New computer & Linux OS

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New computer & Linux OS

Postby noseoil » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:43 am

Just a FYI, I recently upgraded to a new computer system. The old computer had 12 years on it & was running Windows 7, but MS is no longer going to support 7 as of January 2020. I either had to buy a new system or try running Windows 10 on an old system with outmoded architecture & limited speed. From all accounts, Windows 10 is fine on a new system, but can be a real PITA on an older one, if it runs at all. Download times can run to 6-8 hours, which can be trouble if it works. I compare Windows 10 to a blond who has to look in the mirror before it can do anything, then decide if it looks good enough to actually do some work.

The new system is much better. It's from SimplyNUC, an Intel 8i5BEH miniature computer. I'm running a Linux OS for the first time & did have help from a friend to set it up. I must say, it's pretty easy to use as I'm no computer geek, just a user with 20+ years of work experience. In all honesty, I did a job which was pretty computer-intensive to get paid each week (estimating roof trusses, a 3D modelling, engineering program, business program, etc.), so Linux might not be for everyone. I'm running Mint 19.2 & Cinnamon (the desk top you see & interact with), it's very stable & nimble. My email launches in 2 seconds now, documents & spreadsheets all work in the new system software. I had a bit of trouble with Quicken not translating properly, but just dumped it in favor of a different program & clean start for the year. It's a bit of a learning curve, but nothing like dealing with Windows when it decides to update automatically & dump you on the road during work. Best part of all is that Linux is completely free, as are the many programs which will run under it. Here's the amount of space the new computer needs on my desk.

If you want to get off of the Windows / Mac squirrel cage, give it a try. You can find out more about it in the Linux forum.

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Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby fishboat » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:31 pm

noseoil wrote:Just a FYI, I recently upgraded to a new computer system. The old computer had 12 years on it & was running Windows 7, but MS is no longer going to support 7 as of January 2020. I either had to buy a new system or try running Windows 10 on an old system with outmoded architecture & limited speed. From all accounts, Windows 10 is fine on a new system, but can be a real PITA on an older one, if it runs at all. Download times can run to 6-8 hours, which can be trouble if it works. I compare Windows 10 to a blond who has to look in the mirror before it can do anything, then decide if it looks good enough to actually do some work.



aah..well..hmm..not so much...at least in my (first-hand) experience.

I keep 5 Windows computers running in our household. All of them are "old" with two desktops about 2006 vintage. The others are 2008, 2010, 2011 (laptop) machines. All are Dell machines. I have one additional 2006-ish Dell laptop that is for the music room-music database. It only has a 40GB harddrive and it remains at Win 7.

The oldest ones started their lives as Vista machines. That OS was not great. They were upgraded to Win7, then 10. The newer machines were all Win 7 and now run Win 10. All the upgrades were free and I honestly don't have any issues with any of them. Win 10 seems to be a very good OS, trouble-free, & takes care of itself. A Win 10 upgrade (from 7 or 8.1..etc) can take the better part of a day, but once it's over..I've had no issues. I did the upgrade on all 5 machines.

I've heard Linux can run nice..it takes some futzing though. Love all the distribution names they use..quite catchy. I considering trying it on one machine(I too am somewhat/reasonably handy with computers..), but after looking into it, I netted out at "..what problem am I fixing?"..the answer was..I don't have any problems..so I decided to spend my time/brainpower elsewhere.
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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby retep » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:42 pm

Before retiring I was in the IT biz for a large company. You would be surprised how many companies run linux in the back office. I always found it a reliable platform. Certainly will run PC's better than windows. Good choice! You won't be disappointed. And for the record i have it on 2 laptops that run flawlessly.

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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby fishboat » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:33 pm

I wouldn't be surprised. I've heard that Linux sees extensive use and runs well, is much more simple, and is fast. I don't doubt Win10 is bloated..but it runs fine with little effort. My machines run plenty fast for what I do with them. My only point was that older..ancient machines (from an e-world perspective) can and do run Win10 very well. I would expect more issues with drivers and such, but everything runs and I haven't lost any functionality due to incompatibilities of old software / drivers running on a modern OS.

An example below of what steered me away from Linux. I use MS Office Excel and Powerpoint regularly. Occasionally I use Word or Access.

With a Win 10 upgrade I do the upgrade and continue using the Office packages I own. No changes..no futzing.

With Linux I need to work through this:
https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/install-u ... ice-linux/

..and it looks like my older Office versions may not run. If the Office on Linux doesn't run right then another rabbit hole opens up..been there.

I passed..and Linux wasn't solving any issues for me, but it would have created some. ..wasn't worth the effort..for me. Others may have other needs..

(I know there's alternatives to MS Office..but they are klutzy compared to MS Office..specifically excel where I'm more of a power user)

Another illustrative example..I use Sketchup a lot too (woodworking designs and plans).. Trimble doesn't have a Linux version of Sketchup..it can run, but another rabbit hole installing an emulator...... With the Win 10 upgrade..I open Sketchup and use it like I did before the upgrade.
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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby working on it » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:50 pm

* I had just finished writing a reply, when I left my PC for a few minutes. It shut down and the long-winded reply was lost (I need to schedule that better, and get a "save work" reminder on this unit). That's another item on my to-do list, after switching from my dying Toshiba laptop to a self-built PC, a week old. I'd overcome several problems with Windows 10, such as initially making the wrong drive boot-up, and thought that all was ok except for the lost MS Office account. Just like trailer building, I'm never done.

* Congrats on your new PC; I just built my own! I researched PCs, new and refurbished, and laptops, chromebooks, fanless minis for the last year or so, until I finally decided to build my own. I've absolutely no training in electronics, nor even in PC operation (except for a one-hour intro to Lotus 1-2-3, many years ago), so like everything else I've done it's been trial & error self-teaching. I did learn Fortran & Cobol (& keypunch) in college in '69-'72, but that's entirely different. My laptop is dying (display, speakers, fan, HDD: all failing or dead), and after a $800 quote to fix just the screen from Geek Squad, I talked the wife into letting me start a new hobby...PC building/gaming. I'm 69 now, and no longer can easily do my car/truck/trailer building hobby as well as I once could. The endless summer here wore me out.

* Not entirely on my own...I've watched hundreds of tech videos on YouTube, researched dozens of websites, and convinced myself that it was doable, and conned my wife into believing my "I can build it for $500" line, once again. Without the knowledge gained in the last three months (after I decided to build), I would never have tried. My wife brought a discarded PC from her office, that hadn't run in years, to try to offset some expense, but I only was able to use the mATX steel case, and save the 350w power supply for a later project (an external graphics card/power supply enclosure).

* It was sort of like building my first 427 BBC set-up, after the 327 SBC combination I was used to. The first run was exciting...it ran, without problems. Of course, not as much $$ was at stake, nor safety a problem, but thrilling to bring it to life. I was very wary of static discharge, and took dual precautions to prevent that, and had to use the Windows 10 USB flash-drive I made twice before it took, but everything finally worked (total time was <2 hours).

* I built it with an AMD Ryzen 5 2400g APU (so I could delay the purchase of a dedicated graphics card until Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales), with 16gb dual-channel DDR4 ram, 1.1 TB storage (120GB M.2 SSD boot drive, 512GB M.2 NVME SSD program and app drive, 500GB HDD photos, spreadsheet, and misc. storage), with a 2TB portable HDD standing by, just-in-case. I use an ethernet connection, but added WIFI & bluetooth dongles for extra connectivity, and installed another DVD-RW device and a USB 3.0 front panel, also. The AMD apu had its' own fan/cooler, but I modified the case (a 2007 InWin steel case) to use 3 more Noctua fans, and installed filter media. Today I was fine tuning the fan speed profile, and tried minor overclock settings. Like my other hobbies, I try to go all-in. (I even installed a handle, if'n I want to take it camping, probably not.)
2013 HHRv "squareback/squaredrop", rugged, 4x8 TTT, 2220 lbs
  • *3500 lb Dexter EZ-Lube braked axle, 3000 lb.springs, active-progressive bumpstop suspension
  • *27 x 8.5-14LT AT tires (x 3) *Weight Distribution system for single-beam tongue
  • *100% LED's & GFCI outlets, 3x fans, AM/FM/CD/Aux. *A/C & heat, Optima AGM, inverter & charger(s)
  • *extended-run, on-board, 2500w generator *Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern, Ikea grill, vintage skillet
  • *zinc/stainless front & side racks *98"L x 6" diameter rod & reel carrier tube on roof
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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby fishboat » Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:44 am

Good on ya for doing the build. It's an interesting ride to go from not knowing anything to booting up a newly-built PC, formatting the HD and building up the OS.

I built a couple PCs about 20 years back. I too didn't have a clue, but the desktops I looked at were made of junk parts for very expensive prices. I learned how to design/build machines by searching the web at work-lunchtime. Overall..the prices for desktops, laptops..etc.. have plummeted in the last couple decades. I do remember getting my first desktop at work in the early-mid 90's..an Apple-Macintosh machine with a 250MB(??) harddrive...8MB of RAM. It ran the company about $4000. Cutting edge at the time. PCs were running the new Win 95 OS..total junk of an OS.

The machines I built ran about half the cost of a new-off the shelf machine, but had all the best components available. No idea if the same is possible today..cost have come down so much..

If you want a very stable workhorse laptop for low money..get an off-lease Dell Latitude. Latitudes are business-only machines that are optimized for stability and long-term, trouble-free performance...running all day everyday, for years. They have to be good as big businesses purchase or lease them by the thousands and don't tolerate buggy machines. I used Latitudes at work and have 4 of them now(in the family). Compare these machines to consumer laptops..high price, junk parts and designed to be replaced every 2-3 years...for the next latest/greatest. A very nice Latitude can be had for $200 for a $1500-$2K machine when it was new.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dell_Latitude
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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby working on it » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:15 am

* At first, I was looking for a minimum 8GB -preferably 16GB- desktop (after already deciding that my 6GB laptop wasn't really enough for future gaming of any sort), but kept going over what I thought I wanted to spend on a pre-built gaming or refurbished office PC. I had a list of about 25, that I ranked by feature and generation of cpu. Of the gaming PC's, only one was what I wanted: the Sky Tech Blaze on Amazon for $650. But that would've made too much sense, so my wife suggested/insisted that I get a refurbished office PC and upgrade some parts.

* After a lot of research, even the best refurbs I looked at would've needed more upgrades than their basic cost, and I read a lot of reviews saying that getting a good refurb is a crapshoot anyway, so I was very hesitant to even pull the trigger on one. Dells and Lenovos were at the top of the list, but most had older gen i3 or i5 CPUs (my Toshiba laptop has an i3, and it has no future in gaming, with crappy onboard graphics, even after I repair it...if possible). And anyway, by this time, I started leaning towards building around an all-purpose AMD Ryzen APU, that seems to be a favorite among the YouTube techies.

* By now, I had started to want to try my hand at building one from scratch, mainly because I wanted to see if I can still learn new skills. And secondly, by buying a few parts at a time, I could spread the $$ around, and the wife wouldn't holler as much! True, if I had screwed up, and had to go to a pro shop for help, then I'd never hear the last of it (but I was fairly confident that it could be done OK).

* After the fact, I added up the cost of all:
  • 1) the assembly tools (ESD mat, wrist strap, magnetic-tipped screwdriver set, cheap UPS),
  • 2) spare parts (like extra screws, standoffs, thumbscrews, header replacement/extension wires),
  • 3) parts to modify the case to my liking ...w/NO RGB lighting though...(three Noctua fans and filter media, a DVD-RW unit I may never need, a front panel with 3.0 USB ports, and a case handle),
  • 4) major components (power supply, motherboard, APU/CPU, three storage drives- including two M.2 drives that were beyond what I needed-,and memory sticks of better quality than needed, too...everything upgraded a notch over my initial choices),
  • 5) peripherals (cheap mouse, keyboard, speakers, VGA cables and A/B switch - used to share the external monitor with the old laptop, so I could still go on the internet while booting the new PC if problems occurred),
and I realized my "cost to build" was nearly $900. Like in drag-racing, it just gets out of hand, and expenses spiral upwards.

* I'd still do it again, as the experience and satisfaction gained are worth the price to play, just like drag-racing (and my trailer building, of course) had been before it. I still have to get more parts (especially the dedicated graphics card and AAA games, too), but I'll hide their cost from the wife,too. That's also part of the satisfaction!
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my Ryzen 5 2400g build.jpg
my Ryzen 5 2400g build.jpg (104.12 KiB) Viewed 1555 times
2013 HHRv "squareback/squaredrop", rugged, 4x8 TTT, 2220 lbs
  • *3500 lb Dexter EZ-Lube braked axle, 3000 lb.springs, active-progressive bumpstop suspension
  • *27 x 8.5-14LT AT tires (x 3) *Weight Distribution system for single-beam tongue
  • *100% LED's & GFCI outlets, 3x fans, AM/FM/CD/Aux. *A/C & heat, Optima AGM, inverter & charger(s)
  • *extended-run, on-board, 2500w generator *Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern, Ikea grill, vintage skillet
  • *zinc/stainless front & side racks *98"L x 6" diameter rod & reel carrier tube on roof
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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby noseoil » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:57 am

Interesting input guys, thanks.

Good job on the home build, my hat's off to you on that one! I looked a bit at a "home build" but decided it wasn't right for me. The NUC I bought was $704 & has a quad core processor, 8G of ram & a 256G SSA hard drive. There's a fan in the thing, but I don't really work it hard enough to be used much. I figure I won't need to buy another computer in my lifetime, as this thing is stable, fast & uses very little power. It could run off of a small solar panel & the battery in my trailer if necessary. It's similar to the concept of the bulletproof Dell setups. Minimal problems & a lot of businesses use them due to their reliability, size & utility. I still can't get over how small it is for the power it has for computations.

About Linux as an operating system, almost all of the big business stuff is running a version of Linux on a mainframe. The Cray supercomputers run Linux although their tasks are much different & meta-data absorption is a bit more interesting than what I do at home. The office suite I use works seamlessly with word processing & spreadsheets. Files are saved in a different format, but any word document will run & can then be saved or exported for someone with a conventional word program.

Yes, there are differences with Linux, but I like the "free" open source platform for input. There are a lot of creative people out there who do this stuff for free because they like to do it. It's sort of like trailer building on TNTTT. The input which comes from a community setting & forum, rather than a hard business model which tends to limit creativity & flights of fancy. As I said, it's not for everyone, but I'm thankful there are more options than the strictly off-the-shelf world of commercial software, which is dominated by Microsoft & Apple. They tend to stifle competition & innovation. Nice to live in a world which is larger than we can appreciate!
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby working on it » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:59 pm

* My wife has another PC hidden in the back of her office closet (home office) that I forgot about. It died about 15 years or so ago. Maybe she'll let me rebuild it? I thought I'd like to make either a dual OS system out of it (Windows/Chrome OS), or perhaps investigate Linux, and maybe also use it as a virtual emulator (to run retro games). Just to see what I can learn in the future (as I said, I go all-in on my latest hobby). But first, I'll finish my new PC (graphics-wise), and give the Toshiba 6GB laptop back to her (it was only on loan to me for the last five years), refurbished if possible. I wish I had started doing this a decade or so ago (it's just like I waited too long to get back into drag-racing until my late forties, and trailer building/camping in my sixties).

* UPDATE 5/1/2020 (forgot to add info earlier): as I intended, I ordered a dedicated graphics card on Black Friday, an XFX 570-4GB CARD (AMD innards). Cost me $110 and a free game and $20 rebate came with it. Since I only play solo, I didn't need higher capacity, and it's been sufficient for my needs. My next upgrade will probably be a 6 core-12 thread cpu (another Ryzen, no doubt).
Last edited by working on it on Fri May 01, 2020 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2013 HHRv "squareback/squaredrop", rugged, 4x8 TTT, 2220 lbs
  • *3500 lb Dexter EZ-Lube braked axle, 3000 lb.springs, active-progressive bumpstop suspension
  • *27 x 8.5-14LT AT tires (x 3) *Weight Distribution system for single-beam tongue
  • *100% LED's & GFCI outlets, 3x fans, AM/FM/CD/Aux. *A/C & heat, Optima AGM, inverter & charger(s)
  • *extended-run, on-board, 2500w generator *Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern, Ikea grill, vintage skillet
  • *zinc/stainless front & side racks *98"L x 6" diameter rod & reel carrier tube on roof
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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby noseoil » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:05 pm

Being new to Linux, I really can't recommend a version for you to try on an older system. I'd take a look at the forum (https://forums.linuxmint.com/) & maybe ask someone who knows more about it which version they think would work, based on your older hardware setup. I'm more interested in running my computer than understanding how or why it works.

If you have a cell phone, it's very likely you're already running a Linux based system (if its an Android phone), not sure about Apple & their I-phones. Android uses a Linux kernel.
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby JazzVinyl » Fri May 01, 2020 6:28 pm

[quote="noseoil"]Being new to Linux, I really can't recommend a version for you to try on an older system. I'd take a look at the forum (https://forums.linuxmint.com/) & maybe ask someone who knows more about it which version they think would work, based on your older hardware setup. I'm more interested in running my computer than understanding how or why it works.

If you have a cell phone, it's very likely you're already running a Linux based system (if its an Android phone), not sure about Apple & their I-phones. Android uses a Linux kernel.[/quote]

Yes, agree here.LinuxMint has really changed Linux from a clunky kludge to a sleek, and easy to use platform. You can install "Wine"on it, to run Windoze apps, as well.

I also love Linux because it still comes in a 32 bit versions, too. So if you have an old laptop, that does not have the power to run a fancy Windoze OS, it will run a Linux 32 bit OS, like a scalded duck.

I have a bunch of Raspberry Pi's around the house, too. There are credit card sized computers that run a flavor of Linux and are very capable, for very little money.

Cheers, all,,,
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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby Graniterich » Fri May 01, 2020 9:35 pm

I have a computer business in a small rural town, 3500 in town. Done hundreds upgrades, 95% worked perfectly, free using media creation tool from Microsoft. The others told me some weird legacy software would have to be removed first. If there is an issue it rolls back. If you don't like it you can restore it within seven days.

Having said that, Linux is great, works better on older computers. Old folks around here prefer to continue using what they know.

And I love raspberry pi, Google it. Runs all my media servers.

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Re: New computer & Linux OS

Postby JazzVinyl » Sat May 02, 2020 12:28 pm

[quote="Graniterich"]I have a computer business in a small rural town, 3500 in town. Done hundreds upgrades, 95% worked perfectly, free using media creation tool from Microsoft. The others told me some weird legacy software would have to be removed first. If there is an issue it rolls back. If you don't like it you can restore it within seven days.

Having said that, Linux is great, works better on older computers. Old folks around here prefer to continue using what they know.

And I love raspberry pi, Google it. Runs all my media servers.

Sent from my KFKAWI using Tapatalk[/quote]

The problem I have with Windoze is two fold:

1> In Win 10, they use spyware in the core operating system that sends MS severs your activity which gets databased (it is in the EULA that no one reads).

2> Over time, the complicated registry causes the system to slow to a crawl. Hate that!

Folks not wanting to switch is the main blocker, I agree. Gave a Pi to my little sister, who used the Office apps to create a beautiful resume, print it out and get a job...

As soon as she could, she ran out and bought an expensive Windoze Laptop and pays $6.99 per month to use online MS Office. She cannot afford any monthly subscriptions and already had a "free office" with the Pi...! But it is not Windoze, is it? Curious behaviour, I thought!!

I use a Pi for:

Pi-Hole (cannot recommend it enough) https://pi-hole.net/

A private VPN (so you can use "free" WiFi anywhere in the world and have encrypted data transmissions: https://www.pivpn.io/

And I use a couple as music servers via WiFi and a HD connected to the router,

Check out cmus, if you have a large music collection. It is a command line music player that can handle any size music library and is a remarkable piece of software with many nice features:
https://cmus.github.io/

Cheers!
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