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Bad ass linux motherboard, any recommendations?

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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September 5, 2002 4:41:02 AM

I'm looking to build a new system for running linux in my office for mission critical services. What's a good motherboard that has strong linux compatibility/support. Freebsd would be an added bonus.

-- Chaos is the better order.
September 5, 2002 11:55:38 AM

The usual rules apply... get something solid. Some folks swear by the old BX based boards. I've had no problems with AMD76x boards, and to be fair, VIA has been fine for me too. Just be sure to go with a quality manufacturer. Don't muck around with ataraid (Promise / HPT). I've got it and it works fine for me, but some people have a lot of trouble with it. Linux SoftRAID or real H/W SCSI might be better.

But what exactly is the box doing? Postgres? Samba? 3 users or 30? If it's really mission critical, maybe take a look at an off the shelf box from <A HREF="http://www.penguincomputing.com/" target="_new">Penguin Computing</A> or <A HREF="http://www.pogolinux.com/" target="_new">Pogo</A> or even <A HREF="http://www.pc.ibm.com/us/eserver/xseries/index.html" target="_new">IBM</A> or <A HREF="http://www.sun.com/servers/entry/lx50/" target="_new">Sun</A>. It's easy to spend too long mucking around with something that "should work, but doesn't" so OEM boxes make sense for business.

<i>Do I look like I care?</i>
September 8, 2002 6:56:42 PM

I've run linux on via/amd combos and intel/intel combos and I've never had a motherboard problem.

If my baby don't love me, I know, I know, her sister will.
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September 9, 2002 3:17:08 AM

I manage a small but growing network. I've always used Microsoft in the past, but their new licensing and XP activation has finally pushed me over the edge. I mean not to ever purchase another Microsoft product again. Consequently, the platform I need will be used initially for testing purposes, to implement a wide variety of Linux alternatives. Stability is essential, performance/speed is a nice perk. When I monkeyed around with linux several years ago, I was constantly confronted with hardware support issues. I know things have changed radically since then, but I just wanted to make sure that I got a good server platform to tinker with. I always prefer to build my own systems, I like to know exactly what's in my servers. I've been kind of eyeing intel's server boards, particularly the SE7500CW2. For workstations, I was mostly looking at Asus's nforce boards. Any comments, or something I should know about these two platforms. Thanks a bunch, tartarhus.

-- Chaos is the better order.
September 9, 2002 7:14:25 PM

Yes, driver support has grown by leaps and bounds! I would feel comfortable installing on any mobo, except maybe the newest ones out. Even FreeBSD installed on my new P4 board without a glitch. (well, the usual hassles with XFree and video modes, but we're all used to that by now)
I would worry less about driver issues at this point so long as you pick out a board that doesn't use any unusual chipsets. Decide more on speed/cost/reliability.
I also like intel and Asus. I'm also using a new Gigabyte Athlon board with no problems running Mandrake 8.2.
September 10, 2002 10:00:24 AM

nforce for workstations should be ok, but you'll really have to use nVidia's <A HREF="http://www.nvidia.com/view.asp?IO=linux_nforce_1.0-0241" target="_new">drivers</A> (for video, ethernet and audio), which means a little bit of tweaking - no big deal, but a default install won't be enough for a fully working system. After the first one, image the disk with <A HREF="http://www.partimage.org" target="_new">Partition Image</A> and install with that (or netboot or whatever you fancy). Intel's board will be fine (but I think it wants an SMP kernel for P4 HT).

<i>Do I look like I care?</i>
September 12, 2002 5:33:25 AM

Thanks guys, your help is appreciated. I like gigabyte boards too by the way. While they don't have as many features as an asus board, they are very reliable and affordable. Gigabyte, like intel, never drops support, not even on 3 yr old boards. Too bad they don't make nforce boards (apparently nvidia and gigabyte got into a tiff over ati card production). Oh, well. If nforce boards are a little harder to get up an running, perhaps I'll go with an amd chipset instead. What ya think, amd or nvidia? By the way how stable is AMD's new chipset on linux, their dual processor 760 MPX.

-- Chaos is the better order.
September 12, 2002 11:41:44 AM

I think it depends on what the workstations will be doing. If you need 3D, you probably want to look at an Nvidia card anyway (although ATI has now officially released drivers for newer Radeons). In that case, you still really need to install "aftermarket" drivers. If you don't need 3D, maybe AMD will be easier, due to everything being stock (assuming you choose a sane nic, video card, etc). Run the numbers, and see what you reckon.

760MPX seems pretty solid (but not the early boards):
<A HREF="http://www.linuxhardware.org/features/02/07/17/0152229...." target="_new">http://www.linuxhardware.org/features/02/07/17/0152229....;/A>
<A HREF="http://www.linuxhardware.org/article.pl?sid=02/09/09/23..." target="_new">http://www.linuxhardware.org/article.pl?sid=02/09/09/23...;/A>

<i>Do I look like I care?</i><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by poorboy on 09/13/02 01:44 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
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