short notes

Random notes and results of little investigations.

1 Hardware

Hardware-related observations and opinions:

CPU: Xeon E3 processors are quite similar to regular i7 ones (up to price), but do support ECC memory (which is not much more expensive than regular memory). They even have integrated video cards. E5 (cheap ones) do seem nice as well, and support more memory (768 instead of E3's 32 for current models, though it's not easy to find a PC/WS motherboard that supports more than 64 nowadays).

RAM: There's never enough RAM. When building a new PC or workstation, it's usually a good idea to get maximum available amount of memory at once.

HDD: It seems that Western Digital HDDs are reliable, though in general it's not reliable to deduce reliability by brand. And situation with HDDs is almost like that with RAM. WD Red series are fine for 24/7 usage. By the way, it seems that btrfs (which I'm using for the last couple of years) is a nice FS choice nowadays.

MoBo and video: ASUS is not bad, "WS" suffix is for workstations. Probably not a great idea to buy a good (and/or recent) videocard for use with Linux. Poorly supported video cards are a source of pain, so one should be very careful investigating how well those work with Linux, and with different compositors: that'd be more useful than a good video card.

Chassis: Tower < full-tower. It's much nicer when there is more space, so I'm happily using metal full-towers. Thermaltake makes some nice chassis, though manufacturing quality is not particularly nice, and not sure about materials. Update: it loses bits of plastic after a few years. Poor quality and materials indeed.

Power supplies: Though it could look like the least important thing, I tend to pick them carefully after series of related problems: those are things that could fry a motherboard. So, last time I've picked a power supply that is supposed for a bit (maybe twice) higher power consumption, and that got some nice results on power supply tests, and it was some Thermaltake Toughpower Grand <something>. There was a missing screw hole, IIRC, but it works fine so far.

Coolers: Noctua is great. There's painless mounting without hammering things into MoBo, it's silent, cools CPUs well, and generally very nice.

UPS: APC seems to be fine. An RBC7 battery may last about 5 years, though it's a pain to recycle one properly.

Keyboards: I'm happily using Truly Ergonomic keyboard (the website is not available directly from Russia, for some reason), which is also very nice for emacs, though I'm not a fan of mechanical keyboards. Or wasn't, at least: now got used to it. It seems there's a bunch of nice (semi-)DIY keyboards, like atreus, and mechanical keyboards in general tend to have nicer layouts.

Mice: Just like in everyday goods it's sometimes better to get travel/sports/"military" ones, in hardware it's sometimes better to get gaming devices. Which is the case when it comes to mice, it seems: the gaming ones tend to be more handy and ergonomic, unless they have a dozen of keys.

Home routers: After my D-Link and ASUS routers died, I've acquired a Linksys one, which served me well for years, until I had to turn it off and set a new one: all the previous ones were for ADSL. The new one is a TP-Link one; picked it from the lists of routers supported by LibreCMC and OpenWRT, installed LibreCMC. Works fine by now, and LibreCMC is nice. Though better to get something with more disk space, since one may want to install some packages, and to update LibreCMC itself, which may grow out of the available disk space with time.

2 Miscelanneous

  • AeroPress is a rather handy coffee brewing device, though experimenting with different ones should also be useful.
  • Cotton pants with big pockets are called "Cargo pants".
  • Nice waterproof coats are called "Trench coats".