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Parts

Updated: 2012-01-25

This is really about choosing parts for your Linux computer. Its probably worth looking at if you don't want to use one of the machines I have listed.

The Software

To download Ubuntu 11.04 google for "ubuntu-11.04-desktop-amd64.iso"

Also of interest is Tom's Hardware tests Ubuntu 11.04

The Case

Already decided: Antec 300 Its a clean minimalist beautiful black case that is 100% functional. Comes with fans. I have two and they have served well for 2 years now. Very quiet.

The Power Supply Unit

Already decided: Antec True Power 750w - Comes with all the cables and build quality is superb. I have two Antec True Power 550w and they have served well for 2 years now. Very quiet also.

The Motherboard and CPU

The motherboard is a major determinant in the whole system because what ever goes into the system has to plug into it.

The Motherboard and CPU decision.

The Graphics Card

The problem with using graphics on the motherboard is it then uses the RAM for graphics slowing down the CPU's other work using RAM. So I chose to have a separate graphics card.

The Graphics card decision.

The Storage

Hard Drives, Solid State Drives SSD and Optical Drive.

Wikipedia - RAID

Optimising SSD

Tom's Hardware on SSD

The Cooling

The lack of any proper ratings on heat-sinks is disappointing so I went for a big quiet one, but the CPU is supplied with a cooler though it is a little more noisy.



Benchmarks

The Systems

Here are some benchmarks for the systems. FX-8120 refers to the Sabertooth 990FX-750 system while i5 2500K refers to the Sabertooth P67-750 system with the exception that the graphics cards may have been swapped. The test are based on the minimum, typical and maximum Frames Per Second (fps) in the 3-d shooter Nexuiz available on the "Ubuntu Software Centre". The graphics rendering effects can be set to various levels normal, high, ultra and top. Where top is my own setting where I have put everything to the maximum. This gave various frame rates which did vary quite a lot with time even though I stood in a particular spot in the game each time.

Gtk is the time in seconds, it took to run GtkPerf a benchmark application which is available from the "Ubuntu Software Centre".

CPUs says how many cores were running at what percentage, according to the "System monitor" available on the system/administration menu on the sesktop.

Not all the places have been filled in the tables because I felt that conclusions could be drawn without the extra data and because each number takes a while to get. Generally the game has to be played for a minute or two before it settles. I suspect this is as the graphics card RAM nicely fills and fragments and so slows things down to a stable fps rate!

The actual display was on a 1920x1080 60Hz single screen.




FX-8120




i5 2500K






Gtk CPUs Min Typ Max
Gtk CPUs Min Typ Max














AMD/ATI
Top 9 sec 8x5% 47 56


1x80% 47 54 57
Sapphire Radeon HD6850 1GB
Ultra

83 104



79 90 94


High







108 111 116


Normal
8x5% 152 188



108 130














Nvidia
Top 5 sec
52 52 55
3 sec 1x100% 50 57
Zotac GTX 550 Ti 1GB
Ultra
1x100% 81 86 91


72 95


High


160


1x75% 153 210


Normal
1x75% 244 247 250






Looking at the ultra typ figures in purple they suggest that FX-8120 might be better off with Radeon while i5 might be better off with Nvidia but only suggest mind you.

It is notable that at the FX-8120 with Radeon clocked 188 Frames Per Second (fps) at "normal" setting while i5 with Nvidia clocked more, 210 fps at "high" setting.

It is notable that at the FX-8120 with Radeon left the processor almost idling at every setting while i5 with Nvidia consumed at least 75% of one core. The other cores were idle.

My conclusions from these tests are that even if the FX8120 might be disappointing under Windows, according to some reviews, under Linux it matches the i5 2500K well.

Extra

While I was at it I also did some tests with some low end graphics cards in the same systems. Here are the results for that.




FX-8120




i5 2500K






Gtk CPUs Min Typ Max
Gtk CPUs Min Typ Max














AMD/ATI
Top 8.2 sec 8x5%



6 sec



VTX Radeon HD5450
Ultra

8 10 11

4x30% 9 11 12


High







19 22


Normal
8x5% 48 55 58


49 55 58














Nvidia
Top 5 sec

2

3.6 sec



Gigabyte 8400GS
Ultra
1x100%
4




4


High


13








Normal

28 30


100%+30% 28 30

Certainly the Radeon card wins here.

AMD-200


Here was a quick test for the Radeon card in the almost AMD-200 system. I should probably do the Nvidia card also one day but I suspect the above tables say it all.


Sempron





Gtk CPUs Min Typ Max







AMD/ATI





VTX Radeon HD5450

40%+20% 12 15










75%+25% 46 56







Nvidia





Gigabyte 8400GS






















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







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