Proposal: Sticky thread with recommended hardware configurations

roccobaroccoSC

Well-Known Member

Reaction score: 93
Messages: 413

Hi,
I wish there were a sticky thread in the Hardware Forum with a couple of hardware configurations with excellent support in FreeBSD.
When I was shopping around for hardware, I invested a lot of time in research so why not sharing this with the community?

My proposal is:
  • Create a sticky thread in Hardware with the name of "Example hardware configurations with good driver support in FreeBSD" or something similar.
  • In this thread describe a couple of hardware configurations with the best driver support possible.
  • I suggest the following profiles:
    • budget workstation
    • high-end workstation
    • budget notebook
    • high-end notebook
    • gateway/router
    • NAS/small web server
  • Each hardware configuration should ideally have a link to a blog or a tutorial how to install and configure the OS and why not - how to build the hardware.
This would be a real time saver for people like me, searching for compatible hardware.
 

k.jacker

Aspiring Daemon

Reaction score: 366
Messages: 635

Almost all x86 (i386/AMD64) hardware nowadays is supported. Regardless age, all processors, motherbords, chipsets and soldered on contollers are supported by FreeBSD.
There is of course peripheral devices and add-on hardware, like WiFi devices, printers, some stupid gaming keyboards and maybe some rare disk controllers or external soundcards, that lack drivers.

The reason why people may have trouble using suspend/resume or have boot problems on a specific computer, is simple. Manufacturers, don't want to, or are not capable of good code or complying to standards for their BIOS/UEFI/ACPI implementations.

You really can buy any AMD or Intel processor/motherboard, throw in RAM and drives and of you go. All x86 compatible processors work and you'll hardly find integrated graphics that isn't supported.
Support for all other pieces of hardware is covered by a Release's Hardware Notes.

If such a list existed, then it wouldn't be enough to say:
Intel Core i3-4370 on Asus motherboard with H81 chipset works

Of course all included hardware in the above package, is fully supported by FreeBSD, but it still can't be guaranteed everything works as expected.

More information would be required, like:
Any Haswell processor works on Asus H81I-Plus, revision 2.0, BIOS 1.3

It's important to know that, hardware (that has drivers) that does not work as expected in FreeBSD, is most likely suffering from broken BIOSes, broken Firmware or whatever broken software.

For me, as a hardware enthusiast since 1997 or something, I have overclocked and pinmodded the hell out of uncountable motherboards and processors on FreeBSD. I mostly bought (and sold) on ebay, but also new and recent hardware went through my hands. From my experience, the single part, that makes a full blown computer/laptop, a good or a bad deal, is the motherboard's BIOS/UEFI/ACPI implementation alone.

If I'm in for new hardware, I usually check reviews where Linux is used, even if hardly anyone test's e.g. suspend/resume. The quality range of hardware reviews is wide, but it's always worth to try finding some info up front. In the end, just buy your dream computer. If you have trouble, return (or sell on ebay) the motherboard (if possible), and keep the rest. Get another motherboard and try again.

For prebuild hardware and all none x86, such a list could probably do, but then categories are bad:
Computer hardware is one of the hardest thing to put into categoeries, without proper knowledge.
Look at Amazon, they have no clue what they are doing, and they are not alone.

In addition, "works for me", is subject to personal taste. Will someone who doesn't care for suspend/resume, be willing to test if it works? Has that prebuild computer Intel integrated graphics or has a Nvidia graphics card been added to it? Does the person, that adds it's computer to the list, actually know, that this makes a difference?
As with some existing lists of laptops, they usually never become a real list, even if there are some useful informations to find.

To make it short, most computers work very well, some may have minor problems, that can be worked around with the proper knowledge (like booting in legacy mode instead of UEFI if one knows the difference) and a very few are not worth a penny and should be returned without wasting time on them.

This would be a real time saver for people like me, searching for compatible hardware.
Always check the Hardware Notes for your FreeBSD version 12.0-RELEASE 11.2-RELEASE, and if that doesn't help, ask here.

Sorry for focusing on suspend/resume and booting problems, I just thought they are the most common, anyone has experienced at least one in a while.
Also, please excuse the unstructured writing, I can put hardware into categories, but I failed at structuring my text.
 

k.jacker

Aspiring Daemon

Reaction score: 366
Messages: 635

any hardware you recommend that is compatible with Coreboot?
Coreboot or BIOS/UEFI doesn't make a difference as long as the Hardware itself is supported by FreeBSD.
There isn't a lot of Coreboot compatible hardware. Check the Coreboot Homepage

If you wonder which Intel processors and chipsets are compatible to eachother, you should visit ark.intel.com
 

justinnoor

Member

Reaction score: 54
Messages: 93

I wish there were a sticky thread in the Hardware Forum with a couple of hardware configurations with excellent support in FreeBSD. This would be a real time saver for people like me, searching for compatible hardware.
Great idea. I recently built a bare metal machine using a Supermicro X11-SSM (for Xeon), and a Fractal gaming case. It will be used for large batch jobs. FreeBSD 12.0-rel installed flawlessly, but I have yet to put it to the test. I’m still tweaking things. I documented my processes and made a lot of videos.

[EDIT]

I’ll point you to a link when I get there.
 
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