/var/opinion - Postscripts on the Ultimate Linux Boxes
It's too bad we didn't get enough notebook computers to choose an Ultimate Notebook this year, particularly because so many people have problems installing and using Linux on many notebook computers. If it is any consolation to you, I've had great success with my ABS Mayhem G4 A78 notebook (www.abs.com). It has been replaced by the G4 Revolution since I bought it (and the price has dropped significantly, naturally). The key to the G4, or any other notebook you consider, is to pick one with Linux-supported hardware. Most notebooks come with either an NVIDIA display or ATI. The G4 A78 has an NVIDIA display driver, and I've always had good luck with NVIDIA, so that was a driving factor in choosing this notebook. It also has an Intel M-PCI PRO Wireless Chip, which works out of the box even with distributions like Kubuntu. The only manual work I had to do to make it work was add a line to my configuration file to specify my WEP security code. All in all, I installed and configured Kubuntu on this notebook faster than I was able to get the pre-installed Windows XP to work properly. The Windows wireless driver couldn't connect to my network unless I advertised the network name (SSID). It didn't matter that I typed in the SSID manually. Linux had no such trouble.
The bottom line is that the Mayhem G4 A78 is a great performer and very Linux-friendly. The problem is that the latest Mayhem notebooks have slightly different hardware. ABS is going with the Intel WM3B2915ABGNAX Mini PCI Wireless Adapter now (can they add any more letters to that item number?). I'm not at all confident that most Linux distributions will work with this chip out of the box, but then I haven't tried it.
Here are some postscripts about the Do-It-Yourself Ultimate Linux Box. We offered some advice on how you can get a little wiggle room on price, but you might benefit from some common-sense tips on what not to do. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to opt to go with a dual-card NVIDIA SLI configuration without getting any real benefit for the price. For example, don't compromise big on the price of your processor in order to invest in a dual-card NVIDIA SLI configuration. If you don't have enough CPU power, you won't get what you want from the display cards. Likewise, there's no point in doing SLI if you're going to connect it to a monitor that can do only a 1024x768 resolution. With a monitor like that, you probably won't see any improvement in performance or quality compared to a single card.
Oh, and here's something you need to know. You can't use dual monitors and SLI mode at the same time. You can switch between dual monitors and SLI mode without making any hardware configuration changes, but you can't have your SLI cake and eat your dual monitors too (whatever that means).
Here's a do-as-we-say-not-as-we-did tip. If you are a do-it-yourself type, you probably have several computers and play the hand-me-down game. When you upgrade your own video card, you hand down your existing card to the computer your kids use (or vice versa, if they get the premium stuff, first).
If you are going to hand down your CPU, be very careful when removing the CPU from one motherboard to transfer it to another. We transferred a CPU several times in order to test the various motherboards, and there was one time when it stuck to and popped out while removing the heat sink.
Here is where I'll personally take the blame and switch from the editorial we to I. I bent a few pins while prying the CPU loose from the heat sink. Try as I may, all my efforts to get the pins back into position just made things worse. I was never able to re-insert that CPU into a socket. Dual-core AMD64 CPUs don't come cheap, so that was a painful lesson to learn, more painful than leaving a piece of my thumb in the CPU fan on the Aberdeen server.
I guess the lesson here is that if you are as clumsy as I am, get someone else to do the tricky work for you.
Finally, we made mention of a number of benchmarks that weren't fit for publishing because they didn't provide useful information. In one case, we're referring to a benchmark called 3DMark 06. The numbers didn't add anything to what we'd already found, and we couldn't publish the results anyway, because our copy of the benchmark is not for commercial use. But if you dual-boot Windows, I recommend you have a look at this benchmark for yourself. You can download a copy from www.guru3d.com. If your hardware is good enough to render the tests well, you'll be blown away by the test scenes.
Nicholas Petreley is Editor in Chief of Linux Journal and a former programmer, teacher, analyst and consultant who has been working with and writing about Linux for more than ten years.
|Dynamic DNS—an Object Lesson in Problem Solving||May 21, 2013|
|Using Salt Stack and Vagrant for Drupal Development||May 20, 2013|
|Making Linux and Android Get Along (It's Not as Hard as It Sounds)||May 16, 2013|
|Drupal Is a Framework: Why Everyone Needs to Understand This||May 15, 2013|
|Home, My Backup Data Center||May 13, 2013|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Seashore||May 10, 2013|
- RSS Feeds
- Making Linux and Android Get Along (It's Not as Hard as It Sounds)
- Using Salt Stack and Vagrant for Drupal Development
- Dynamic DNS—an Object Lesson in Problem Solving
- New Products
- Validate an E-Mail Address with PHP, the Right Way
- Drupal Is a Framework: Why Everyone Needs to Understand This
- A Topic for Discussion - Open Source Feature-Richness?
- Download the Free Red Hat White Paper "Using an Open Source Framework to Catch the Bad Guy"
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- Keeping track of IP address
1 hour 36 min ago
- Roll your own dynamic dns
6 hours 50 min ago
- Please correct the URL for Salt Stack's web site
10 hours 1 min ago
- Android is Linux -- why no better inter-operation
12 hours 17 min ago
- Connecting Android device to desktop Linux via USB
12 hours 45 min ago
- Find new cell phone and tablet pc
13 hours 43 min ago
15 hours 12 min ago
- Automatically updating Guest Additions
16 hours 21 min ago
- I like your topic on android
17 hours 7 min ago
- This is the easiest tutorial
23 hours 43 min ago
Enter to Win an Adafruit Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit for Raspberry Pi
It's Raspberry Pi month at Linux Journal. Each week in May, Adafruit will be giving away a Pi-related prize to a lucky, randomly drawn LJ reader. Winners will be announced weekly.
Fill out the fields below to enter to win this week's prize-- a Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit for Raspberry Pi.
Congratulations to our winners so far:
- 5-8-13, Pi Starter Pack: Jack Davis
- 5-15-13, Pi Model B 512MB RAM: Patrick Dunn
- 5-21-13, Prototyping Pi Plate Kit: Philip Kirby
- Next winner announced on 5-27-13!
Free Webinar: Hadoop
How to Build an Optimal Hadoop Cluster to Store and Maintain Unlimited Amounts of Data Using Microservers
Realizing the promise of Apache® Hadoop® requires the effective deployment of compute, memory, storage and networking to achieve optimal results. With its flexibility and multitude of options, it is easy to over or under provision the server infrastructure, resulting in poor performance and high TCO. Join us for an in depth, technical discussion with industry experts from leading Hadoop and server companies who will provide insights into the key considerations for designing and deploying an optimal Hadoop cluster.
Some of key questions to be discussed are:
- What is the “typical” Hadoop cluster and what should be installed on the different machine types?
- Why should you consider the typical workload patterns when making your hardware decisions?
- Are all microservers created equal for Hadoop deployments?
- How do I plan for expansion if I require more compute, memory, storage or networking?