are this how i am buying computer machine

Dear Lazyweb:

I may need to buy/build a new linux box soon, for home server use. So, I probably need to get an x86 box because I don’t want the new hobby of making PPCLinux replace the iggy box on the blue G3. Therefore, I need either to buy a prebuilt system or all the parts in a sack so I can screw them together.

I don’t need:

great graphics
gamer anything
windows anything

I do need:

hardware that plays nice with recent linux
a decent processor, preferably dualcore
lots of RAM
good I/O so I’m not always horking because the disk is running
good cooling features
expandibility for drives and cards
ports ports, ports, ports

I might end up just doing a Dell BYO box because I have credit with them and I’d never pay interest on their plan, it’s no interest for 18 months. I’m sure I’d be paying extra because brand name, but I also get 6% off and no shipping cost there because of a corporate deal. It won’t be perfect and it’ll be about $1800 for what I want to do, but it will be on payment and done.

But If someone has a preferred vendor for this kind of thing or a suggestion of how to do this way better for way cheaper, I’d be delighted. What I don’t want is to go to Fry’s, or spend six weeks nerdinating learning all about exactly the best combination to get 0.05% more efficiency. I’m going to upgrade from a 300MHz Gateway Pentium II box from 1997 that’s been doing good service for years, so I don’t need my edge to cut much less bleed.

12 thoughts on “are this how i am buying computer machine

  1. I think going with Dell makes a lot of sense, especially if you have a discount with them. The cost savings of brand-name pre-assembled vs. do it yourself is getting smaller all the time, and being able to trust that the box will more or less work out of the box instead of playing “swap the hardware” with little to no diagnostic information is a huge win.
    I need a new PC soon myself, and I’m planning on getting something from Dell or Compaq or maybe Gateway once the time comes.


  2. Everyone here at work is using the Dell Optiplex GX270 as very reasonable workstations and servers. It might be a bit much for what you need–dual processor 2.8GHz, but I can guarantee that Fedora Core and Debian work on it quite well.
    Alternately, you can go the route I did at home. If you just need Unix-y and not specifically Linux-y stuff, I have a basic Mac Mini in the basement acting as a web server, SSH server, PPP-over-SSH “roll yer own VPN” server, VNC-over-SSH server, and all around box for running interesting daemons. $499 gets you the machine, I used the TV and the USB keyboard and mouse from another Mac to configure it, and now it runs totally unattended and headless. I still have to VNC into it to install system updates, but SSH works for everything else.


    1. yeah, like I said I have a blue G3 I could repurpose. I just don’t want a voyage of discovery in which I find out that everything is just a little different on a new architecture 🙂 but thanks for the good info on the dells


  3. Somewhat nerdinating
    Dell sounds like a good call for simplicity, but if you want a better deal with a slight amount of nerdinating, go to and pick one of their pre-configured systems that mostly matches (via “PC Builder”) and then reconfigure to eliminate graphics cards, pick bigger drives, etc. If you don’t mind about 5 minutes of thinking and clicking, you should be able to get a good, cheap system. They’re by far the best deal up here in Canadia, but I’m not sure of the shipping would kill any bargain for you. I am happy to be of no service whatsoever!


    1. oh and no shipping with them either because i could drive it to you.
      of course i have no idea if they are overpriced or not because i don’t know what overpriced is, so let me know 🙂


  4. This will do you no good whatsoever – unless you’re planning a shopping trip to Ottawa – but I used to buy all my linux boxes and computer bits here:
    Your post made me think about their slogan, which I think sums up your requirements perfectly: “When only second best will do.”


    1. Too late, as you see; my prefab Dell is on the way. With a discount and interest free financing it did the job. The financing was the deal maker; I didn’t want to write anyone a $800 check.
      I’ll save that one for the next time; I appreciate the recommendation.


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