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Android Apprentice
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all. I recently came in possession of two new desktops (basically came from people who didn't need them anymore) and I am planning on using them to replace my aging Windows XP Machine. So -- my plans are to build one Windows 7 machine (primarily for gaming and some C# development) and a Linux Mint machine for everything else (including some Android dev). The question is - which desktop should be used for which purpose? The two desktops are:

Desktop 1:
AMD Atahlon 2 X2 3.3 GHz (dual-core)
4GB RAM
120 GB IDE drive, two 250GB SATA
Separate NVidea graphics card (not sure model, but I'm told it plays Crysis very well at high resolution)

Desktop 2:
AMD Phenom II X6 (6-core) 2.8 GHz
4GB RAM
1TB SATA drive
Onboard ATI Radion HD 4250

Thoughts?
 

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Developer
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194 Posts
There's a few things to look at and possibly change:

NVIDIA drivers work better in Linux than their ATI counterpart right now. However, the onboard ATI card is not going to allow you to play complex games in Windows, but might be good for a HTPC (especially if you have HDMI out on the board and a TV with HDMI). ATI drivers are decent if you want to brute force your way through some of the more graphically intense games, but lacking in the OpenGL support that NVIDIA has.

You have plenty of hard drive space on Desktop 2 for a HTPC, so that might be your best option to take that one the Linux route. You may want to consider taking one of the 250 GB hard drives out of Desktop #1 and using that as your primary Linux HD (so you can format easily if you need to) with the 1TB hard drive as storage.

XBMC is an amazing application for a HTPC if you have a lot of videos and when properly setup with an Android Phone you don't even have to get up to start shows. The GUI has been changed, but a lot of the instructions of my XBMC Tutorial are still the same (such as setting it up in Mint).

Anyway, barring a new video card in Desktop #2, I would probably use it as your Linux Mint machine and Desktop 1 as your Windows / Gaming rig. I've trying playing games with my onboard HD4290 (slightly faster than yours) and it can do games like Civilization 5 on low settings, but it struggles compared to a dedicated card. It was only really useful while I was RMA'ing a broken card for gaming.
 

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Master Xploder
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92 Posts
I would recommend a nvidia 460 or if you can drop the money at least a nvidia 560. These are great entry level cards and they perform well.
 

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Premium Member
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223 Posts
I'm gonna say it depends which one (gaming or development) you want to be vastly better at. Personally, supposing I have Virtualization Technology CPU features available to me, I'd upgrade the phenom machine and just do all android development in a virtual machine. I have an i7 with 6gb of ddr3-1333. I use windows for most everything and a VM for all android stuff. I used to be the other way around, but I stated taking these classes that just didn't work very well in a windows machine. Once I get some more RAM I'll be able to compile android in my virtual machine while playing intense games. I can do this now, but more RAM would just be nice ;) I have a radeon HD5850 1gb GPU FWIW.

I have a tiny gentoo virtual machine (which I use for building eclair & froyo & other android things at work) that I can move between my laptop and desktop hosts, so at work I compile on an old c2d with 3gb of ram (where a kernel will take about half an hour to build), but then I get home and copy the VM over gbit crossover cable to ym desktop, and bam, its all of a sudden a quad core with 6gb of ram lol (where a kernel compiles in just a few minutes)

I'm a big advocate of virtual machines. they are immensely useful and simplify your life as long as you've got the hardware :)
 

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Developer
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194 Posts
Phenom IIs are still pretty good right now, so you could overclock it in the motherboard without too much effort as long as you keep it under 64 degrees celsius (if that applies to the 6 core the same as the 4 core). AMD is about to come out with their next model to retire the Phenoms but right now it still does good. I'm using a Phenom II x4 965 overclocked to 3.8 ghz in Linux Mint with two ATI Radeon HD5850s crossfired. The one thing I'd change about my system if I could do it free of charge is to make a lateral swap to a set of NVIDIA cards.

I'm not positive how true this is, but you're probably going to get more use out of compiling with a 6 core processor than you will gaming from it for the time being (I barely compile). A lot of games seem to be poorly optimized for multicore computers (but that may change with the new generation of games). You could go the virtual machine route or the dual-boot route for both machines, the good thing about a virtual machine (with virtualbox) is that you can take snapshots and undo changes you've made if you're testing code on the system. This is good if you don't want to format every time you're testing something. If you dual-boot both of them you could have two decent good machines for a LAN party.
 

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Thought Police
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236 Posts
I have 2 Nvidia GTX 480's in my desktop and they are AWESOME!!!! I can power through games like Crysis 2 at full bore with ~70 FPS. Also helping it is having a core i7-2600 OCed to 4GHz... the entire setup cost me like $6000 but it may be the last computer I ever need :D

If you're on a budget though, I'd go with a single ultra beast machine that you could dual boot off a partitioned ssd. Works great for mine with Win 7 64bit professional and Ubuntu 10.10 64bit.

Also... IMO Intel > AMD...
 

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Developer
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194 Posts
Brett6781 said:
Also... IMO Intel > AMD...
That depends. My computer only cost me $1300 (excluding the SSD) and by sticking with an AMD processor I managed to save a large amount in the initial building process. I think I'll probably always be a fan of AMD because min-maxing with computers is just too expensive.
 

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Teh Master
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502 Posts
"Brett6781 said:
I have 2 Nvidia GTX 480's in my desktop and they are AWESOME!!!! I can power through games like Crysis 2 at full bore with ~70 FPS. Also helping it is having a core i7-2600 OCed to 4GHz... the entire setup cost me like $6000 but it may be the last computer I ever need :D

If you're on a budget though, I'd go with a single ultra beast machine that you could dual boot off a partitioned ssd. Works great for mine with Win 7 64bit professional and Ubuntu 10.10 64bit.

Also... IMO Intel > AMD...
Thinking that is the last computer you will ever need is silly. Also dual 480's is silly and hot!

THUNDERBOLT
 

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Android Apprentice
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47 Posts
I want friends that don't need computers like that!!!
I went the amd route as well. Don't do a lot of gaming but got amd phenoms 955 quad cores, 8gb ram, case, MB, and tb hard drive for 300 bucks last fall.
 
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