The Ultimate Linux Box
What kind of computer would you build if you decided to spoil yourself, but keep your spending below the big price differential that occurs when you buy the next best thing? We put together a box based on that very principle, and it packs enough power to last years into a tank of a case. Then, we trimmed it with a beautiful 24" display, phat speakers, keyboard and mouse. The final product comes in at $3,887 US, with lots of wiggle room to save money on the pieces of the system you may consider more than you need.
Heck, it's almost all more than you need, but if we picked anything less, it wouldn't be the Ultimate Linux Box, would it? If your significant other questions your wisdom, you always can fall back on the following speaker analogy: why buy speakers that have a frequency response outside the range of human hearing? These speakers are more likely to perform well within the range of human hearing, right? And, that's why you indulge in overkill for the Ultimate Linux Box. Maybe you won't push it to its limits, but it will perform better within the limits of your work habits, right? Let me know if your significant other buys the argument. (Don't mention that whatever you buy will be obsolete in six months.)
Don't worry if you get “no” for an answer, or if you're strapped for cash. We didn't forget you. We tossed together a Penultimate Linux Box that totals less than $2,000 US (see The Penultimate Linux Box sidebar). It still packs an amazing amount of power. In fact, even the Penultimate Linux Box leaves wiggle room for saving money if you can get by with a slower CPU or display card. As you shave off options, you also can shave the price off the case and power supply.
But, that's not why most of you are reading this, I hope. You want to drool, and we chose some awesome hardware to get those juices flowing. It all revolves around a stunning ASUS motherboard with an Intel Core 2 Quad processor and 4GB of RAM, coupled with a 3ware RAID controller and RAID cage with four 320GB drives. Add one of the latest, greatest display cards, and you've eliminated performance bottlenecks at every turn.
Keep in mind that all prices are as of the time of writing of this article. Prices drop quickly, so you may be able to purchase better hardware for the same price or the same hardware for less cash. Consider also that products get discontinued (our first display card was discontinued a week after we tried it), and that vendors slipstream changes into hardware. Slipstreamed changes mean you may not get exactly what we tried even if you buy the same make and model of any given piece of the box.
Now that you've been forewarned, read on for the details about our 50-gallon drum of butt-kicking hardware.
The Ultimate Linux Box
ASUS Striker Extreme LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX
6 x 3.0Gb/s SATA (internal)
2 x 3.0Gb/s SATA (external)
1333/1066/800MHz front side bus
Maximum 8GB memory, dual-channel
Three PCI Express slots, two of them for SLI
Dual 10/100/1000Mbps LAN
Onboard switches (CMOS clear, Power, Reset)
Price: about $330
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz
Socket: LGA 775
L1 Cache: 64KB+64KB
L2 Cache: 2 x 4MB
MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4, EM64T
Price: about $515
Patriot eXtreme Performance 4GB (2 x 2GB modules) 240-pin DDR2 SDRAM
Price: about $250
3ware 9650SE-4LPML PCI Express
4 SATA II controller card
RAID: 0, 1, 5, 10, Single, JBOD
Price: about $335
3ware RDC-SATA Internal RAID Drive Cage
Three cooling fans
Requires three 5.25" drive form-factor slots
Price: about $200
Note: combination prices available for RAID card + cage: about $500
Western Digital WD3200AAKS 320GB 3.0Gbps drives x 4
Price each: about $90; total price: about $360
NEC Black 16X DVD+R Burner
Price: about $30
PNY VCG8800UXPB GeForce 8800Ultra
Memory: 768MB 384-bit GDDR3
PCI Express x16
Price: about $670
Thermaltake W0106RU 700-Watt power supply
Price: about $170
Cooler Master Stacker 830 ATX Full Tower
Nine 5.25" drive bays
Four 3.5" drive bays
Front ports: USB, audio, IEEE 1394
Front 120mm fan
Rear 120mm fan
Up to four 120mm fans in side panel
Price: about $250
Acer AL2416WBsd 24" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD
Brightness: 400 cd/m2
Colors: 16.7 million
Recommend resolution: 1920x1200
Viewing angle: 160 degrees horiz and vert
Price: about $550
Microsoft Natural 4000 Black Wired Keyboard
Price: about $52
Logitech G5 Laser Mouse
On-mouse adjustable sensitivity
Price: about $45
Creative I-TRIGUE L3800 48 Watts 2.1 Speakers
Frequency response: 30Hz ~ 20kHz
Signal noise ratio: 80dB
Price: about $130
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide