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Build a High Powered Linux Workstation on the Cheap - page 2

High-Power Components Galore

  • August 20, 2009
  • By Paul Ferrill

The last piece to our BIY puzzle is a case for all our pieces parts. Options here abound as well but there are some things you should watch out for. Cooling is a big deal when you start putting lots of high-powered electronics in a small area. You don't want to skimp on a cheap case if you want to keep your new workstation running at peak performance.

Thermaltake offered up their Element G case for our project, and it more than meets our needs. It has space for six 3.5" disks and cooling to keep even the hottest electronics touchable. The $89.99 price for this monster is reasonable as well. Another nice feature is the use of thumb screws for securing disk drives and other components.

Final Assembly

Putting all the components together is not that hard. The only thing you need to be concerned about is static electricity when handling the memory and motherboard. If you avoid high-static areas like carpet and try not to touch any conductive surfaces (like the gold pins on the memory) you should be fine.

Connecting the power supply to the motherboard is the one step that some people might have a problem with. Some connectors can be a little stubborn at times and require a little elbow grease to get them to seat properly. The good news is that all of the power connectors are keyed such that they can only go on one way. That should make you feel a little better about powering the system up the first time.

Bottom Line

The one thing we didn't mention for this project was disk drives. We happened to have several decent size drives available from previous projects to use for this one. The good news on the price front is hard disk prices have really dropped in recent months. You can purchase a 1 TB SATA drive from multiple sources for $90 or less.

Taking all the parts plus the disk drive puts the price of our system as built at (CPU - $245 + Motherboard $140 + Memory - $100 + Case - $90 + Hard Drive - $90) at $665. Not bad when you compare the components to what you could buy off the shelf. You could reduce the price and get under the $500 target by going with a less powerful CPU / Motherboard and smaller hard drive. Next time we'll go into choosing our virtualization software and installing multiple operating systems.

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