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Re: tyan board

On Fri, Sep 22, 2006 at 12:27:38PM -0400, dtutty@porchlight.ca wrote:
> I hadn't heard of Tyan (I haven't looked at boards before; the last
> computer I bought was an IBM 486 in 1993) but it was recommended to me on this
> forum.  Asus seems to cater to the gaming crowd while Tyan seems to cater
> to the server/workstation crowd and it is this latter which more closely
> matches my use of a computer.

Tyan is quite popular with people building opteron clusters, since a lot
of their boards can have linuxbios loaded instead of the default bios.
This makes them much easier to boot and manage in a linux cluster than a
regular bios.  So yes they are quite nice for servers and such.  They
really don't seem to aim for the general purpose market, where there are
already too many companies competing.  Linuxbios seems to only work on
the tyan boards using the amd8111 chipset, not the nvidia though, so you
would have to stick with a normal bios, which is probably not a problem.

> Both the Asus Crosshair (nVidia 590 SLI chipset) and the Tyan Tomcat n3400B
> have a MSRP about the same at $200.  The Tyan gives me video while the Asus
> would mean I'd have to get a display card as well.

Well if you don't need video for anything other than the console and
setting up, then onboard video certainly makes sense.  Unfortunately it
appears you have to get either firewire and audio or on onboard video on
the tyan.  Not sure why the one with onboard video has no firewire.
Of course you may decide it makes more sense to add a seperate firewire
card since then you can get 800Mbps firewire, rather than have to add
a video card.  The tyan also uses the nforce pro chipset, rather than a
consumer level chipset.

> eSATA isn't necessary right now, and I could add a card later.  Since I only 
> buy a new computer every decade or two, I'm trying to think ahead (as much
> as is possible with computers).  eSATA seems to be the up-and-coming way
> to connect external storage instead of SCSI (expensive) or USB (slower).
> My concern here is how to backup in the future, but that's a problem for
> later.  I don't need hotplug.

You can buy cables that will connect an internal sata connector to the
back, so eSATA is nothing special as far as I can tell.

> The Tyan also has a serial port.  While I can add a USB serial port, I don't
> think I can use one for a serial console.  Depending on how I'm using a 
> computer, I sometimes like to use a serial console and keep messages
> from showing up on the VCs (if I am still using video).  I guess thats a 
> bit old-fashioned of me, but then again, 99% of what I do is text-based 
> (why can't lynx do javascript?).  

Serial ports certainly come in handy.  Having to add something like a
digi neo 2 port serial card at extra cost when you could just have a
serial port built in does seem annoying.  Of course for most people that
never use serial, it doesn't matter.

> Given the price similarity, I'm assuming at this point that while Asus 
> puts the value in making it stable for overclocking, Tyan puts the value
> in making it stable for the long-run.  
> Whatever board I go with, it will be mounted in a CoolerMaster stacker 
> with cross-flow fan with drives in the 4-in-3 fan cooled modules.  The 
> processor will be the last thing I buy because of all the components
> in a computer, the processor drops in price fastest.
> Comments on my assumptions are greatly appreciated.  

Well I see no problem with either.

Len Sorensen

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