Linux Blog

New PC

Filed under: Linux Hardware — at 1:27 pm on Monday, December 5, 2011

I ordered a PC a while back and thought I’d write about it. I’ve been running pretty much the same desktop hardware for the past 5 years. Eventually things got so slow on the desktop that I started using my Core 2 Duo Lenovo T61 laptop as my desktop. This worked for a while, and I really like the laptop I just didn’t feel like I was using it for what it was intended for, mobility. I really didn’t want to build if I could avoid it so I started getting specs and prices for computers from the local big box stores and wasn’t really thrilled with anything. I started looking at new PC’s on Amazon, Newegg and TigerDirect. Nothing really jumping out as value / performance there either. At that point was when I decided I’d do what I normally do, break down, buy parts and build. So, my budget was as little as possible, but still wanting decent performance. This is what I came up with:

Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner – $20
Foxconn A88GMV AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard – $59.99
Patriot Extreme Performance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 – $99.99
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T – $164.99
TRENDnet TEG-S80G Switch 8-Port 10/100/1000 – $34.99

Total: $379.95

I added the gigabit switch in there, just because my NAS is 10/100/1000 and I’ve wanted one for a while, its $35 and will increase network throughput so well worth it. I was originally going to squeeze all of these parts in an old case, but I ended up buying a Thermaltake case and power supply for around $100 from my local parts store so I can still use the old PC.

So lets sum it up:
AMD Phenom X6 3.2GHz, 16GB Ram
DVD Burner, Foxconn Motherboard, Thermaltake Case.

Not bad for under $500, granted I already had a spare hard disk.  It’s the first new PC I’ve had since at least 2005 and is the first internal DVD burner I’ve ever owned (I’ve been making do with a USB/Firewire external.) The performance increase over my 1.8GHz Sempron 3400+ alone was worth it although I’d like to upgrade to a solid state drive one day. It runs Linux really well, although you have to make sure you enable the PAE kernel, or you’ll only end up with 4GB’s of ram. Bootup time into Lubuntu is under 30 seconds from post. Now, all I have to do is figure out why Flash video’s and mplayer want to play at twice the speed.