[nSLUG] spec'ing a new PC

George White aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca
Sat Jun 1 10:04:38 ADT 2002

On Fri, 31 May 2002, Douglas Guptill wrote:

> My p133 is getting a bit slow, so I'm thinking of getting a new one.
> One of the choices is CPU: pentium 3 or AMD.  
> Will an AMD do Debian GNU/Linux as well as an Intel?

Recent AMD CPU's work as well or better than equivalent priced Intel
CPU's.  There is, however, a lot more to buying a system than the CPU. 
For most people, the motherboard and memory, graphics adapter and monitor,
and disks are more important to overall performance than getting the
fastest CPU.  Because there has been so much hype over CPU speed, some
low-end systems use a fast CPU with the cheapest available components.  At
the same price, a more balanced system will have high quality components
and a slower CPU. 

A common complaint with recent systems is fan noise.  A slower CPU
needs less cooling.

If you are running Win32, you need much more CPU to handle overhead for
things like a virus checker than you need for Linux.  I run Linux on a
dual PPro 200 (downrated to 180mhz for cooler operation and reliability). 
CPU speed is rarely a constraint, but there are some tasks that would
benefit from more than the current 288M of RAM. 

There are lots of used PIII systems being sold by people upgrading
to WinXP that would make great Linux platforms.  Adding SCSI disks
and ample RAM to such a system would be better value for money than
buying a new P4 system.  

George White <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca> Halifax, Nova Scotia

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