Processor & MB for a linux box

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Processor & MB for a linux box

Postposted on Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:11 am

I need a new general purpose Ubuntu box, mostly for working and for performing some file server type (managing my NAS) and a few home automation type tasks. For example, if I can ever get my damn motorized window cells shades to work, it will be responsible for managing the alarm that goes with it, handling data from the various telemetry gear I have floating around, that kind of thing. But mostly, it is for work which means running GSN3 et. al. For that, a big processor can be handy, but in my experience trying to fully simulate a large, truly high-capacity network is a mugs game; without something like a blade server you don't have a chance. So I just use it to test configs for obvious flaws and play with designs.

Anyway, I don't expect to run any games on it (although I MAY mess around with steam-for-linux, if I decide it is worth a serious inquirey, I will dual boot my gaming rig. But the point is to be LESS provided with distractions), so I don't want to need a video card, and I have everything else I need unless except a lower power PSU and maybe a corsair 350. My plan had been to use either the mobo/proc. from the econobox or the editors choice, but I find that I'm having trouble deciding. The more stuff that is integrated to the MB without being crap, the better. I'm thinking especially of bluetooth and wireless. Graphics go without saying, I hope. Suggestions?

Thanks.
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Re: Processor & MB for a linux box

Postposted on Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:45 pm

Anything, with built in Intel NICs will be better. You're pretty much stuck with Realtek audio no matter what.

I've never looked for Bluetooth or builtin wirelss, so I can't comment on that. I would just buy a RT-N16 to use as an wireless adapter rather then looking for a MB with builtin wireless NICs that aren't going to be problematic.

I bought one of these recently for a Linux test box at work.

ASRock 990FX Extreme9 (AMD AM3+ socket)
http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/990FX%20Ex ... ifications

Now that I look there are a couple ASRock Intel boards that might be what you're looking for. This is, of course, depends on the Bluetooth chipset and WNICs being vetted.

ASRock Z87 Extreme11/ac (Intel LGA1150 socket)
http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z87%20Extreme11ac/
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Re: Processor & MB for a linux box

Postposted on Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:24 pm

If USB is the only physical connectivity you need I would recommend looking at subcompact PCs like the Intel NUC. They start at around $150, have weak to average processing capability, and good onboard features. Very good for specialized boxes.
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Re: Processor & MB for a linux box

Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:14 am

I just found out about these to day.

Fit PC Intense PC2
http://www.fit-pc.com/web/products/comparison/?model[]=IPC2-D8-C4600-M120S-WACB-XLM-FMUSB3
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Re: Processor & MB for a linux box

Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:38 pm

You may want to consider going with a Micro-ATX AM3+ system, something like the Asus M5A78L-M/USB3. You can slap a 6- or 8-core FX processor in there, and ECC RAM is also supported (depending on the motherboard), which is a plus for your NAS needs. Load it up with 32GB of RAM and you've got an affordable yet very capable platform that you could even run multiple VMs on if needed for your network simulations.

Micro-ATX AM3+ boards do tend to have crippled IGP (Radeon HD 3000 series), but if 3D graphics performance is not a concern this isn't a problem. You can always slap a discrete GPU in there down the road if you want.

Linux driver support for Realtek NICs and audio codecs has gotten a lot better lately, I don't think you will have issues here provided you are using a recent distro. Even on older distros NIC performance issues can be cured by using the driver from Realtek's site instead of the one bundled with the distro.

Yes, power usage of the FX may be a concern for an always-on box. But with power management enabled the FX-8320 idles at around 50W (according to the on-die power monitor), which isn't too bad.
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Re: Processor & MB for a linux box

Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:10 pm

Micro-ATX socket-AM3+ motherboards are depressing because they have such old chipsets. The only good socket-AM3+ motherboards left are ATX.
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Re: Processor & MB for a linux box

Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:37 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Micro-ATX socket-AM3+ motherboards are depressing because they have such old chipsets. The only good socket-AM3+ motherboards left are ATX.

No argument there.

But for his needs the older chipset probably isn't a big deal. For a NAS you're probably using lower RPM drives anyway, so previous-gen SATA performance isn't a deal breaker. And the board I recommended does have a USB3 controller on it.

Depending on budget and needs, he can move up to an Intel system or a full-ATX AM3+ board (plus discrete GPU).
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Re: Processor & MB for a linux box

Postposted on Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:07 pm

WOW.

I actually forgot about this post -- more or less the next thing I did was fall down in Chicago winter and break something (I am profoundly arthritic, so falling down and damaging myself is a pretty routine part of my life. Or various other impairments that I shove under that rug) -- but all that advice was incredibly helpful. I hope that this doesn't bump the post in an obnoxious way, but I didn't want to fail to say thanks.
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