Re: OT: Hardware Q's
On Sat, Mar 17, 2007 at 12:34:49AM -0500, Kent West wrote:
> Biostar GF61M7-combo 32 AMD Athlon64 3000+ Socket 754 NVIDIA GeForce
> 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
> I've spent the past few hours googling, trying to determine the
> suitability of the system for my needs running Debian, and seem to be
> getting conflicting answers. I'm hoping someone here has this board and
> can provide better info.
What are the conflicting answers? nVidia chipsets seem to work just
> I'm not a gamer; I use a TV-tuner card, run a dual-head setup, browse
> and email and inkscape and qcad a bit and might play something more
> complex than Freecell if I had the game and the horsepower.
For dual-head, I would expect that you would need a video card not
on-board video. However, one head has been good enough for me so I
> I've got a perfectly usable IDE drive, but I'm unable to determine
> absolutely if this mobo has both SATA connections and IDE connections.
> (Also, can you plug an IDE drive into a SATA connector? Is IDE the same
> as EIDE the same as ATA the same as PATA?) Or will I have to toss my
> current IDE drive and spend more $ on a new SATA drive? And if that's
> the case, will I have to replace my power supply to get new connectors
> to fit the SATA drives? (I've never used SATA.)
IDE=PATA, its a wide ribbon cable. SATA is a flat narrow cable (a
little wider than a telephone modular cable). It has a different power
connector but my MB (Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe) came with adapters. The
physical difference is that there are more connectors in a flatter
package. At the hardware level, SATA is designed for hotswapping which
needs different connectors. Note: debian doesn't support SATA hot-swap
Since the board has two PATA ports you should be fine. Note that the
raid listed for the SATA is fake raid where the bios lets you set up
'doze software raid. Ignore it and use Linux software raid if you wish.
Of more importance is what MB power connector does your PSU have and
will it meet the needs of the MB?
> Can I use my current DDR200 RAM on the board, or will I have to scrap it
> in favor of DDR400?
You can, it will be slower.
> It appears the audio and LAN chip work with Linux, but I'm getting iffy
> results on the GeForce 6100 chipset (yes on Debian, but only with the
> vesa driver, etc).
For video, the vesa driver doesn't do hardware accelleration which is
useful for more than games. The nVidia binary drivers are packaged for
Etch and work great on my GeForce 7300.
> I've found a similar Biostar board with a VIA video chipset (and about
> $15 cheaper). Would I be better going the VIA route rather than the
> GeForce route?
I've never used VIA.
> Do I have to run 64-bit Debian on this processor (which has fewer
> working packages than does 32-bit Debian, as I understand it), or can I
> continue to run 32-bit Debian on it?
You can run both. I think that everything is in Etch amd64 now. At
least everything I need. However, if you like to use third-party 32 bit
stuff you will need at least to install the 32-bit libs (also a standard
amd64 package) and if that doesn't work set up a 32-bit chroot. 64 bit
is ofcourse much faster.
> Any other issues? Thanks for any information anyone can provide!
> Here's the specs as provided by newegg:
> Brand: BIOSTAR
> Model: GF61M7-combo 32 Bundle
> Bundled CPU: AMD Athlon64 3000+
> - North Bridge: NVIDIA GeForce 6100
> - South Bridge: NVIDIA nForce 410
> Number of Memory Slots: 2?184pin
> Memory Standard: DDR 400
> Maximum Memory Supported: 2GB
> Expansion Slots:
> - AGP Slots: None
> - PCI Express x16 1
> - PCI Express x1 1
> - PCI Slots 2
> Storage Devices:
> - PATA 2 x ATA 100 up to 4 Devices
> - SATA 2 x SATA II SATA RAID 0/1
> Onboard Video Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce 6100
> Onboard Audio Chipset: Realtek ALC655
> - Audio Channels 6 Channels
> Onboard LAN Chipset: Realtek 8201BL
> - PHY LAN Speed 10/100Mbps Max LAN Speed 10/100Mbps
Personally, Kent, I don't see anything wrong with this setup except the
question about dual-head and the power supply connection. Just be aware
that its scarred-edge technology (as opposed to bleeding edge). It will
do the job right now. However, I would suggest that you compare it with
an AM2 board with the same processor.
For comparision, my setup has an Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe AM2 with an Athlon
3800+, 1 GB DDR2-800 ECC ram, with an Asus nVidia 7300GT silent video
card. Etch amd64 works perfectly on it and the nVIDIA kernel modules
for the video works beautifully. IIRC in $CDN the board was 178, the
video was 80, the processor 100, the meory 100, all last summer at a
local store so prices should have come down a lot since then.