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Re: How can I verify hardware compatibility?

On Sat, Nov 25, 2006 at 01:36:19PM -0500, Grok Mogger wrote:
> I'm planning on buying components individually and piecing 
> together a computer.  I'd like to install Debian Linux on it. 
> I'm not buying any of the latest and greatest stuff, and the 
> hardware I have picked out is pretty standard fare, nothing too 
> fancy.  So I'm pretty sure everything will "just work" (TM), but 
> I'd still kind of like to verify each piece before I just buy 
> everything, slap it together, install and pray.
> I was wondering if anyone could suggest any techniques, very 
> good websites, or anything else to try to verify that, yes, 
> there are indeed working drivers for my hardware.

I just finished putting together a new box.  Since I only do that about
every 10 years or so, I got latest and greatest.  I knew that I wanted
AMD processor.  AMD says to go to AM2 socket.  Since AM2 is very new
that limits the MB selection.  New drives are SATA and know that in 10
years will have accumulated a few (just like I have accumulated a few
IDE that are small by todays standards and now dying).  Chose a CM
Stacker case (11 full size bays, many more with 3.5" modules),
cross-flow fan for excellent cooling.  That case has 6 USB ports on the
front so wanted six ports available on the MB in addition to what is on
the back.  Started with one stick of 1 GB DDR2 800 ram which, when I add a
second stick next year, will double the bandwidth.  Went with two
Seagate Barracuda 80 GB SATA drives, raid1 for /boot, raid1 for
remainder for LVM.  Went with ASUS 7300 GT silent graphics card.  Wanted
eSATA on the back for future use for backups.  Firewire front and back
since the case has that on the front too.  Powered it all with a CM 600
W PSU.  So the main board ended up being an Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe.
Processor the best that was not on back order:  Athlon 3800+.  Grand
total $1,200 CDN.   I considered an Opteron system but it would have
cost $500 more.  I already had an LG IDE CD/DVD everything burner.

The way I made sure in advance that this would all work was to google
the model number and linux, e.g.  

	M2N SLI linux

	then add the word 'review'

and tweak the search from there.

To search the debian mailing lists, add 

	site:  lists.debian.org

Since Sarge doesn't do well with SATA, I went with Etch amd64.  Once I
had the install media made (usb with netinst.iso), and the bios
configured, the install took 20 minutes.

Note that my video card needs the nv driver to get the most out of it
with X, which will wait until Etch is stable.  In the mean time I get
1024x768 @ 60Hz with the vesa driver.

The searching to make sure it would work took a month.  My only
functioning computer at the time was my 486 32 MB box on dialup.

My newer box, that died causing me to build the new box, was a PII 233
with 64 MB ram + 8 GB IDE drive.  Interestingly enough, I could not get the
sarge installer to work on it (I've never got the sarge installer to
work period) so I installed Woody and upgraded.  I'll be interested to
see if the the Etch installer will work on my 486, but I wont try until
Etch is stable and the new box is fully on line.

If you don't need the latest and greatest, its often cheaper to buy an
off-lease box at a commercial computer vendor, generally two years old
for under $300.  To test, make up a USB install media and take it with
you.  Boot up and take a look at dmesg.

Good hunting.


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