[Techtalk] Buying a machine without Windows

Akkana akkana at shallowsky.com
Mon Oct 29 10:41:11 EST 2001

Ellie writes:
> Athlon processors are a better value in my opinion.  I am sorry that I
> can't give you more direct feedback on what exactly to buy, but I
> would watch out for inferior parts passed off in the name of the CPU.

That's a good point.  I'd love to hear people's experience with
the newest AMD processors for Linux.  The machine on which I'm typing
this is an AMD; I bought a K6-2/450 machine because I'd always heard
good things about AMD and rather liked the company, but I ran into a
problem -- big compiles, like the kernel or mozilla, would die partway
through, and after a lot of web searching I found references telling
me that it was an AMD CPU bug seen on a number of different AMD K6 and
K6-2 processors.  Supposedly it hadn't been seen yet on the K6-2/550,
so I got a 550 (it was long past warranty by the time I figured all this
out) and it's been fine since then, but it left me a bit leery of AMD.
(It was also a bit freaky that the pins on the new CPU didn't fit the
socket, and I had to bend them quite a bit before I could drop it in. 
Is that normal?)

Apparently that particular bug was almost never seen on Windows -- 
we Linux users (being more likely to compile big packages) are a bit
harder on CPUs than the average Windows user, I'd guess.

Meanwhile, I found http://www.linux.org/vendors/systems.html and am
sifting through it (ASA Computers is local and looks like a possibility,
and lanm-pc and micronux also look promising).  Building my own is an
option; I'm definitely not a hardware person but I can plug in boards
and install disk drives, and can plug a CPU or RAM into a motherboard
with only a little nail biting. :-)  I've generally found in the past
that it's a lot more expensive to build from parts than to buy a
pre-made machine, but maybe that's not true any more or maybe I
just hadn't found the right parts supplier.


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