My New (Refurbished) HP Monster with Mint 14

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My New (Refurbished) HP Monster with Mint 14

Postby Rudemeister on Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:03 pm

Here is how I bought a great refurbished computer to run Linux. I would also like to make it clear that I have no interest in any of these companies.
I had a Pentium 4 computer for a few years that I had built for myself with an Intel D915GAG motherboard. It proved to be a faithful workhorse but was getting a little old. The motherboard cannot access more than 4G of DRAM and the single core 3 Ghz CPU also needed help. So I decided to upgrade to a newer computer.

But being on a limited budget, I needed to try to get the most bang for the buck as possible. So I noticed on eBay that there were a bunch of used and refurbished Hewlett Packard (HP) XW8600 workstations. These computers have 2 sockets for Intel Xeon processors. So I bought one of them from a company in Minnesota called Server Worlds. They had some refurbished ones at a great price listed on eBay, but they were willing to negotiate with me for a lower price.


Serverworlds Inc.
17100 Medina Rd. Suite 500
Plymouth, MN 55447 U.S.A.
(763) 557-1181
http://www.serverworlds.com


I bought a XW8600 with a single quad core 3Ghz Xeon for $290. It came with 4G of DDR2 memory, an ATI Radeon Card and a 250 GB SATA drive. They also shipped it with a keyboard and mouse, but no operating system. I called them and asked if they had another Xeon CPU they could install. That CPU with the HP fan cost an extra $75. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

When it came in, I pulled the Nvidia card out of my old PC and put it in my XW8600. The card has an Nvidia GT520 chip with 1G of video memory. I also took the 2TB Seagate Barracuda SATA drive out of the old PC and put it in the XW8600.

The XW8600 is refurbished by Server Worlds. It is clean and looks practically new. Then I bought 32GB of DDR2-667, PC2-5300, Fully Buffered, ECC, 1.8V, 240-pin, memory modules. There are 8 memory slots in the XW8600, so they are a 4GB modules. These are not the regular commodity mudules most PC's come with because they have error checking built in. The XW8600 can be expanded to a monstrous 128GB of DRAM memory with special riser cards too. In order to get the proper specifications for memory, you can go to the Micron website. Micron is a US maker of memory chips. AFter you get a part number and exact specifications you can shop eBay for lots a cheap memory. Here is the website for memory specifications:

http://www.crucial.com

Then I installed Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and did all the updates. My PC now can direclty access 32G of DRAM with 8 Xeon cores running! I actually only use Windows for work. I much prefer Linux.

Installing Windows with all your patches, applications, etc. takes forever. But I used the entire 2TB drive. Then I booted with a Linux Mint 14 KDE 64-bit DVD. It shrunk the Windows partition and made a 1TB partition for itself. This took only 45 minutes. Mint 14 installed Grub as a bootloader, so I now have a dual boot system. I then downloaded and installed all the latest Linux patches. After this I installed the latest Nvvidia driver that came with the Mint DVD.

Once I had my dual boot running properly, I added the Edgers PPA and the latest KDE 410.1 from the Kubuntu website. By upgrading Mint Linux 14, you will get Linux kernel 3.7 and Nvidia driver 313.26. Go into a terminal and type these commands in to upgrade your drivers and kernel:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

After you have done these steps, reboot and enter another terminal session. We will now upgrade to KDE 4.10.1:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

After having done all this, I also installed Windows XP Pro and Windows 7 each in separate virtual machines using VirtualBox. I assigned 4G of RAM to Windows 7 and 2G of RAM to the XP VM.

This is the fastest and most solid computer I have ever had. I could not be happier. For all the specs on my refurbished XW8600, you can get all that from HP's website at:

http://h71016.www7.hp.com/html/interact ... model.html

Good luck and happy computing. I love this PC with Mint 14!!!

:D
HP XW8600 Work Station
Dual Quad-Core 3Ghz Xeon CPU's
32GB PC2-5300 ECC DRAM
Nvidia GT520 2G GDDR3 Graphics
2TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM
Linux Mint 16 KDE 64-bit
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
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Re: My New (Refurbished) HP Monster with Mint 14

Postby bigj231 on Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:59 pm

Nice system, and great price. Comes up to about $500 + Windows all together doesn't it? I think I still prefer the used consumer systems though. Especially when they contain last year's flagship GPU. :twisted:
Also, if you have an extra $100, Tiger Direct has a 160GB Intel 320 SSD that would round out the system quite nicely. My lowly laptop boots Mint in 20 seconds flat with an OCZ Agility 4. You should be able to fit both Windows and Mint on 160GB if you put all your user data on the HDD.

Edit: I see you have a barracuda. Which model exactly? I had a 7200.11 that had the bad firmware. Was a PITA to fix. The darned thing runs like a top now.
Running on a 4-slot toaster @ 60Hz
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Re: My New (Refurbished) HP Monster with Mint 14

Postby Rudemeister on Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:28 pm

bigj231 wrote:Nice system, and great price. Comes up to about $500 + Windows all together doesn't it? I think I still prefer the used consumer systems though. Especially when they contain last year's flagship GPU. :twisted:
Also, if you have an extra $100, Tiger Direct has a 160GB Intel 320 SSD that would round out the system quite nicely. My lowly laptop boots Mint in 20 seconds flat with an OCZ Agility 4. You should be able to fit both Windows and Mint on 160GB if you put all your user data on the HDD.

Edit: I see you have a barracuda. Which model exactly? I had a 7200.11 that had the bad firmware. Was a PITA to fix. The darned thing runs like a top now.


The drive I have is a ST2000DM001, but I forget what the firmware rev is. It works great though. I think I'll just stick with the way it's setup right now too. The BIOS takes a real long time to post on this machine anyway, so an SSD is not likely to improve boot time that much.
HP XW8600 Work Station
Dual Quad-Core 3Ghz Xeon CPU's
32GB PC2-5300 ECC DRAM
Nvidia GT520 2G GDDR3 Graphics
2TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM
Linux Mint 16 KDE 64-bit
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
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Rudemeister
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Posts: 171
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 7:24 am

Re: My New (Refurbished) HP Monster with Mint 14

Postby bigj231 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:58 am

You should bf safe on the HDD then. I've never had good experiences with segate/maxtor drives. They have a life span of about 7 years for me. I still have a 10GB WD that runs without issue.
And on the SSDs again, My laptop went from 2+ minutes to desktop to 25 seconds do desktop. YMMV.
Running on a 4-slot toaster @ 60Hz
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