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Re: Machine died

Gilles wrote:
I am thinking, no BIOS reprogram necessary. Power Supply is always a good guess. I think it is time for a new system, but don't completely give up on the old one. Build a new machine, and when it is up and running, go back and see if the old one can be salvaged and put to good use.
Bad RAM is always a potential problem too if the pwoer supply isn't it.

I'm still not sure that my power supply is good; but even if it isn't,
since I tried another one with all RAM unplugged, I figure that the MB
should have beeped. No?
If so, RAM can be bad, but the MB is surely bad :-/

Depends.  Most boards beep, but they don't always.

Talking about RAM, is it possible to re-use it in a new MB? That is if the
frequency is _lower_ than the one recommended by the MB? Also, I think that
they are ECC.
If not, what make is recommended nowadays?

Get new RAM. You want a board with DDR2 or DDR3. A Core i7 needs DDR3. ECC is needed only for certain applications. A home user probably shouldn't spend the money. Some boards and chipsets need registered/FB memory, but Intel, et al is getting away from this.

Build the new machine using an Intel CPU this time 'round, whether it was AMD or Intel before. Core 2 is your best bet, A Xeon for servers or multisocket workstations. It is too soon to buy Nehalem, if you need to buy it today. If you can wait three months, consider a Core i7.
I agree entirely.

I didn't think of that. That's a good idea since although with my usage a
Core 2 is more than enough, I assume (?) that the prices might drop when
the new series is available.

Prices on Core 2 will drop with i7 (Nehalem) out. Nehalem will completely replace Core 2. It is probably a good idea to go with a GigaByte or MSI board for i7, if you want to be forward-looking. But I would wait 3-4 months if possible for the market to stabilize and the worst bugs to be squashed.

> [I can use the laptop in the meantime but I'll have to transfer data that
was on a RAID1 disk. Is there anything I should be aware of if I plug this
drive as an external (USB) disk? Do you know the "mdadm" command to use to
make the RAID partition available (possibly read-only)?]

With RAID 1, just plug the drive into the machine and go. If not Linux, you are probably already ready to go. With Linux soft RAID, tell md you have a degraded RAID/missing drive.

Almost any wired network NIC will do. The onboard ones are probably supported by Linux.
Yeah usually.  I discovered recently that some (like BNX2 that IBM uses
a lot) require a firmware file.  How annoying when doing a netinstall.

What do you think of this MB:

In general, I see no showstoppers. It is a P45 board, with is not as mature as the P35/38, etc., which I actually regard as a good thing. The Core 2 stuff is mature, yet P45 will still get some tweaks and updates. ASUS is pretty good about that.

Get a 80+ PS, meaning a PS that is at least 80% efficient. If you use it in an office building, or business, get one with power factor

What is the advantage?
Do you have a specific make in mind?

80+ is a certification (new thing) that guarantees that your PS will use less power and be more efficient in its design range. (Don't buy more PS than you need.) 80% efficient will use a bit less power and run cooler. There are some PSes that claim 85%-plus efficiency. Don't overpay, though. You can easily pay more for the 80+ rating than the thing will save you in power. I liked PC Power and Cooling at one time, but now, I read reviews and try to get one that is a good buy. There are some websites like hardocp.com that review such things. Hardocp's emphasis is the enthusiast market. But a good PS is a good PS.

For a personal desktop machine, if 3d is necessary, nVidia or AMD/ATI both will do. AMD recently had its fiasco with the midrange chips. You may with to go with the red team (ATI) this time, until nVidia gets its act together.
I am sticking with nvidia until ati gets their driver act together
(hasn't ever happend yet, but there is always hope it will happen some
day).  My experience is that ATI makes great video chips and reliable
boards, and have amazingly bad drivers and support.  I used to use
nothing else until I got badly burned by that, and won't deal with them
again until they prove they care about customers.

Also an ASUS card then?
Do I lose something (since I'm currently not a gamer) by taking the
cheapest from those:
[I just might want to try compiz some day...]

Go with MSI, Gigabyte, BFG, XFX, EVGA, etc. Asus is too expensive on video. In a mature card, a "factory overclock" is probably a good idea.

If you want a good price/performance ratio, an 8600GTS, or 9600GT. For a Windows machine, nVidia 260/216 is a nice card. A little pricey.

Is there a recommended card (from the point-of-view of the debian-packaged
driver support)?

Thanks for the advice,

Uh, 8000, 9000, 260, 280 is supported with the nVidia blob. For Debian-approved drivers, 7000-series.

ATI drivers are open source, now, but have not matured yet. nVidia has the edge.

Mark Allums

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