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newbie needs advice with HP Visualize and Debian


I'm new on this mailing list and think I should introduce myself first:

My name's Axel, I live in SW Germany and work as a distributor and
photographer. Last winter I finally switched from Win XPuke to Debian
GNU/Linux. My learning curve is pretty steep, but I'm comfortable now
with a life without M$-products.

Why am I here?

I was looking for a replacement for my old Athlon. I need something
faster to work on my digital photographs and film scans (that grow
larger and larger). So I recently fell in love with an HP Visualize
c3600. :)

My knowledge about professional workstations is very limited, so I'm
asking you for some support. I don't want to buy a machine I can't work
with the way I need it.

What I need:
- Debian (cause I'm used to it)
- X-window-system (with KDE, if possible)
- GIMP with dcraw or ufraw
- ImageMagick
- Vuescan or SANE (with SCSI scanner Agfa Duoscan)

First of all: Is a c3600 still competitive compared to an Athlon64
"3x00+" or an (used) Intel Dual Xeon 2200 workstation? I'd expect that
it's still faster.... ;)

Please share your experiences with RISC machines under Linux with me.

I've been reading that installing Sarge is no problem, but X wouldn't
run. Is this still true?

Is it possible to exchange the built in graphics adaptor (usually HP
fxe) with a mainstream model (e. g. Matrox Parhelia) that's supported
by all kernels? I don't need any 3D performance, all I do is 2D image

I'm perfectly happy with SCSI disks and a U160 controller. How are the
PCI slots organized? What cards do I need if I want a gigabit NIC or a
second SCSI controller? Can I use normal PCI-X devices?

If there's an owner of such a machine living anywhere near Heidelberg
I'd be happy to get the chance to take a look at (and inside) a
Visualize ws. That would make my decision easier.

Thanks in advance,

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