First Build: $300 Ubuntu Dev Box. Advice Needed!


I've decided to build my first computer and I've been reading through many great threads on this forum. I also found the Buyer's Guides in the FAQs to be particularly helpful.

I've learned a ton and was able to pick some parts, but I still have a cursory understanding of many components, and could use some guidance and advice. I've become a bit overwhelmed by the variety of components available on sites like newegg, tigerdirect, etc.

Here's my project:

Summary: I'm a new software developer that wants to build his first linux desktop to develop on. I would like to run Ubutnu. I'm prone to running many tabs on browsers, pdfs, reference materials, streaming media, and graphic applications. If its suitable for my budget, I'd like to support dual monitors and maybe be able to play some games occasionally.

Purchase Date: ASAP

Budget Range: $250-$350

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Must: Software Development, Internet, Music, Videos, ...Nice-to-have: dual monitor support, occasional gaming

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, tigerdirect, microcenter, amazon

Country of Origin: USA (NY)

Parts Preference: Best performance/price ratio. I imagine thats AMD on my end of the budget.

Overclocking: No (maybe later?)

*EDIT* Monitors: My two monitors are I-Inc iF281D 28" LCD and Hanns.G HG281D 28" LCD. The both have VGA and HDMI inputs, and 1920x1200 native res.

With that in mind, here is what I've come up with as my list of parts. Definitely would love to hear feedback, criticism, and specifically if it would all work together and with Ubuntu:

AMD Athlon II X4 645 Propus 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor ADX645WFGMBOX
BIOSTAR TA880GB+ AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX ADM Motherboard
Combo: $164.99

Diablotek CPA-3570 Epic ATX Mid Tower Case
Diablotek PHD550 550-Watt Power Supply Bundle
Combo: $69.99

Corsair XMS3 TW3X4G1333C9AG 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM

Lite-On IHAS22406 Internal DVD Writer - DVD+R 24X, DVD-R 24X, DVD+RW 8X, DVD-RW 6X, SATA, Lightscribe (OEM)

Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200RPM 16GB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive

Total: $346.95 + Assorted Shipping Cost

Would I need anything else to get up and running? I'd appreciate if anyone can assess whether these parts will work well together, if they will work with Ubuntu, and if they are good selections for my needs.

13 answers Last reply
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  1. I wouldn't trust that Diablotek PSU. Its a fireworks display in waiting.

    Try this setup:

    Athlon II X3 450: $80
    AS Rock 880GM: $60
    Hitachi 500 GB: $39
    Antec Earthwatts 380W: $40
    G.skill 4 GB DDR3: $40
    Rosewill R218 case: $40
    Cheap DVD Burner: $19
    total: $318

    Optionally add a GT430 for $75 with 2 DVI ports for your two monitors:
  2. I would change the case in the squirrel's build to a rosewill challenger ($40 w/ promo code: EMCKFJA37) and for $15 more you can step up to a sure quad core in the Athlon X4 645 w/ promo code: EMCKFJA27 , everything else is fine
  3. Awesome! This seems like a sweet package.

    Sorry to be a bit pedantic, but I found a few G.Skill 4GB DDR3s (2x2GB) on newegg - the main difference being PC3 10666 and PC3 10600, and either NS or non-NS series. Is there one that would work best for this hardware?

    Thanks a bunch.
  4. If you live in Ny, check to see how far Microcenter is from you. They have really awesome discounts and combos typically.
  5. as for the G.Skill ram, I'd go for the 10666 RAM its fractionally faster for the same cost.
  6. I'm pretty much going to build this as spec'd out by ScrewySqrl and dan4patriots. I actually found a few components cheaper at my local Microcenter (thanks someon19) so I won't have to pay shipping.

    I noticed Microcenter also has both
    MSI 880GM-E43 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboards
    MSI 880G-E45 Socket AM3 880G ATX AMD Motherboards

    for $65 after rebate - about $2 more than the ASRock 880GM ($60 + $3 shipping).

    The same MSI boards are $80 and $118 (w shipping), respectively, on newegg. In your opinion, would it be worth switching to either MSI board over the ASRock?

    Thanks everyone for your help.
  7. You might look into the nearly free motherboard combos at Microcenter:

    I'd consider the $99 Phenom II X4 840 (really an athlon II X4) and teh gigabyte 760 motherboard (free), and use the saved money to grab an cheap 6450 or 6570 of gt 440
  8. On the specs page (of the Microcenter website) of the Gigabyte 760 Motherboard, its recommending the PSU to be at least >500W. Is that good advice? Even if a higher watt PSU bumps up the price, the bundle seems like a good option.

    They even have a Phenom II X4 840 and MSI 880G combo for $120. Do you think there's a significant difference between the 880G and 760G chipset to justify springing for the 880G?

    I'll definitely pickup an extra graphics card. The combo you mentioned will put my total at $353 w/ the gt430. The combo I mention will be $20 more expensive. So I don't mind a slight stretch of the budget.

    I appreciate your time and the helpful advice!
  9. the major difference between the 880 and 760 is a better on-board GPU (not important here), and some slight chipset differences that won't really matter
  10. Last question (hopefully), will the Antec 380W PSU be adequate if I plan on adding a graphics card?

    I know PSU is a complex topic to get into, so its not something I'll probably understand within the time I'd like to purchase these components. Is there a good margin of safety with the Earthwatts 380W? I'd like to be on the safe side, so should I look into higher wattage systems (450-650W)?
  11. depends on what kind of graphics card you plan to add later, for example AMD recommends a 400w psu for a 5450 & 5670 so i would say step up to the Earthwatts 430 ($49.99 on Newegg & Amazon) if you plan to add one of those cards or similar later on and if you do not see yourself needing anything beyond the integrated graphics then that 380w earthwatts will be more than enough
  12. what really matters is the 12v amperage, an antec 380W has 28 amps on the 12v rail, so it can handle up to a 6850 ( reccomended 22a) or gtx 460/560 (recommended 24a)
  13. ScrewySqrl said:
    what really matters is the 12v amperage, an antec 380W has 28 amps on the 12v rail, so it can handle up to a 6850 ( reccomended 22a) or gtx 460/560 (recommended 24a)

    i was just going by AMD's recommendations, but true
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