Although its been a month or so since I received my AMD 64 3200+ and DFI LANparty UT nF3 Ultra-D from a friend, I'm still only setting it up and breaking it in.
One of the first few questions I tried to figure out was what operating system are I going to load in it or rather what was the best OS around to use on it. So, I decided to try a few after buying a few more parts for it.
I bought a ASUS AGP Nvidia 7600 GS Silent (no fan) and a couple of 320GB SATA drives with the Gigabyte 550W power suppy and centurion 5 case with 1GB PC DDR 400 memory.
The first OS I decided to try was Vista, after all it was the latest and greatest right? Well, it installed no problems, and I even liked the new Windows movie maker that can with it. Yes, some "WOW". My PC scored a 4 on the Vista performance scale. Not too bad, with the CPU having the lowest score of 4. And more WOW, the sound didn't work. Yes, there were no drivers for it and when I went to the Vista site to look for audio support, it turns out that Vista had very bad support for soundcards, in fact it virtually didn't support much at all, like anything slightly fancy is totally out and you can basically forget about surround sound.
Ok, so I decided to go back to old faithful, this time I was brave and decided to try the nvidia on board RAID 1. I dug out a old floppy drive from my retired PII and loaded the drivers. Yay! Sound at last. Hmm, the odd thing was the computer seemed rather unstable. crashing, etc, but of course I ignored it and played Dawn of War, Dark Crusade with high detail and 1024 x 768 graphics. It seems that with slower CPUs and higher end graphics card, the detailing can be set high with lower resolution, my guess is that the CPU has to process more objects and the graphics card only puts in the detail. Alas, a whole bunch of dodgy stuff happened again, and the most irritating thing about XP is that it refuses to tell you the real problem. It blue screened on boot continuously and I had to get down and dirty to fix it.
I looked in the bios and reset everything to factory default and started to configure it again. I tried different installation media and alas, the RAID floppy died. Well, I could install without the raid, but I decided to do something different.
The final selection of OS, Centos 5 vs Fedora core 6. I managed to download both the distributions from ftp.oss.eznetsols.org using cygwin ncftp. I installed Centos first succesfully after a couple more bouts with the BIOS and hard drives. I disabled the RAIDto avoid confusion and unplugged my third drive on the SATA 3. This I gathered from the error messages on /dev/sdc. See why can't windows let you know stuff like that.
Centos 5 is flash, and I mean cool. Its changed some core concepts from Centos 4, but basically its all quite capable for a newbie to get a hold of and start using immediately. I'll have to consider it definately one of the greater advances in Desktop/Server operating systems. I used the Logical Volume Manager and was suprised how easy it was to add space and extend an existing logical volume over additional drives. The security might be a bit hard to get a handle with Selinux. If you were an end-user, it would be a no brainer. It really does protect. Once you want to start creating your own servers, e.g. SAMBA, you might encounter some issues with it. I just set it up as Permissive to get some idea on what it was trying to do initially.
Alas, for bleeding edge, I will have to go with Fedora core 6. I'm downloading the x64 DVD iso as I write this blog and I have a feeling that this will most likely stay on this machine if nothing really bad happens again. If "touch wood" something does, I guess you can't go wrong with Centos 5. It really does ROCK!
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