Hardware Advice


I have been encountering a number of issues with my OpenSUSE installs (lockups, strange slowdowns and so on) and I’ve come to the conclusion that the kind of hardware I buy (like my nVidia SLi motherboard and Saitek GM3200 gaming mouse) so I figured that when I next bought new hardware I should consider Linux (especially my favourite distro).

Anyway, that time has arrived, I have decided to upgrade so what I need is advice on what good, up-to-date hardware I should buy … specifications decided so far:
• Intel Core 2 Duo Dual or Quad Core
• Intel chipset motherboard (as recent as possible)
• SATA drives
• 2Gb memory (possibly 4)
• PCI-E video at least 256Mb (probably 512).

That’s it … I have a 22" widescreen LCD screen, MS wired keyboard, MS wired mouse and specific advice I want is which motherboard, which video card etc.

I know there is an HCL for SuSE and I’m checking that out but if anyone has any other advice I’d appreciate it Smile


All of the items that you listed are compatible. I just bought a Thinkcentre with similar specs. I got an NVidia PCIe card for it because of Linux.

OK but I had kinda hoped for some specific recommendations :slight_smile:

I thought nVidia cards were a bit of a problem for Linux? Or is that ATI?


Nvidia cards work better in linux.

What do you intend to do with your system?

Dual boot with vista, play the latest games?

I’m not really a gamer (I play older games but not much current stuff) but the reality is that this (switching to Linux) is something I have tried many times in the past and I’ve always dropped back to Windows. Reasons vary … hardware support, comprehension (mine) issues, difficulty in finding analogous applications/methods in Linux and lack of support.

Despite that I retain a certain fascination with Linux my favourite distro being SuSE of course (although I was quite fond of Evil Entity Linux but that died about 5 years back) and SuSE still holds the record for the longest I’ve stuck with a Linux system (6 months about 7 years ago) and I remain very much interested in attempting a switch. I don’t want to drop Windows at all and I certainly don’t think it’s a bad OS (though not keen on Vista all that much) as it’s what I do for a living (server support) but I would like to switch completely at home if I can do it. If I can I stand to widen my skills which can’t be a bad thing and I might just save some money … that said, Office 2007 is only £70 on Amazon for 3 licenses. Given that I have just discovered I now own that same package (family death, long story) it would be cool if I could make that work on Linux (looking over the net it looks like it’s possible though not easy using wine) as I am a big fan of MS Office.

OK … so I buy an nVidia graphics card :slight_smile:



Stick with a core 2 Duo, not worth spending the extra money on a quad since there are very few applications that take advantage of the extra cores.

2GB of memory is adequate, unless more is required, for example video editing, playing graphical demanding games but memory prices are cheap atm, so may as well go for 4gb.

Latest intel chipsets, x38 and x48(cost more).

Since there are so many motherboards with these chipsets, best read a few reviews to find one you like.

Even though “future-proofing” (I know it can’t really be done) is a factor?

Thanks for the other advice.


By the time quads become mainstream (if they ever do), the current quad cpus will be very old.

Quad cores have the ability to offer a lot of processing power when coupled with software that can utilize all 4 quads but currently the majority of home users simply do not do anything that require the extra processing power a quad core is capable of providing.

Dual cores still have a lot of potential. A decent system would probably cope upto 3 years or less before it becomes slow. In that time i do not think quads would become mainstream.

You would probably get dual cores that are even more efficient and completely outperforming todays quads.

If you are into overclocking, you can buy a relatively cheap quad and clock it higher, that would make it perform just as well, maybe slightly better than a dual clocked at the same speed.

Understood though I may still do because there will be some Windows games soon enough that will and Vista apparently does (the only reason I have for “upgrading” from XP).

No, I’m not into overclocking I’m afraid.


You see this is why I find this all so frustrating.

Saturday I tried to install the stable version of OpenSUSE 11 and it locked at the time of GRUB install. Now I know a few things and given the disk configuration of my system (2 320Gb disks in RAID 0 for XP and a 400Gb disk for Linux with the Linux disk booting first at install time) I realised it wasn’t going to work until I disconnected my RAID as the installer had decided it needed to write to it (go figure).

So the following day I installed OpenSUSE 11 successfully and reconnected my RAID and tested everything as working … that is until in the middle of playing Penguin Command the entire system just locked.

I haven’t bought my new hardware yet but this is why it is so important to me to get the right hardware to run OpenSUSE 11 on.


> You see this is why I find this all so frustrating.

of course, it will always be frustrating when one strikes out against
the herd (the sheep follow Redmond)…instead of being frustrated, pat
yourself on the back for being BRAVE and ADVENTUROUS enough to take a
shot at what most folks say is too hard…

> until in the middle of playing Penguin Command the entire system just
> locked.

three things:

  1. did you install KDE 4.x? it is EXPERIMENTAL and very UNstable…
    forget it unless you are a programmer or wanna climb tall mountains
    without a rope (or just wanna file a lot bug reports)…

  2. the freeze sounds like it might be a video driver problem…you
    might tell us what video system you have and which driver…AFTER you
    give it a try in KDE3.x

  3. never forget that you loaded an OS far superior and modern when
    compared to Vista…you ARE on the bleeding edge…and, the edge is
    sharp and sometimes you get nicked. (if you want stability far
    superior to anything Redmond has, and cheaper, visit Novell.com and
    buy a SUSE Linux Enterprise product…they have many…WITH
    support…, for example there is a 60 day trial version of SLED at

oh, and give OpenOffice a try…and, get out of the habit of BUYING or
inheriting M$-Office…

OK … I will try with KDE 3 but what I want is KDE 4. Yes, it could be a driver problem, the card is a PCI-E GeCube Radeon X800 GTO DDR3 with 256Mb which, even though old, was designed for high performance gaming under Windows.

As for comments about MS sheep and Linux being an OS far superior … yeah sure, I’ve heard it all before and I have yet to see a single shred of evidence that such comments are anything but Linux based evangelism. Like it or not XP is a damned good OS, one that works exceptionally well … Vista I know has problems (many of which are perceptual rather than actual) and some of those are resolved in SP1. Don’t get me wrong, I like Linux, it’s a bloody good OS, it’s free and I still have a great attraction to it but it is not the Windows beater that many of you guys think it is or want it to be and comments like the ones you just made drive people away from the OS you want to win and not towards it. OpenOffice is exceptionally competent but IMO MS Office is far better.

Despite our apparent philosophical differences I appreciate your help.