Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

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Kronstadt1921
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by Kronstadt1921 »

Kronstadt1921 wrote:Summing up, here are some rethinks for me:

1. Reduce RAM to 4 or 8 GB
2. Find mobo that supports an integrated Nvidia graphics chipset
3. Find a non-Corsair PSU
4. Consider Gparted vs. Acronis Disk Director

Do any of you have any thoughts on having a solid state boot drive and an HDD for data?
The AMD APUs apparently only work with AMD/ATI graphics chipsets. Is the "poor quality" of the "closed non-free video drivers from AMD/ATI" really a serious issue for Linux users?

Also, I haven't heard any opinions here on having a solid state boot drive. It seems like major/sole advantage is boot speed but I don't really feel that is a pressing need.
My system on 02Aug2020:
OS: (all 64-bit) LM 18.3 & 19.3, Windows 10
CPU: AMD A10-7800 3.5GHz
Mbd: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H FM2+
RAM: G.Skill 2x8GB DDR3-1866
SDA: Kingston SV300S3 SSD 120GB
SDB: WD 1003FZEX HDD 1TB
SDC: Samsung 860 EVO SSD 500 GB
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MtnDewManiac
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by MtnDewManiac »

I continued to use Windows XP for a while because I liked the app that came with my printer (Epson Artisan 810) that printed to printable CDs/DVDs better than the thought of learning how to "do everything myself" in Gimp (which still seems like a pretty complex application for me - especially since that'd be the only thing I was likely to use it for :roll: ). But I haven't had any ink for that printer in a couple years, so that is how long it has been since I booted a Microsoft OS on my own computer.

Outside of a short (and bad) experience with Mandrake linux years ago, I jumped in with Ultimate Edition linux a few years back. I think of that distro as "Everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink, plus anything else that exists anywhere in the universe, plus enough flash, fireworks, and kiddie stuff to make even a schizophrenic who is in the throes of a heavy meth binge step back and say, 'Whoa! Maybe you ought to tone it down just a bit?' - and, oh yeah, spray paint the entire experience BLACK." It was... an experience. I remember that one day I reinstalled it five times (screwing it up beyond use each time and in the process accidentally removing the working Microsoft OS, which required me to drag the desktop across town to a friend's working computer so I could get online). Nonetheless, I basically liked it. But I later tried Mint - and I LOVE it :D . And in the years that I have been using it, I haven't managed to break it (and when I was a kid, Dad used to say (regularly... IDK why? lol), "Boy, you could break an anvil with a rubber mallet." It has done everything that I've ever needed an OS to do. It looks reasonably pleasant - and, of course, can be customized in the visual sense in so many ways (like most all linux distros). I have found it to be very user-friendly [WARNING: User friendly does NOT mean "it's just like Windows." :lol: But I installed it on the laptop of a woman in her late 70s who couldn't manage to do even basic things in Microsoft's OS (and who found that one anything BUT user-friendly) and she stopped calling me multiple times per day asking how to do stuff (and later told me, "I just tried what I thought should be the way to do something - and it worked!")]

You should be fine. There are four versions of the "main" Mint (which is based on Ubuntu - I probably wouldn't recommend the set of Mint versions which are based on Debian to a newcomer, although many people have certainly managed to learn/use it), which each have a different DE (desktop environment - you aren't stuck with one DE like you are with a Microsoft OS). Cinnamon and KDE are "heavier," but have more visual effects(?). MATE is lighter, and Xfce is lighter still (AfaIK it is still the least resource-intensive, but I'm told that MATE isn't bad). I personally use Xfce. It's still plenty customizable (IMHO), just not really as flashy. A person can (easily) add a second - or third, or fourth... - DE to their computer later, so it is not really a big deal which one you start with, I suppose.

I guess I'd suggest that you start with Xfce. If for no other reason, that it is pretty "non-threatening" to new users. Not that the others are, perhaps I could have worded that better. But there are choices and then there are CHOICES, lol. I think I spent an hour just looking at the included desktop backgrounds, trying the different themes, and so forth. And then I ran Synaptic Package Manager (tool to quickly/easily install or remove things from the (many) thousands of choices that are available in Mint's file repositories without ever having to go looking around on the Internet for an app that does {whatever})... Saw that there were over 30,000 installable files (in categories, and with a real handy search box, so don't be daunted by that number), and just started browsing. Before I knew it, three more hours had passed. And that's all standard stuff. I added applets to my panel (actually, I added a couple more panels, lol) - again, standard linux choice thing. I tried out the (quite a few) applications that were included with every Mint distro installation (yep, pretty much a standard again - no "we were NICE enough to add two or three apps with your Windows installation - but in 30 days you'll have to pay to keep them running" here in linux, lol. Although... If you want to see a solitaire game, you'll have to pick one from Synaptic Package Manager (or Software Manager, I guess, but I use SPM (choice again!)) because, hey, I guess you can't have everything :wink: . I'd recommend AisleRiot - it has, IDK, around 80 different types of solitaire because who wants just one? (There's a solitaire game in our repos that apparently has 1,000 different versions in it :roll: .)

Anyway, with all those choices as standard, I don't see any real need to add all the other choices for flash and pizazz(?) that you'd get with a heavier DE, so I suggest Mint 17.1 Xfce as your first linux distro. If you later feel that you need something "more" - or just different - then you can add another DE. Or install a second version of Mint alongside your first one. Or, for that matter, you could try a completely different distro, lol. People here would tell you to go ahead and have a ball. I'm pretty sure that if you told Clem (the developer and "Chief" of Mint), "Hey, I really like Mint but I was thinking of trying {other distro}, would you mind?" that he'd reply, "Why would I mind? Go ahead and enjoy yourself." (I'm not sure that you'd get that kind of response from the CEO of Microsoft if you told him/her you were thinking about trying an Apple OS :P .) Of course, Clem and the rest of us would undoubtedly hope that you'd return to say that you still liked Mint the best.

Err, I've rambled a bit. I was only going to mention that I'm currently using an i5 laptop (with "basic" integrated... I4000(?IDK?) graphics) and that it works very well with linux and that before I got it last year I was using a laptop that had a low-budget Intel CPU (with really crappy integrated graphics) that was only considered to be "middle of the pile" at best even when it was new in 2004 (lmao) - and it even worked well in linux. So you might want to consider a newer generation of Intel "i#" CPU instead of AMD. It might be a few dollars more than an AMD CPU, but from what I've read the past few years it'll probably be more powerful (I don't think AMD has been in the position of "one-upping" Intel for quite some time). And, while AMD's integrated graphics might (arguably) be (somewhat) more powerful than Intel's, I don't think it'd be anything that you'd notice for basic computing, web-browsing, watching videos, et cetera. Even the basic stuff is vastly more powerful than it used to be. Now, if you were planning on playing the latest and greatest system-taxing games under Windows, then... You'd want to get a really powerful CPU and combine it with a really expensive separate graphics card (or two), anyway. <SHRUGS> Get a good quality motherboard that supports the newer Intel CPUs, and maybe one of the cheaper (but, again, newer) i5 CPUs that have integrated graphics. Save your money that a more expensive CPU and a separate graphics card would cost until you (possibly, one day) find that you need more power. Spend it on a nice dinner or two with a loved one instead.

Regards,
MDM
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If guns kill people, then pencils misspell words, cars make people drive drunk, and spoons made Rosie O'Donnell fat.
Cosmo.
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by Cosmo. »

Besides my post about EFI i had linked in my first answer here you find a short overview here with some more links there.

I suggest to use VirtualBox.

Regarding Wine: Windows software might work in wine good, bad or not at all. Except taking a look at winehq it is a matter of trial and error. I use wine for a few applications (mainly the audio player foobar2000 and the universum simulator Celestia) and in both cases installation and usage goes straight forward without any difference to Windows.
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by austin.texas »

Kronstadt1921 wrote: Is the "poor quality" of the "closed non-free video drivers from AMD/ATI" really a serious issue for Linux users?
If you check out the whole article from the link I gave you earlier, you can get some good tips.
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... gpus&num=6
The article indicates that AMD Radeon with open-source drivers outperforms Intel with Nouveau drivers, but Intel with NVIDIA drivers beats AMD with open-source.
Kronstadt1921 wrote:Also, I haven't heard any opinions here on having a solid state boot drive. It seems like major/sole advantage is boot speed but I don't really feel that is a pressing need.
I tend to agree that boot speed is not a major goal. However, loading programs quickly is important.
A 30GB or 60GB SSD is big enough for 1 or 2 operating systems.

In addition to the speed of the SSD, there is a significant advantage to having the OS on one drive, and the configuration and files on a different drive.
If everything is on one drive, a mechanical hard drive has to move from one place to another (OS partition to DATA partition) to gather the info. With the OS on a different drive, that eliminates a lot of seek time.
Mint 18.2 Cinnamon, Quad core AMD A8-3870 with Radeon HD Graphics 6550D, 8GB DDR3, Ralink RT2561/RT61 802.11g PCI
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by Aristotelian »

You definitely do not need an SSD for your data. If boot time is not important (eg if the machine is going to be powered on 24/7), then there is no advantage at all to an SSD.

I will say that once I tried an SSD on my primary computer I did not want to go back. Once you get used to a boot time of 8-10 seconds, a 1 minute boot time seems like an eternity. But I would go with SSD as the system drive and HDD as the data drive, both because large SSDs are prohibitively expensive and because keeping your data separate reduces the probability that doing something stupid to your system drive will wipe out your data.
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MtnDewManiac
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by MtnDewManiac »

austin.texas wrote:
Kronstadt1921 wrote: Is the "poor quality" of the "closed non-free video drivers from AMD/ATI" really a serious issue for Linux users?
If you check out the whole article from the link I gave you earlier, you can get some good tips.
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... gpus&num=6
The article indicates that AMD Radeon with open-source drivers outperforms Intel with Nouveau drivers, but Intel with NVIDIA drivers beats AMD with open-source.
Is one graphics manufacturer known for being more forthcoming with information and working with the open-source community than the other? I know Intel seems to be pretty good about that kind of thing? IIRC, there is actually an "Intel Open Source Technology Center," but that might (IDK) really only be a factor when comparing CPUs with integrated graphics solutions (Intel i5/i7 vs. AMD A6/A10 CPUs) - as opposed to comparing discrete graphics card performance (AMD vs. nVidia). But, again, I question the need for a discrete graphics card on a system that will only be used for basic tasks.
austin.texas wrote:In addition to the speed of the SSD, there is a significant advantage to having the OS on one drive, and the configuration and files on a different drive.
If everything is on one drive, a mechanical hard drive has to move from one place to another (OS partition to DATA partition) to gather the info. With the OS on a different drive, that eliminates a lot of seek time.
I wanted an SSD for a while. Then I realized that I don't exactly have time to go fix a sandwich when I am waiting for my computer to boot or load an application :wink: . TBH, IDK which would have a longer life in the real world. I've had hard drives fail, but it was after more years than many people keep a computer (I have taken used hard drives out of computers that came from dumpsters and they worked fine - for years), and I think I read a couple years ago that a block (sector?) on an SSD can only be written to so many times (this information might be out of date - or even incorrect - and I suppose it would be less of a factor on a "boot/OS drive" than a data drive, but...).

One thing, though: I would assume that an SSD would use less electricity per year than a magnetic hard drive would? Or at least a magnetic hard drive that isn't configured to shut down the motor between uses (and I'm guessing that most aren't)? Either way, the amounts would be relatively small, but perhaps we should all be thinking about resource conservation (not wanting to get into a political discussion here, lol).

Regards,
MDM
Mint 18 Xfce 4.12.

If guns kill people, then pencils misspell words, cars make people drive drunk, and spoons made Rosie O'Donnell fat.
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Kronstadt1921
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by Kronstadt1921 »

Cosmo. wrote:Besides my post about EFI i had linked in my first answer here you find a short overview here with some more links there.

I suggest to use VirtualBox.
Thanks for your reply. I'll look into VirtualBox.

Re: UEFI/EFI, I'm still a little confused about what my options are. Believe it or not in the early 90s I was a work-study computer technical assistant at a public university. However, that wasn't my field of study (or career) and the technology has changed so much since then that I'm kinda lost. My MB of choice is the Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H (rev. 3.1). Under the BIOS heading, the specs say:
  • 2 x 64 Mbit flash
    Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
    Support for DualBIOS
    PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
I don't know about all of the different flavors of BIOS. I do understand that you think I should stay away from AMI UEFI BIOS. Is there a primer somewhere on Linux and BIOS choices?
Last edited by Kronstadt1921 on Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
My system on 02Aug2020:
OS: (all 64-bit) LM 18.3 & 19.3, Windows 10
CPU: AMD A10-7800 3.5GHz
Mbd: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H FM2+
RAM: G.Skill 2x8GB DDR3-1866
SDA: Kingston SV300S3 SSD 120GB
SDB: WD 1003FZEX HDD 1TB
SDC: Samsung 860 EVO SSD 500 GB
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Kronstadt1921
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by Kronstadt1921 »

austin.texas wrote:
Kronstadt1921 wrote: Is the "poor quality" of the "closed non-free video drivers from AMD/ATI" really a serious issue for Linux users?
If you check out the whole article from the link I gave you earlier, you can get some good tips.
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... gpus&num=6
The article indicates that AMD Radeon with open-source drivers outperforms Intel with Nouveau drivers, but Intel with NVIDIA drivers beats AMD with open-source.
I did look at that article. The same author did a review of both the AMD A10-7800 and the Gigabyte F2A88XM-D3H AMD A88X I have selected. Michael Larabel says they work "great" and "well" with Linux, respectively. The MB review was written before "Testing 60+ Intel/AMD/NVIDIA GPUs On Linux ..." so I'm not sure what to make of it. Perhaps, the Radeon HD 8000/7000 series graphics work well on that particular MB but not so well generally? He concludes that article saying: "For most newer AMD Radeon and Intel HD Graphics hardware, you really can't go wrong."
austin.texas wrote:
Kronstadt1921 wrote:Also, I haven't heard any opinions here on having a solid state boot drive. It seems like major/sole advantage is boot speed but I don't really feel that is a pressing need.
I tend to agree that boot speed is not a major goal. However, loading programs quickly is important.
A 30GB or 60GB SSD is big enough for 1 or 2 operating systems.

In addition to the speed of the SSD, there is a significant advantage to having the OS on one drive, and the configuration and files on a different drive.
If everything is on one drive, a mechanical hard drive has to move from one place to another (OS partition to DATA partition) to gather the info. With the OS on a different drive, that eliminates a lot of seek time.
Thanks for your feedback.
My system on 02Aug2020:
OS: (all 64-bit) LM 18.3 & 19.3, Windows 10
CPU: AMD A10-7800 3.5GHz
Mbd: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H FM2+
RAM: G.Skill 2x8GB DDR3-1866
SDA: Kingston SV300S3 SSD 120GB
SDB: WD 1003FZEX HDD 1TB
SDC: Samsung 860 EVO SSD 500 GB
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Kronstadt1921
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by Kronstadt1921 »

Aristotelian wrote:You definitely do not need an SSD for your data. If boot time is not important (eg if the machine is going to be powered on 24/7), then there is no advantage at all to an SSD.
Thanks for your comments. FWIW, I never leave my computer on overnight and it's never been a problem.
Last edited by Kronstadt1921 on Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
My system on 02Aug2020:
OS: (all 64-bit) LM 18.3 & 19.3, Windows 10
CPU: AMD A10-7800 3.5GHz
Mbd: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H FM2+
RAM: G.Skill 2x8GB DDR3-1866
SDA: Kingston SV300S3 SSD 120GB
SDB: WD 1003FZEX HDD 1TB
SDC: Samsung 860 EVO SSD 500 GB
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Kronstadt1921
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by Kronstadt1921 »

MtnDewManiac wrote:Is one graphics manufacturer known for being more forthcoming with information and working with the open-source community than the other? I know Intel seems to be pretty good about that kind of thing? IIRC, there is actually an "Intel Open Source Technology Center," but that might (IDK) really only be a factor when comparing CPUs with integrated graphics solutions (Intel i5/i7 vs. AMD A6/A10 CPUs) - as opposed to comparing discrete graphics card performance (AMD vs. nVidia). But, again, I question the need for a discrete graphics card on a system that will only be used for basic tasks.
Thanks again for your help. I never planned to build a system with a graphics card. That's one of the reasons I chose the AMD APU.
MtnDewManiac wrote:One thing, though: I would assume that an SSD would use less electricity per year than a magnetic hard drive would? Or at least a magnetic hard drive that isn't configured to shut down the motor between uses (and I'm guessing that most aren't)? Either way, the amounts would be relatively small, but perhaps we should all be thinking about resource conservation (not wanting to get into a political discussion here, lol).
Actually, energy efficiency is another driver on my build choices. The AMD A10-7800 is a 65W APU and the whole system is estimated by PCPartPicker to use 169W. I currently use a low power AMD CPU that I've had for about 8 years.
My system on 02Aug2020:
OS: (all 64-bit) LM 18.3 & 19.3, Windows 10
CPU: AMD A10-7800 3.5GHz
Mbd: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H FM2+
RAM: G.Skill 2x8GB DDR3-1866
SDA: Kingston SV300S3 SSD 120GB
SDB: WD 1003FZEX HDD 1TB
SDC: Samsung 860 EVO SSD 500 GB
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by Cosmo. »

Kronstadt1921 wrote:I do understand that you think I should stay away from AMI UEFI BIOS.
No, I would not make this a general advice. I personally had sometimes in the past bad experiences with AMD-hardware and than came the point, when I said "never AMD once more"; but this is for me. The consequence is, that I did not take any detail information about their products and I will not take my time for collecting information about something, I will never use again. So I cannot tell you something objective about the board.

Taking a quick look at the site you linked I found, that the board supports W8.x (with UEFI of course, MS demands this) and XP 32, interestingly W7 is not mentioned at all and I wonder why? For XP they say, that something they call "AMD FM2+ Kaveri APU" is required; maybe it is a certain kind of cpu, I don't know (and Gigabyte missed to provide a link). At least I conclude, that you can switch from UEFI to non-UEFI.

That is all I can and want to say about it.

Coming back to the quoted sentence: I said, I would avoid UEFI (in general) whenever possible.
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Kronstadt1921
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Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Post by Kronstadt1921 »

Thanks again to everyone who helped. I have a followup post here.
My system on 02Aug2020:
OS: (all 64-bit) LM 18.3 & 19.3, Windows 10
CPU: AMD A10-7800 3.5GHz
Mbd: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H FM2+
RAM: G.Skill 2x8GB DDR3-1866
SDA: Kingston SV300S3 SSD 120GB
SDB: WD 1003FZEX HDD 1TB
SDC: Samsung 860 EVO SSD 500 GB
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