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Re: Advice on system purchase

On 10/28/2012 3:14 PM, Andrei POPESCU wrote:
On Du, 28 oct 12, 06:32:45, Mark Allums wrote:

My own opinion on i3 is that it;s a bit underpowered for a modern
system, even a Linux system.  If i7 seems like overkill to you, then
the obvious compromise is i5, which is what i recommend to most
non-technical people.  But yeah.  Go Ivy bridge no matter which
model you go with.

I remember reading that the i3 was almost as fast as an i5, but
significantly cheaper. But anyway, for my own use I was looking at the
i3 for an always-on media center. My Dual Core 1.6 GHz has enough power
for that, even if decoding 1080p in software (VDPAU hasn't been very
reliable for me) since the software is able to use both cores. I'm
guessing the i3 3220T (the low TDP version) would be more than enough.

Does anyone know if some of the newer Atoms are powerful enough to
decode 1080p by themselves?

Motherboards are many, and there's way too much choice.

What I don't like about most boards out there (even the better brands
like Asus and Gigabyte) is the Realtek Gigabit adapter. I don't like
Realtek ethernet in general and I have had problems with some of their
Gigabit chipsets. Because of this I'd prefer an Intel board. For me I
would go for the DH77DF (mini ITX).

Video:  It's hard to recommend anything other than Intel for Linux.
Get the Ivy Bridge i5 CPU with the onboard GPU .

Sure. If that is not enough it's always possible to add a dedicated
card, even on the mini ITX boards (but size may be a problem there).

Memory:  Get more than you think you'll need.  It's usually worth
it. Don't bother about high speed memory; get the standard stuff
that your MB+CPU supports.

Right now I'm quite ok with 2 GiB. I'm guessing... 8 should do ;)

Case: the cheaper Lian Li cases have been giving me good service.

Power supply:  Don't skimp.  Buy a good one.  Again, look for
reviews of current models.  Buy *slightly* more wattage capacity
than you think you need, but don't get carried away with it.  My
last purchase was for a gaming machine with a single Nvidia GPU; it
was a Seasonic 800W.  A more modest system probably doesn't need
more than 500W.

The Antec ISK 310-150 (150W power supply) look great and has lots of HDD
bays for such a small case.

HDD:  Buy two large capacity (2TB or larger) and RAID 1 them for
/home and swap.  For /, RAID 1 is optional, capacity 500GB - 1TB.  I
don't bother with SSDs on Linux machines for personal use.  Windows
machines benefit more from them.  Whether you really need them
depends on application.

My total HDD storage capacity is currently 320 GiB. Putting a 60 GiB SSD
in my laptop would give it a boost and I could use the laptop's 160 GiB
drive for the media center.

Optical drive:  whatever works,  I try to avoid LITE-ON drives.
DVD-plus-or-minus-R/RW.  I have multi- Blu-Ray on my machines, but I
have never used the Blu-Ray capability on them.

Useless for me.

Also:  get a recently manufactured card reader with USB 3.0.  Get a
UPS/battery backup.  A USB 3.0 add-in card for extra 3.0 ports would
not be an extravagance.

I recommend avoiding AMD.  Much as I want them to be successful,
they just can't compete.  There is much more support and experience
out there to draw on if you have a problem, if you go with Intel.
It's too bad, AMD is cheaper.

Unfortunately I have to agree with you.

Buy soon.  "Trusted Boot" is coming.  Avoid the pain, if you can.

I trust (pun not intended) FLOSS developers more.

Unfortunately my system described above will set me back more than 400
EUR (on ebay.de, in Romania it's even worse), which is why I'm looking
at even lower powered alternatives, like Atoms.

The Raspberry Pi almost does it (by using hardware decoding), but it has
other issues :(

Ah, I misunderstood your requirements quite a bit. i3 is adequate for media center work. Some Atoms are fine for decoding 1080p, but it's better to rely on dedicated hardware. Intel Core CPU-GPUs like Ivy Bridge are designed to do this with no additional hardware, the GPU is optimized for this task. I read something similar to what you said about comparing i3 to i5, but what I read said that i5 was about the same as i7, only cheaper. *shrug* I'm skeptical about that 150W power supply. It's almost certainly a 350W or a 380W. Which is just enough for a media server.

Good luck!

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