Advice for buyer needed

Jason Gurtz jason at tommyk.com
Sun Jan 14 10:29:51 PST 2001



> Hello all,
> I know it is not Linux-LFS-whatever question, and just hope you
> forgive me
> that.

I know I'm always interested in HW disscussion  :)

BE WARY!!  Much disinformation abounds on this topic on various message
bords and websites!!

> dual-processor board. It will have SCSI-160 controller ( not on-board for
> ease of upgrading ).

    If you want more than one proccessor then you will be going with a
Pentium 3 solution.  Athlon SMP is currently still vapor.  For single
proccessor though, you can't beat the price/performance of athlon.

SERVER MB NOTES:
    A majority of modern 'server type' MB's will have built in SCSI, usually
the adaptec 78xx type.  There are some that don't but it will narrow your
choice quite a bit.  Many of the boards in this market also have built in
Network and Video. The onboard NIC is usually an Intel Pro 10/100 chip
interface that is Linux compatible.  Some even have dual NIC onboard for
firewall type solution.  Onboard video is a seperate chip from the core
logic and from what I've seen is usually an ATI or Cirrus logic chipset.  If
you don't do 3D stuff then this doesn't matter to much.


> I do not think it will have any IDE device. Sertainly
> it will have a decent videocard, I think G400.

    Some low end scsi drives are indeed just IDE drives w/ a different
interface.  I would suggest ppl look to http://www.storagereview.com/ for
the truth in hard drive performance.
    Have you looked into Hardware RAID?  The Mylex adapters are well
suported in Linux, and I note that Adaptec has a new line out that also has
Linux support.

    Matrox is well supported and has great 2D quality. nVidia support seems
to be improving slightly and is quite fast if you're into 3D games.  ATI
products are well supported in X for 2D and they say 3D support for X is
comming Q1 2001 for the radeon.  Both Matrox and ATI have happy things to
say about Linux on their web sites

> So, the question of questions is - which motherboard ?

    If you can use a single processor you will save a lot of money going
with an Athlon solution.  I would suggest reading some recent articles on
http://www.tomshardware.com/  and make your decision from there.  There
doesn't exist a good server MB for the Athlon processor yet IMO though.
Memory performance from VIA still sucks compared to Intel or Serverworks
solution

    For SMP system you have 4 platform choices: BX or GX chipset from Intel,
or ServerSet LE or HE_SL from Serverworks.  The serverworks chipsets are
most modern and have some outstanding features.  They use interleaved ECC
main memory only (think DDR bandwidth from regular SDRAM) and support 133Mhz
front side bus.  They also support 64-bit/66Mhz PCI  Check out the boards
from http://www.supermicro.com/ In particular It looks like the SUPER 370DLE
looks almost exactly like what you're looking for.  The only thing is no
AGP, so you'll need to find a PCI interface Graphics card.  I think there's
a Voodoo3 PCI card made for  3d Gamming and I belive there is a Matrox PCI
G400 made as well.

    The only reason I don't have this board is it was not released last year
when I settled for a Tyan BX dual processing solution the TIGER 100.  It is
a decent board, but is only validated for up to 700 Mhz last time I checked.
It was also less than $200 USD which is quite a bargin for an SMP board.

    At work in our NT servers we use the C440GX+ board from Intel  They have
on board SCSI, Intel NIC, and Cirrus VGA.  I have found them to be quite
stable ( >220 days uptime for NT 4.0 SP4!!) so Linux or BSD would be bullet
proof.  The new version of this board is validated for the 1 Ghz P3

> Also, which videocard is advisable ?

Read above, that's the best I can do

> Is there any motherboards with 200MHZ FSB ?

    No, but the Athlon systems use a Double pumped 100Mhz Alpha bus which is
effectivly the same bandwidth as 200Mhz.  The new ones will be 133Mhz Double
pumped.  IIRC, this means that the latency is unchanged but bandwidth
effectivly doubles.
    There is the i840 chipset from Intel which is actually 400Mhz with
interleaved memory!  Look on the Supermicro site for this, but beware,
800Mhz RDRAM is very expensive.  The memory uses a serial protocol so even
though the numbers look high the Bandwidth is not really that much more
(even with interleaving) and the latency is *very* poor


>
> An advice is appreciated very much.

Hopefully this cleared a complicated topic up a bit, but be sure to read as
much as you can on the manufactureres websites.

~jason

--
+------------------+
| jason at tommyk.com |
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