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zeno23
July 11th, 2008, 08:23 AM
Briefly: looking for hardware tips for a DIY computer project: $500--$700 range.
I'd love to hear any input that the Ubuntu community may have regarding:
expansion-friendly cases
power supplies
processors
motherboards
memory
recommended online suppliers of above parts (newegg?)
websites that provide the information I'm requesting here

(I've bolded cases b/c they can only be truly appreciated after extended personal interaction --- so I'm especially interested in hearing about them).

The system will serve as a workhorse/general-purpose machine. Dependability and pragmatic design trump face-melting speed here. It will run Ubuntu and be used primarily for web dev stuff (programming + graphic design and various network tasks). While I'll probably use it for a bit of gaming (gotta battle for Wesnoth every now and then, right?), I don't consider the cutting edge of frame rates to be all that important.

The price range is flexible (viewing this as the purchase of a quality tool). I'd like to reserve the option of running Adobe products (Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash) via Wine, and I would expect this to be the most commonly executed resource-taxing task. Other than that, it would be farting around on the web, compiling code, rendering the occasional 3d scene, searching for ETI, seeing how many instances of Firefox I can run simultaneously, etc.

Lord Xeb
July 11th, 2008, 08:34 AM
I can give you one that I am going to build:

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=6492374&WishListTitle=*NIX

Lord Xeb
July 11th, 2008, 08:35 AM
Also, later you should be able to upgrade that machine with a 9600GT or something >_>

ShanaVar
July 11th, 2008, 09:50 AM
As for the case, I am very happy with my CHIEFTEC Dragon DX-01B-D-U. It's a bit old, but for the cost of ~40-50 it has many pros:

a) It's build of very solid thick metal and feels very stable
b) It's quick to open.
c) The hdd cases have a fast fix technique, so you can take out 2-3 (depends how much you fix in one case) with just one switch.
d) It's very large and has a lot room for expansion. I think it has 5 or 6 3,5" slots and 4 or 5 5,25" slots
e) Can be locked (Though not really, because a lot of the keys from computer cases are the same)

For the power supply i recommend a corsair 450W or 550W. Silent, highly efficient (about ~85% at 350W load I think). Plus they use knowledge from Enermax (I think) and are cheaper than those.

For the other parts it depends on how much power etc you want.

Greets

WalmartSniperLX
July 12th, 2008, 04:19 AM
Well when it comes to building a system, I like to recommend ideas rather than exact hardware. Its up to you on what you need to suit your ... needs :) But, I will recommend general areas of where you may want to look into.

Case - Buying a case is probably one of the most critical stages in selecting the parts for your new pc (along with the PSU and motherboard). Overall workarea, expandability, cooling, and work efficiency can be affected by the case you put your pc in. In General I can point you toward Cooler Master cases. Most of the affordable ones are simple, sturdy, and are very high quality. I have a Centurion 5 and the entire front of the case is mesh. I get very efficient airflow and I love it! I also have a side window for kicks and a blue LED.

Case Material Specific - You can either go with the sturdy steel approach, get the cheap plastic based cases, go with aluminum, or any combination. I personally would recommend a case made of aluminum because they tend to be lighter, generally more mobile, and are sturdy enough. However, pay close attention to the quality ratings of the case before you make it a final decision. Some aluminum cases are VERY flimsy and can even have thin, less than 1mm edges that can cut you up when working in them. Also, thin flimsy aluminum cases can warp when exposed to heat (around the power supply).

Memory - Don't waste money on performance memory. Get standard "Value" memory. In general you want more capacity than speed (unless you're a windows benchpusher, speed/overclocking enthusiast). So whatever motherboard you get, just get a basic speed Value ram. If you get an extreme performance DDR3 mobo, then maybe consider getting performance DDR3... then again... may I ask why you really need it at this moment.

Motherboard - Never go cheap when getting the motherboard. You can choose the affordable route with most hardware but you should always get something mid-high quality when selecting the motherboard.

Motherboard Chipset - My best advice is to avoid AMD (rebranded ATI) chipsets. You may experience controller issues in Linux (RAID, video, SATA, etc) I would choose Nvidia and intel. Again this is based only on my experience.

Graphics Card (GPU) - Nvidia... :)

Hard Drive - Seagate, WD, Maxtor are all good ones in my experience. Choose a capacity that suits you most. Don't bother with RAID unless it's for security. The speed increase in RAID 0 is blah :)

Power supply - Xclio is a good reliable brand. They order the inner parts from the same company Antec gets theirs distributed from.

Traumadog
July 12th, 2008, 04:39 PM
Just built a new system with the case listed in the URL below. It's a "screw less" case, has good circulation, and good expansion space. Doesn't come with a power supply however, so you'll have to purchase that separately.

Take a look and see what ya think.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811121020

Best wishes,

Traumadog.

Lord Xeb
July 12th, 2008, 05:27 PM
Nice case....

regomodo
July 12th, 2008, 05:53 PM
`

Ioky
July 12th, 2008, 09:16 PM
I think the case is one of the most important part of the computer. I mean today, pretty much all the inter hardware you can found at the market are relatively good. But There are still many problem with computer case. I have been study about computer case for three months because I am bored and want to found something to do. So here is my tips on getting computer case.

Since You wouldn't take your Desktop to any where you go, It is a good idea to get a solid metal case. first of all, they are better for cooling, and they will last longer. especially you are one of those people who likes take to apart your hardware to do whatever you are doing. plus, the heavier they are, the less noise they made.

One of the most important thing about computer case is their air flow management. A good air flow management of the case are what determine how good you can hardware can do. When Air goes in, they take dust along with them, and dust is not what you want. so if all your fan are sucking in, your computer will become a dust house sooner or later. which also mean, your hardware are going to heat up fast as well. It is a ideal to get a BTX form factor case, however, they are no long been made. But there are case do similar job. and Make sure you have something fitter out the dust along with your fans.

case that have a good cable management is allow a good idea, So all the cable can go behind the motherboard, as least as much as possible. However I think HP are the only company that make such case, and they did a really good job. But those case come with their system. so you might out of lucky on that. Less mess = better cooling. (and better looks)

avoid LED lighting. That is very personal. but I get my logic. Those LED might looks cool at first, but after a while they will become so annoying. especially when they start losing Light, for whatever reasons. and if your computer are right next to you when you sleeping. you will have trouble to sleep too. For those fan LED, again, they might loos good at first, but as dust build up. they will look really bad.

avoid side window on the side. again that is very personal but what I think about side window is that they impress me at first, but upset me later. First they aren't as good as metal for cooling matters. And you years pass by, you will see a lot of unwanted thing inside your case. like dust. yes I know I make a big deal out of dust. But they really are the thing that bothers me. performance and looks.

go for the case have simply design. They fit to difference place better then those with crazy design. (in term of style)

It is not easy to found a case they is just right. Many case today are made some people will buy it, but are they really good? you need to think for youself.

oldsoundguy
July 12th, 2008, 09:28 PM
on the case .. ordering a case delivered is really not a good idea. Go to some local stores and shop your case. Some repair shops also have a "selling" area and there are cases there. And nothing wrong with a USED case if it is not trashed. Those can be had at Good Will or thrift shops. You can save a bunch of bucks and pay 30 for case vs 150 or even more for a fancy-schmancy case that you will grow tired of in a few weeks.
As others have mentioned .. power supply. Get a GOOD to GREAT supply and never skimp there. A funky supply will wipe out all of those great components you install! (I am partial to Enermax as they are quiet, solid and deliver the power they STATE they deliver, but that is me.)

I have 5 computers in this place and have built them ALL.

WalmartSniperLX
July 13th, 2008, 06:23 AM
I think the case is one of the most important part of the computer. I mean today, pretty much all the inter hardware you can found at the market are relatively good. But There are still many problem with computer case. I have been study about computer case for three months because I am bored and want to found something to do. So here is my tips on getting computer case.

Since You wouldn't take your Desktop to any where you go, It is a good idea to get a solid metal case. first of all, they are better for cooling, and they will last longer. especially you are one of those people who likes take to apart your hardware to do whatever you are doing. plus, the heavier they are, the less noise they made.

One of the most important thing about computer case is their air flow management. A good air flow management of the case are what determine how good you can hardware can do. When Air goes in, they take dust along with them, and dust is not what you want. so if all your fan are sucking in, your computer will become a dust house sooner or later. which also mean, your hardware are going to heat up fast as well. It is a ideal to get a BTX form factor case, however, they are no long been made. But there are case do similar job. and Make sure you have something fitter out the dust along with your fans.

case that have a good cable management is allow a good idea, So all the cable can go behind the motherboard, as least as much as possible. However I think HP are the only company that make such case, and they did a really good job. But those case come with their system. so you might out of lucky on that. Less mess = better cooling. (and better looks)

avoid LED lighting. That is very personal. but I get my logic. Those LED might looks cool at first, but after a while they will become so annoying. especially when they start losing Light, for whatever reasons. and if your computer are right next to you when you sleeping. you will have trouble to sleep too. For those fan LED, again, they might loos good at first, but as dust build up. they will look really bad.

avoid side window on the side. again that is very personal but what I think about side window is that they impress me at first, but upset me later. First they aren't as good as metal for cooling matters. And you years pass by, you will see a lot of unwanted thing inside your case. like dust. yes I know I make a big deal out of dust. But they really are the thing that bothers me. performance and looks.

go for the case have simply design. They fit to difference place better then those with crazy design. (in term of style)

It is not easy to found a case they is just right. Many case today are made some people will buy it, but are they really good? you need to think for youself.

Yeah I've experienced a few of your personal dislikes :) However a lighter case will not be so light once you place your hardware inside, especially with a quality power supply.

And really, a solid heavy case has little to do with cooling. I had a POS flimsy plastic/thin aluminum case that had beyond excellent thermal control and airflow.

In fact, you must pay attention to the location of your pc once you build it. If it will be on desk, depending on the desk material, you may want to limit your weight. Aluminum cases can also be very high quality and solid. Either way, I think you can benefit from both. I had a steel case ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146038 ) It was VERY NICE. But, I still like cases that are more simple and less heavy.

I have a side window but sometimes you may need one if you have monitors on the motherboard, RAM, or other things that can be critical depending on your needs.

To avoid a dust problem, use filters and make sure you have a negative airflow (more exhaust fans than intake). The case I have http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119077 comes with a non-window variant. The entire front of the case is mesh so its like a large intake, and it wields a 120mm exhaust for a nice negative airflow. It comes with filters that help keep dust out, and it is easy to clean with an air can. It is also extremely high quality, especially for the price.

tamoneya
July 13th, 2008, 06:29 AM
here is a computer I built for one of my friends: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=10094748&WishListTitle=roth

Quick notes:
1. This includes windows XP. Currently it is a bit outside the price range you specified but if you drop XP it will bring you closer.

2. Micro ATX form factor nice and small

3. Its designed to be very quiet. If it wasnt for the Blue LEDs you would have trouble telling its on.

4. This doesnt have keyboard mouse or monitor. My friend already had them so I left them out.

5. Q6600 is a very nice highly overclockable CPU. I personally have mine overclocked to past 3.0 GHz.

6. It has 4GB of ram so unless you change this you are probably going to want 64 bit Ubuntu. Flash is a little funky but other than that it is very much the same as 32 bit now.

gn2
July 13th, 2008, 08:53 AM
Here's (http://www.silentpcreview.com/) a good source of info if you want it to be quiet.
No point building it yourself if it's going to sound like a hovercraft.

Antec Solo is a very good case.
Seasonic or Corsair are probably the best PSU's to get.

As for the rest, CPU RAM etc, don't spend too much, todays high spec super parts will be rather old hat in a year.

When choosing a CPU look at the TDP, this is the amount of heat it will radiate, lower is better.

WalmartSniperLX
July 13th, 2008, 09:11 AM
Here's (http://www.silentpcreview.com/) a good source of info if you want it to be quiet.
No point building it yourself if it's going to sound like a hovercraft.

Antec Solo is a very good case.
Seasonic or Corsair are probably the best PSU's to get.

As for the rest, CPU RAM etc, don't spend too much, todays high spec super parts will be rather old hat in a year.

When choosing a CPU look at the TDP, this is the amount of heat it will radiate, lower is better.

Aww but I like my PC with a Pratt and Whitney engine in it.
jk. I hate it. :)

I actually duck taped an extra 120mm fan to the front of my case for more airflow but It's not doing much since its actually pushing more air in when combined with my 80mm intake than the amount of exhaust being pulled by my single 120mm. I think ill remove it soon.