I wanted a new desktop to replace the use of a laptop. I usually program in Eclipse, run virtual machines, run World Community Grid / Boinc, watch YouTube, and learn Blender 3D.
I also want to finish playing the Humble Indie Bundle games (Intel graphics couldn't handle the 2D games under moderate graphic effects) that I was forced to buy and the Steam games that was gifted to me.
The desktop will be running Ubuntu and will be on 24/7 so it needs to be Linux compatible, cool, and energy efficient.
- CPU: Got an S model as a trade-off to save some power and to use the VT-d feature. Won't be overclocking anyway.
- CPU cooler: It looked cool. It's also quiet. The fan is shifted by 1 cm because the RAM's heat spreader is in the way.
- Motherboard: Good and cheap. Will not blend.
- Memory: I could have went with 16GB... but got 32GB instead. Don't know, I might need to run Redis with a large dataset or something in the future.
- Storage: Only Ubuntu and repository-based software will be on the SSD.
/homeon the HDD.
/tmpon tmpfs. Limited myself to 1TB for pacing storage usage so it can fit on an external HDD for backups.
- Video card: Nvidia is well-supported in Ubuntu. Good for GPU computing. A big step up from any graphics card I had. So far, all I've run is WebGL demos and I'm highly impressed about how well they look and perform.
- Wireless network adapter: Cheap. Linux-compatible.
- Case: Good and cheap. Wished it had PWM fans though. Plugged the rear fan to the 3-pin
CPU_FAN2to control the speed.
- Power supply: Power efficient and semi-modular. If I have done more research, I might have gotten a better PSU.
- Monitor: On sale.
- Keyboard: Cheap.
- Mouse: Recommended by friend. Works great.
All parts were bought at Canada Computers excluding the mouse which came from Amazon. They're probably a little bit overboard in terms of a programming rig, but with respect to grid computing, it completes a WCG work unit about 2 times faster on one thread than my laptop. As well, the choices were influenced by a friend who is a video game developer.
I'm curious about the power consumption at different speeds/loads vs performance. I plan to get a wattmeter later.
The cable management could use some work but it's the best I can do right now.
There was some freezing and graphical corruption in the BIOS after I rebooted from a failed LiveUSB boot. It happened twice, but since I flashed the BIOS, it hasn't happened. The graphics also freezes when I use the default Nouveau drivers. Using the Nvidia driver, however, is stable and performs better. Otherwise, there hasn't been any other issue so far.
I'm glad that my friend convinced me to build my own PC. It's very satisfying that I got everything I wanted to my preferences.