Motherboard and Video Card selection

Ian D. Leroux idleroux at MIT.EDU
Wed Feb 1 05:40:02 PST 2006

Apologies for the threading errors, I'm stuck on webmail until I get a
new machine and can't set the Reply-To headers right.

> I opted for a Tyan K8E board:
> [...]
> Sun has been basing some impressive 1U offerings on this board that
> have been getting notice lately.  I've got mine paired with an Opteron
> 180.  've not done any benchmarking but can subjectively report that
> "it's just wickedly fast".

Any particular reason you went for a socket-939 opteron rather than the
equivalent Athlon64 X2?  Nothing wrong with that, I'm just wondering if
you know something I don't.

> [...]
> > I don't much like NVIDIA's binary-drivers-only policy, but is
> > anybody else out there any better?

> I try to stay away from NVidia to the extent possible for these
> reasons but you can't really get around it sometimes.  fwiw- I
> used an ATI based AsusTEK EAX300.  Version I got comes w/the
> passive heat sink so I don't have to endure the added noise of a
> whinny little fan that is just gonna fail every 6 mo's.anyhow...

Yes, I should have mentioned that passive cooling was something I wanted

> Reasonably priced around $50 w/128MB.  Gonna just have to suffer
> through the wait for 3D until xorg drivers have the chance to play
> catch up...  ATI (Ithink) offers the option of an NDA to certain OSS
> developers so there's hope at least...

Sadly, it looks like the ATI NDA program stops with the Radeon 9250
chips <>.  All support for later ATI
cards (that I know of) is reverse-engineered.  Not that I mind getting
an older Radeon, provided I can be reasonably confident of it working
with the mainboard.

> I think you can always opt for the i386 version of FBSD.  Might even
> be preferred for workstation useage.

A good point, and one that I'd neglected.

Thanks for the input.  It sounds like an nForce4 mainboard is the way to
go, if only because their ubiquity guarantees some kind of support.  As
for a video card, I'll get an old one if I can, or else get a modern
one and wait for nvidia to release 64-bit drivers or for to
finish reverse-engineering the ATI cards.  Hobson's Choice.  Here's to
open-spec hardware, and a prayer for its return someday.

Thanks again for your time,

Ian Leroux

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