (or at least a 4GB machine is the bare minimum to run them). If you ever want to run a couple virtual machines on your desktop, 8GB will serve you better.

Also, as others have said, the Intel CPU & chipset paired with nVidia graphics is a virtually unbeatable combination.
Yeah I think Im sticking with the 8gb setup for RAM. I just upgraded my gaming rig to 16gb dominators so I now have an extra Vengeance 8gb 1600mhz kit. I may need low-profile RAM but I wont know until I decide on a case. Maybe I will sell my r9 290 and get an nvidia card. Ive been dying to get some experience with nvidia anyways. I noticed that Sapphire released a low-profile AMD gpu, and Im not sure if they have it for nvidia, but if they do, I would probably go that route. Also, I wouldnt need anything super powerful; I would try to stay in the $300 range on the gpu. But since I know very little about nvidia do you have any suggestions for a good nvidia card in that range?
 

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All 3 of my rigs are running Ubuntu 14.10. Mothership is also used to run Win 7 in a VM when I need it. All of them are fast and run Boinc processes 24/7. I suggest 8GB memory as I've never had a problem with having too much memory. Nvidia cards are great number crunchers. I'm looking at getting a GTX 750 SC for my secondary rig. Nvidia has a $20 rebate until 12/31.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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Originally Posted by jdallara View Post

All 3 of my rigs are running Ubuntu 14.10. Mothership is also used to run Win 7 in a VM when I need it. All of them are fast and run Boinc processes 24/7. I suggest 8GB memory as I've never had a problem with having too much memory. Nvidia cards are great number crunchers. I'm looking at getting a GTX 750 SC for my secondary rig. Nvidia has a $20 rebate until 12/31.
Dude, youre reading my mind. I came here to post this link -->

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814487024&cm_re=gtx_750-_-14-487-024-_-Product

---to see what everyone thought about dropping that into my Linux build. Plus, EK makes a full cover block for the 750 and I dont need a super-powerful card in a linux build. Most of the linux games in my steam account arent going to require the type of power that my windows gaming rig has.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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Originally Posted by jdallara View Post

That's a good price. That one is the 750 Ti which I have in my main rig. The one I was looking at, the 750 SC, has fewer cores (512 vs 640) but a higher clock, but Amazon has it for $109. $89 with rebate.
That was the other one I was looking and I did notice the higher clock but less cores. Newegg also had it for $109 so I saved that along with the Ti. Which one is going to give better all-around performance? They use the same full cover waterblock so I just want to get the one thats going to perform better
 

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That's a hard one. The Ti should be faster due to the greater number of cores. It will also depend on what you're using it for. (I know, both obvious statements) I really don't have a good answer. I can tell you that my Ti runs 2 [email protected] processes, showing 99% GPU usage, at 50C with the stock cooler fan only running at 43%. They are low power devices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdallara View Post

That's a hard one. The Ti should be faster due to the greater number of cores. It will also depend on what you're using it for. (I know, both obvious statements) I really don't have a good answer. I can tell you that my Ti runs 2 [email protected] processes, showing 99% GPU usage, at 50C with the stock cooler fan only running at 43%. They are low power devices.
So, I was talking to my parents and I finally convinced them to let me build them an HTPC/home cloud storage device. The unit wont be playing any high-end games but it will be playing Blu-Ray. Right now his tv is only 1080p but he'll be getting a 4k tv soon. Could this card run bluray on a large screen 4k tv? If it can, I will order two. One for my linux build and one for their htpc/home cloud rig
 

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Quick check of Nvidia's site says both the 750 SC and 750 Ti can do it. If I recall correctly, TV applications are very light weight compared to games and other computer applications. Back in the early days, you could damage a TV set by trying to drive it at computer monitor speeds. I think you only need 24fps or so for a movie to look smooth and there is a large amount of the scene that is static from one frame to the next, so I doubt either card would be breaking a sweat. That said, I'm no expert so you might want to check other sources.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdallara View Post

Quick check of Nvidia's site says both the 750 SC and 750 Ti can do it. If I recall correctly, TV applications are very light weight compared to games and other computer applications. Back in the early days, you could damage a TV set by trying to drive it at computer monitor speeds. I think you only need 24fps or so for a movie to look smooth and there is a large amount of the scene that is static from one frame to the next, so I doubt either card would be breaking a sweat. That said, I'm no expert so you might want to check other sources.
I shouldve thought to check the Nvidia site. I checked EVGA quick but didnt see anything related to tv/video capabilities. Of course I may have just missed it too. But youre right regarding standard tv, 24 fps is the standard for smooth video that moves at regular speed of life. With the rebate I should grab two of them. One for my linux build and one for my parents home cloud/nas/htpc. Im also wondering if I really need to build them an NAS or just buy them a Western Digital wireless Passport external HD. Seems like you can send and pull files from that device with any wireless device (phone, laptop, tablet). It would be cheaper than building a whole pc
 
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