[ubuntu-us-mn] Building a Linux machine

Daniel Bicknell danielbicknell63 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 15 02:50:39 BST 2009

Just a quick thanks to all who replied to my original question.  You have all firmly convinced to go forward with building my own box (though I’m still aiming for modest), so I will start assembling over the coming weeks!







From: ubuntu-us-mn-bounces at lists.ubuntu.com [mailto:ubuntu-us-mn-bounces at lists.ubuntu.com] On Behalf Of Ron Schreiner
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 7:21 AM
To: ubuntu-us-mn at lists.ubuntu.com
Subject: Re: [ubuntu-us-mn] Building a Linux machine



Here's a doc I have with my notes regarding various hardware that I am considering purchasing for my own Ubuntu box. For the specifics, read onward, but here is a rough overview first.....

Dual Core 64-bit hardware with 8GB of RAM and 8 SATA slots for 4 x 750 SATA HDs setup RAID 0+1, 2 x DVD/RW (SATA), great video card (with ?? amount of VRAM) so I can run all the Compiz-Beryl stuff and have the resolution as well, excellent audio card, 10/100-based T NIC. I'm going to run the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 8.0.4LTS on it (then once 10.4LTS is out and stable, ala 10.4.1 etc, then I'll go up to that version) until the 64-bit versions have some better support/stability. I'll also get a single 24" monitor as well. DVI most likely.

What are your thoughts/advice on things to buy, not buy, avoid, look for, do, not do, etc? Right now I'm saving up the cash so I can just walk into Micro-Center and purchase whatever I need right then and there. I figure I'd also check out www.ubuntuhcl.org at the store for compatibility of the hardware. So, what are your thoughts on all of this please. Let me hear it.

Motherboard – ATX motherboard that supports a Dual-Core 64-bit Intel CPU(s)




It must have a minimum of 8 SATA plug-ins with support for RAID on 4 of those SATA plug-ins. 4 of them are for the hard drives, 2 are for the DVD-RW/CD-RWs and 2 more would be extra.


Must have Intel CPUs

Must support 8GBs of RAM

NO ATI Chipsets

NO Celeron CPUs


RAM - I originally thought 8GB, but that's probably overkill so I am now thinking about going with 4GBs instead. If it’s not too costly, I may still go with 8, but that really depends on price since Linux isn’t Windows and doesn’t require as many system resources and hardware just to boot up let alone DO anything worth a damn.


The type of RAM will be dependant upon the type of motherboard, but I'd like Dual Channel DDR2 with the fastest speed possible based on the motherboard specification limits. I'm also learning towards Kingston as the manufacturer, but I’m open to suggestions and reasons why to use another vs. them.


CPU – I’m thinking of going with a Dual-Core PC that's 64-bit vs. the Quad-Core that is 64-bit since Quad-Core is probably overkill for my needs and uses. Must be Intel.


Drives - 4 x 750GB SATA hard drives which will be setup with a software RAID 0+1. I’m using software vs. hardware because if the motherboard dies with a hardware array setup, then I need to find that specific motherboard again in order to be able to use those drives. If I use the software setup, I won’t have that issue.


I’m using RAID 0+1, which is where you take 2 drives and stripe them, take another set of 2 drives and stripe them, then mirror one set to the other. The striping will give the speed performance while the mirroring will help with redundancy.


I've been told to use Seagate for reliability and Samsung for speed. Since I'll be doing a software RAID 0+1 setup, I'm leaning towards reliability vs. speed since I'm not going to be professionally editing audio and/or video or gaming etc and reliability means more to me than speed if I must sacrifice one for the other, speed goes.


Video – I want a NVIDIA video card with a lot of VRAM and dual monitor support, thus I’ll need 2 DVI outputs. I’m thinking NVIDIA 8800GTX as my first choice or NVIDIA 8800GT as my second choice. PCI Express.


DVD-RW/CD-RW - 2x DVD-RW/CD-RW SATA drives (Lite-On)


Audio – Non-Onboard audio. I want a separate sound card, which is more than likely going to be needed with a higher-end motherboard. Realtek network and audio chipsets are always supported, as the company is over 90% Linux desktops


Network Card – Fast network card. PCI.

2 x 22" flat screen monitors for me, and my old one for Vicki

Realtek network and audio chipsets are always supported, as the company is over 90% Linux desktops


Dual Monitors – 2 x 22” (or larger) monitors with DVI inputs on them.


Power Supply – I’m open to them. The case I bought is a CoolMaster Stacker which has support for 5 fans and 2 power supplies. It’s a monster. I plan on having as many fans as possible and maybe 2 power supplies since one is a backup. Since I’ll be running all of these goodies, I’m figuring I’ll need at least one 500-750 watt power supply.


Pretty much anything Intel is supported in Ubuntu 8.0.4LTS, which is the version I’ll be installing since 8.10 doesn’t have the support yet and still has some bugs to work out in it.




8 fans that are all fans are -15db or -17db




Possible Hardware Purchases



RAID Controller Card (IDE/SATA)


SYBA SY-VIA-150R PCI SATA / IDE Combo RAID Controller Card RAID 0, 1, 0+1 JBOD






Model Brand SYBA

Model SY-VIA-150R

Specifications Type SATA / IDE Internal

Connectors 2 x SATA 150 + 1 x ATA 133

Interface PCI


Operating Systems Supported MS Windows 98SE / ME / 2000 / XP Features – No Linux Support?

Features Only SATA supports RAID
2/1/0, and PIO mode 4/3/2/1/0
Supports PCI Plug and Play
PCI interrupt sharing and coexists with main board IDE controller
4 KB to 64 KB striping block size support
Supports ATA 133 high performance hard disk drives. 
Supports IDE bus master operation 
Supports hard disk drive larger than 137 GB (48-bits LBA) 
Supports Ultra DMA mode 6/5/4/3/2/1/0, DMA mode

Package Contents

SATA Raid Driver & Manual 
Serial-ATA cable




OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227267 <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227267&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL123008&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL123008-_-Memory-_-LB1C-_-20227267> &nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL123008&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL123008-_-Memory-_-LB1C-_-20227267





Model OCZ

Brand OCZ Series Reaper HPC Edition

Model OCZ2RPR800C44GK

Type 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM

Tech Spec Capacity 4GB (2 x 2GB)

Speed DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

Cas Latency 4

Timing 4-4-4-15

Voltage 2.1V

Heat Spreader Yes


Patent-pending Reaper HPC Heatsink
2.2V EVP
EPP-Ready Manufacturer

Warranty Parts

Lifetime limited

Labor Lifetime limited



Actual Purchases



QTY    ITEM                                       PRICE             WITH TAX


1          CoolMaster Stacker Case        $189.00           $202.81


Specifications         Cooler Master STC-T01


Available Color                        Silver/Black/Blue

Dimension (W / H / D)  W227 x H536 x D584 mm

Aluminum alloy motherboard tray frame 
Strengthened with 1.00mm steel plates 
Superior mechanical design for greater stability


Weight                                     14.7kg

Material                                    Aluminum Bezel ,SECC Chassis

Motherboard                            Compatible with E-ATX, ATX, m-ATX, BTX, m-BTX


5.25" Drive Bay 7 (Exposed) (CM Stacker Support 11 unit 5.25 bays which includes 1 for 3.5


3.5" Drive Bay              1 (Exposed), 3 (Hidden)


I/O Panel                                  USB 2.0 x 6

IEEE 1394 (FireWire) x 1

Earphone jack x 1

MIC x 1(Support HD Audio)


Cooling System                        One 120 x 120 x 25 mm Front Fan (Exhaust) 1200RPM 16.4 dBA and the front mess supports up to 3 – 12cm fans.

One 120 x 120 x 25 mm Rear Fan (Exhaust) 1200RPM 16.4 dBA

One 80 x 80 x 25 mm Top Fan (Intake) 1800RPM 23.8dBA


                                                Supports up to 8 fans


Top - Ultra silent 8cm Fan * 1 (exhaust) 
Rear – Ultra Silent 12cm Fan * 1 + 8 cm Fan * 2 (exhaust) 
Motherboard – 300mm cross flow fan; provides superior air flow for key PC components (CPU, VGA etc.)


Expansion Slots                        7


BTX Upgrade Kits                   BTX Thermal Module


Optional Component                Cross Flow Fan for CM Stacker
4-in-3 Device Module,
Side Window


Power Supply Standard            ATX PS2 (Option) EPS 12V Compatible (optional)



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