Building a budget linux computer

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Hopefully within a month

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Browsing, E-mail, IM, Skype, Uploading photos, watching videos

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Whatever's cheap and a reputable dealer

PARTS PREFERENCES: Linux compatible, best bang for buck

OVERCLOCKING:Maybe, not a big issue for me, if its easy and reliable sure
MONITOR RESOLUTION: doesn't matter
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Need Linux compatibility, quiet and power efficient would be nice but these are secondary to building a cheap and efficient system

Hey guys I am trying to build a low end computer for my dad for less than about 400$ Canadian not including monitor.
I would like to install Linux on it, probably Ubuntu. He just does the usual stuff: browsing, e-mail, skype, im, uploading photos, watch some videos

I was wondering what you guys recommend.
Looking for roughly:
> 2.2ghz cpu
2 gb ram
200-500gb hdd
integrated video
integrated audio

I was leaning to AMD chips (since they are the most cost-efficient at the low end) with a GeForce chipset,
AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADX240OCGQBOX
ASRock K10N78M AM3/AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 8100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

but it seems like performance is much better with an AMD chipset/ATI integrated video card.
But then, ATI's support for Linux is not the greatest =/

Should I just stick to the tried and true Intel cpu + NVidia/intel video combo? Something like this:

Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E5200 - Retail
ASRock G41M-S LGA 775 Intel G41 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

The only problem is LGA775 is End of Life, so it probably won't be very upgradeable in the future... and LGA 1156 CPUs are still kinda pricey..

Any thoughts?
16 answers Last reply
More about building budget linux computer
  1. the amd nvidia route seems good
  2. AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail $69.99

    GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $99.99

    G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-2GBNQ - Retail $49.99

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $63.99

    Antec Three Hundred + BP430 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply - Retail $109.99

    Total - $393.95

    I wouldn't worry about the ATI Linux compatibility. The compatibility is much better than it was just a couple years ago. I don't think it' much of an issue now.
  3. I would never chose ATi if he want to use Linux. The drivers are crap. Go nVidia the 9300/9400 chipsets are good too and come in MicroATX format just like the 780G/785G.

    Otherwise it looks good though. But don't go below 4GB RAM; you can get 4GB for just 40 euro or ~50 dollars. 2x2GB.
  4. I tried to fit 4GB into the budget, but the very cheapest 4GB ddr3 kit was $76 CAN.
  5. Does he really need DDR3?
  6. sub mesa said:
    Does he really need DDR3?

    I guess the OP will have to decide that. I sure wouldn't use outdated technology in a new build. That's why I avoided the LGA 775 socket and DDR2 RAM. Have you checked DDR2 RAM prices lately? DDR2 is being phased out and is actually more expensive than DDR3 RAM right now. The same thing happened to DDR RAM when it was replaced with DDR2 RAM, it just didn't happen as fast.
  7. hey guys thanks for the replies..
    i think i'll probably stick to nVidia for the graphics chipset
    but i don't see any 9300/9400 on newegg? just 8100/8200?

    and i will probably have to stick in an optical drive in the budget somewhere :P

    can motherboards support both ddr 2 and 3? or just one?
  8. Just one, GeForce 9300/9400 chipsets are DDR2 afaik. DDR2 is still cheaper than DDR3 in my country, and should be just as fast. So i wouldn't call it outdated technology.

    Check this review for some 9300/9400 boards:
  9. oh no wonder...
    these come for intel motherboards :P

    what do you think of geforce 9000 compared to intel x4500?
  10. Oh im sorry got mistaken.. its 9300/9400 for Intel and 8200/8300 for AMD. The chips are very similar. So i actually meant GF8300. :)
  11. BTW its not about the hardware.. its about the drivers.. The nVidia Linux drivers are good; ATi drivers suck. Dont have any experience with intel drivers. Generally intel onboard video is alot less good.
  12. and how long do you guys think i can last on a lga775 chipset?
  13. Generally less value for money - but you can't really go wrong. AMD generally has lower power chipsets.
  14. I realize this is an old post, but I need to put together a budget desktop real quick and I want amd/nVid and it seems difficult to find that solution. Is the 8300 chipset still decent? I am guessing being a little older it will fit the budget sweet spot if still avail. I am not a gamer, but just a general desktop user that sometimes makes extensive use of GIMP/Photoshop (via wine) for photo manip. Other than that it is all desktops apps.

    I found this budget system that looks good (the price) but I just cannot settle on ATI vid, so that is why I wanna swap mobos possibly for the 8300 chipset?
    AMD Budget System
    Component Type: Make & Model: Price: Rebate
    CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 250: $61:
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-880GM-D2H: $80: ($10)
    RAM: Patriot 4GB 2x2GB PSD34G1333K: $40: ($5)
    Hard Drive: Seagate 500GB ST3500418AS: $40:
    Optical Drive: LG GH24NS50: $17:
    Power Supply: Antec Earthwatts EA-380D: $40:
    Case: Antec Three Hundred: $43:
    Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit: $100:
    Total Base System Cost: $421: ($15)
    Input: Microsoft Keyboard and Mouse: $15:
    Display: ASUS VW193DR Black 19" (1440x900): $110:
    Complete System Cost: $546: ($15)

    any suggs or opinions appreciated.
  15. Processor : Intel Pentium GT50 - Dual Core - 32nm Sandy Bridge - $70-80
    (Comparison with Athlon II X2 255 :

    Motherboard : Intel DH61WW - $69.99

    RAM : 4GB GSkill Ripjaws DDR3 1333 - $40

    Hard Disk : Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB SATAII - $45

    PSU : Corsair 430W Builder Series - $39.99

    Case : CoolerMaster Elite - $34.49

    DVD R/W : LG or Asus or Samsung - $20

    Optional Parts :

    Graphics Card : AMD Raedon HD 5670 1024MB GDDR5 - $85
    Case Fan : CoolerMaster XtraFlo 120mm - $10
    SSD : 64GB - $50-70
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