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My Linux Build - 5 Years On

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It's been nearly 5 years since I built my first and only all Linux all the time desktop. Here's a brief review of how it's holding up.

  • Case - Cooler Master N280 cheapie - crude but effective. This case wasn't expensive, it fits on the side shelf of an old Ikea desk and it has lots of space behind the motherboard for my not so expert cable management. It has all the elegance of a DeWalt hammer drill but it keeps on truckin'.
  • Fans- I have a couple of 120 mm intake and exhaust fans and I just used the stock CPU cooler. No problems ever.
  • Motherboard - Gigabyte micro ATX. I splurged on the high-end AMD A85X chipset which was probably overkill. However, I got USB 3 and SATA 3 support - tons of it.
  • Memory - 16GB of DDR3 1600. I never have worried about swap files.
  • CPU - A8 quad-core AMD Trinity. This was a much-maligned processor chip but I still find it plenty fast and powerful if a bit power hungry.
  • Video - started out as an APU but Linux support problems led me to a discrete card. I have an R7 360 which is hopelessly obsolete now - but still works fast for most tasks I put it to.
  • Storage - started out with a Toshiba 1 TB HDD and later on added a 128 GB Toshiba SSD. All the speed and capacity I'd ever need.
  • Wifi - PCI based Atheros chipset TP-Link. Works very well some distance away from the router.
  • Power Supply - Corsair 430W - it's smooth and reliable.
  • DVD-RW - Yes I have one. No I don't need one.

I have Logitech speakers, keyboard, mouse and a nice 24 inch BenQ monitor as well.

Regrets - I had some teething problems with AMD and probably if I had to do it again would go with Intel and Nvidia. However as the system ages, it works better and better with AMD FOSS drivers.

Right now this system is working great with Linux Mint 19 and honestly, I see no need to replace it as long as it continues to function well.

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Cool :thumbup:

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I understand that a new build would give me a more powerful and energy efficient CPU, better video performance, faster and more modern RAM, NVME support etc. However, my current system does the job and isn't all *that* old compared to some other systems I've used with Linux.

That is the major selling point for me - that Linux can extend the life of your hardware better than anything. It's not like the 1990s where if you upgraded your software you needed to upgrade your hardware, or when an aging RAM-Mobo combination couldn't deal with broadband Internet.

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That is the major selling point for me - that Linux can extend the life of your hardware better than anything.
Sorry, but there is absolutely no basis in fact for that claim. Your hardware could care less what operating system it is running - in terms of its lifespan.


BY FAR, what will "extend the life of your hardware better than anything" is (1) keeping it properly cooled, and (2) feeding it good, clean, stable power - neither of which has anything to do with the OS.


As far as upgrading software, I understand your point. In some cases, some of the latest software only runs on the latest hardware. But even the latest software for Linux has minimum system requirements that may not be met by older legacy hardware. Note there are still millions of older XP systems still (sadly) going strong, There are even many stand-alone or POS W95 systems in use 23 years after W95 came out.


And to that point about the latest software, that is not the fault of the OS, but rather the software industry's response to advances in hardware technologies. As hardware makers advance the "state-of-the-art" and performance capabilities continue to increase, the software industry is (MUST) advance too to take advantage of those capabilities. This is particularly driven today by the gaming industry - which, of course, is not really supported by Linux at all. But other software technologies (graphics design, CAD/CAE as examples) continue to demand more powerful hardware too.


And I am afraid the comment about broadband does not apply at all. It was not that the RAM and motherboard could not deal with broadband internet. It was all about Ethernet support. And the original IBM PC supported PCI network interface cards (NICs). DOS supported Ethernet. Windows 95 came with Ethernet and network support. It was not the OS that limited "broadband Internet" support. It was simply the fact broadband to the home was expensive and/or not available in many areas - yet.


Now the elephant in the room is security. Because of the bad guys, it has become necessary to upgrade to modern versions of Windows (that's why XP needs to go away). And modern versions of Windows tends to need more modern hardware. BUT lack of support for modern versions of Windows, for the most part, falls on the hardware makers, not Microsoft. If HP, for example, refuses to develop Windows 10 drivers for their obsolete printers, that's on HP.


But don't get lured into a false sense of security over security. Linux is not immune to malware or hacking. In fact, see Linux Malware on the Rise: A Look at Recent Threats, Linux a Bigger Target for Hackers and Linux Security Concerns Rise as Hackers Target the OS.


And what was a HUGE factor in needing more powerful hardware with Windows? The need to have the hardware resources required run the necessary security software without bogging down the system. :(

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