Page 1 of 2

Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:06 am
by Kronstadt1921
Greetings,

I'm looking for feedback on my parts selection for a new computer system for my home use and on my Linux transition plan. I don't buy computers often, my current system is 8-years-old and has mostly reached the end of its useful life. I'm hoping to start buying parts by next Wednesday. I'm currently a Windows user.

For my new system I'd like something that I will also be satisfied with for several years.I mostly do word processing, spreadsheets, email, surfing the internet, and watching movies. I'm hoping to learn how to use animation software later this year and will probably use the new system for Rosetta Stone foreign language study, too.

I'm planning to install Acronis Disk Director, which I've never used before, to manage my partitions. Once I'm satisfied that my new Windows partition is working well, I want to start learning to use Linux Mint and transition to using that OS as much as possible and wean myself off Microsoft. I don't have the time or energy to do a crash course on Linux so I'm taking it slow. I already use a lot of open source software that's also used in Linux, e.g. GIMP 2.8. I know Acronis is proprietary but for starters I'd like something with an easy user interface and customer support.

Here are some of my newbie questions:

1. Is separate partitions on one HDD the best way to go for my purposes? I thought about virtualization but that seems like a bad idea and less workable.

2. What hardware support issues do I need to be concerned about? I know about http://community.linuxmint.com/hardware/search and have checked it numerous times.

3. Below is my current parts list, are there any Linux Mint device support pitfalls I should be aware of? Feel free to comment on my hardware choices generally. I recently purchased a new Dell 27" Ultrasharp monitor (U2715H) with 2560 x 1440 resolution. I'll probably forgo the Samsung solid state drive listed below. The only real use I can think of for having it is to use it as a boot drive for faster boots but I don't really need that much speed and can't really think of any compelling reason to have one. I'd like a low-profile, reliable, quiet, energy-efficient system that fits the usage I described above. Whenever affordable I prefer to use quality parts with a good warranty.

Thanks.

CPU: AMD A10-7800 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 45.0 CFM Fluid Dynamic Bearing CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard
Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-2133 Memory
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case
Power Supply: Corsair RM 450W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)
Keyboard: Logitech K120 Wired Standard Keyboard
External Storage: Western Digital Elements 500GB External Hard Drive

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:44 am
by Pierre
which version of windows - 7 or 8 or 10?.
- the modern hardware, now comes with both UEFI support & secure-boot,
both of which are required for windows 8 or 10.

see this tutorial:
http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=163126

but: if you plan on using windows 7, then you may still need to turn those function s off.

you may need 1 -2 partitions for windows & 2 - 3 partitions for LinuxMint.
- boot,, C: drive - for windows = 200Mb,, 500Gb
- / root,, /home,, /swap - for Linux Mint.= 10 Gb,,, 300Gb,, 1 -2 Gb

if it's a blank HDD - then use Gparted, which is the same partitioner that the LinuxMint installer uses,
- to pre-prepare the partitions on that hdd.

then install windows, reboot & install LinuxMint.

- do it slowly - partition the hdd & upload a screen_shot of how you partitioned the hdd,
and / or install windows & then give a screen_shot.

http://www.linux-drivers.org/
is another Linux compatibility site

as is:
http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl/

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:52 pm
by Kronstadt1921
Thanks for your reply, Pierre.
Pierre wrote:which version of windows - 7 or 8 or 10?.
- the modern hardware, now comes with both UEFI support & secure-boot,
both of which are required for windows 8 or 10.
I was planning to buy Windows 7 SP1. Is there a great advantage to having UEFI support & secure-boot?

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:59 pm
by austin.texas
Kronstadt1921 wrote:Is there a great advantage to having UEFI support & secure-boot?
About the only time you would need UEFI is if you have an extremely large hard drive, and need GPT partitioning. The old style of partitioning (msdos) is only capable of utilizing a hard drive smaller than 16 TB with 4,096 bytes sector size, or 3 TB with 512 bytes sector size.

I have had good results with my AMD A8 and A10 CPU's. The integrated Radeon graphics are fine for me. I don't do any intensive gaming, so I don't know about the performance there.
If you are tempted to buy a separate graphics card, refer to this page -
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... gpus&num=6

My Gigabyte motherboard is getting old, but still working fine.

I think 16GB of ram is overkill. I cut back on my most recent purchase, going from 8GB to 4GB. That seems to be plenty.

One of the most bothersome problems sometimes is wireless cards. Mine works fine - Ralink RT2561/RT61 802.11g PCI

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:57 am
by Cosmo.
Kronstadt1921 wrote:Is there a great advantage to having UEFI support & secure-boot?
Regarding secure-boot: Only a huge disadvantage. Linux Mint will not work.

Regarding UEFI: Short answer: no. For a longer answer read an older post of me.

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:05 am
by Pjotr
I advise a motherboard with an integrated Intel or Nvidia graphics chipset, not an AMD/ATI graphics chipset. The closed non-free video drivers from AMD/ATI are often of poor quality....

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:42 am
by Aristotelian
My main advice to you is to keep your current Windows computer while you are "weaning" and build your Linux computer clean. I think your transition will be easier than you think, and it will be easier to do if you don't have to worry about partitioning and such. You will also save $100 on having to buy Windows 7.

Secondarily, your build is sound but way overkill for the uses you describe. Unless you are gaming, you don't really need anything more than stock cooling, and even 8GB is probably overkill for memory.

The one component that stands out is the power supply. Corsair has developed a negative reputation in the building community the last couple years, and the series you have picked is actually ranked in the third tier along with their budget CX line. You don't have a video card (which you don't need), so your power needs are pretty minimal. Much more important are reliability and efficiency. Take a look at this list and buy a PSU that is in the first or second tier:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-25 ... -list.html

This Antec Earthwatts is on sale now, $60 cheaper than the Corsair and way higher rated:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817371033

Finally, this is a small pet peeve, but I prefer a wireless keyboard, and I use this one with Mint/Ubuntu:

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless ... ouse+combo

All in all, you should save yourself about $250 with no noticeable performance difference.

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:06 pm
by Kronstadt1921
austin.texas wrote:
Kronstadt1921 wrote:Is there a great advantage to having UEFI support & secure-boot?
About the only time you would need UEFI is if you have an extremely large hard drive, and need GPT partitioning. The old style of partitioning (msdos) is only capable of utilizing a hard drive smaller than 16 TB with 4,096 bytes sector size, or 3 TB with 512 bytes sector size.
Thanks for your help. I suppose 1 TB is no longer considered "an extremely large hard drive". I'm still using a 200 GB drive.
austin.texas wrote:I have had good results with my AMD A8 and A10 CPU's. The integrated Radeon graphics are fine for me. I don't do any intensive gaming, so I don't know about the performance there.
If you are tempted to buy a separate graphics card, refer to this page -
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=a ... gpus&num=6
I wasn't planning to buy a vid card. That's one reason I chose the APU.
austin.texas wrote:My Gigabyte motherboard is getting old, but still working fine.

I think 16GB of ram is overkill. I cut back on my most recent purchase, going from 8GB to 4GB. That seems to be plenty.

One of the most bothersome problems sometimes is wireless cards. Mine works fine - Ralink RT2561/RT61 802.11g PCI
Hmm, perhaps I'll go to 8GB RAM. I'm not planning use a wireless card.

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:17 pm
by Kronstadt1921
Cosmo. wrote:
Kronstadt1921 wrote:Is there a great advantage to having UEFI support & secure-boot?
Regarding secure-boot: Only a huge disadvantage. Linux Mint will not work.

Regarding UEFI: Short answer: no. For a longer answer read an older post of me.
Thanks for your feedback.

Pierre said: "UEFI support & secure-boot, both of which are required for windows 8 or 10" (emphasis added). I may need/want to use Windows 8 or 10. I sometimes need to digitally sign PDF files and as far as I know there is no Linux-based open source alternative that will allow me to do that.

Am I correct in understanding you and Pierre to say that Linux Mint will not run on a machine with UEFI support & secure-boot enabled/installed i.e. a Windows 8/10 machine?

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:19 pm
by Kronstadt1921
Pjotr wrote:I advise a motherboard with an integrated Intel or Nvidia graphics chipset, not an AMD/ATI graphics chipset. The closed non-free video drivers from AMD/ATI are often of poor quality....
Thanks for your reply. I'll consider a motherboard switch.

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:30 pm
by Kronstadt1921
Aristotelian wrote:My main advice to you is to keep your current Windows computer while you are "weaning" and build your Linux computer clean. I think your transition will be easier than you think, and it will be easier to do if you don't have to worry about partitioning and such. You will also save $100 on having to buy Windows 7.
Thanks for your response. Living space is an issue and I'd prefer not to have two computers but perhaps I could make that work. However, as mentioned above, I do sometimes need to have Windows machine for the PDF digital signing and my current XP machine is no longer keeping up with my software requirements.
Aristotelian wrote:Secondarily, your build is sound but way overkill for the uses you describe. Unless you are gaming, you don't really need anything more than stock cooling, and even 8GB is probably overkill for memory.
You're probably right but I tend to keep my computers for many years and I find that a little overkill at the beginning helps delay obsolescence.
Aristotelian wrote:The one component that stands out is the power supply. Corsair has developed a negative reputation in the building community the last couple years, and the series you have picked is actually ranked in the third tier along with their budget CX line. You don't have a video card (which you don't need), so your power needs are pretty minimal. Much more important are reliability and efficiency. Take a look at this list and buy a PSU that is in the first or second tier:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-25 ... -list.html

This Antec Earthwatts is on sale now, $60 cheaper than the Corsair and way higher rated:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817371033
Thanks, I did not know that about Corsair PSUs. I currently have an 8-year-old Antec. I will look at the links you provided.

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:41 pm
by Kronstadt1921
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?

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:56 pm
by Aristotelian
Sorry, I missed the bit about PDF digital signatures. Just do a google search, there are open source versions. It looks like jsignpdf will work for you (although it appears you will have to install it manually. It may take you some time but I am confident you will get it to work. Just post here on this forum if you get stuck!

http://yobiduck.blogspot.com/2012/05/ho ... using.html
http://www.hacker10.com/computer-securi ... documents/

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:59 pm
by Mark Phelps
Neither UEFI nor Secure Boot are REQUIRED for either Windows 8 (or 8.) or Windows 10.

I know because I'm running a desktop that has neither and BOTH Win8.1 (which was an upgrade from win8) and Win10TP work fine.

Manufactures include UEFI on preinstalled Win8 machines, and often include Secure Boot as well -- but that is their choice. Neither is required.

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:00 pm
by Aristotelian
Sorry, I missed the bit about PDF digital signatures. Just do a google search, there are open source versions. It looks like jsignpdf will work for you (although it appears you will have to install it manually. It may take you some time but I am confident you will get it to work. Just post here on this forum if you get stuck!

http://yobiduck.blogspot.com/2012/05/ho ... using.html
http://www.hacker10.com/computer-securi ... documents/

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:29 am
by Cosmo.
Kronstadt1921 wrote:Am I correct in understanding you and Pierre to say that Linux Mint will not run on a machine with UEFI support & secure-boot enabled/installed i.e. a Windows 8/10 machine?
Not quite.

Mint can be used with UEFI (but I would avoid it whenever possible).
Mint cannot be used with Secure Boot. Another artice about deactivating it I found here.

MS says, that UEFI and Scure Boot have to built in and sctivated in any computer, that comes with W8+ pre-installed. That does not mean, that it must be used. As also W7 would not be able to run with Secure Boot a dual-boot-system with W7 and W8 would not be possible with Secure Boot.

I read, that you're need for Windows is the usage of digitally signed PDF files. That is not a hardware intensive task. So I would install Mint as the sole system on the hardware and install Windows as a virtual machine inside Mint. That has the advantage, that you do not have to stop all work in your Mint system in order to go to Windows. EFI can be used also in a virtual machine. This attempt has the additional advantage, that you can avoid the problematic (see my previous post) UEFI in the hardware machine.

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:18 am
by MtnDewManiac
Cosmo. wrote:Mint cannot be used with Secure Boot.
Is it true to say that Mint could potentially be used with Secure Boot, but in order to do so, Clem would have to go through the expense/hassle of meeting the requirements and creating a "digital key" (or whatever it's called), and not that there is any technical reason which forbids it outright? (Note that I'm perfectly okay with Clem spending his money on development and server/Internet costs instead, lol; I'm just curious.)
Cosmo. wrote:install Windows as a virtual machine inside Mint
Would it be a good idea for the OP to go back to es original RAM figure of 16 gigs if es is going to be running a complete OS within another complete OS? Not that it would be required, necessarily, but so that the option to use any given application which might have a fairly high memory requirement (or, more likely, if several of them happen to be running at the same time) is there?

BtW, OP, I applaud your decision to build a computer that is supported/works in linux, rather than what most people seem do (which is to buy something and then worry about whether or not it'll work :lol: ).

Regards,
MDM

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:22 pm
by Cosmo.
MtnDewManiac wrote:Is it true to say that Mint could potentially be used with Secure Boot, but in order to do so Clem would have to ,,,,
In other words, at now it is not possible. :roll:
MtnDewManiac wrote:
Cosmo. wrote:install Windows as a virtual machine inside Mint
Would it be a good idea for the OP to go back to es original RAM figure of 16 gigs if es is going to be running a complete OS within another complete OS?
IMHO yes, out of the above given reasons. This is for the case, where the alternative to dual-booting gets discussed. (If one really needs Windows for that is another question, which I leave open, as I cannot decide, if there are really no other ways for the PDF-issue.) Others may have other opinions, I added mine and as in this case not gaming is the wanted "task", I would not not make a dual-boot. (To be honest, I would not install Windows at all, but that is another question.) Alone the possibility to avoid the brain-damage EFI is for me reason enough. In the previous post I gave a reason more.

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:32 pm
by Kronstadt1921
Aristotelian wrote:Sorry, I missed the bit about PDF digital signatures. Just do a google search, there are open source versions. It looks like jsignpdf will work for you (although it appears you will have to install it manually. It may take you some time but I am confident you will get it to work. Just post here on this forum if you get stuck!

http://yobiduck.blogspot.com/2012/05/ho ... using.html
http://www.hacker10.com/computer-securi ... documents/
Thanks for the info and links. It looks like jsignpdf will work. Isee that the originil developer stopped working on it in 2012 but it looks like someone has taken it over.

Re: Some Help : New Hardware & Moving to Linux

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:43 pm
by Kronstadt1921
Cosmo. wrote:Mint can be used with UEFI (but I would avoid it whenever possible).
Should I stick with BIOS then? Would you be willing to elaborate on why UEFI should be avoided?
Cosmo. wrote:I read, that you're need for Windows is the usage of digitally signed PDF files. That is not a hardware intensive task. So I would install Mint as the sole system on the hardware and install Windows as a virtual machine inside Mint. That has the advantage, that you do not have to stop all work in your Mint system in order to go to Windows. EFI can be used also in a virtual machine. This attempt has the additional advantage, that you can avoid the problematic (see my previous post) UEFI in the hardware machine.
Signing PDFs is definitely one reason for wanting to have Windows although that no longer seems necessary thanks to Aristotelian. However, I'm also hesitant to make the leap to Linux because it's such a big change for me--I've never used it before and I'm worried that I'll have trouble making the shift--moving and using old Win files, etc. Consequently, I was going to keep using Windows and ease into Linux but it seems like most folks here don't think that's such a good idea. That said, what software do you recommend to run Windows as a VM inside Linux Mint? Do you have any thoughts on WINE and its learning curve.