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Gigabyte 600

This is the latest system I have put together, intended to provide power at a budget. Its not as flashy as the Sabertooth systems but in truth it works just as well. Please bare in mind that they were built a few years ago so the prices for those systems are out of date.

More information can be found on hardware here Linux Hardware. Here is only the build for a specific system.

Updated: 2013-08-03
Classification: GA970A-D3-FX8320-8gb-HD6670-HD1tb

WARNINGS: No warnings yet!

Parts List 

January 2012 - prices for ebuyer.com except items marked with * which are from amazon.co.uk:
  • £45 Antec 300 Three Hundred Case
  • £42 Seagate 1TB Barracuda 3.5" SATA-III Hard Drive
  • £47 EARTHWATTS EA-500 GREEN GB - 500WATTS 80PLUS BRONZE ATX V2.3 IN                   
  • £48  Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600Mhz CL9 1.5V Non-ECC Unbuffered
  • £57 Gigabyte GA-970A-D3 Socket AM3+ 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard
  • £103 AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz Socket AM3+ 16MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor
  • £13 Samsung SH-224BB SATA DVD Write Optical Drive | OEM
  • £50 Gigabyte HD 6670 2GB GDDR3 1600MHz HDMI DVI D-sub PCI-E Graphics Card
  • £30 for 2 x StarTech 5.25in Trayless Hot Swap
  • £0 Shipping    
  • £87  VATax 20%  
Approximately £522  inc VAT Order Total


The build took about 2 hours. I don't do this every day and I am careful. Years with electronics tells me that everything should be treated as delicate. Also watch out for static. The instructions that come with the parts make it pretty clear and I followed them.

Switching On

The Operating System

If you hate Gnome 3 (designed to support touch screens without menues) as much as I then this limits your choices. Gnome 2 (designed for keyboards and mice, and with menus) has forked into a desktop package called Mate. I looked at Fedoras Mate spin and at Piuma but finally found that only two combinations seemed to be best for me.

Sabayon Linux is a Gentoo linux with a Mate desktop on top. The whole feel of the thing is helpful doesn't hide the technical but does most of it for you. It also doesn't try to be helpful in annoying ways. Sabayon doesn't support Advanced format disks well. But it does integrate with the Mate desktop nicely. My Remedy was to use a non advanced disc but it was still slower than Ubuntu 13.04 with its "Gnome fallback".

Ubuntu 13.04 fallback gives the benefits of the Gnome 2 style desktop and supports advanced disks so copies are fast,

If you have purchased the new hard disc recommended above or if you have any other new hard disk it is likely to use "advanced format" i.e. 4096 byte sectors pretending to be 512 byte sectors. Old drives used 512 byte sectors. The result is that operating systems that don't align the disk partitions to multiples of 4096 bytes have a huge hit in performance. Disc copies that would run at 60 Mb/s or faster end up running at about 10 Mb/s.

Wikipedia: Advanced Format is a generic term pertaining to any sector format used to store data on the magnetic disks in hard disk drives that exceeds 512 to 520 bytes per sector. Advanced Format is also considered a milestone technology in the history of hard-drive storage, where data has been generally processed in 512-byte segments since at least the introduction of consumer-grade hard-disk drives in the early 1980, and in similar or smaller chunks in the professional field since the hard disk's invention in 1956. Changing the sector format convention to larger data sectors, such as the 4096-byte structure used in the first generation of Advanced Format technologies, uses the storage surface area more efficiently for large files but less efficiently for smaller files, while enabling the integration of stronger error correction algorithms to maintain data integrity at higher storage densities.

Since Sabayon amongst some other distros (Mint, Piuma) see this as a problem for the hard drive manufacturers (because discs should not lie about the size of their sectors) they still have not implemented a remedy. So unless you have an old hard disk don't install Sabayon, choose Xubuntu + MATE.

Installing Ubuntu 13.04

Before you start if you have multiple monitors unplug the secondary one. Using two monitors before you have the drivers installed leads to screen problems during the install.

Insert an Ubuntu 13.04 disk you have downloaded on your old computer or a friends computer from the Ubuntu website. Remember to choose the 64 bit version.

On "Allocate drive space page" choose the option to use the whole disc. Then answer the usual questions.

Well eventually the system asks you to reboot. Do so and then install the updates. To do this on the Desktop menu click on;

Applications > System Tools > Preferences > Software & Updates

If you like the new Gnome 3 look then skip the next heading.

Installing Gnome fall back

So as to have the option of a traditional style desktop you need to open a terminal from the desktop menu;

Applications > Accessories > Terminal

and type;

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

It takes about 5 mins and when the prompt finally returns you are  done. Reboot and before you log in click on the ubuntu logo just to the right of your username, a menu opens and you can choose "Gnome fallback"


A more detailed account is given on this link Gnome fallback from where the above image came.

Proprietary Drivers

Now you should boot up nicely. Now if you are using multiple screens lets get the proprietry drivers installed so you can get them running. Use the "Ubuntu Software Centre" search for "Additional Drivers" there is a package there that used to be called "Jockey" when you install and run this it will tell you about any special drivers.

Sadly it doesn't appear on the desktop menu so it has to be run from a terminal by typing;


ATI Drivers

In my case I needed the ati drivers and  these need to be run from the command line also. Open a terminal and type;

sudo amdcccle

That runs it. On the left hand side click on Display Manager and there you can set up the display orientations etc. I found when I clicked Apply I had to reboot before anything changed but after that the Apply button worked and I could try out settings.

Wow a running decent system!

Setting a Root Password

Last but not least sometimes you need a root account. If you want a root account in Ubuntu use a terminal and type;

sudo passwd root

then as prompted enter a root account password. It looked like this for me.

tom@pluto:~$ sudo passwd root
[sudo] password for tom:
Enter new UNIX password:
Retype new UNIX password:
passwd: password updated successfully

Install Sabayon

If you don't like the above you could try Sabayon Linux instead.

WARNING: There are drive performance issues on this which I am still getting to the bottom of. Even when installed on a NOT Advanced format drive a copy of a quarter of a million small files slows from 30Mb/s to 4Mb/s as the copy progresses. Otherwise copying is OK.

Insert and boot off a Sabayon 13.04 disk you have downloaded on your old computer or a friends computer from the Sabayon website. Remember to choose the 64 bit version.

Follow the installation procedure and reboot as instructed. Remember to remove the CD after the system has shut down and right before it re-boots i.e. when the bois screen shows.

When the system reboots don't worry if your duel screens show the same image, this is better adjusted later. Also at this point the system won't recognise any other drives this also gets sorted later.

Login as the "root" user.

Before Sabayon can do updates you need to change one file using the text editor (called "plume"). Load;


and move the line;


so the first two lines are;

# Generated by resolvconf

and save it.

Once this is done use the desktop menu to start;

System > Administration > Rigo Application Browser

It tells you there are updated. When I did the Glibc 2.17 update it hung my system so skip that update but do the rest. I did upgrade Entropy 211.

It can take a good half hour so go away and let it get on with it. When you come back there is more. Expect well over an hour of this perhaps two. But it can be left to get on with it. Then it says there is some more updating! Accept it, this time its 2 minutes.

A notice may appear on Rigo saying "Several applications are no longer supported......" just below where it says that are the words Manual Review followed by a list. Click on each item in the list and then click on the remove button that appears for each.

Use the desktop menu to restart;

System > Shut Down

If your system only gives you the option to hibernate or Suspend. Choose suspend. Then switch the system on but immediately press the reset button, this forces a proper reboot.

After this you you will see that you now have a full list of shutdown options.

You can now use;

System > Administration > Rigo Application Browser

to search for Firefox, Libre Office, Latexila and, GParting and any other applications you commonly use. If your using Latexila do install the extra fonts "Culmus Latex" using Rigo.

You can adjust your multiple monito setup with;

System > Preferences > Monitors

Thats It!

Now just fiddle with;

System > Preferences > Appearance

To get the background and fonts looking decent.

Data Storage on Advanced Format Drives

If you want to use an Advanced Format disc for data storage you will need to install GParting and delete then recreate any partitions. Gparting uses Mib option and so only starts partitions on megabyte boundaries which are of course also 4096 byte boundaries. If you don't do this they run like cows as already explained above. This can also cause SSD to run like cows!

Use GParted to repartition the drive using MIB and Ext4.

Then to make it accessible if your username is "tom" and your drive partition is called "Backup 10", start a terminal and do as follows;

$ cd /media/tom
$ sudo chown -R tom:tom "Backup 10"
[sudo] password for tom:

© Tom de Havas 2011. The information under this section is my own work it may be reproduced without modification but must include this notice.