View Full Version : building computer for use with Ubuntu

November 13th, 2009, 01:53 AM
To all of you who responded to my first question on this site...Thank you very much. You have convinced me that this is the way to go.

I want to build a computer that will be as compatible as possible with Ubuntu. In my search on this subject I came across a book called "Ubuntu on a Dime." Some of you may have heard of (and read) this book, written by James Floyd Kelly. After I spent $25.00 on the book, got it home and read through it...I realized that there really isn't a big mystery to building a computer. However, I also realized, after perusing this site and some of the responses to my first question, that some products will not work well with Ubuntu. The author built a computer for $250.00 - probably not top shelf!

What I want to do is to build a reasonably priced computer with components that are compatible with Ubuntu. I do not plan to dual boot. I want to be able to do everything on a Linux-based system.

What I have to start with is a fried Dell 4600 computer - hard drive is done. I think the Mobo is shot, too - besides, want to use a Mobo and other components that is better suited. As I understand it, Dell has it's own version of proprietary hard and software. So, I don't mind starting from scratch. Will the tower case for the 4600 work for what I want to do? Or, just trash the whole thing and start anew?

I use my computer mostly for work-related functions. Also do photography and music. Don't do much gaming stuff.

As for Mobo - Intel or AMD... I understand that AMD is a great value for their offering...more bang for the buck.

As for sound/video - I want to run two monitors and be able to watch TV and, possibly, listen to music through the computer.

Any suggestions would be helpful. I'm all ears!!!

Is the right forum for this question?


The Funkbomb
November 13th, 2009, 02:30 AM
Dell's mobos are a really weird shape for the most part. I have an Inspiron 8300 and another one sitting right next to me. Both busted lol.

Your best bet is to just start fresh. Then you can get a cheap case. My computer uses the Coolermaster Centurion 5. NewEgg has them for 50 bucks. It's a pretty decent case. An 80mm fan in front of the HDD bays and a 120mm exhaust fan on the back. My CPU is running at 34C overclocked. My GPU idles around 43C. Those are pretty good temps. More on that in a bit. My point is, cases don't have to be a 300 dollar Lian-li beauty.

I like the intel I have. It's an E5200 dual core. It's very easily overclocked from the stock 2.5ghz to 3.3ghz and higher. The cpu costs like 60 bucks and you can get a lot out of it.

That of course determines the mobo. I'm running a gigabyte EP43-UD3L. It's not top of the line but it has a good bios for overclocking. It has onboard sound that needs to be amplified according to the book. It does have 5.1 or 6.1 surround sound if you're into that. It also has 8 USB ports plus 2 on the front of the case. More than enough. The instructions are pretty clear and well written. I'm happy with it.

For video, I'm using an EVGA 9600GT. Again, not top of the line but more than ample. It runs with proprietary drivers.

Here is my suggestion. Set a budget. You've already figured out what you want to do with the computer. Start a spreadsheet and hit up a site like Tigerdirect or Newegg and start putting together a list of parts. Add them all up and make sure it's less than your budget. Make sure that all the parts are compatible with the other parts. Such as, the memory speed is compatible with your Front Speed Bus and that's compatible with your CPU. If you pick out a video card that is PCI-e x16, make sure your motherboard has a PCI-e x16 slot.

Once you're convinced that your machine will run, the next thing you need to do is make sure it's quality stuff. It doesn't have to be top of the line, but at least know it's not going to short out on you a week later. Read the reviews on a site like newegg. If it has a bad rating, consider swapping it out for something else.

Then, come over the forums here and search for the piece of equipment. Make sure you search recently as older versions might have caused hiccups but no longer do. If things seem to run fine or are easily fixed, place your order and build.

I forgot about cooling. If you plan on overclocking a cheaper chip, make sure you put some money aside for cooling. The stock HSF might not be enough.

November 13th, 2009, 02:45 AM
You can probably use a dell motherboard but I don't reccomend it for a new build. The lack of a manual, and the fact that they aren't built for builders makes them a tad harder to put together.

90% of dell machines I've seen had standard parts. A few don't, but even those without can usually be made to fit normal parts fine as long as you aren't crazy about using every possible screw port to hold the motherboard in.

That said, cases are cheap. For many, its the most enjoyable part of shopping, because you get to look at all the cool ones.

And...$250 can buy you a pretty decent computer, but $400 will build you close to top of the line. Not bleeding edge, but the kind of thing you could play every game on if you were a gamer.

November 13th, 2009, 02:55 AM
I put a machine together this past Ferbuary 2009
It cost me $300 and then there were a couple of rebates, all from NewEgg
Not much but is running a multi boot system great.

The 'Tower'
Rosewill R804BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 350W with 20+4Pin&1 Sata Connectors Power Supply

The 'Hard Drive'
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3160815AS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0GB s Hard Drive - OEM

The 'Motherboard'
ECS A780GM-A AM2+ AM2 AMD 780G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

The 'RAM'
CORSAIR 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit

The 'Power'
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200 Brisbane 2.7GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-core Processor Model ADO5200DOBOX

Now a little breakdown on the Motherboard
North Bridge AMD 780G
South Bridge AMD SB700

Onboard Video
Video Chipset ATI Radeon HD 3200

Onboard Audio
Audio Chipset IDT 92HD206
Audio Channels 8 Channels