New computer?

Discussion in 'Technical' started by Wild Trapper, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    This will be my first actually attempt at building a computer using a barebones Shuttle SG31G2, or at least that is the plan.

    I'll be installing either Ubuntu 7.10 or Linux Mint 4.0 as an operating system. No real experience with those either, except to check out Mint from a boot disk. Liked what I saw.

    Money is an issue but I don't wish to skimp on basics. I'm not a high end user, no gamer, but do watch movies on my computer.

    I'm an old guy and have been using computers for many years, but mostly a user and not a geek when it comes to opening them up and making repairs. I do know how to install things like adapter cards, ram, cd-dvd drives. I know what the inside looks like and what most everything is I'm seeing inside.

    So, any suggestions as to where to go beyond the bare bones? Things like what might not be compatible with Linux? I want at least 250 gig HD, 2 gig ram with upgrade possible, at least 17" wide screen. What processor would work best with Linux, AMD or intel?

    Have not decided if I'll make it a double boot with windows or not, DOS and windows are the only OS I've any experienced. Newegg has Win XP media addition and I've thought I'd want to make it a media friendly computer.
  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    intel or AMD, your choice. Gutsy or Mint like them both. Gutsy, (ubuntu 7.10) has a 64 bit version while mint does not. Both support dual core processors. I prefer intel but you can get more for your money with AMD

    Video Card: Nvidia... Google ubuntu ATI problems and you'll see that a lot of the ATI cards are tough to get working. Monitor size isn't an issue.

    HD isn't a problem either. I have a 500GB HD that's loving mint. Seagate or Western Digital is about all I'd trust.

    Not sure if you know this but ubuntu is a version of linux based on something called Debian. Mint is based on ubuntu but tweaked a bit to add a bunch more (out of the box) function. DVDs and music play right off the bat with mint while with ubuntu you have to install the codecs. No big deal but Mint seemed to like my particular systems better. My point is that while the community is still fairly small, operating system is almost exactly that of ubuntu. ubuntu has millions of users and the forums are very active.

    Here is a great list from the ubuntu wiki on hardware compatibilty:

    Good luck!
  3. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Right now the best and best deal in processors is the Intel Core 2 Duo chips (and this coming from a die hard AMD guy).

    Hard drive space is cheap right now, and with you watching a lot of movies... get some extra gigs.

    I'd say the same of the monitor..... since you watch movies you might see how much an upgrade to 19" would be.

    Instead of paying for a copy of XP to dual boot, you could always download "tiny xp" or "borg xp" (much better than xp imo)

    Since you don't do 3d gaming, you can skimp on the video card some, but since Melbo said there are ATi issues, I'd stick with an nVidia product.

    Sound cards aren't worth much anymore, most motherboards come with pretty good onboard sound.
  4. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    Thanks for the forum info, Melbo, I've already joined a Linux forum here that I asked almost the same questions as here. I searched for Shuttle and found a few users mentioned them. This is a Dell desktop of my wife's and Mint worked fine from the boot disk except for no sound when I tried a music file. That issue would probably be handled by a driver in Linux when fully installed. I got a little excited about Mint after that brief introduction.

    As for the video card, I hadn't planned to install one since the mother board in the bare bones box has one built in I thought would handle the movies. Gaming would be a lot more demanding, but thanks for the info. The Shuttle only has two slots for adapter cards, I planned on one for a TV tuner adapter, if I make it a media double-boot system. Fully converting to Linux when I own so much windows stuff, might take a while.

    When My laptop comes home, I plan on duel-boot for it.
  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    If you plan to dual boot. (Which has always been hellish for me when something goes wrong)
    You must install XP first. I second blackjack's advice on TinyXP... Search on Tinyxp platinum 2. Light, fast and fully loaded with all kinds of stuff we can't talk about.

    XP gets installed first, then ubuntu or mint after XP if fully installed. ubuntu or mint will 'see' the XP installation and set up the dual boot (GRUB) automatically. If you do this in reverse, XP can't see the linux file systems and will plow right through them but leave the bootloader. This will cause you headaches. ask me how I know this.

    As you get more comfortable with the Mint system, you may find you use XP less and less. You can always remove it later.

    I like to partition my Mint HD this way: (In this order) (all this is interactive in the install menu)

    first partition:
    File system=ext3, mount point "/" (without quotes), size 10GB. (Mint will only need 2-3GB for system files but I'm giving it room to grow.

    Second partition:
    File System=ext3, mount point "/home" (No quotes), size (about 1 GB less than available room)

    Third partition:
    File system=swap, size 1024MB or whatever you have left.

    If you set it up this way, that /home directory is where all your personal stuff, passwords, and documents and settings are stored. When Mint 5.0 comes out, you can reinstall and it will leave your /home directory alone, just installing system files.
  6. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    alternative to the dual boot is to install Mint on the entire drive and then install VMware (Free) and it opens up a virtual PC within linux. You can then install XP there. You see all the same install screens etc. I have 6GB tucked away with VMware for this purpose... SOme of the DVD copying apps are best run in XP.
  7. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    "VMware (Free)" I've read the documentation on that and wondered about it. Takes some command line input to install, but well described?

    You guys are the best here.
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    No command line needed anymore. Point and click after downloading the package.
    I think I even chose "auto" in the setup.

    You do need to go to the VMware site and request a serial number for "vmware server" It's free but you have to fill out a form. I'm telling you. You can just about get through your entire linux experience without ever using the terminal for command line stuff.

    I'll get some screenshots up later of some of my setup using VMware.

    I'm looking forward to your journey!
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Me, too. [beer] My next upgrade will go linux if M$ stops supporting XP, and probably even if they don't. As of now, this ol' dog (non-geek) doesn't know the difference between a distro and an oboe, but I can and will learn new trix.
  10. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    Right now I'm still battling the flu, but getting better. Voices come through like my heads in a box or maybe it's just the voices.[lolol]

    My son is getting married tomorrow so just about everything else is on hold except what has to be done. Plus, Mom-in-law is visiting from Florida for a couple weeks, (wedding). Good thing about her being here, she makes the coffee. [coffee2]

    That other forum I joined thinking I'd get some hits on my thread, as of just now I've had 57 views and not one single reply. Well, you guys shine. [boozingbuddies]

    I spent some time as an electronics tech in the Navy back when you had to know circuits and even vacuum tubes, :eek: so the inside of a computer doesn't scare me. The settings are a little intimidating is all.

    Well lots to do to get ready for tomorrow.....
  11. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Here's a couple quick shots of me opening up XP in Linux through the free VMWare... It's as easy as pushing "power on" virtual machine. Not a single 'command line' was used to install this or use it. Point and click baby!

    Sorry for the big pics... Still learning my way around The Gimp
    Screenshot. Screenshot-3. Screenshot-2.
  12. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    Quick note of thanks. today is my son's wedding and so have to put the forums aside for a bit.

    I've downloaded TinyXP rev5, TinyXP Vista edition, and am now downloading WinBorgv5. I'll burn those and see if they will do what I want windows to do for me. Mainly I've looked at Open Office's clone of power point and while it is small, it does some weird things that I would not like for some of the presentations I do. The word processor in Open Office is great though and no noticed issues. This is of course using the windows version of the program.

    There are those few programs I use all the time that I'll either have to install a duel boot system or go with VMWare, which looks like a workable solution.

    There is one program that I use all the time, Total Commander, which I don't think I could live without. Does Linux have an alternative to this for manipulating and moving files around? It makes windows explorer look like a crude joke.
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