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Motherboard for Linux (need other advice too)


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#1 brjoon1021

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 06:48 AM

Firstly, your recommendations are really appreciated!

I am building a second box strictly for Linux because I am way too scared to multiboot. And my first box (supposed to multiboot with several Linux and Win XP was an Nforce2, Asus A7N8X deluxe). Way too much trouble to put Linux on, so I am putting together a second box. I already have an 80 gig and a 60 gig drive, a case and PSU, a CD drive, a floppy drive. Need Mobo, CPU, RAM, Audio, Video and IDE controller card.

I need to know:
1. what is a trouble free IDE controller card for Linux ?
2. A good motherboard for Linux. I usually go with AMD platforms but would use Intel if the compatability is much better than AMD based stuff. I do not want to spend an arm and a leg on the CPU and board.
3. Is there a board with good onboard sound and video that is Linux compatible without having to do a lot of line-code stuff?
4. I have an old Rage Pro 16MB PCI video card. Would that be ok for Linux ?
5. How much RAM do distros like Suse 8.2, Mandrake 9.0, Xandros and the like take ?
6. With Linux, do you notice much difference between say a 1.2 MHz Duron vs. a Barton or 2MHz P4 or so? The answer would be "yes" with Win XP, but I do not know about Linux.

#2 danleff

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 12:38 PM

I'm sure that you will get a lot of opinions on this, but here is my two cents;

I use athlon boards exclusively. Currently I have a Soyo K7VTA-pro that runs like a champ. I also have a Soyo Dragon Plus, which is also nice, since it is raid, but you are able to use six ide ports without raid fine. I have used Thunderbird 1.3 and Athlon XP processors which all run fine with varous distros, Mandrake, SuSE, Lindows, Debian....

I agree, The Nforce chips are new, but support in the new kernels is there. This generally takes a recompile of the kernel. I would have to look to see if Mandrake 9.2 does it out of the box.

Memory. Again, this is really the core of how well and fast the system wiill run. At least 128 mb, with 256 working very well. Since memory is so cheap, I would go with 256, if you can.

Get a board with onboard sound and video, then you can add a cheap Realtek ethernet card that will work out of the box. All older video cards should work fine. You can also check out the distros web site to see if the card is supported.

Look at Tigerdirect and Computergeeks, who have good deals on motherboard/processor bundles.

Even if you get an older board and want to use a Barton processor, many web sites have bios updates for this processor on their web sites. I don't have any expereince with these processors yet, but any processor at or above 1.0 should work well.

#3 Admiral LSD

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 05:26 PM

nForce2 is where it's at for Athlon chipsets these days, even under Linux. The A7N8X Deluxe is a known troublemaker in Linux so I'm not surprised you had problems with it. This is more a fault with the board (and manufacturer) than the chipset though, other nForce2 boards are much better behaved. My EPoX 8RDA+ for instance hasn't had a single issue since upgrading to kernel 2.4.22.

nForce2 also has some of the best onboard video, audio and LAN implementations of any chipset out there. Audio is a little dicey under Linux though as it's only supported in basic AC'97 mode instead of the full "bells and whistles" APU mode the Windows drivers put it in. There's a movement under way to try and change this but whether it succeeds or not remains to be seen. The audio is no less usable (provided you can put up with only being able to play one sound at a time although that isn't as bad as it sounds) though, the only thing that really makes use of the higher order APU functions is games and they're not really big on Linux yet. EPoX make a board called the 8RGA+ which is almost identical to my 8RDA+ except it has the integrated graphics version of the North Bridge which I'd definitely look at if I were in the market for that kind of board.

Regarding IDE controllers, I have a Silicon Image SiI680 based ATA133 controller in my PC and that's relatively well supported under Linux. Kernel's 2.4.20 and up include the driver natively but 2.4.18 and I think .19 require a patch. Distro's like Red Hat used to include this patch when they were running 2.4.18 but most sane distros have standardised on at least 2.4.20 now so it shouldn't be an issue.




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