Hardware Opinions wanted

Black Friday is coming. I decided it is time to upgrade to a more modern computer. My motherboard does not even have a pci connector for video! My question is what minimum specs should I look for when it comes to CPU, Video, ram, storage and anything else you think is pertinent. My tradition is to add a hard drive to have opensuse on its own. I’m thinking it may be time to go ssd. I know next to nothing about it, so would like advice/warnings on this subject.

I hope to get a cheap deal on Black Friday but don’t want to waste my money. I never built a kit pc, but that is not out of the question. That’s another reason minimum component specs are useful to me.

So I am not sure just how to respond because with the advent of Windows 8, the computer might be locked to that OS due to the new secure boot stuff. Of course there are still places that will assemble a custom computer for you in which Linux will run just fine. I still like using an Intel CPU a lot and going with dual or quad core works well when running stuff in a VM. Have a look at the Intel i5 and i7 stuff. I like 8 GB of memory and 16 if you can get it. For a SSD look for 128 GB Sata III (6 GTB Speed), the sweet spot for SSD’s for now. I always suggest going with nVIDIA for video but a new Ivy-Bridge Intel will have nice built-in video that you can try and always buy nVIDIA later as long as your motherboards has a pci-e slot. A top of the line computer using the Intel i7 3770 (less monitor) would be around $900 US from what I can see with 128 GB SSD, 2 TB Hard Drive, built-in Intel Video and 8 GB of memory. It had a keyboard and mouse, but no monitor that I see. Building it from part deals assures it can use Linux I think, but if you don’t feel good about building it, you need to visit a local computer shop to see what they might change to build one for you.

Thank You,

Thanks for the info. I was unsure if a dual-core cpu was already outdated. I like the idea that I can splurge later on nVidia. I have to think hard about a 2TB drive. I’m getting along with a much smaller setup without coming close to filling it. In the past, I’ve always skimped on memory. But not this time.

Think about just putting the old HDD in the new machine and see what happens. IME 99% just works. You may have to reconfigure the networking (different network card). This week I configured 3 new Lenovo machines, by no more than building in the HDD’s of the machines that they are replacing. I did quite some research to get to buying these machines. The machines have 6 GB’s of RAM (max 16 GB), an i5 (i7 would be overkill for what the machines are used for).

Caveat is that the OP’s (not described) old HDD could be an old IDE drive, which many newer mobo’s no longer make facility for … a problem in itself which could be resolved with the addition of an appropriate (PCI/PCIe) add in controller card

So, do I scratch i3 off the list?

Hi
What about a laptop? Get an enclosure for the old drive drive. This notebook runs a 60GB SSD and removed the dvd drive and put a hdd caddy in it for the original 250GB drive. I have an external dvd drive I use on machines here these days…

Maybe a chromebook or chromebox and run openSUSE arm? :wink: (needs work but it’s coming together)

Chromebook is an interesting option. I am waiting for an evaluation of a $249 chromebook to replace $750 HP laptops.

I highly suspect that you do not have complex or demanding computing needs (you never mentioned your usage scenarios IIRC). I doubt that the more advanced features in an i5 or i7 will be of much use to you. Modern processors offer ridiculous amounts of computing power to the typical end user. Though, going forward in time, selection of a more powerful cpu may allow you to extend the life of your system with use with future bloated software environments (that run x number of indexing features, and fancy desktop eyecandy and whatever/what not).

I think you can [unfortunately] bank on that happening. Same goes for HD space. So get the most powerful within your budget, but don’t scrimp on the visual output device or the manual input device - the rest is no use if they fail or wear out prematurely especially on mobile devices. :wink:

Staples Black Friday ad leaked today. They have an HP with an AMD A4 processor, 6 Gb and 1 TB - $280. Also HP AMD A8 with 8GB and same HD - $400. For another 50 bucks you get Lenovo i5 with 8GB. I suspect other vendors will come close in deals. I know nothing of the AMD processors, but one as cheap as the A4 would leave me room for a better video card. I do little or no gaming. Mostly office stuff and internet. Remember what Bill Gates said: “you will NEVER need more that 640k of memory.”

Okay, so pretty much every modern processor would meet those requirements and then some.

Staples Black Friday ad leaked today. They have an HP with an AMD A4 processor, 6 Gb and 1 TB - $280. Also HP AMD A8 with 8GB and same HD - $400. For another 50 bucks you get Lenovo i5 with 8GB. I suspect other vendors will come close in deals. I know nothing of the AMD processors, but one as cheap as the A4 would leave me room for a better video card.
Are those desktop or laptop systems?

Both of those AMD processors are slower then the intel i3. The i5, in turn, will be a behemoth to them all. But again, given your usage, it really won’t matter much – in a side by side comparison, sure you’d notice the difference in snappiness … but that wears off over time, as well as to mention, the cumulative time savings bought with an i5 opening a Word/Writer document is going to be what over the system’s lifetime? 10mins ? (I don’t know, that’s just a guess)

As for the video in the fore mentioned, with the AMD processors, you’d want to check whether they are either the older Llano or the newer Trinity models. AMD Fusion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia I guess the same applies to the intel – is staples clearing old Sandy Bridge inventory or are they Ivy Bridge processors.

Linux on those AMD’s – suggest the use of the prop. video driver (as, especially in the case of the newer Trinity based models, the OSS drivers are currently blah).

Speaking of video – not sure why you’d want a better video card given your usage … all a better video card will buy you is some better video playback (in terms of advanced features that A/V nuts crave and which I highly doubt is applicable to you, as you’d of expressed it), gaming (which is evidently not applicable) and composting (for desktop effects … which should be handled fine by the graphics adapters in the processors you listed above – even if they are older Llano or Sandy Bridge based adapters!)

I’m not sure why you’d want to buy a Lenovo from Staples, as opposed to directly from Lenovo themselves (whom, like Dell and others, have system’s perpetually on Sale, or not-so-secret stackable coupons such that their listed regular price is nothing but a joke and which no one ever pays)… the Staples system is likely a B or G5xx model, whereas an equivalently priced E530 could be had directly from Lenovo.

I’d posit that the best bang for the buck that you will see is by getting an SSD aftermarket. (though make sure you get a correct physical sized one if you are getting a laptop; the industry is slowing transitioning to 7.5mm drives, but lots of 9mm drives and systems that natively take that later size still exist).

Remember what Bill Gates said: “you will NEVER need more that 640k of memory.”
No I don’t remember when he said that … but that’s only because I know that he NEVER said that. Its an urban myth.

Thanks for the detailed info. I will use it when I research all the ads. I am looking for a desktop. I have a few laptops laying around that I never use… except for when Sandy was coming and I charged them as an emergency source for my cell phone. I may get in line on Black Friday to get an Asus tablet like my wife has that would satisfy my portable needs. You guessed why I was looking for more video processing power. Currently, internet videos are barely acceptable and I have been turning to the internet to catch tv shows I missed when broadcast.