[kwlug-disc] Specs for new home rig - Opinions and recommendation wanted

Raul Suarez rarsa at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 19 00:28:38 EDT 2011

If you've heard me before, I'm sure you know that I brag about still using a P4 2.8 with 1.5 GB RAM as my main desktop. and a PII 400 as a play server.

Well, after 7 years of using the same computer, it seems that it is time to get a new home desktop computer and turn this one to my play server.

The box is still OK for normal stuff, but not for virtualization or video editing which is becoming annoying.

So here are my requirements:
- Should last many years (5 or more by swapping components)
- I will reuse all the components that I can (Tower, monitor, HDD, DVD, etc)
- With two kids in University I want to keep it on a tight budget (< $500) so I don't want to pay for 1st generation stuff.
- It should run Linux smoothly as that's the only OS I run here.

I looked around and found the following components at Canada Computers. 
Do you have any opinion on them or alternative recommendations?
Are there any obvious pitfalls with these choices? If so, what are the alternatives?

$189 - AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition (125W) Six Core Socket AM3, 3.3GHz, 9Mb Cache, 2000MHz HT, 45nm (HDE00ZFBGRBOX)

$119 - Asus M5A88-V EVO Socket AM3+ AMD 880G/SB850 Chipset Dual Channel DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1866/1800/1600/1333/1066 MHz 2x PCI Express 2.0 Slots 8-Channel HD Audio GigaLAN 5x SATA 6Gb/s 1 x UltraDMA 2x USB 3.0 12x USB 2.0 DVI/VGA/HDMI ATX

$100 - 2 x OCZ (OCZ3G1333LV8GK) DDR3 PC3-10666 1333MHz Gold Edition 8GB (2 x 4GB) Kit 

$50 - OCZ StealthXStream 2 Ultra-Quiet 500W Power Supply (OCZ500SXS2)

The reasons for these choices are:
- Equivalent Intel i5 or i7 processors and Motherboards are more expensive (+ 50%). Plus they keep changing the socket, which reduces the chances for future CPU upgrades.
- The socket is AM3+ which, I think, should last for at least another generation of AMD CPUs, probably two more
- Given that virtualization is part of the purpose of the upgrade, more cores and more memory will allow more VMs to happily run concurrently
- I don't game on the PC so on-board displays have usually sufficed. Is that still an accurate perception?
- The on-board video ( ATI Radeon - HD 4250 GPU) seems to be supported under Linux

Raul Suarez

Technology consultant
Software, Hardware and Practices
Twitter: rarsamx
An eclectic collection of random thoughts
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