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Old 11th November 2008
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The mentioned power consumption is true only for the quadcores, but the single or dualcore are a completely different story. And yes if you want to see Intel 'suck' in terms of power consumption then compare e.g. the dualcores of both brands.

Furthermore I don't see the need for a big nVidia card as emphasized above, you can play games like Quake4 (via Linuxulator in FreeBSD) with a 7300GT quiet well (1280x1024 without stuttering) - advantage: less power consumption than the 8800 monsters and they are really _inexpensive_.

>My typical goal will be to run a desktop, although, the further I come in studying the books I bought, the more tempting it might become to try to set up some servers as well.

*BSD != Vista or Mac OS X, so you don't need lots of horse power. I'm using OpenBSD at my Asus EEE900A (Intel Atom), FreeBSD stable on four machines: 2 Intel, 2 AMD - all of them are dualcores. The 'slowest' is the laptop with a C2D 1.66GHz and guess what? Compiling world with ccache _is_ fast =)

At the institute we're using FreeBSD (and some Linux) too, _because_ of the small footprint of the system. So we don't need lot of memory, quadcores etc. The typical use is as servers and workstations (lot of TB for pictures of forensic quality etc. pp.). Apart from that we're using two big Apple machines for modeling and rendering (Maya).

So if you don't want to game with you machine, remember FreeBSD and/or Linux aren't the best candidates for the hardcore gamer. Even the casual gamer sticks with Windows or buys some Playstation, Nintendo etc. pp.

In the end the best question would be: which hardware should one avoid? The golden rule: the newer, the messier is true especially in *BSD. So don't let cloud your mind with fanboyism, benchmark mumbo jumbo and so on. A dualcore _is_ fast in Linux or *BSD, even a single core. 1G of memory is enough even for KDE4 and OO3, 2G of memory a great for compiling world (FreeBSD) with several jobs - I guess you got the picture?

Most of the time the brand is important only in terms of compatibility (e.g. Wifi, ...), but quality wise there is just one rule: there is hardware which sucks less. After more than 20 years of using hardware this is my conclusion. Remember it's consumer hardware after all. So 'low quality' and high (compared to the quality) prices justified with big hype is the reality =)
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Old 12th November 2008
Broodjegehaktmetmayo Broodjegehaktmetmayo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ephemera View Post
> [I]
Most desktop users will not benefit from a quad core. They cost more and have higher tdp. Very, very few applications will benefit from 4 cores and most people don't run those sort of applications. Also, the "I am a heavy multitasker" argument is BS. I would recommend a Core2 E8400 or higher.
Or, if you can afford it then buy all means go for 3GHZ or higher core2 quad or even core i7.
Thank you for your input ;-)

I'm easily convinced I notice I tend to follow Vermaden's and your advice, and go for the Core2Duo E8500 now.


> video

Quote:
I would 'not' recommend the Asus "Silent" models (passive cooling).
Could I ask why you object against passive cooling? Am I correct the important difference between active and passive cooling is energy consumption, where passive means no energy consumption? So why would you not like it, I mean, what's the drawback then?

Last edited by Broodjegehaktmetmayo; 12th November 2008 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 12th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabal View Post
you can play games like Quake4 (via Linuxulator in FreeBSD) with a 7300GT quiet well (1280x1024 without stuttering) - advantage: less power consumption than the 8800 monsters and they are really _inexpensive_.
Thank you

Well, now I am sort of stuck between the 7300GT that you mention and the cards that Vermaden mentions. Price is not the main issue here, but 'green computing', eg low energy consumption, is. Of course, I should be able to use my box in a nice way, so the card should be up for it.

So remaining to be done:
- The videocard
- The mainboard (the chipset Q35 Vermaden recommends).

Pfff, buying a computer was much, much, easier in the old days
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Old 12th November 2008
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If you use a separate video card, there is no reason to get the Q35. Get a P35 or P45 instead. The Q series is useful because it has on-board video.
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Old 12th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
If you use a separate video card, there is no reason to get the Q35. Get a P35 or P45 instead. The Q series is useful because it has on-board video.
Thanks for your reply ;-)

So then i could stick with the original mainboard I selected? (I hope Vermaden doesn't shoot me for it - )

So final step would be videocard. Cabal mentioned lower energy usage for the 7300 GT, that is important to me, and so, now, for the most stupid question of the year (): does anybody know where to look that up?

- I get nothing back on nvidia.com
- This nifty tool 'Google' doesn't seem to return anything useful either (how come: Google alwaysssss finds everything immediately )

Again, thanks for all your help (!)
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Old 12th November 2008
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The 7300 is no longer made. The 9xxx series is current; there probably is a 9300 that corresponds to the 7300. It is a low-power card. The best value is the 9500GT, but the added power is probably wasted on BSD. It really depends on how much you want to spend.

Honestly, unless you play any games, there probably is little difference between the on-board Intel video and a stand-alone nVidia or ATI.
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Old 12th November 2008
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>The 7300 is no longer made.

That's true, but that's not the point it was just an example for 'low power' and enough horse power for most things in FreeBSD - even for games.

http://www.techspot.com/review/6-gef...nce/page3.html
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Old 12th November 2008
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I know you know that Oliver, but it seems that the OP is rather literal about and new to computer components. It is indeed difficult to get up-to-speed if you have not done it before, or have had a many-year break.

My suggestion, thinking more about it, is try the Q35/Intel video. Just make sure there is a 16x PCI-E slot so that a video card could be added later if on-board does not work out.

There is one other thing to consider with video cards: the more powerful they are, the more power they consume and the more noise they make. The nVidia [7|8|9]300 usually is passive. The faster ones can be made quiet too, but you usually have to add a third-party heat sink. Then again, I am very sensitive to computer noise, and not everyone else is.
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Old 12th November 2008
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I hope for Intel Larrabee or Ati in the near future. More FOSS, less blobs. nVidias practice to abolish certain 'old' graphic cards from their drivers is something to consider while observing the half-life of consumer hardware.
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Old 12th November 2008
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That's all true, though I have had no issues with the legacy drivers. My hardware is old, and the video cards are of the 5xxx era.

I personally have no problem with blobs, but if a good open-source alternative is available, then of course I would go for it. I just don't think we are quite there yet.
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Old 12th November 2008
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Maybe it's just a bad feeling in the stomach ;-)
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Old 12th November 2008
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Quote:
Could I ask why you object against passive cooling? Am I correct the important difference between active and passive cooling is energy consumption, where passive means no energy consumption? So why would you not like it, I mean, what's the drawback then?
Because passive cooling isn't very good?
All passive 7xxxx, 8xxx, and 9xxx models (So basically all models you can buy now) I've seen get pretty hot, if you look carefully at the packaging you'll see that ``A casefan is recommended''.
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Old 12th November 2008
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I've used passive cooling on video cards without any problem. They key is to get a case that breathes well. The Antec Solo (and its equivalents) work pretty well for that, as well as enabling a quiet build. They do often get hot, but they have always stayed within nVidia's guidelines.

Heck, the computer I built for my wife has a passively-cooled 9600GT, and it works fine. The computer is nearly silent, too (but alas on Vista-64).
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Old 13th November 2008
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If you still have your old PC. I recommend you put linux or windoze (if you want to play games) in your new PC and make a BSD server out of your old PC.
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Old 18th January 2009
Broodjegehaktmetmayo Broodjegehaktmetmayo is offline
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Hi

Well, contrary to what you might have expected this wasn't a 'hit and run'-user I've just been extremely busy, and hence I stalled buying a new box. As my wife's box is going down very quickly I now need to buy a new box for her fast, in addition to the one I planned to buy for myself. My wife will be using her box on XP, mainly because of legacy accounting software she needs, and access to corporate software, and she will play some games. So my plan is:
A. Buy a new box for her, designed to meet both FBSD and XP (games) specs;
B. Install FBSD on it to see if everything works;
C. If B is the case, install XP on that box for her and order an exactly similar box for myself on which I will install XP exclusively.

So, on reading back this thread (keeping in mind I am an absolute noob when it comes to hardware), I am facing difficulties in deciding about the mainboard/chipset on the one hand, and the videocard on the other hand.

Mainboard/chipset
The thing is, some people say 'take Q35', others say 'don't take it'. Now, this mainboard, Asus P5Q-E: http://www.informatique.nl/123175

has been described 'rather high class board' in some test I've read some time ago, but it has P45, not Q35. What should I do?

Videocard-1
On rereading this thread it seems a lot of people are favoring ATI for multiple reasons. I have no problems switching to ATI, but there isn't a native ATI-driver? Googling I found out that xorg should have support for ATI, but then my confusion starts:
1. Xorg also seems to have support for Nvidia, so why is there a separate, native driver for Nvidia? (Or, phrased the other way: why isn't it important that there isn't a separate driver for ATI?)
2. Whereas the Nvidia driver doesn't support X64, does the Xorg-driver for ATI support X64 then? Or can ATI also only be used in X32?
3. The black window problem of Nvidia, doesn't that occur on ATI?

Videocard-2

Some people say I shouldn't use passive cooling, others say I should use passive cooling.

CPU

So I decided for E8xxxx instead of Quad core, but now, two months later, Quadcore is even cheaper than dual core. Still take dual core?

I must seem very ignorant to you all, and I apologize for that, but it's hard when at birth they decided to leave out the part of my brain that understands hardware ins and outs

Again I appreciate your help in guiding me through this wood I can't seem to find my path in by myself. Thank you for that help

Last edited by Broodjegehaktmetmayo; 18th January 2009 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 18th January 2009
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If you want identical computers, and one will be used for any significant gaming, you will *need* a discrete video card. The on-board chips are fine for routine work, but are terrible for gaming. FWIW, "gaming" does not include solitaire.

There is no binary ATI driver because ATI did not provide one for FreeBSD. nVidia did. That's why there is only one binary blob, and why it does not run on the 64 bit FreeBSD flavor. Don't hold your breath on getting a 64 bit nVidia driver any time soon. I understand that the open-source ATI driver is getting better (ATI is providing good support, but it takes time), but still does not have accelerated 3D. On FreeBSD you probably won't need it unless you too want to run some Linux games (or Windows games under Wine).

Oh, and the "nv" driver is written by the xorg people, and is open source (and without much help from nVidia). It does work, but it is much more limited than "nvidia."

On passive versus actively-cooled video cards, you have to decide how much quiet or silent computer operation is important to you. There are lots of good after-market coolers that are active and essentially silent. I'd suggest that you get the card you want, paying attention to reports of fan noise, and if it is too loud, get an after-market cooler. The passive ones work fine for less powerful cards, up to about the nVidia 9600, but the more powerful ones are hard to cool passively. You then have to pay a lot of attention to how well the case breathes, and how the air courses through your computer (and keep an eye on video temperatures when you debug the thing).

How much are you spending, anyway? Are you overclocking or not?
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Old 18th January 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
If you want identical computers, and one will be used for any significant gaming, you will *need* a discrete video card. The on-board chips are fine for routine work, but are terrible for gaming. FWIW, "gaming" does not include solitaire.

There is no binary ATI driver because ATI did not provide one for FreeBSD. nVidia did. That's why there is only one binary blob, and why it does not run on the 64 bit FreeBSD flavor. Don't hold your breath on getting a 64 bit nVidia driver any time soon. I understand that the open-source ATI driver is getting better (ATI is providing good support, but it takes time), but still does not have accelerated 3D. On FreeBSD you probably won't need it unless you too want to run some Linux games (or Windows games under Wine).

Oh, and the "nv" driver is written by the xorg people, and is open source (and without much help from nVidia). It does work, but it is much more limited than "nvidia."

On passive versus actively-cooled video cards, you have to decide how much quiet or silent computer operation is important to you. There are lots of good after-market coolers that are active and essentially silent. I'd suggest that you get the card you want, paying attention to reports of fan noise, and if it is too loud, get an after-market cooler. The passive ones work fine for less powerful cards, up to about the nVidia 9600, but the more powerful ones are hard to cool passively. You then have to pay a lot of attention to how well the case breathes, and how the air courses through your computer (and keep an eye on video temperatures when you debug the thing).

How much are you spending, anyway? Are you overclocking or not?
Thanks DrJ for your reply

Quote:
There is no binary ATI driver because ATI did not provide one for FreeBSD. nVidia did. That's why there is only one binary blob, and why it does not run on the 64 bit FreeBSD flavor. Don't hold your breath on getting a 64 bit nVidia driver any time soon. I understand that the open-source ATI driver is getting better (ATI is providing good support, but it takes time), but still does not have accelerated 3D. On FreeBSD you probably won't need it unless you too want to run some Linux games (or Windows games under Wine).
So does that mean an ATI card will allow for X64? And what is 'a binary blob'?

Quote:
On passive versus actively-cooled video cards, you have to decide how much quiet or silent computer operation is important to you. There are lots of good after-market coolers that are active and essentially silent. I'd suggest that you get the card you want, paying attention to reports of fan noise, and if it is too loud, get an after-market cooler. The passive ones work fine for less powerful cards, up to about the nVidia 9600, but the more powerful ones are hard to cool passively. You then have to pay a lot of attention to how well the case breathes, and how the air courses through your computer (and keep an eye on video temperatures when you debug the thing).
Thanks, I will follow your advice.

Quote:
How much are you spending, anyway? Are you overclocking or not?
As little as possible But money is not the main concern (within reasonable boundaries of course). No, I am not overclocking.

So what should I do with the mainboard/chipset? Is the one I selected a good one? Or should I insist on Q35?

And the CPU: still core duo, or quad?

Thanks again DrJ
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Old 18th January 2009
Broodjegehaktmetmayo Broodjegehaktmetmayo is offline
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EDIT: I just find this, saying the mobo I selected doesn't work with Linux due to the chipset. Now I know BSD isn't Linux, but wouldn't it be expected it would give problems under Linux too, then?

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=890604

EDIT EDIT ( :-)): it seems to work with the latest Ubuntu distro:

http://www.phoronix.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14808

How can I tell if the chipset will work with FBSD then? Or is this all rambling non-relevant for FBSD?

Last edited by Broodjegehaktmetmayo; 18th January 2009 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 18th January 2009
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Tell us what you budget's like and maybe someone will be able to provide more helpful advice.
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Old 18th January 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broodjegehaktmetmayo View Post
So does that mean an ATI card will allow for X64? And what is 'a binary blob'?
The ATI driver should work for 64 bit. The "nv" driver does. That's an advantage of open-source code. A "binary blob" is a binary driver provided by a manufacturer. One has no real idea what goes on inside of it, since there is no code available to audit. Some people, particularly those who use Open, really dislike them for a number of valid reasons. I personally use the nVidia driver, and it has been great.
Quote:
As little [$$] as possible But money is not the main concern (within reasonable boundaries of course). No, I am not overclocking.
As little as possible is not really that helpful. You can get quite a powerful computer for about $1000.

Overclocking with Intel chips is almost a no-brainer these days. I took a Q6600 from 2.4 GHz to 3 GHz easily; one did not even require a voltage change, the other one required only a modest voltage bump. If you do overclock, then you would be well-advised to get an aftermarket cooler. There are a number of good ones.

That's one real advantage of building your own -- you can squeeze a lot more performance out of your computer. Otherwise, you might be better off buying a pre-assembled computer, particularly as the price goes down. A home builder really can't compete on price in the $500 range (give or take), though you can make sure that you get everything you want (slots, memory, various compatible chips).
Quote:
So what should I do with the mainboard/chipset? Is the one I selected a good one? Or should I insist on Q35?
The only reason to get the Q35 is to use the on-board video that is supported by an open-source Intel driver. If you want a gaming computer, that won't really be an option. In that case go with a mainstream P35 or P45 board. I've used both Abit (RIP) and Gigabyte P35 boards, and they are fine. If you go with ASUS, be careful about the Ethernet chip they use. On some, there is no FreeBSD support. Sorry, I don't know the ASUS line well enough to know which ones those are.

Again, if quiet computing is something you seek, look carefully at how you can control the various fans from the BIOS. That's where Abit excelled -- the GB board had only one controllable fan header, and you could not adjust that one much.

Quote:
And the CPU: still core duo, or quad?
That really depends on your work load. If you *really* do a lot of multiprocessing, then by all means go for the quad core. Most people don't do as much multiprocessing as they think, so two cores may be enough. For the same price, the dual cores are usually clocked higher, and clock speed does matter.

This is particularly true on FreeBSD if you compile from ports. That is still a single task, though work to parallelize it is proceeding. For ports, raw CPU and disk speed matter more than number of cores. The OS world compilation is parallelized, so cores matter, but for most people compiling ports consumes a lot more time.

Also note the various chip options. The newer generation are made using 45nm technology; they tend to run cooler, which is a good thing. On the other hand, keep an eye out for the virtualization features of the chip. The low-end ones usually don't have capabilities for hardware virtualization. You probably won't need that, since virtualization on FreeBSD is pretty terrible, and you did not mention any virtualization needs on the XP box.
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