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

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Fri Aug 19 03:17:56 EDT 2011

Raul Suarez wrote, On 08/19/2011 12:28 AM:
> 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

 From my tomshardware reading, the intel cpu's significantly 
outperform anything AMD, and AMD isn't expected to have anything 
comparable for quite some time. (This was a few months ago.) I don't 
see why your choice won't be 'fast enough', though. Having said that, 
clock speed matters - a slow firefox running on a single core is still 
a slow firefox. Speed matters. (Assuming firefox doesn't spread itself 
across cores, which I would be surprised at. Regardless, speed 
matters. And, after 2 cores, probably matters more than more cores.)

The intel 1155 socket isn't expected to change for some years, now. 
The 1156 was an aberration.

Without looking deeply at your specs (I know nothing of AMD), some 
ancillary thoughts for you:

- (OS) storage? In this age where IDE is gone.
- this is another system to back up, and I'll I'm pointing out here is 
you may (or may not) want more disk space than for just the OS 
(especially as 60/80 GB HDs in this age of 3TB drives seem ludicrous / 
hard to buy, if only from a mental standpoint). So for all I know you 
may want to buy a big hd to consolidate storage on other systems, 
freeing one of those HDs up for an OS on this one.
   - if so, you may need an IDE PCIx card.
- PS/2 ports are gone or going that way. If you don't have extra 
spares, you may need a USB keyboard/mouse. Another ramification: if 
you have a PS/2 KVM, it probably won't be usable on the new system. 
(No PS/2 mouse port. USB/PS/2 & vice versa adapters don't work.)
- eSata is here, and SATA3 does matter. Don't know if you can / want 
to take advantage of eSata without buying more stuff. And it becomes 
debatable if buying a hard drive to not buy a SATA3 drive. And if you 
do buy a SATA3 drive, you'll want it in this system (with the SATA3 
ports) and any consolidation comes here, rather than a big hard drive 
for there to consolidate there.
- same thing for USB3, and not all USB3 ports will accept USB2 devices.
(- upshot of above, you may need a couple more USB ports than you are 
currently use to [I see your specs have them], and USB devices.)
- if you are VMing, arguments can be made for an SSD.
- blu ray reader, if not writer, is pertinent?
- net is gb, will you want a gb nic and/or switch for communicating 
with another computer?
- will new system exceed current switch capacity and you'll need 
another switch / router / 802.11n 5GHz?
- legacy devices you will still want to use? Will you have enough, or 
any, PCI slots? Serial port? e.g. I have old 2nd gb nic, tv card, and 
scsi (for scsi scanner) cards in PCI slots. I have to be aware of this 
PCI need, for any new system.
- wireless is becoming a feature, be it bluetooth, wi-fi, or lira 
(remote control). Something to factor in or out perhaps. [Strangely, 
unlike not long ago, bluetooth has become less important as PDAs now 
come with wi-fi whereas before they only came with bluetooth.]
- dual display or no? (Even if 2nd display is TV). [Last word I have 
on video cards, and I too favour onboard ones, is any such will do 
fine for TV / 2d. It's only if you do 3D / gaming that more power is 
needed.) Apparently 1080p isn't really realistic, in favour of 1080i. 
[Has more to do with availability (both disc & TV), bandwidth 
requirements, and expense, than the technical capacity. Let alone 
debatable if the eye can tell the difference.]
- is software raid in the cards / sufficient CPU horsepower for the 
vms you want while striping disks, etc.? (Can't see it not being 
sufficient, but worth considering the question.)
- depending upon your current monitors, you may need adapter 
doohickeys. e.g. If comes with HDMI only and you have VGA monitors, 
you'll need a doohickey. [OK, reviewing your specs, never mind.]
- time for a different / larger LCD monitor? Or for a 2nd monitor 
- look at the number of connectors on the MB and see that you have 
enough pieces lying around to connect them all. e.g. Need another 
bracket to connect that 3rd (4th?) mb usb connector to the back?
- if current systems run hotter, need an extra case fan?
- with floppy's gone, need a front mounted media reader to boot via sd 
card instead? Is the spare SD card present?
- webcam, microphone, other toys?

Alternative to what you suggest: i7-2600k 3.4GHz OC'ed to 4.8GHz (quad 
core / HT'ed, 8 cores practical), z68 mb, 2x4gb cl7 mem -> ~$635. 
(Latest / greatest / be done with it.)

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