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Re: Advice on system purchase

On 10/27/12 17:29, Marc Shapiro wrote:
I'm really getting annoyed by my random system lockups, so I have been
looking at new motherboards, new systems, etc.

My previous desktop machine was Squeeze i386 running on an Intel D865GBFLK motherboard with an Intel Pentium 4 3.4E GHz HT socket 478 processor, Kingston KVR400X64C3AK2/2G memory (2 GB DDR 400 MHz matched pair), and Western Digital WD800JB 80 GB 7200 RPM 8 MB IDE hard drive (circa 2004). No stability problems, just slow and outdated. I started building a new Wheezy amd64 desktop system about 6 months ago (currently ~$820 plus tax and shipping on Amazon):

* Antec Sonata III 500 case with power supply
* Intel DQ67SWB3 motherboard
* Intel Core i7-2600S processor
* Corsair CMV8GX3M2A1333C9 memory 2 @ 4 GB DDR3 1333 MHz matched pair
* Intel SSDSC2CW060A310 solid state drive -- 520 series, 60 GB, SATA 3
* Seagate ST3000DM001 hard drive -- 3 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB, SATA 3
* Pioneer BDR-2206B5PK Blu-ray drive -- RW, 12x, SATA

The BIOS reports the correct memory size, speed, and latencies, but Memtest86+ v4.20 reports that the memory is running at 1164 MHz. I haven't figured it out.

I tried various operating systems, distributions, packages, and configurations over the course of ~3 months in a search for SSD optimizations, whole-drive encryption, advanced file systems, Intel HD 2000 graphics support, dual head, hypervisors, LTSP, etc. -- Debian Squeeze/ backports, Debian Wheezy, FreeBSD, Windows 8 RC, XCP, ZFS on Linux, etc..

Along the way, I discovered that having the SSD in a trayless hot-swap bay was a bad idea -- the system was overflowing with SATA 3 bus errors. This was causing major confusion for the software experiments. Once I eliminated the bay and replaced the cable (just in case), things starting making a lot more sense.

I finally settled on Wheezy OOTB as much as possible with LUKS, ext4, and VirtualBox, and forgot about the rest. The SSD has a 1 GB ext4 boot partition (6% usage), a 12 GB LUKS ext4 root partition (65% usage), and no swap. The other ~47 GB are unused. The HDD has a single 3 TB LUKS ext4 data partition. I initially installed the Gnome desktop, but didn't like it and switched to Xfce.

The new machine is far more responsive, especially for anything involving SSD I/O. The SSD has ~100x faster latency and ~10x faster transfer. The RAM is ~6x faster and ~4x larger. The CPU has 4x the cores, a 12% faster clock, and 7 years of improvements (PassMark benchmark is 15x faster). The chipset, motherboard, optical drive, case, and power supply also have years of improvements. The machine is also much quieter and generates less heat. With VirtualBox, I was able to eliminate two older machines that were running Approx and CVS servers.



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