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First build, budget home box: Comments?

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May 7, 2010 4:56:57 PM

Hi--newbie builder here--first build is a budget box for typical basic home/office use, maybe home theater; no games or multimedia creation/editing.

I want to install Ubuntu Linux as main OS; might partition hd for Win7. Any comments on my choice of components? Trying to keep things simple, so staying with onboard video/audio.

Case+PSU
Antec Sonata III 500 ATX Mid-Tower Case+500W EarthWatts PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-785GMT-USB3 AM3 AMD 785G HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX
http://ee.giga-byte.com/products/mb/specs/ga-785gmt-usb...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU
AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT25664BA1067
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard drive
500MB 7200 SATA--Seagate, WD, or Samsung--suggestions?

Optical drive
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Writer
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor
undecided

Qs:
--I don't know what to make of conflicting reviews of Crucial, Seagate, WD products--uncertain how much to weight bad reviews--whether these brands have had serious quality problems or if bad reviews represent the normal percent of defective items. Is Kingston RAM comparable quality to Crucial?

--Re Ubuntu Linux as main OS:
At the bottom of Gigabyte's spec list [linked above], in "Remark" box, Gigabyte says:

"Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website"

...which means I'd download driver(s) from AMD?--aside from this, are there any other considerations re running Linux on this mobo? The user's guide [downloaded .pdf] is Windows-focused, so I'm asking to anticipate any "gotchas" to avoid newbie mistakes.

I chkd this Ubuntu HW dbase:
http://www.ubuntuhcl.org/browse/search?keywords=gigabyt...
...and it lists some Gbyte boards, but not the GA-785GMT-USB3--does list the MA785GT-UD3H [near bottom]--I'm assuming list isn't definitive, could be the GA-785GMT just hasn't been added?

Thanks for comments--Great site--reading stickies and other posts, I feel like an elementary algebra student crashing an advanced calculus class....

tyler-9
May 7, 2010 5:02:38 PM

That RAM is overpriced for DDR3 1066 RAM. This RAM is only a few dollars more, is much faster CAS 7 1600MHz, and has free shipping:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM $119.99

I would pick up a Samsung F3 500GB drive. The F3 and the Seagate 7200.12 series are the only 500GB drives currently available that have 500GB/platter density so they offer the best performance.

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $54.99
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May 8, 2010 6:11:47 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
That RAM is overpriced for DDR3 1066 RAM. This RAM is only a few dollars more, is much faster CAS 7 1600MHz, and has free shipping:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM $119.99

Ripjaws looks good and Gigabyte board supports faster RAM [DDR3 1800 (OC)/1666/1333/1066 MHz]; but CPU supports only 1066--from AMDs CPU comparison sheet, under Type of Memory Supported:

"X2 - Support for unregistered DIMMs up to PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3-8500 (DDR3-1066MHz)"
http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/processors/athlo...
shortstuff_mt said:
I would pick up a Samsung F3 500GB drive. The F3 and the Seagate 7200.12 series are the only 500GB drives currently available that have 500GB/platter density so they offer the best performance.

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $54.99

One Q about the Samsung--any advantage for a first-timer in getting a retail boxed drive, instead of bare drive? I understand Hdrives are among the simplest components to install, but I'm not clear on what the full retail box has that a bare drive doesn't.

Thx for comments
tyler-9
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Related resources
May 8, 2010 8:46:56 PM

Your CPU will run DDR3 1600 RAM just fine. You will likely just have to manually set the RAM speed, timings, and voltage to the correct values in the BIOS. That's not a big deal, though, because it's a good idea to do that anyway.

There's no reason to get a retail HD IMO. The retail drives just come with extra's like screws and maybe a SATA cable, where the OEM drives are just the drive itself. The case should come with all the screws you'll need and the motherboard will come with SATA cables.
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May 9, 2010 2:07:24 PM

I've been assuming that Seagate, WD, or Samsung hard drives support Linux, but is this correct? For example, on this WD compatibility list, there's no Linux:

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/resources/DriveCompatibi...

I understand that most hdrives go into Windows machines, but if a hdrive supports Linux, you'd think they'd say that. Maybe this is like a motherboard's QVL list, which nobody seems to take seriously? Or is the absence of explicit mention of Linux significant?

tyler-9
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May 9, 2010 2:10:21 PM

looks like a good build for your uses

for your hard drive, I would suggest NOT using Seagate as I have had many a problem with their hard drives and their customer service isn't very good (at least in my experience). My personal favorite is WD, but I know many people happy with Samsung hard drives too.
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