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What hardware can you recommend me?

Lajto

New Member


Messages: 4

#1
Hi everyone! I want to buy a new PC. My intention is to make a FreeBSD/Windows10 dual boot. The problem is that I'm very confused about what hardware I must choose.

I prefer to be as open source as possible, so NVIDIA is a bad option. The FreeBSD wiki says that the best supported graphic card is the Radeon HD 7660D. Is that correct? I want to have the best performance, and that card is a bit old. I like to play videogames in Windows, and I know that last cards are not supported. I just want to make a good investment and guarantee FreeBSD compatibility.

I wonder if, for example, an AMD Ryzen 7 1700 with a Radeon RX 560 will not work at all, or if it will just work in 'basic mode'. Maybe it's a good option, and waiting some time for full support is the right thing to do. I don't know.

Anyway, I need a machine with this requirements:

- Processor: 6 cores or more
- SSD of any size (my PC is 10 years old; I want speed! xD)
- 8GB RAM or more
- Best graphic card possible (confirm me this: AMD is the only option, right?)

What are your recommendations? Using FreeBSD, what processors, graphic cards, SSDs, etc. are the best options for the best compatibility and the best performance? Tell me about everything please, I don't want to buy something that cannot be used in FreeBSD.

Thank you!

PD: I'm not interested in buying laptops, but you can write about that (some people will find it useful).
 

SirDice

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#2
My intention is to make a FreeBSD/Windows10 dual boot.
I would suggest not dual booting and go for a VirtualBox VM with FreeBSD. The reason is that dual booting is tedious, I'm always booted to the "wrong" OS and end up constantly rebooting to switch. The second reason is that FreeBSD as a VirtualBox guest is fully supported and isn't limited by specific hardware (Wireless drivers, power management, etc) support.
 

Lajto

New Member


Messages: 4

#3
But let's consider I don't want to do gaming. Wanting a FreeBSD-only machine, what are the options?
 

k.jacker

Well-Known Member

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#4
Then I would go for Haswell Core i7 (or socket 1150 Xeon) based computer with no extra graphic card.
 

Minbari

Active Member

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Messages: 167

#5
I have an old Lenovo Thinkstation C20: 2x Xeon E5649, 48GB Ram ECC, 2x SDD (Crucial MX100 -256GB) and nVidia GTX 1060 on which I run Arch GNU/Linux as a gaming machine!
LE: I run FreeBSD on Thinkpad T430. :D
 

rufwoof

Active Member

Thanks: 26
Messages: 154

#6
I would suggest not dual booting and go for a VirtualBox VM with FreeBSD. The reason is that dual booting is tedious, I'm always booted to the "wrong" OS and end up constantly rebooting to switch. The second reason is that FreeBSD as a VirtualBox guest is fully supported and isn't limited by specific hardware (Wireless drivers, power management, etc) support.
I multi boot as well and as you say rebooting between the 3 or 4 can be tedious, however I do find that running natively is quicker IME (I appreciate some see otherwise and get as equal or sometimes even faster performance). In my case if I were booting freebsd as a virtual and the browser ran slower I'd be more tempted to use the host browser and hence system ... relegating freebsd in the process to the extent that I might not bother running it at all (as 90%+ of my computer usage is browsing). As is, freebsd is my primary default boot.

Out of interest, what host system would you suggest i.e. the best choice for wide/broad hardware support and can run a freebsd virtualbox guest to provide direct/indirect access to that? Windows, Mac, Linux, other? I'm guessing that Windows would have the widest range of hardware support but I haven't booted Windows since XP days. My relatively distant perception of Windows is that it has moved over to being more of a pay to use type choice but perhaps if that were just predominately being used to run a virtual box and freebsd guest might come out as a viable/appropriate choice?
 

ekingston

Active Member

Thanks: 39
Messages: 144

#7
But let's consider I don't want to do gaming. Wanting a FreeBSD-only machine, what are the options?
What are you going to do with it, if you aren't doing gaming?

A core i7 is overkill for games but useful if you are doing either massive multi-tasking or CPU intensive compute operations (like compiling software from source).

A core i5 with a top end graphics card is good for gaming. Most games today use the GPU far more than the CPU and few of them take advantage of multi-threading enough to need the i7.

A non-gaming computer for modern end-user use is more than satisfied by an i3. It even makes a decent home server for moderate workloads. As an example, my home FreeBSD server is an i3 (from 2016) and it primarily acts as my media server (using Plex). It is capable of transcoding full HD (1920x1080) video on-the-fly (as in 30 frames a second video sent to my HDTV) for at least 2 streams (this is pretty CPU intensive).

If you are looking for something that just covers e-mail, web browsing, some streaming video, and a bit of lightweight office documents, you can get by with a Pentium or maybe even a modern higher end Atom. Although, I suggest you shoot for at least an i3.

On the AMD front, the Ryzen series is competitive with the above Intel processors (at all levels).

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors blow so far past the i7 that Intel is trying to put out a new i9 to compete with it. Although, I'm not sure FreeBSD will actually run on the Threadripper yet.

Xeons are server hardware. If you are a server geek (or doing this for a business) then consider them. For the average amateur, they are overkill in my opinion.

The amount of RAM you choose and the types of disk you put in it also have a huge impact.

SSDs are nice and fast but expensive if you need a lot of space (although that is changing quickly).

5400 rpm drives will make your i7 feel worse than an i3 with a 7200 rpm drive.

I wouldn't go less than 8GB of ram on a Windows computer, 16GB if I wanted to run VirtualBox or was into the latest games.

4GB is enough for a headless (as in not running a GUI) FreeBSD server to experiment with (but for experimenting, I use VirtualBox on the PC). But at least 16GB and maybe as much as 32GB if I was doing heavy duty compiling from source.

You already figured out graphics is a bit of a challenge with FreeBSD at the moment. I won't go into it.

Point being, what you plan to do with it has a lot to do with what you should consider as appropriate hardware.

One final suggestion: it is better to over-buy than to under-buy a computer. An over-powered computer today will be an okay computer tomorrow, letting you delay upgrading. An under-powered computer today might mean you need to upgrade before the warrantee on the current one has expired.
 

stratacast1

Member

Thanks: 17
Messages: 99

#8
Processor: I've been hearing some good things about Ryzen doing well with FreeBSD. Some people say powerd may need a little bit of tweaking, but I can't speak from experience.
SSD: Look at Samsung SSDs. I have both an 840 Pro and 840 Evo (old models) and they haven't failed me, both being 4 and 3 years old respectively. 850 Pro has a 10 year warranty if that tells you anything about its quality
RAM: Try to invest in 16GB. Especially if you're gaming, I've found newer titles on Win10 to be either getting scary close to 8GB or above. I have GSkill Ripjaws V 16GB 3000MHz kit clocked to 2933MHz no problem on my MSI B350m Mortar motherboard with the latest BIOS
Graphics card: my knowledge is very lacking in the graphics card + FreeBSD department, can't help there!


For CPUs and personal experience, skip Intel altogether right now. My Ryzen 1600 at 3.7GHz is incredible and put my i5 to shame in a dirty, smelly box. i7 7700K at high clock speeds (overclocked) is still the champ at single-threaded performance, no comparison. But if you plan on doing a lot of multi-threaded applications then you can't go wrong with an OC Ryzen CPU. If you REALLY want Intel and 6 cores, wait a bit longer. Rumor has it Coffee Lake will be i5 6C/6T and i7 6C/12T and make current Extreme edition 6 cores shameful
 

aimeec1995

Active Member

Thanks: 10
Messages: 140

#9
Any ati card being good on FreeBSD? source please?
If you are going to game AT ALL on freebsd then you need an nvidia card, even if it's a bad one.
For your CPU, just not AMD desktop CPUs
Also I suggest you avoid anything broadcom.
 

sidetone

Aspiring Daemon

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#10
With a video card that uses VESA, and doesn't have its own driver, video can't be played very well on full screen.
It will lag and crash, because the VESA driver can't take advantage of most capabilities of that card. Video and games can play on a small window without a problem.
 

SirDice

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#11
A core i7 is overkill for games but useful if you are doing either massive multi-tasking or CPU intensive compute operations (like compiling software from source).
Adding to that. Check the features of the CPU, not all Core i7 support VT-d for example. VT-x is usually supported but VT-d may be sacrificed for faster Turbo speeds or overclocking features. It really depends on what you want to do of course but it's something to take into account when deciding what to buy.
 

Lajto

New Member


Messages: 4

#12
I can't believe OpenBSD and even DragonFlyBSD have better graphic support than FreeBSD. Looking at different Intel processors, the price of Haswell and SkyLake is very similar. Buying a Haswell i7 having SkyLake at the same price, well, it's not good at all. TrueOS has SkyLake support, but does it mean that FreeBSD-CURRENT has that support too? If I can go FreeBSD without problems using modern Intel hardware... bye bye gaming, I prefer a nice FreeBSD desktop.
 

aimeec1995

Active Member

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Messages: 140

#13
I can't believe OpenBSD and even DragonFlyBSD have better graphic support than FreeBSD. Looking at different Intel processors, the price of Haswell and SkyLake is very similar. Buying a Haswell i7 having SkyLake at the same price, well, it's not good at all. TrueOS has SkyLake support, but does it mean that FreeBSD-CURRENT has that support too? If I can go FreeBSD without problems using modern Intel hardware... bye bye gaming, I prefer a nice FreeBSD desktop.
I was able to play a wide range of windows games on FreeBSD i386 up until I lost my nvidia card.
Support for my radeon hd 5670 is so bad I can't even use compton.
 

ekingston

Active Member

Thanks: 39
Messages: 144

#14
I can't believe OpenBSD and even DragonFlyBSD have better graphic support than FreeBSD. Looking at different Intel processors, the price of Haswell and SkyLake is very similar. Buying a Haswell i7 having SkyLake at the same price, well, it's not good at all. TrueOS has SkyLake support, but does it mean that FreeBSD-CURRENT has that support too? If I can go FreeBSD without problems using modern Intel hardware... bye bye gaming, I prefer a nice FreeBSD desktop.
I can't speak about OpenBSD or DragonFly, but TrueOS has SkyLake support because TrueOS tracks FreeBSD development (i.e. the bleeding edge that will eventually become FreeBSD 12). They trade stability for newer features.

Currently FreeBSD support of Intel GPUs is lagging because the GPU team has been putting in a huge amount of effort to develop a good, fast, and robust framework for integrating the graphics driver change in the future. They don't share much publicly (at least not where I look) but if you go stealth on some of the graphics mailing lists you can read between the lines.

The way I read it (and a lot of it was over my head) FreeBSD 12 is likely to catch up and only be a few months behind on graphics driver updates compared to Linux (which is where the driver info come from) for Intel integrated graphics.
 

Preetpal

Active Member

Thanks: 18
Messages: 108

#16
Even if you consider NVidia graphics cards to be a bad option (because of closed source drivers), you should still consider them as they work well. I have not used AMD graphics cards/APUs with FreeBSD, but if aimeec1995 is right, they are not an option. If you want 6 or more cores on your CPU, you will not have any option but to use a graphics card (assuming Coffee Lake CPUs are not supported yet) as there is no CPU with integrated graphics that has that many cores. I have used the NVidia closed source drivers with a GTX 1050TI and I didn't really run into any issues in working with FreeBSD as a desktop operating system (I only did programming on the system, although I did watch some videos on YouTube once in a while) with a dual monitor setup (a 4k monitor paired with an HD monitor). I would really recommend an NVidia graphics card for use with FreeBSD in a desktop environment as they offer you a solution that is supported today with supported releases of FreeBSD with a level of graphics performance superior to that of any integrated graphics setup.
 

Phishfry

Daemon

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#17
I wouldn't go less than 8GB of ram on a Windows computer, 16GB if I wanted to run VirtualBox or was into the latest games.

4GB is enough for a headless (as in not running a GUI) FreeBSD server to experiment with (but for experimenting, I use VirtualBox on the PC). But at least 16GB and maybe as much as 32GB if I was doing heavy duty compiling from source.
I have to disagree here. Take a look at your memory usage during heavy compiling. You will find that it is both CPU Core intensive and Disk Intensive but memory will not be close to maxed out. So if compiling is a focus then look for a NVMe disk option. They are 4X faster than SATA3. Also number of CPU cores for compiling is a factor along with the cores frequency.

I do think 8GB is enough for workstation usage.

I am using a Skylake Xeon in my server and I think its a good processor. I wanted ECC memory so I went with Xeon. I use 16GB in it.
I used a non-conventional server brand "Gigabyte" motherboard. I always had good luck with them and considered Supermicro and Asrock too.
I am using a couple of headless APU2/APU3 for mini servers and some only have 2GB memory with no issues. Not alot of users hitting them but Zoneminder on one is using 65% cpu cycles with no fan but little heat. Memory usage is less than 20%.

Are you building your own or buying a rig?
 

Simurgh

New Member

Thanks: 1
Messages: 1

#18
A quick note on AMD APUs (A10 in my experience) plus a seperate compatible radeon "dual gfx" setup. Nothing but blinding headaches for you on that road. You're stuck with 6x4 console fonts and a very confused Xorg (and don't try fiddling with /boot configs = mucho misery, even single user boot was stuffed. Twice.) because you'll almost certainly need to disable/remove one of your cards altogether to avoid the above issues and Xorg playing nicely at all in the first instance. For a good six months I resolutely refused to disable the dedicated R7 board and will warn anyone from following my absurd obstinacy. :eek:/

Take the great advice on offer from the above users.