Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tips from a PCLinuxOS User on Buying a PC and Choosing an OS

pclinuxos pc hot deals from linpc.usPC has now become a necessity, be it a desktop or laptop. It's the next big thing in everyone's gadget wish list after mobile phones. But choosing a make/model of PC and choosing an OS for it is quite different from that of a mobile phone. Very often home users are duped into buying the latest and most powerful piece of desktop/laptop though they never utilize the full power of their desktop/laptop hardware and the software that comes preinstalled.

Choosing OS for Home Users

Most of the power desktops/laptops come with Vista preinstalled. But is it worthwhile for the extra money you pay for it? Even some windows lunatics say MS took more than 5 years to downgrade the good old XP. Well, if you will choose other OS than that of the preinstalled Vista, you will need to gather drivers and other productivity software. So, it's wise to run a Linux flavour such as PCLinuxOS 2008, Mandriva 2008, Mepis 7.0 or Linux Mint 4 Daryana (these are the latest as of Feb. 2008).

Always choose the latest desktop oriented linux (or pclinuxos without any second thought) flavour for home computing. Ensure the Linux desktop you are going to use is newer than that of your hardware. And always choose Intel hardware (it has better drivers support in linux world). You won't have configure your devices and/or look for drivers. Just pop in the disk and you will get a working desktop/laptop within a few minutes.

If your hardware is very old use an old distribution or the one with generic kernel. But ensure the distribution you are using should be newer than the hardware.

What's more a desktop linux such as pclinuxos will provide you with just enough software for your home computing requirement. You will get a cutting edge office suite (openoffice), image manipulation program (gimp), a truck load of instant messengers, p2p clients, browsers, multimedia players, and all that. Even you won't need to install a single program. However, if you need more, than the repository is just a click away.

Choosing Laptop/Desktop for Home Users

Go to a PC retailer, ask her about the desktops and laptops. She will most definitely lead you to the selves having PCs with specs such as Intel Core2Duo, Dual Core, Centrino, ATI or Nvidia Graphics, and heavy RAMs exceeding 1GB. Probably she will tell you to buy the latest HP, Thinkpad or Vaio, or even more, a powerbook. Many customers go by it and bring home a power performer.

My friend, Satya, an HR manager, asked me to about buying a laptop. His requirements included word processing, spreadsheet generation, web surfing and watching movies. He is not a gamer. Last night he brought home a HP DV series laptop (specs: 1 GB RAM, Intel Core2Duo and NVidia Graphics with 256 display memory). I tried it. It was very fast and responsive. It is very good box for avid gamers and developers. It costs around Rs. 60,000.

Then we compared his HP DV laptop with my bare basic Compaq laptop (specs: 512MB RAM, Celeron M 530 1.73GHz, Intel 965GMA graphics, it costs only Rs. 25,000). Our comparison involved jobs such as: word processing, image editing, watching VCD, DVD and some Xvids, and ripping DVD, on PCLinuxOS Gnome Remaster and Vista Basic.

To our surprise, that costly HP laptop performed better while ripping a DVD, else the performance difference in other jobs was zero, we could not notice any difference.

So, what's the point buying that power machine paying almost twice the price than that of a model that just meets your requirement impeccably?

Anybody who is looking for buying a laptop/desktop for home use please don't be fooled at the latest Intel processors, costly graphics cards, high capacity hard drives and that pre-installed Vista OS. No need to pay almost twice the price of a base model.

Ideal hardware specs for home computing

Processor: Celeron M 530 or above (cheap yet great performance)
Memory: 512MB (enough you will never need more)
Graphics: Onboard Intel Graphics (don't go for those Nvidia or ATI if you are not a gamer)
Hard drive: 80 GB (why more than this, buy some DVDs instead and store those heavy files)


Anonymous said...

so, choosing those dual cores are not essential for home computing on pclinuxos?

Anonymous said...

It snot essential to have dual core for any user home or business. The point being made is that Vista is a resource hog and Linux, specifically PCLinuxOS is not.
I agree great advice!

manmath sahu said...

You are right. But again if anybody loves windows, he/she should choose XP and enjoy great computing on cheap chip celeron M. Of course, anything will run like a breese on PCLinuxOS. So, no use of those dual cores or core2duos for home computing.

linux-64bit said...

for windows environment it's an absolute no no to use those powerhouse 64bit computers. because till date you cant find much 64bit programs written for windows. of course, you will definitely have a great experience using those powerhouse computers at home if you are using a 64bit linux such as mepis, ubuntu, fedora or mandriva. sadly, pclinuxos does not have a 64bit version yet.

manmath sahu said...

well, i have tried ubuntu 7.10 64bit, mepis 7.0 64bit and pclinuxos 2008 minime (obviously 32bit). i could not find any performance difference. even i have compared 32bit and 64bits of ubuntu, there was no much difference. may be the 64bit hoopla is a marketing gimmick of hardware manufacturers, may be we have to wait couple of years till 64bit computing becomes a standard. i can't say more but suggest you not to crazy for 64bit.

Anonymous said...

where will there be the next pclinuxos big release?

Anonymous said...

64 bit linux is required if you have more than 3 GB memory in your machine. normal 32 bit OS cannot utilise more than 3 GB.

Also sometimes it's hard to find 64 bit apps.

manmath sahu said...

right. for home desktop user 32bit is more than enough. you will need it only if you want deploy your linux as a server. by the way, there is a 64bit pclinuxos in the pipeline.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a very nice blog -- I have you bookmarked! I just wanted to let you know, my girl's machine has an older Intel integrated graphics chip. It won't boot if you update to the latest video drivers, I found out the hard way. And I couldn't roll back either. First time in ages that I had to wipe and reinstall. Also, I just built a computer with an ASUS M2N-MX motherboard, and guess what? I can't boot PCLinuxOS on that, either. Too bad, because it's a blazing fast computer. It'll have to settle for XP until or unless a version of PCLinuxOS comes out that will run on it, because it's at the office and I don't want Ubuntu on it.

Anyway, thanks for a great blog, and I thought you should tell your audience to check for hardware compatibility before buying.

Anonymous said...

If buying at a store, maybe you should bring a live CD and make sure the machine boots and runs off it before you take the machine home.

manmath sahu said...

Hi Technically Correct,
Your problem with PCLinuxOS can be fixed if you provide me some necessary information.

Please mail me the technical specifications of that PC. I mean you should provide me information regarding:

Graphics Card:
Sound Card:
Ethernet Card:

And I will tell what extra configuration you need to install PCLinuxOS on your daughter's PC.

By the way, your blog is also interesting.

technically correct said...

hi, i have a p4 1.8ghz cpu, 512mb of ram and intel 845 motherboard. can i install the latest pclinuxos on it?

How about this