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modest linux computer

peterbrinson

6 months ago

I've built my share of Windows computers over the years, but never a Linux machine. I have a very modest build here, as my goal is to literally teach my students how to build a computer, and we have little expectation to use well.

https://pcpartpicker.com/user/peterbrinson/saved/#view=D7QdmG

  • Sure, I used PCPartPicker's tool, but is there anything I should look out for Linux nevertheless?
  • I'm very happy to spend a little money on a Linux distribution that makes installation straightforward. Year ago, I learned the hard way that $20 went a long way for an novice installing Linux.
  • Anyone want to suggest a different build? (My one opinion is that the very very cheapest parts can be a problem, particularly the case...)

Thank you.

Comments

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

These are the changes I'd make

  • B450 board so you won't have to update the BIOS to support the CPU
  • Changed the HDD to an SSD, it'll make the install go super quick and usage in general will be super easy. Plus, if you're worried about your students dropping the HDD or something, there won't be any worry with the SSD
  • Better case
  • Better PSU I'd also suggest going with 8GB of RAM but since these are just basic lists for learning, you don't have to.

PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU AMD - Athlon 220GE 3.4 GHz Dual-Core Processor $64.99 @ Amazon
Motherboard ASRock - B450M-HDV R4.0 Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard $64.89 @ OutletPC
Memory G.Skill - NT Series 4 GB (1 x 4 GB) DDR4-2400 Memory $18.98 @ Newegg
Storage ADATA - SU655 120 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $17.99 @ Amazon
Case Deepcool - MATREXX 30 MicroATX Mini Tower Case $36.98 @ Newegg
Power Supply Corsair - CX (2017) 550 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply $49.99 @ Corsair
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $253.82
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-06-04 09:11 EDT-0400
  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you. So if I have an install of Linux on a flash drive, this will be straightforward? (For someone who has built Windows machines in the past).

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Since it looks like you won't be dual booting on the machine, it'll be as easy as installing Windows

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Most distros are fairly straight forward to install.

If you get off the beaten path you might have a bit of trouble with mount points, boot loaders, and UEFI

Also graphics cards can be a pain on some initial setups.

I suggest you set up virtual box as a hypervisor (with the host as Windows, Linux, BSD, or MAC) and then you can tinker around with many different ones without having to install on baremetal

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

With no optical drive, I'll be ok? I survived without them in Windows for a while, but I should ask.

And I should get a wireless card, actually. And recommendations for Linux?

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

wifi nic's and usb dongles can work on linux...but do your research before buying as many will use chips that have limited functionality or not at all in lieu of no open source drivers. I'm not sure what to recommend...probably something from Intel. I think you want to stay away from Broadcomm chips.

https://www.slant.co/topics/2335/~best-pci-e-wifi-cards

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

You will be fine without an optical drive, especially since you're installing Linux via USB drive.

After a quick google search, here are two USB WiFi dongles that'll work fine with Linux https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VEEBOPG/ https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EQT0YK2/

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

I second most of these changes, although for the PSU I think I'd spend less and use a 450w EVGA BR unit. You'd be perfectly fine with the 200GE CPU rather than the 220GE.

The biggest hassle with linux tends to be graphics drivers. The APU in the 200/220GE is relatively new compared to the linux kernel level being shipped with some distros, such as Centos 7. If you get into trouble with the APU, I can attest that the GT 710 runs fine with the nouveau driver, and it's $40 new and $15-20 off ebay and the like.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU AMD - Athlon 220GE 3.4 GHz Dual-Core Processor $64.99 @ Amazon
Motherboard ASRock - B450M-HDV R4.0 Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard $64.89 @ OutletPC
Memory G.Skill - NT Series 4 GB (1 x 4 GB) DDR4-2400 Memory $18.98 @ Newegg
Storage ADATA - SU655 120 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $17.99 @ Amazon
Case Deepcool - MATREXX 30 MicroATX Mini Tower Case $36.98 @ Newegg
Power Supply Corsair - CX (2017) 550 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply $49.99 @ Corsair
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $253.82
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-06-06 00:44 EDT-0400

Here's my build, now updated based on everyone's input. I added the video card for fun, and I didn't add the wireless card.

This distro of Linux advertises itself as 'lite' and therefore ready for very modest computers. https://zorinos.com/download/#lite

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

I’ve not tried Zorin but many people on the forums love it. There are far lighter on resources distros but you prob need to get your feet wet before tackling most of them.

That computer should do fine for most general computing tasks.

Some of these distros can be a pain to set up via UEFI on modern hardware and certainly don’t play nice with Windows killing Linux partitions.

I haven’t had to really mess with that yet but my machines are all getting up in age. I’m waiting for the latest Ryzen releases to hit and then I’ll upgrade.

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