[PC-BSD Public] Building a new computer

Ralph Ellis ralphellis1 at netscape.ca
Sun Oct 31 17:16:33 PDT 2010

Christian Baer wrote:
> Hey there peeps! :-)
> After a few years with my old machine, I've decided that it's time for a
> new one now, which will be my work and play station. I intend to buy and
> build it some time next month (November). I am hoping to get a few ideas
> from you guys about what hardware would be a good idea.
> As you can imagine, I plan to use PC-BSD on this machine. I have used
> FreeBSD for more than 10 years now, just never for desktop purposes. It
> worked for me for about a year with X installed with the ports. Keeping
> the system up to date and running functionally at the same time is just
> a pain, though. It was fun to set up, no question about that, just like
> Slackware was fun. But once the setting up isn't your primary work, too
> much maintenance gets in your way. PC-BSD is pretty much what I have
> been looking for all these years. Now I want to set up my first machine,
> optimised for PC-BSD.
> I'll just go through the components where I'd like a little feed-back -
> also considering the usage and price. What I am going for is the best
> possible support for PC-BSD.
> Usage/price
> My machine will be used for just about anything where a computer is
> useful - and a few things beside that. :-) Most of my time I spend
> working at my computer. I do a lot of writing (mostly TeX) and some
> programming. Currently I am looking into Ruby. I also like to play a
> bit. Usually I am a fan of strategy games (Warcraft 3, Starscraft 2
> etc.) but I also enjoy 1st person shooters from time to time - if they
> have a story that keeps me interested. Basicly, any dumb computer can do
> the first things I wrote down, so I have to adapt my computer hardware
> for gaming. I don't intend to make a real gaming computer here since I
> rarely spend more that 4 hours on computer games a week.
> In terms of pricing, I was thinking of something between 1000 and 1500
> Euros.
> I am 99% sure, I will get an AMD CPU, something like a 1075T or 1090T. I
> use disc-encryption, so the additional cores actually do something for
> me. A similar CPU from Intel costs about four times as much and somehow,
> I cannot get myself to pay 800 Euros just for the CPU. Or have I missed
> something here? Does it make a diff to FreeBSD if I use an Intel or AMD CPU?
> Mainboard (Mobo)
> The CPU kinda narrows the choices down a bit. Any suggestions for a
> chipset? Is there some Mobo out there with evil components that are not
> supported?
> Graphics card
> On my current machine, X just sucks because of my graphics card (AMD
> X1950). The missing 3D acceleration (which also means no Compiz) isn't
> pretty, but when surfing the web or scrolling around in the browser or
> other viewers is sluggish, it just stinks. So this time I want some
> graphics card that really rocks under X, while not missing out on good
> gaming qualities. This is actually the main reason for this post. I know
> that both AMD and nVidia Chips are basicly supported (with both open
> source drivers and drives from AMD and nVidia) but how good are the
> drivers really and what functions do they bring along? My current card
> worked well with a driver from AMD until the X-server went on a version
> number. After that I had to make do with the open source driver which
> had/has the problems I mentioned.
> Has anyone got any good advice on this?
> Sound card
> I'm not really sure if I want to actually buy one. The main motivation I
> have is that I wear headphones a lot and some cards (like Creative's)
> can create a pretty good surround impression using a headphone. But it
> would have to be current and work with FreeBSD. Normally, the chipset
> sound works for me.
> Just about all the other components aren't a big deal. I'll be keeping
> my HDs from my current machine (no SSD for me yet). I will also be
> keeping my Model M! :-D
> But the rest won't really be an issue in terms of drivers and such (IMHO).
> If I have missed something, please give me a hint!
> BTW. I know there is a list of supported hardware (actually, there are
> several). However, finding out what hardware works completely and what
> only works partially can be a challenge by itself. Finding out what the
> flaws of partially supported hardware are can be a daunting task. I know
> that from when I tried to get my current graphics board working under X
> and was completely stumped as to why practically no acceleration worked.
> So please bear with me here!
> Maybe it would be a good idea to make a list of suggested hardware for
> PC-BSD. That would be much more convenient than having to search through
> several lists that don't answer the question "How well does it work?".
> Best regards from Germany!
> Chris
Both of my computers are from Gateway and I have found that everything 
in them was supported in PC-BSD. If you don't buy absolute cutting edge, 
BSD will normally support everything in a typical desktop computer. If 
you are not sure. take a PC-BSD disk with you to your friendly computer 
store and ask them to allow you to boot it up in live mode.
That should help.
Good luck
Ralph Ellis

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