NZ Techonverse: Upgrading

First published on NZ Techonverse

The series on how to build a PC from $300 to $3000 is being written as an allusion to my own computer upgrade project I have been working on this week. I took the middle of the road approach to this system and was able to bring the timeline forward after obtaining family support. A particular point of note is that the new mainboard is more or less UEFI only. UEFI is something that is still not well supported by the Linux developer community, which is slowly catching up to the lead well established by MS which has embraced the platform. Consequently I found I could not get Debian Buster to boot the system when it was completed, and as a result I now have a system that is installed with Debian Bookworm, which is the development version of the next release of Debian. So I chose to put the Gimp beta edition and the master development edition of Qgis on it, as well.

One concern I did discover is the usual Intel smoke and mirrors around their range of CPUs. The Pentium G 6400 that I have installed in this computer will only support one of the two M.2 slots because the other one needs a more expensive CPU. After considering all the options, a third party PCIe card will let me add additional M.2 devices as the only other possibility would have been to purchase a much more expensive Core i5 chip. This is only relevant if I want more than one M.2 card if the price of 2 TB SSDs comes down enough to put in a pair of them to replace the HDDs. At the moment the system is strictly conventional with two WD Black HDDs in a software RAID mirror. The Silverstone modular PSU is very good. Whilst I don’t believe the modular cabling brings any real benefit in terms of reduced mess inside the case, it does have two of every cable (except the mainboard power) which adds versatility. The main benefit is the very quiet fan. I accidentally did purchase more expensive Kingston Fury RAM with built in LEDs that make a nice light show inside the case, which is not really useful in a steel sided chassis with no glass.

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