[CALUG] Looking for advice

Bryan Smith b.j.smith at ieee.org
Tue Feb 12 14:45:28 EST 2019

I'll just list everything I use, and recommend, which will be broader than
what you probably asked for.

In desktops...

You'll find a lot of OEMs and resellers that offer Linux out-of-the-box, or
even 'no OS' with the option to install what you want.  One can also
self-assemble, and just look up the main board models for various support

E.g., even Dell Financial Services (DFS) 'off-lease' (2-3 year old models
post-lease term) offers some with 'no OS.'  I get 40-50% off coupons from
Dell or 'deal' sites (e.g., DealNews) regularly for those.  I highly
recommend one only buy 'Grade A' if one goes off-lease Dell.

But I often self-assemble when it comes to desktops.

E.g., I'm still on a 2014-era, i7-4970K (Haswell) on an ASRock Z97m
Mini-ITX in a SilverStone SG05 (7x9x11") portable case (w/600W SFX PS) ,
with a nVidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti 11GiB GDDR5 "Mini-ITX" (Zotac brand 8"
long) video card.  I have a 2TB 2.5" SSD and 4x 2TB SSHD in RAID-10.
That's my primary SteamOS appliance.  I also have a lower-spec, older
i5-2500 (SandyBridge) on a Foxconn H67S Mini-ITX with a nVidia GeForce GTX
1060 3GiB GDDR5 as my living room SteamOS set-top in my living room.

In notebooks...

I recommend Clevo or Dell 'Professional' notebook lines.

Clevo is the world's largest notebook ODM, and Sager is their largest
redistribution in North America. Sager resells their own models with the
'Windows tax' (~$25/system).  But Sager also wholesales, without the
'Windows tax,' to countless North American resellers, like System76 (who
offer Ubuntu).  There are other resellers, including some that offer the
option to install the distro you want.

Dell's 'Professional' notebook lines off-lease via Dell Finanancial
Services (DFS), namely the 12-14" Latitude and 15-17" Precision.  As
desktops, only buy 'Grade A' off-lease DFS notebooks - - e.g., I had a
'Grade B' m4700 K2000m GPU go belly-up just after the 1 year extended
warranty was up.

I've been using $300 (after 40-50% off coupon) Dell Precision units almost
exclusively since they first came off-lease in late 2013 / early 2014.  I
also have carried a sub-$200 Latitude.  Both use the same docking stations

E.g., I'm currently on a pair of Dell Precision m4800 (i7-4810MQ + K2100m)
notebooks upgraded to 32GiB RAM (4x8GiB DDR3L) and a combination of 1TB
mSATA cards + 2x2TB 2.5" SSHD drives for storage.  I also have a Dell
Latitude E7240 (i5-4300U) upgraded with 16GiB (2x8GiB DDR3L) and a pair of
512GB mSATA cards (although I'd get a E7250 or E7270 today, the latter is
DDR4 and M.2 instead of DDR3L and mSATA).

To get three (3) screens, it depends on your resolution.

E.g., One could use a single DisplayPort split out into two (2) 2.5K
DisplayPort or HDMI outputs (in fact, my Dell PR02X docking stations do
that), and then another output for another output.

One can also add cards.  If you want 3x 4K, that will get intensive, but
can be done. Xorg makes it simple to combine, although I've never tried

- bjs

**P.S.  I'm seriously looking at the AMD Zen2 line as it comes out in both
notebooks and mainboards this year, especially with the
RadeonSI/RADV+AMDVLK open source support getting very good, and challenging
nVidia proprietary drivers in performance.

When it comes to the mainboards, in addition to adding an upgraded,
discrete AMD GPU, I'm actually looking at the BGA (soldiered), Mini-ITX (or
even Nano or Pico-ITX) Epyc (instead of Ryzen) models, because AMD Zen
series are all SoC (System on a Chip) so the mainboard is really little
more than a pin-out/trace-set (unless you get something that has lots of
extra ports and things).  But I go for Small Form Factor (SFF) the most.

On Tue, Feb 12, 2019, 13:10 Howard Bampton <howard.bampton at gmail.com wrote:

> One come at it from a different direction way to answer this would be to
> look at what hardware Dell, System76, and other vendors will sell you with
> Linux preinstalled- if they are willing to support it, presumably Linux
> support is pretty good (admittedly my circa 2010 System76 laptop does have
> a System76 provided driver for its video).
> On Tue, Feb 12, 2019 at 1:46 PM Wes Westhaver <wes at westhaver.com> wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I would like to purchase a desktop computer, install Linux (Ubuntu or
>> Mint?), and attach two (possibly three) monitors to it. Can anyone here
>> provide guidance on what desktop systems and video cards are well
>> supported
>> by Linux?
>> I'm probably going to purchase some refurbished equipment from
>> PCLiquidations (https://www.pcliquidations.com/) since I'm on a tight
>> budget.
>> Until now, I've only had experience with using Linux as a server (mostly
>> headless). But I want to get away from MS-Windows and go completely Linux.
>> Any advice would be very much appreciated.
>> -Wes
>> _______________________________________________
>> CALUG mailing list
>> CALUG at unknownlamer.org
>> http://lists.unknownlamer.org/listinfo/calug
> _______________________________________________
> CALUG mailing list
> CALUG at unknownlamer.org
> http://lists.unknownlamer.org/listinfo/calug
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.unknownlamer.org/pipermail/calug/attachments/20190212/1d5198cf/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the CALUG mailing list