Hardware for Linux Mint build? Newbie here.

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Gary and Elodie
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Hardware for Linux Mint build? Newbie here.

Post by Gary and Elodie »

We are Gary & Elodie.

Gary was educated at Oregon Institute of Technology in management information systems, which focused mostly on windows. He has a pretty good understanding of both hardware and software, as well as having taken several programing languages along the way, although sometime back. His sight failed before he finished his senior year. He's an education nut and has a vast number of credits in other areas too.

I(Elodie) am only familiar from a user standpoint but still have my sight. Definitely not as savvy as Gary computer-wise. So... I need to do the typing and reading and he needs to do the actual understanding and putting together the hardware. He can read with a large monitor and bringing up the size but it's very tedious and not conducive to actually getting things done. For hardware, Gary uses very bright lights and heavy duty magnifiers and me! Neither of us has experience with Linux. Gary did some Unix in college but that was a long time ago.

Gary would like to build a desktop, specifically for Linux, and he's pretty much decided on Mint for the OS. We would like to know what hardware you like for this kind of build, i.e. motherboards, processors, graphics cards, sound cards, etc. Decent graphics are important to him since he does like to play games. He would also like opinions on wine, i.e. for games he'd like to continue playing that require windows and perhaps run some other windows programs.

Any help in finding good hardware for this and setting it up would be very much appreciated. He really wants to make sure the hardware is a good match for this project but also wants to keep the cost down. He has built his own windows systems in the past but has found windows has gone much to far away from being actually usable/tweakable for the user over the last several distros of the OS, maybe as far back as XP or 98SE and NT, lol. He wants to be in control, not the OS.

Let us know! Thanks, Gary & Elodie

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Pierre
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Re: Hardware for Linux Mint build? Newbie here.

Post by Pierre »

Hi There,

welcome to our Forum
:D

what type of hardware ?
- Laptop
- Desktop


you don't really have to build / re-build any machine.
- it's far easier to re-purpose an existing machine. ..

as long as it's specifications are reasonable.

historically, Linux was designed for those older PCs,
but the later Linux versions, do require hardware that is of a better standard.

the main specifications would be:
- 2Ghz CPU
- 2Gb ram
- 500 Gb HDD
or better, of course.

the actual make / manufacturer of each component is not critical,
but, of course, some components do work better than others.
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Gary and Elodie
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Re: Hardware for Linux Mint build? Newbie here.

Post by Gary and Elodie »

Thanks Pierre!

Gary would like to build a desktop with some nice but not too expensive hardware. We have a lot of running computers, lol. They even go back to MS DOS, so Gary can "play" with them. :D The older ones "live" in the garage without heat, so they are not winter accessible. We have 98SE and up in the house.

Gary is just done with windows at this point. We took the bait and upgraded our two windows 7 computers to windows 10 and were really sorry. He lost everything on his when he downgraded back to 7. We had a really nice HP 17" windows 8.1(yuk!) laptop that just bit the dust because of a short in the incoming power, not the power supply cord thingy. The local shop with guys with good eyes said it was toast. I called HP and I can ship it to them and they will fix it for big bucks. He's not interested in going any farther with windows. So... Gary's ready to "play" in Linux, Mint at this point. He just doesn't really know much about it.

I think building a computer is what he really wants to do. Running wine to play games that require windows is important to him.

Any ideas that will give him a great combination of hardware, mint, wine and whatever he needs to have great graphics for his games?

Gary & Elodie

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Pierre
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Re: Hardware for Linux Mint build? Newbie here.

Post by Pierre »

do tell Gary that giving up the Windows Operating System,
is a bit like giving up Smoking :lol:
- you really have to go Cold Turkey :!:

those win98 PCs are too old for a modern Linux System.
( before we go too far, where there is a will, then there is a way )

if Gary can re-build, some of the existing PCs into another newer machine,
- doesn't have to be too complicated or complex either.

mainly it's getting some more ram into an existing machine,
then a better video card - Ati / nVidia card, a biggish HDD

how does Gary want to connect it to the 'net ?
- he'll have to allow for that too.
ie: WiFi / Ethernet / usb modem - 3g stick ..

tell Gary to keep it simple, until he gets a handle on this stuff.
8)

download this Tutorial:
https://www.linuxmint.com/documentation ... h_18.0.pdf
and get Gary to read it, even if he has to bump up the font size !.
- or use that larger screen. ... .

finally - if the thought of creating your of Linux Installation media,
is a bit daunting - you can buy one:
https://www.osdisc.com/products/linux/l ... =linuxmint
or if you ask nicely, some of the Guys / Gals who are in your country,
could send you a copy of the install media,.
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Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
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Gary and Elodie
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Re: Hardware for Linux Mint build? Newbie here.

Post by Gary and Elodie »

Thanks Pierre,

I will have to read the intro to Gary. He really can't see through the center of his eyes, he only has peripheral vision. He could read something really short but making it all the way through the intro is pretty much a no go. Don't get old, it's a pain. :( Gary is only 66 and he's a pretty smart guy but if you lose that central vision it's really hard.

I don't know that he would part with any of his running computers. :lol: He has all kinds of weird things on each one. :roll: My bet is he buys hardware. Is there anything he needs to look out for as far a Linux compatibility? He just doesn't want to end up with something nice that doesn't work right because the drivers don't "agree with" Linux. :?

I'm sure he will burn a disk of the OS from one of the windows machines after building the desktop he wants to put it on. He also thought of buying one of those cheap refurbished computers from MICOMP.
http://www.techdealsnow.net/category_s/ ... =30&page=1
It would have to have upgraded video card and RAM, which they do offer. I just wonder if they would sell one for a tad less without the OS.

Gary & Elodie


SpookyWatcher
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Re: Hardware for Linux Mint build? Newbie here.

Post by SpookyWatcher »

As for games...instead of wine, Install PlayonLinux. It is a frontend for wine and makes installing win games a BREEZE. I have gotten everysingle game I own and enjoy installed by either PlayonLinux or Steam on Linux.

Cheers

ZakGordon
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Re: Hardware for Linux Mint build? Newbie here.

Post by ZakGordon »

Hi Gary and Elodie,

Welcome to Mint :)

I would add another vote for the suggestion to re-purpose one of the existing machines for a test bed to run Linux Mint on. Linux can throw up unexpected issues that you might not come across on Windows, so in that context, as a complete Linux Mint newbie it might be better to start with what you have in terms of hardware.

In terms of Mint it can be a little difficult to find out easily/exactly which version to run on what type of hardware, so i would also recommend that you first test Mint out by running it via a 'Live' session, which is from a DVD/USB that the Mint iso has been burned onto. This allows you to find out if Mint will run ok on that particular PC without actually installing it (so you don't need to worry about breaking any current OS on it etc).

So yeah my Rule 1 is always to run a Live session first to make sure Mint will work on the hardware. Burning the Linux Mint .iso to DVD is straight forward enough (search here or the wider internet if you need to know how to do that?), putting the .iso on a USB is a little more complex in that it requires specific software, but this guide will help you if you decide to do it via USB:

http://www.howtogeek.com/191054/how-to- ... ng-system/

Sadly for Gary, reading a lot is just part of the initial Linux experience, and as you will find out there is going to be a lot to read during this whole process. But there is no need to rush into things and a bunch of us will be happy to help where we can :)

For my part, i'm a new Linux Mint user, but from a typical PC Windows background (since W98se). I've currently been using Mint on the laptop i'm currently typing from for about a year or so. It was initially set up as a dual-boot system with Windows Vista and Linux Mint Cinnamon 17.1 on it, To just give you an idea hardware wise, so you can look over some of your current machines to see how they match up, this laptop is an Acer Travelmate 5730, with:

Intel Core 2 Duo @2.2Ghz
3GB DDR2 Ram
320GB HDD
Intel 4500MHD onboard GPU

Not fancy at all really! But perfectly capable of running the 'heaviest' version of Mint, which is Cinnamon.

I've been using it exclusively in Mint as it just works and does everything i need for an internet usage machine. As a Windows user, it is a great Linux distro, and it did not take me long to get the hang of it at a basic level. At this stage i do not see myself needing/buying a new Microsoft OS in the future.

------------------------------------------------

One of the issues a new Mint user will find is working out which version of Mint is better suited to their specific hardware, in relation to how powerful that system is (and often how old it is). You also need to take into account the different types of Mint that exist, e.g. Cinnamon vs MATE etc.

I still find getting that general understanding about Mint very hard, as the info is not really clear on the main Mint webpage, or even available in a 'sticky' thread here. It does give you a rough outline of system specs for each version of Mint, but in terms of comparing one to another, that is a bit of guess work and asking people on the forum for their opinions on it. My understanding (probably not 100% accurate!) is that the 'pecking order' for the different versions of Mint goes something like this:

1. Cinnamon = the version that requires the most powerful hardware to run well (but see my laptop details above to get the scale of that!). It has the most polished GUI, most visual 'effects' and in general is the most like Windows if coming from Vista/Win7 etc.

2. MATE = maybe next in terms of needing powerful hardware? It comes with less stuff pre-installed compared to Cinnamon, so is 'lighter' in that respect. It looks a little less refined perhaps, more like W98/WinXP in terms of GUI (more simple in effect).

3. KDE = a different GUI method, or something? Lighter again vs MATE?

4. XFCE = the 'lightest' most bare bones of the Mint versions, good for older hardware or if you just want a very 'lite' fast version of Mint.

I would so love to have that kind of info right on the front page somewhere to make it easier to get a good overview and comparison vs one anther in terms of the versions. And i expect my very brief (and slightly confused) understanding on all this to be corrected and fleshed out by those more in the know. But really this should be front and centre when you come to Linux Mint to see what is what in relation to which version you might want to try.

My understanding why this is not the case is that it is very easy to try them out for yourselves, which is fair enough, but what if i had limited download each month, or maybe i feel nervous about installing/testing a new OS multiple times and would just prefer to be able to make the right, informed, choice the first time?

Anyway, my advice would be to try Cinnamon first as you really don't need that powerful a system to run it, and it is in general the most 'compatible' with a wider array of hardware (as it comes with more stuff in it, drivers/codecs etc). IF you have issues running that on your chosen hardware, then move on to MATE or even XFCE perhaps if the issues are performance related?

If you don't want to read mountains of info on things just download the Cinnamon ISO (17.3 maybe?) and burn it to DVD and run a Live session of that (you will need to ensure the DVD boots first in any current windows version on the target PC).

I will now give a few links to consider, and yes lots of reading involved:

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums ... post958783

Post number 7 in that thread is where i included a little guide to help in getting Mint installed.

-----------------

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/

That site is run by one of the regulars here, Pjotr. It has loads of really great Mint info to get you started, and is my number 1 site for that stuff :)

------------------

And finally a question:

Would i look to build a PC specifically for Linux without first trying it out on some ready built hardware?

Probably not as a complete newbie. Hardware drivers can be a big issue in terms of Linux. For example AMD have terrible driver support in Linux and many of the people posting problems here are related to that. So unless you know Linux very well and can afford to make mistakes, i would suggest using some current hardware you have to get to learn Mint on.

Windows 10 is a terrible home user OS (for all manner of obvious reasons), and quite rightly it is sending people flocking to see what other options they have, and thankfully we do have Mint, a near perfect Linux based OS that makes sense to Windows users, and is a perfectly decent Linux in it's own right. But keep in mind this is Linux still and it can be a hard and unforgiving OS sometimes, so start softly and gently and make as easy on yourself as possible.

Later when you understand all the permutations in terms of driver support for hardware x,y,z, then i would think about building a new PC specifically for Linux.

Hope you have fun here and getting to know Mint and good luck :)
Laptop overheating? Check link here:itsfoss guide . A move from Cinnamon to XFCE can give a -5 to -10 degrees C change on overheating hardware.

Build a modern dual-boot Ryzen Win7/Linux Mint PC:Tutorial

KirbySmith
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Re: Hardware for Linux Mint build? Newbie here.

Post by KirbySmith »

Both of my PCs listed in my signature below run Mint 17.3 MATE 64-bit without difficulty. These are both older hardware that it would be difficult to not improve on with newer hardware.

I have determined recently that desktop 2 can also render Windows-based Serene Screen Marine Aquarium 3.3 in the GPU at 60 Hz using Wine under CrossOver Linux. So build a new PC if you want, possibly repurposing some hardware. Get a decent video card and enough power supply to run it if you intend to play demanding video games.

If you buy new hard drives, I suggest the Western Digital Y-type of server quality drives. They are only a few dollars more and seem to run 24/7 for years without causing me reinstallation pain.

kirby
Desktop 1: DFI Lanparty UT nF4 SLI-D/AMD Athlon 64 San Diego/BFG GeForce 7800 GT/Mint 18.3 MATE
Desktop 2: Gigabyte 770T-USB3/AMD Phenom II X4 965/EVGA GeForce 9800 GT/Mint 18.3 MATE
HTPC: Asus C6H/AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, Asus Geforce 1080 Ti/Mint 18.3 MATE

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