Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted [Solved]

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Raycoupe
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Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted [Solved]

Post by Raycoupe » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:26 am

Hello, I'm new with Linux and planning to buy a new system, old one (win10 Pro) has died, now working on a ten year old i7 system with Mint 18.3. I know of the existence of the hardware database: https://community.linuxmint.com/hardware/search but new hardware is not often listed.

My use of the system is primarily office use, playing movies via HDMI on a TV and storing large amounts of data (about 4 Tb). No games, little photo and video editing. No clue what is the right choice for running Linux OS's, big price difference between different motherboards, quadcore i3 or hexacore i5 processor for example and how much RAM needed with Linux/number of cores.

Looking around in a dutch webshop (I'm from the Netherlands) I was looking at this configuration (excl. 8 Tb data disk):

Cooler Master Silencio 452 (Midi tower cabinet)
Intel® Core™ i5-8400
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo
MSI B360M BAZOOKA
Kingston® HyperX Fury - 8 GB
Samsung 860 EVO - 250 GB - SSD
Fortron Hyper M 500 Semi Modular - 500W

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Last edited by Raycoupe on Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Hardware, operating systems, software and networking are are nothing else than necessary, cumbersome and easily replaceable evils to store and provide data. Triple backup your data at least, twice on-site, and another copy off-site.

rene
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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by rene » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:28 pm

An i5-8400 is quite fast. If definitively no gaming (new gaming, legacy gaming will be fine regardless) I'd personally consider the i3-8100 at €159 vs. €239. And then do the i5-8400 anyway, but still. The i3 would be quite enough for me...

Your 8GB I would find to be too little; it's the high-end amount of nearing 10 years ago now; would have 16G at minimum and preferably as 2x8 in a board with 4 slots (such as yours) so I could upgrade to 32 later (the i5-8400 is dual-channel chip).

The 860 EVO I would no longer buy; it's a SATA SSD (actually, or at heart) with throughput for the 250G version at around 550/520 M/s r/w. I'd definitely go for an M.2 970 EVO and a board with matching slot (such as yours); it's listed as 3500/1500 M/s at only slightly more euro's...

A 500W PSU could I'd feel be slightly underpowered, depending on what you are planning to do with the enormous number of drive bays in your case AND gaming being definitively out. I.e., on that system ever wanting to host a discrete video card. No experience with Fortron but I'd probably shop for Seasonic exclusively.

The cooler's nice and I don't have much opinion on the board; no experience with MSI either; Gigabyte and Asus are my personal favourites. It does look to be a good choice.

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by Raycoupe » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:45 pm

Thanks for your advice, good point with the samsung SSD, a faster one is only 10 euro's more expensive. I'm also in doubt between i3 and i5.

A videocard can be added later, when required, this was a deliberate choice. Will look into 8 versus 16 Gb memory.

Most important is wether this hardware is fully linux (mint) compatible.
Hardware, operating systems, software and networking are are nothing else than necessary, cumbersome and easily replaceable evils to store and provide data. Triple backup your data at least, twice on-site, and another copy off-site.

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by rene » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:08 pm

Raycoupe wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:45 pm
A videocard can be added later, when required, this was a deliberate choice. Will look into 8 versus 16 Gb memory.
I recently found my own 550W PSU to limit some possibilities but that's with older and more power hungry components; just tried http://www.coolermaster.com/power-supply-calculator/ and 500W in fact seems to be okay for that system even with a (fair) discrete video card added. And yes, efficiency of the PSU drops spectacularly if you overdo wattage --- but I'd still carefully look at that...

Yes, Gen 8 should at this point be supported well, including integrated graphics. Your board has Realtek LAN and Audio which as as far as I'm aware should be fine as well. No personal experience with that particular generation but don't see anything worrisome.

[EDIT] Let me add... definitely not considering water cooling? Quite nice...

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by xenopeek » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:07 pm

Everything but the motherboard should not be a worry and will work with Linux. With the motherboard it's worth an internet search to see if there are any problems running it with Linux or better yet with Ubuntu specifically (as Linux Mint uses the hardware stack from Ubuntu). For the motherboard you're considering, it has a Realtek 8111H network chip and a quick search shows that may be problematic on Linux (but I did a quick search so perhaps I'm misreading or it's fixed in newer kernels).

Looking around for alternatives I'd suggest you look at the MSI B360M Mortar (also comes as MSI B360M Mortar Titanium for alternative look) and ASRock B360M Pro4 because those boards cost about the same but give you the Intel WG-I219V network chip that you should want instead of the Realtek crap. They are comparable feature wise though they offer more USB ports at the I/O panel than the board you were considering and also have the slightly better audio chip. The MSI boards has a DisplayPort that neither your board nor the ASRock have. Look up some specs or reviews to see if these could be a fit for you?

On the higher end spectrum there is the Asus RoG Strix B360-G Gaming, but that will cost about € 30 more I think. It mostly stands out as getting good reviews (see https://www.anandtech.com/show/13105/th ... d-review/8) though it's a bit gaudy to look at.

I agree you might have enough with a i3-8100 if you're only going for 8GB RAM. I mean, you're not selecting 8GB RAM if you expect to run a lot of demanding applications at the same time. Major difference from prior generations of Intel processors (thank AMD :)) is that the i3-8100 has 4 cores so is no slouch. The i5-8400 has 6 cores and, unsurprising, is about half again as fast as the i3-8100 when running multi threaded applications. It's about 10% faster on single threaded applications. If you'd go for the i5-8400 I would indeed also consider going for 16GB RAM. But it has to fit in the budget of course.

The 500W PSU is more than enough for your system and likely should be enough for low to mid range graphics card (think Radeon 1060 or RX 560). Check the specifications of graphics card you might consider in the future for what wattage your PSU should have. MSI have this on the specifications page of their models listed as "Recommended PSU". Many games will run on Intel graphics (I do all my gaming on Intel graphics) though rarely at high fps count and higher resolutions will be an issue. It also depends on what kind of games you play. You don't need a discrete graphics card unless gaming is very important.

As for storage, fully agree with rene :)
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rene
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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by rene » Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:03 pm

xenopeek wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:07 pm
For the motherboard you're considering, it has a Realtek 8111H network chip and a quick search shows that may be problematic on Linux (but I did a quick search so perhaps I'm misreading or it's fixed in newer kernels).
I hit upon the following, which specifically says that it is fine in Mint 19: https://medium.com/@lgobinath/no-ethern ... e2779dc9b8. It does list a few problems with Mint 18 but other posts I found on the issue were all 2016 and earlier; for a popular chip like that that likely means it's fixed across the board by now.

You're quite right that Intel quality is better, but I have a bit of soft spot for Realtek. Coming from expensive ISA NICs I in an upgrade once bought 4 ultra cheap RTL8039 NICs to tide me over --- and ended up using them for years; still have two "in use" in fact. Perfectly stable and, for the time, performant and as was back then important to me, fully documented in publicly available datasheets. Also the system I'm typing this on has onboard Realtek LAN that's working quite well. As said, soft spot...

Shall still advise some caution at 500W. I actually typed the system into http://www.coolermaster.com/power-supply-calculator/ (i5-8400, 2x8G, M.2 SSD, SATA 7200, DVD-RW, 1xUSB2, 1xUSB3, KB, Mouse, 2x120mm case fans, 1x120mm CPU fan. Adding an Nvidia GTX1060 is still okay but a GTX1070 Ti is pushing it...

Admittedly, I only now check prices on those and that might be more than OP's planning for but on the other hand, if upgrading integrated graphics in a few years, when those cards are not expensive any more...

As said, recently ran into an issue with my current 550W not being enough, while it's an expensive and still newish PSU; wish I had given myself slightly more breathing room.

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by rene » Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:44 pm

Strike the PSU part of the above; I had given him 8x8G, "in both slots", 128G total :-/

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by Mage of Maple » Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:16 pm

One thing to consider when deciding i3 vs i5 and 8 GB vs 16 GB is whether you think you'll be running virtual machines doing any significant load. I would say even if you don't think you will, there is a good chance you will wind up wanting to do that. The difference between i3 and i5 is pretty significant.

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by lsemmens » Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:34 pm

My only concern would be the PSU. Bigger is better in this case and I think the 500W might struggle,
Kernel: 4.15.0-46-generic x86_64 bits
Desktop: Cinnamon 3.8.9
Distro: Linux Mint 19 Tara

Laptop HP-ProBook-470-G2 8Gb RAM SSD
Server AMD Phenom 9650 - GEForce 9400GT 6Gb RAM
+ three other Mint machines
Out of my mind - please leave a message

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by AndyMH » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:19 am

The system I put together in September (last time I built a PC would have been around 2000):

Case - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... UTF8&psc=1
Motherboard - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07 ... UTF8&psc=1
CPU i5-8400 (comes with heatsink/fan) - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07 ... UTF8&psc=1
Memory 16G - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01 ... UTF8&psc=1
Power supply 500W - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... UTF8&psc=1
Graphics GTX1080 - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01 ... UTF8&psc=1
SSD - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01 ... UTF8&psc=1

It currently has 2 x 240G SSDs, one for win10 and one for LM19, plus a separate 2TB HDD for backup in a removable caddy. Bought primarily to play with an oculus rift hence the higher end graphics card (mobo has integrated graphics) and why it's dual booting with win10. Mobo gave choices on UEFI/legacy so I went for legacy on the premise that it's simpler (and what I've done in the past).

No problems installing or running mint. Plenty fast enough!

EDIT - running LM19.0 cinnamon with a 4.15 kernel.
Homebrew i5-8400+GTX1080 Cinnamon 19.0, 3 x Thinkpad T430 Cinnamon 19.0, i7-3632 , i5-3320, i5-3210, Thinkpad T60 19.0 Mate

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by xenopeek » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:58 am

lsemmens wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:34 pm
My only concern would be the PSU. Bigger is better in this case and I think the 500W might struggle,
How do you figure that? Under full load the i5-8400 draws about 50W and the Samsung SSD 970 EVO about 7W. So add the MSI B360M MORTAR motherboard with some watts for connected memory, cooler, fans and USB devices and the total system draws about 160W under full load—and PCs rarely runs at full load for any significant length of time.

A 500W PSU is more than enough for a 6-core system with such a barebones motherboard and without a discrete graphics card. Even adding a low or mid range graphics card, 500W is enough as that would maybe make the total system draw about 300W under full load.
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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by rene » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:37 am

You'll need to add in his SATA 8TB, 2 case fans, 1 CPU fan, likely an optical drive at least potentially, keyboard, mouse, and the possibility to in fact connect something to one or more USB ports. 500W at that point struggles with current high-end discrete video; is indeed still enough otherwise. While the rest of us are or were overestimating, xenopeek is underestimating...

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by xenopeek » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:42 am

I specifically said "low to mid range graphics card" and earlier gave as examples Radeon 1060 or RX 560. Both of those have a recommended PSU of 400W. I'm not underestimating.
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rene
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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by rene » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:53 am

400W is about right for up to midrange discrete video, but you said 300 two posts up. That was the underestimation I was referring to.

Additionally note that low-end discrete video would not make sense in a system with Gen 8 integrated video already so we're talking mid- to high-end if any at all. 500 may hence be about the right choice if adding some room for future expansion (I also still note the the 6 drive bays in that case).

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by Raycoupe » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:38 am

The i5 with 16Gb ram is probably the best choice for the future, since I want to keep my options open (virtual machine, etc, video/photo editing, etc). A 600 watt power supply to support future graphics cards (no interest in gaming however). Fastest Samsung SSD, case with removable dustfilters, silent coolers.

The motherboard I have to look into, considering the above advise to avoid Realtek chips. The funny thing is, I've found two hardware databases listing hw for ubuntu, but ofcourse the new stuff isn't listed. I guess the most important part is getting the right motherboard, since I'll be using onboard lan, audio and video.
Hardware, operating systems, software and networking are are nothing else than necessary, cumbersome and easily replaceable evils to store and provide data. Triple backup your data at least, twice on-site, and another copy off-site.

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by rene » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:48 am

Don't personally really agree with the advise to avoid Realtek, although certainly Intel is generally better. Weigh in that you are being advised by a Realtek-softspotter (me) and a Realtek-disliker (xenopeek) though; sensibility will lie somewhere in the middle :-)

And after all this PSU talk I had in fact somewhat concluded not least with help from that Coolermaster calculator that 500W was about right, even with room for future expansion. 550W is a common spec; I'd personally almost certainly do that one.

Don't pay attention to Linux hardware databases. Those at best contain the 2% of hardware someone got around to testing by chance, at worst contain little to nothing objective.

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by xenopeek » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:34 am

rene wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:53 am
but you said 300 two posts up. That was the underestimation I was referring to.
From benchmarks I read for the models I talked about, 300W is roughly the total system power draw (actually a bit lower, I rounded up). PSUs in this price range are about 85% efficient so it pays to have a bit of headroom. You're absolutely right on that. But the PSU recommendation from the graphics card manufacturer takes that into account so if they say 400W is enough, 500W is more than enough.

Personally I don't see an upper mid or high end graphics card fitting in this system; it would cost more than the rest of the PC put together.
Raycoupe wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:38 am
The motherboard I have to look into, considering the above advise to avoid Realtek chips.
rene puts it elegantly that the choice is up to you and we're just strangers on the Internet voicing are biased opinions :) That said, as the MORTAR costs the same as the BAZOOKA but you get the Intel network chip, you get a DisplayPort, you get S/PDIF out and you get USB 3.1 Gen2 instead of Gen1 (10 GB/s vs 5 GB/s) I would have my preference. I've only looked at mATX boards though, assuming that was what you wanted.
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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by rambo919 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:10 am

I have found that with cheap graphics cards a 500W PSU is fine but higher end one's tend to in practice require a 600W min especially if you have more than one HDD and multiple fans. With SSD's this might not quite be the case though assuming they draw less?

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by rene » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:42 am

There's really fairly little need for relying on benchmarks or experience. I.e., my own experience with older hardware caused me to overestimate initially. These PSU calculators that are all over the web such as the coolermaster one I pasted a few times shows 400W worst case (i.e., 4GHz for the i5-8400) actual power draw with an 1060, 425W for 1070, 455 for 1070 Ti (or 1080), ...

I.e., 500W will do, 550W being common anyway, relatively useful for some more headroom at the same price, 600W a bit much.

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Re: Choosing new PC for Linux, thoughts and advice wanted

Post by AndyMH » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:50 am

I have found that with cheap graphics cards a 500W PSU is fine but higher end one's tend to in practice require a 600W min
My system with a GTX1080 runs fine with a 500W PSU
Homebrew i5-8400+GTX1080 Cinnamon 19.0, 3 x Thinkpad T430 Cinnamon 19.0, i7-3632 , i5-3320, i5-3210, Thinkpad T60 19.0 Mate

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