[Gllug] Fwd: Advice for new machine.

general_email at technicalbloke.com general_email at technicalbloke.com
Thu Aug 25 01:38:01 UTC 2011

On 24/08/11 15:20, Dylan wrote:
> Hi Guys
> I'm nearly finished refitting my cellar and now considerations turn to the 
> computer ... The machine will primarily be used for entertainment, including 
> processing audio and video files.
> I'm looking for advice and comments on the following:
> MOTHERBOARD (inc processor and memory):
> I know practically nothing about current motherboards and processors, but 
> since this is the basis of the system I'd like to get it right. I'm working 
> from the assumption that processor power has out-stripped my needs so "the 
> best I'm prepared to pay for" - but what are the pros and cons of Intel vs 
> AMD? wrt memory, I reckon more is better but what considerations should I be 
> weighing up (I know nothing about memory technology at all.) I'm also unsure 
> about he variety of PCI card slots available.
> I will want to run at least two displays from the machine - "normal" monitors 
> and either a TV or projector. I can sort out the display device myself - the 
> video adaptor is a different matter. I can imagine that I would want separate 
> desktops which could either be on the same login session or separate sessions, 
> They would necessarily be different resolution and aspect ratio, and 
> connection-type most likely. Does that entail separate graphics adaptors or do 
> multi-output models support differing resolution etc?
> Thanks for any advice or comments - if you want more info then please ask...
> Dylan

The best grunt per pound processors that will be good at AV and aren't
stupidly expensive right now are the £150 Intel i5-2500 (a very nippy
quad core) and the £105 AMD Llano A8-3850 (almost as fast for
significantly less). The vast majority of boards for these chips have
VGA, DVI & HDMI outs built in as the chips themselves have pretty decent
graphics on die already.

I'm not 100% sure if you can use all 3 of those outputs at the same time
under linux as I stuck an nVidia card into mine as soon as I built it so
I've never used the onboard gfx. I'd be surprised if you couldn't get at
least two running simultaneously though and even then, if you can't, the
cheapest £25 discrete card will give you 3 outs, at least two of which
you can use easily, if not all three.

nVidia's linux control panel definitely supports 2 separate X screens or
"TwinView" which is both merged into one big screen. You can apparently
also use Xinelera though I haven't tried that. AMD's linux  panel I have
no experience of but their Windows one is pretty fully featured and
flexible when it comes to multiple outs so hopefully their linux one is
as good. You should have no trouble mixing different screen sizes and
resolutions with any of the multi-monitor modes, I'm running a 16/9 and
a 4/3 quite happily side by side, the resolutions can be adjusted


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