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Thread: $50 bounty for best hardware list for a new Ubuntu desktop

  1. #1
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    $50 bounty for best hardware list for a new Ubuntu desktop

    I'm looking for recommendations for a complete desktop system at a price of around $1000 (without monitor) as explained below.

    All hardware should be compatible with Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) 64-bit.

    My requirements:

    • completely silent (at least as quiet as a new iMac with an SSD).
    • fanless video card that will support dual DVI monitors at 1920 x 1200 (and more) each.
    • 6 GB or more RAM
    • 1 SSD (about 60 GB, such as OCZ Vertex II)
    • CD-RW / DVD-RW Dual Layer
    • Bluetooth
    • Dual GigE ports
    • lots of USB ports (6 or more would be good)
    • SD card reader
    • decent audio/sound card (high end not required)
    • no monitors
    • no speakers
    • no keyboard
    • no mouse
    • no joystick
    • no accessories
    • bonus if it has an RS232 serial port

    Please provide specific component recommendations with brand name, model and item details (e.g., "Crucial Ballistix Triple Channel DDR3 - 1600 MHz" or whatever ram you recommend). Bonus points for links to where to buy the component at a fair price.

    If someone provides a COMPLETE recommendation that I end up going with, I will send you a $50 bounty or I will make a donation to any FOSS organization of your choice in your name.

    There is really only one requirement that makes this a challenge: it must be silent. Finding a silent video card that provides good DVI resolution and good performance seems to be a challenge...

    Good luck and I look forward to sending $50 to someone (or a charity). Thank you!
    Desktop: KX Studio (Kubuntu 12.04)
    Laptop & Netbook: Kubuntu 12.04
    Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
    Phone: Nexus 4 Cyanogenmod

  2. #2
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    Re: $50 bounty for best hardware list for a new Ubuntu desktop

    Complete silence is pretty hard to get, but near as damnit to silent isnt that hard. I cant hear my CPU fan, power supply fan, running a passive cooled video card.....you know what? My hdd is what I notice, and its not that loud compared to some HDDs (a WD green power drive). I could move back to suspending the HDD, but then I'd have to buy new grommets for the HDD holders, and it still doesnt make the HDD totally silent, just 'takes the edge off'.

    Preference for Intel or AMD? Dual, quad, hexa core...or just as many as you can get for the money? Care much about the case size? Onboard video OK, or do you want a decent nVidia card? OK if the 2nd gigabit is via PCIe, or does it have to be onboard?

    You might just slide in under 1K without much in the way of compromises.

  3. #3
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    Re: $50 bounty for best hardware list for a new Ubuntu desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
    Complete silence is pretty hard to get, but near as damnit to silent isnt that hard. I cant hear my CPU fan, power supply fan, running a passive cooled video card.....you know what? My hdd is what I notice, and its not that loud compared to some HDDs (a WD green power drive). I could move back to suspending the HDD, but then I'd have to buy new grommets for the HDD holders, and it still doesnt make the HDD totally silent, just 'takes the edge off'.
    That's why I want to use an SSD. It will eliminate that last bit of HDD noise you are referring to.

    Quote Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
    Preference for Intel or AMD? Dual, quad, hexa core...or just as many as you can get for the money? Care much about the case size? Onboard video OK, or do you want a decent nVidia card? OK if the 2nd gigabit is via PCIe, or does it have to be onboard?
    Either Intel or AMD is fine. Actually, I wish AMD was back on top like they were a few years ago.

    I had in mind a mid-tower desktop case. I saw one with a fold-out motherboard panel that was nice (and not too expensive). I prefer a tool-free case, but I imagine the case will be determined by the video card and the need for silence. So I'll go with whatever case meets those needs.

    I don't think there is any way that onboard video would be sufficient. I need to drive two DVI monitors at 1920 x 1200 or higher with good 2D performance. I definitely prefer an nVidia or ATI card.

    I saw a few that looked interesting:

    • ZOTAC ZT-20404-20L GeForce GT 240 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
    • GIGABYTE GV-N98TSL-1GI GeForce 9800 GT 1GB Silent Cell 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
    • various PowerColor models

    The 2nd GigE port can be on a card if the mobo doesn't come with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post

    You might just slide in under 1K without much in the way of compromises.
    I have a little flexibility on the budget. I could go up to $1100 if needed.
    Desktop: KX Studio (Kubuntu 12.04)
    Laptop & Netbook: Kubuntu 12.04
    Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
    Phone: Nexus 4 Cyanogenmod

  4. #4
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    Re: $50 bounty for best hardware list for a new Ubuntu desktop

    The last post on page 3:

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1511070&page=3

    P.S. I think youre caught up in the latest greatest technology - and spending too much on certain parts...

    I have dual monitor DVI setup with a $30 Video card...good luck finding a silent fan-less card that wont overheat. and how can you hear your videocard over the PSU??

    A 60GB SS drive costs more than a 2TB SATA HD; i'll wait a few more seconds for 30X more storage.
    Ubuntu +1 (Trusty Tahr)

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    Re: $50 bounty for best hardware list for a new Ubuntu desktop

    True, an SSD will remove the HDD noise, just they arent that big. A SSD for the OS + a HDD for data storage might be a better idea, but I'm a space-pig, you might not be.

    Anyway, heres a quick setup-

    Antec P182, $149.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811129025

    Seasonix X650 gold (runs totally fanless under low loads ), $139.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151088

    GA-890FXA-UD5, $179.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128441

    Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB), $154.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145315

    Zotac GT220, $72.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814500159

    IOGEAR GBU421 bluetooth USB 2.1 adapter, $14.48
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16833139019

    That comes to $712.43, no CPU or SSD speced yet. I'd really need to poke around a bit at SSDs before I could reccomend anything, I'd really hate to point you toward a bad SSD. CPU I'm leaving out, as I'm not quite surewhat yuo would like, depending on the price of the SSD you migth have a lot, or not that many choices.

    There are 60GB SSDs for about $130, and a Phenom X4 956 is about $160. Doh, I'm $2.43 over budget LOL.

    There is 'wiggle room' in those prices, you could get a slightly more noisy case, like my case is an antec solo, they are about $100. Not as quiet as a P182, but its not a huge difference. You could also change the board to a 870 chipset, that would save about $80, but then you would need a PCIe gigabit card which would be about $40.

    BTW, I speced a GT220 as for desktop and media use, its just as good as a GT240. The GT240 would be better for gaming. Also, I've found that toolless cases always seem to haev some 'rattle', its one of the reasons why I like tooled cases.

    Quote Originally Posted by OGpmpdog View Post
    P.S. I think youre caught up in the latest greatest technology - and spending too much on certain parts...

    I have dual monitor DVI setup with a $30 Video card...good luck finding a silent fan-less card that wont overheat. and how can you hear your videocard over the PSU??
    MountainX hasnt really said anything much about what parts he wants, hes after _silent_.

    Funny, none of the fanless cards here overheat- I've got a 8600GT in this setup, its been running for over 2 years now. The 8400GS in my housemates computer runs a touch hotter, but tis still well within limits, and even the old 6600GT runs fine. All fanless.

    If you cant hear your videocard over the PSU you've got a loud PSU. The corsair HX520 in my machine, like I said above, is near enough to silent. I can hear my HDD over the PSU LOL. Decent quality fans and internals, ya hear?
    Last edited by cascade9; October 15th, 2010 at 12:03 AM. Reason: typos.......I think I need to sleep. Thats my excuse THIS time anyway.

  6. #6
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    Re: $50 bounty for best hardware list for a new Ubuntu desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by OGpmpdog View Post
    The last post on page 3:

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1511070&page=3

    P.S. I think youre caught up in the latest greatest technology - and spending too much on certain parts...

    I have dual monitor DVI setup with a $30 Video card...good luck finding a silent fan-less card that wont overheat. and how can you hear your videocard over the PSU??

    A 60GB SS drive costs more than a 2TB SATA HD; i'll wait a few more seconds for 30X more storage.
    Those are your requirements. I have my own. If we all had the same requirements there would only be one model computer for sale. That's not how it is thank goodness.

    As I said, I have two priorities: silence and good dual-monitor video. I'm willing to spend the money on those two things.
    Desktop: KX Studio (Kubuntu 12.04)
    Laptop & Netbook: Kubuntu 12.04
    Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
    Phone: Nexus 4 Cyanogenmod

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    Re: $50 bounty for best hardware list for a new Ubuntu desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
    I'd really need to poke around a bit at SSDs before I could reccomend anything, I'd really hate to point you toward a bad SSD.
    Well, that's OK because the SSD is probably the only component that I know anything about.

    I would be perfectly happy with this SSD:
    OCZ Technology 60 GB Vertex 2 Series SATA II 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive (SSD) OCZSSD22VTXE60G
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003NE5JCE/
    It's only $145 at Amazon (including free 2 day shipping).

    I know the Intel SSD's are considered good, but they have some issues. So I'm leaning toward OCZ. The one I listed fits my budget and has very good reviews.
    Desktop: KX Studio (Kubuntu 12.04)
    Laptop & Netbook: Kubuntu 12.04
    Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
    Phone: Nexus 4 Cyanogenmod

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    Re: $50 bounty for best hardware list for a new Ubuntu desktop

    MountainX, that makes things easier on me. The OCZ 60GB I saw for about $130 at newegg was just a vertex, not a vertex II. Thyeaso have the one you like, same price-

    OCZ Vertex II 60GB, $144.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227550

    To keep it under budget, grab a X4 955-

    Phenom II X4 955, $139.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103808

    $997.41! hooray, under budget!

    Though it might not be a bad idea to drop the CPU just a touch more, then if you fidn the stock heatsink/fan setup is noisy you can get a aftermarket heatsink. Thjeres no way to know for sure how bad the stock coolers are, CPU heatsink/fans can change at the drop of Intel or AMDs hat.

    *edit- I've just posted what I would get, if you prefer a different case, etc, then its an easy change. Dont take anything as set in stone, stuff can be swapped around for whatever reason you want

  9. #9
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    Re: $50 bounty for best hardware list for a new Ubuntu desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
    True, an SSD will remove the HDD noise, just they arent that big. A SSD for the OS + a HDD for data storage might be a better idea, but I'm a space-pig, you might not be.

    Anyway, heres a quick setup-

    Antec P182, $149.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811129025

    Seasonix X650 gold (runs totally fanless under low loads ), $139.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151088

    GA-890FXA-UD5, $179.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128441

    Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB), $154.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145315

    Zotac GT220, $72.99-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814500159

    IOGEAR GBU421 bluetooth USB 2.1 adapter, $14.48
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16833139019

    That comes to $712.43, no CPU or SSD speced yet. I'd really need to poke around a bit at SSDs before I could reccomend anything, I'd really hate to point you toward a bad SSD. CPU I'm leaving out, as I'm not quite surewhat yuo would like, depending on the price of the SSD you migth have a lot, or not that many choices.

    There are 60GB SSDs for about $130, and a Phenom X4 956 is about $160. Doh, I'm $2.43 over budget LOL.

    There is 'wiggle room' in those prices, you could get a slightly more noisy case, like my case is an antec solo, they are about $100. Not as quiet as a P182, but its not a huge difference. You could also change the board to a 870 chipset, that would save about $80, but then you would need a PCIe gigabit card which would be about $40.

    BTW, I speced a GT220 as for desktop and media use, its just as good as a GT240. The GT240 would be better for gaming. Also, I've found that toolless cases always seem to haev some 'rattle', its one of the reasons why I like tooled cases.
    Thanks for your recommendation. I will go with the case you recommend because my priority is quietness. I'm glad you appreciate where I'm coming from on that requirement.

    Is there any better (more powerful) silent video card (even if it costs more)? I'll spend the money for the best silent video card available.

    Too bad the mobo doesn't have bluetooth because that uses up one USB port. But I also just noticed that this board has 6 + 2 USB ports, so that's good. This should do fine.

    What about the CD-RW / DVD-RW? Are there any other parts I will need?
    Desktop: KX Studio (Kubuntu 12.04)
    Laptop & Netbook: Kubuntu 12.04
    Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
    Phone: Nexus 4 Cyanogenmod

  10. #10
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    Re: $50 bounty for best hardware list for a new Ubuntu desktop

    Quote Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
    ... if you find the stock heatsink/fan setup is noisy you can get a aftermarket heatsink. Thjeres no way to know for sure how bad the stock coolers are, CPU heatsink/fans can change at the drop of Intel or AMDs hat.
    Please do recommend a silent CPU cooler. I think that's essential to meet the goal of a truly silent PC.

    In my last PC I used a Zalman (similar to this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835118046) and turned the fan speed down to the lowest speed that would keep my CPU cool.

    Is there something better now that is totally silent?

    I'll go up to $1100 budget to include the CPU cooler and the other good quality parts.
    Desktop: KX Studio (Kubuntu 12.04)
    Laptop & Netbook: Kubuntu 12.04
    Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
    Phone: Nexus 4 Cyanogenmod

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