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#1 2016-08-10 23:37:22

Registered: 2016-08-02
Posts: 7

If you could build a computer for Linux use....

I didn't know where to put this but figured the fine folks here might have suggestions. Basically I'm tired of only having a half-functioning computer. So if you had a budget of $450CND (canadian, or $350USD)... what kind of computer would you purchase?

The needs/uses are more of an everyday user type. Some calculation programs, lots of internet stuff, especially movies, audio, little bit of GIMP/photo stuff, not much else. No serious gaming (like SuperTuxKart at the best, or those games you play on Facebook). Graphics need to be good, movies are important, this is mostly for my parents who watch movies online every night. Running 4GB RAM on a 2.2GHz 2MB Pentium right now and it works very well if I ignore all the other issues.

My skillset isn't amazing but I'm quite good at following how-tos. So I'm tempted to crack a Chromebook/box. Looking for either a laptop with at least a 16" screen or a Mini PC (like the NUCs). Do they make Chromebooks that big?

Thoughts? Suggestions? Would run a dual-boot of BL/Manjaro or BL/Mint.


#2 2016-08-11 01:00:40

From: Quesnel BC Canada
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 228

Re: If you could build a computer for Linux use....

If you are talking new, even most onboard graphics these days are good enough for 1080p video. What you want generally is last years big box model being blown out cheap. The absolute newest will sometimes have problems with drivers under Linux. This is of course just a general recommendation.

Depending where you live there are good used options. In Vancouver where I live for example there is a place called FreeGeek. They refurbish donated computers and install Ubuntu Linux on them so all the hardware you get from these guys is Linux tested. Good prices too.

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#3 2016-08-11 08:19:42

Internal Affairs
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 1,433

Re: If you could build a computer for Linux use....

@JinxedDream:  Specifics regarding hardware (especially if you want to avoid non-free binaries) are Intel or Nvidia graphics (if Nvidia, try to stick with nouveau drivers, and as @Anaconda pointed out, last year's model tends to work better with Debian and derivatives like BunsenLabs than the newest hawtness), Atheros, ralink, or other wifi that is well-supported by free drivers (try to avoid Broadcom and Realtek).  The wifi and/or wired hardware might be difficult to find in the manufacturer's description, and may only be revealed by looking at the PCI-e card or from running lspci.

tl;dr:  Lots of options, but lots of caveats as well.

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#4 2016-08-11 10:41:17

From: Lipsia
Registered: 2015-10-03
Posts: 298

Re: If you could build a computer for Linux use....

JinxedDream wrote:

No serious gaming (like SuperTuxKart at the best, or those games you play on Facebook)

I would suggest hugh amounts of RAM, for i lately discovered that them silly flash-games (esp. Farmville) are more hungry on resources than running fullfeatured MMORPG in wine (Neverwinter Nights 2)

I know this won`t help you but i feel the need to tell EVERBODY to stop using this s**t. /* just my two cents though */

naik --greetz

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#5 2016-08-11 15:57:00

Registered: 2016-04-27
Posts: 168

Re: If you could build a computer for Linux use....

I'll second the "more RAM is better" idea.

After that there isn't much to hold you back from picking up most any commodity PC. I'm with @Glenn check ebay and local comptuer recyclers there's often a box there for not much which will meet your needs.

If possible I recommend using a wired connection for video streaming, while WiFi is very good, it's still a little bit of 'black magic' and that's not as stable/reliable as copper.


#6 2016-08-11 17:05:04

Registered: 2015-08-20
Posts: 6,722

Re: If you could build a computer for Linux use....

If you want to use GPU processing for graphics apps (ie Blender) then atm there is no alternative to nvidia cards, with the nvidia drivers.

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