Computer Setup

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  • #628
    Bob Marley
    Keymaster

      With a new computer on the way, I wanted to start up a topic to go over configuration.

      It’s running Linux from the outset but I may want to switch that to FreeBSD at some point but video card compatibility isn’t all that clear. OpenBSD says they support the AMD Rx 7900XT but FreeBSD has nothing saying one way or the other. That’s something to keep in mind

      For development, I plan to do most of that under Linux as it’s what I’m most comfortable with using my good old standby of a compiler (GCC/MinGW64) and a text-editor with syntax highlighting.

      For play, this is where it gets a bit hairy: Linux has come a long way with their compatibility layers and you can now run Windows games almost seamlessly. However (and this is a big however), VR support is very poor on Linux, both natively and with the compatibility layers so I’m thinking I’ll still want Windows on the second drive even if it’s just for that. So one drive will be for day-to-day and the other one will be for fun.

      Now for SSD anxiety: the technology was very new the last I really looked into them (circa ten years ago) and failure rates were rather high. My biggest concern is with longevity due to the high number of writes coding will put on the drive and this persists even though the vendors have tried to reassure me that it’s no longer an issue. I guess we’ll just need to find out over time

      #631
      DeVaultSetter
      Keymaster

        An operating system can provide “support” for any hardware, whether it works under the OEM driver is up in the air. As of last year, AMD don’t have any support at all for FreeBSD, looks a bit better for OpenBSD.
        Yes, there’s quite a bit to choose from in code editors, one that also has language support, debugging, and auto-suggest.
        Okay then, VR it is, and Windows 11 on the fun drive, thus a not so fun milestone is a VS installation? There hasn’t much doing with VS2019 over here for more than a year, so definitely not a front burner. 😛
        Yeah, tell-tale signs are long read/writes, sluggish system, and BSODS. The mfg usually offer tools that gauge SSD fit for purpose, you could schedule those to run every quarter, for example. The good news (according to a quick Google) is, the bigger the SSDs, the longer they last, and the less they are used (fewer write cycles), the longer they last. Make from that what you will. 🙂

        #641
        Bob Marley
        Keymaster

          Yeah, I may need to ask them on their forums if I decide I don’t like Pop OS

          Nice list! Will keep it handy!

          Yeah, if it weren’t for the poor VR support, I’d probably try forgoing Windows entirely. I also may need to install the drivers for the fan controller.

          Hopefully *nix VR support will reach feature parity with Windows soon!

          We definitely need to get something cooking! On that note, we’ll probably want an ideas thread at some point 🙂

          It’s got two 1 TB NVM drives. I plan on putting Windows on one and *nix on the other so that should help. I don’t use a whole lot of space, generally, so hopefully that will be enough. Sounds good, will look into the health reports 🙂

          I always try to turn off autosaving with applications and games partly to reduce wear and tear on the drive but coding has a lot of writes due to the nature of it so splitting up the use of the drives should help somewhat 🙂

          #744
          Bob Marley
          Keymaster

            We have ignition! Going to start testing it in a few minutes (posting from it now 🙂 ). Once I’ve done some good testing with 0ad I can start setting things up properly. Going to take a bit. It’s been a long time so I’m going to have to get used to things again but shouldn’t take too long! I may also need to install the AMD drivers for better performance. Will check on that before the testing 🙂

            I probably do need to increase the font scaling, though. Everything looks so small on the monitor for my poor eyes 😛

            • This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by Bob Marley.
            #751
            Bob Marley
            Keymaster

              No issues arose while watching 4k videos or playing 0AD so now i can begin the long grind of figuring out what I need and getting things installed/set up. Will probably wait on Windows for a day or so so that I can reacquaint myself with Linux. 🙂

              #764
              Bob Marley
              Keymaster

                Installing Windows was rather complicated but it’s done. If anyone reads this and needs help: for System76 Thelio machines, you must choose the ISO option from Microsoft and not the MCT. The latter won’t been seen by motherboard. After you get the ISO, you need to create it using something like Rufus so it can install a dummy bootloader to it to be recognized. Took me half an hour to figure out. The guide from System76 does say to use the ISO but doesn’t say not to use the MCT so I thought it was more a matter of preference.

                Additionally, you need to grab the full version of the AMD GPU driver from AMD’s website. For some reason, the minimal download version isn’t properly set as an executable so W11 won’t be able to run it even though it’s the W11 download on the AMD site.

                Also, the wireless drivers aren’t automatically installed by Windows Update for an AMD board so you must use an ethernet cable initially. Once installed, go the motherboard manufacturer’s website (Gigabyte in my case) and grab them from the support page for your board.

                Next, you need to install the fan board drivers from the link above if you don’t plug the fans directly into the motherboard. This process is relatively painless, it just takes a while for all the components to install as it checks compatibility for each package. I highly recommend doing this step right after the initial Windows Update and before the video drivers are installed to help quiet things down.

                Finally, you need to repair the bootloader. Depending on the situation, this may require a live CD or USB device. In my case, I didn’t need one and could select Pop from the UEFI manually. Afterwards, you’ll probably want to set up a boot prompt so hold space while booting after the UEFI menu and then hit + for your decision time in seconds.

                I haven’t plugged up the speakers yet so I may need to also install the audio drivers from Gigabyte but we’ll see

                • This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by Bob Marley.
                #768
                DeVaultSetter
                Keymaster

                  Congrats!
                  Just curious, in the light of this rather old question, how customizable will the dual boot OS choice look after it has been tweaked to state of usability?
                  Interesting about the fans, if not through the motherboard, are they connected through a port or something else?
                  Yeah, forgot about the sound, so their motherboard doesn’t have a slot for a soundcard then?

                  #770
                  Bob Marley
                  Keymaster

                    systemd-boot doesn’t have any customization options, sadly. It just provides a list of bootable options. I’d love to have a graphical representation for the boot menu even if it’s just seen for a few seconds. I like a little eye candy!

                    Fixing it wasn’t really much of an issue in my case, likely due to installing Windows on a separate drive (couldn’t remove the drive as it mounts behind the video card so I would have had to remove that as well). All I needed to do was basically just reinstall the bootloader from Pop after manually booting back into Pop OS from the UEFI. Providing the exact steps may be helpful as the steps in the link weren’t all necessary. Will do so! 🙂

                    They use a separate daughter board to connect the fans and IO cables for neatness and to help make accessing everything easier. The power button is neat! It uses a pin connector similar to ancient game cartridges to allow you to open up the front and sides of the case without having to fiddle with things very much 🙂

                    It has both onboard sound and a couple of PCI slots that I could install a sound card into, I just haven’t gotten around to plugging the cables in yet even though it’ll take five minutes. 😛

                    • This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by Bob Marley.
                    #772
                    Bob Marley
                    Keymaster

                      To reinstall the bootloader in my situation, I just had to do the following steps:

                      apt install --reinstall linux-image-generic linux-headers-generic
                      update-initramfs -c -k all
                      sudo bootctl --path=/boot/efi install

                      And audio works! 🙂 Only two speakers work, though, as the onboard sound only has a single line out port compared to the old system. I’ll need to go through Logitech’s documentation again later to see if there’s a way to get the others working without dedicated ports for them.

                      #786
                      DeVaultSetter
                      Keymaster

                        Does the daughter board go in one of the PCI slots?
                        Two speakers are usually enough unless it’s a large room- sounds as if you are accustomed to the quad setup from the old system, they would be necessary for VR no doubt.

                        #788
                        Bob Marley
                        Keymaster

                          Nope. Not sure how it connects but I’ll see if I can find out!

                          Yeah, the change takes a bit of getting used to. Most VR headsets have their own speakers so the speaker configuration shouldn’t affect it 🙂

                          Spent yesterday testing things out. A couple of hours in No Man’s Sky and no issues at all. 🙂

                          Fans are a bit loud but that’s to be expected with it using 140mm and 120mm fans and I knew they’d be a bit noisy going in so it’s more of a note than anything.

                          #791
                          DeVaultSetter
                          Keymaster

                            Great!
                            Have you tried Virtual Desktop or Oculus Link on Windows yet? Like to know the difference to NMS.
                            Funny, the noise from the fans always seem loud to begin with, but like tinnitus, it eventually fades to white noise. As long as they don’t develop a nasty squeak, like the Mistral fan used downstairs here in summer. 😛

                            #797
                            Bob Marley
                            Keymaster

                              Not yet, still haven’t decided on a VR headset but now that things are set up and functioning I’ll begin the research in earnest! 🙂

                              Will probably be looking at Valve’s and HTC’s offerings as the Facebook requirement of an Oculus is a bit of a drawback

                              Yep, I’m sure I’ll get used to it. Just used to cases using a 200mm top fan, which are pretty quiet in comparison. 🙂

                              In the Winter, our club used to use a shop heater that had a big roar and kind of looked like a serpent. Loud but worked well! 😀

                              #837
                              DeVaultSetter
                              Keymaster

                                🙂 Can’t find any dragon heaters, but very interested in a humidifier:
                                Dragon humidifier
                                Do you run a browser through Linux/POP? What do you do for security/firewall – put stuff in the hosts file or something else like uBlock Origin?
                                Does the H/W logging in Linux provide any other benefits from Windows, are the logs catch-all and easy to analyse?
                                A UPS is important addition, sudden power offs will cause data corruption, just find one that can keep the system up for 10-15 minutes max.

                                #868
                                Bob Marley
                                Keymaster

                                  Beautiful!

                                  Currently using Firefox but I’ve got Chrome downloaded. I’ll probably get it installed soon as I greatly prefer it 🙂

                                  Bit funny about security so I’ll post it in our private thread 🙂

                                  I wouldn’t exactly say they’re easy to work with but they’re getting better! Having a log-viewer definitely helps as the CLI tools can be a bit cumbersome with looking at the logs

                                  Yeah, I really should get a UPS. Will add it to the list!

                                  The VR base stations do make a noticeable humming noise but I wouldn’t call it obnoxious or anything 🙂

                                  Definitely not a fan of the Pop Store. It has a limited view that, while sleek, doesn’t give you enough information. For instance, it doesn’t always tell you the last update to the package or if it’s a Flatpack or not. Not a fan of Flatpack installs as it adds some dependency issues that the regular package managers take care of so things aren’t as neat and tidy with Flatpack. May try out Synaptic. I like having both a GUI package manager and a CLI one for different use cases. I like to use the graphical one to find software, the CLI one to install to help me monitor things so that I can better take care of issues if they arise

                                  Eureka! Windows audio has been resolved! Okay, you need to install the audio drivers from Gigabyte as well. Windows doesn’t source them automatically and I wasn’t able to find them on the Realtek website. Connecting is a bit finicky: you need to remap the jacks in the Realtek Audio Console to speaker output jacks. It does mean you lose line in and mic jacks, though, and the Mira doesn’t have front jacks so with this configuration you’ll definitely need a sound card if you want analog line-in and mic-in. The other option is to go USB for the line-in and mic-in.

                                  • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Bob Marley.
                                  • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Bob Marley.
                                  #879
                                  DeVaultSetter
                                  Keymaster

                                    Fantastic!
                                    Wikipedia has a fiery talk page about FlatPak, do you think the article says it all? The Synaptic talk page is much more demure. 🙂
                                    If going the soundcard route, any ones of particular interest?

                                    #882
                                    Bob Marley
                                    Keymaster

                                      Will probably need to remap the audio jacks as well. No idea how to do that so some reading is required!

                                      Seems rather contentious! Just installed Synaptic here and it’ll definitely serve my purposes of searching out packages for install. 🙂

                                      I do have one in the closet from fifteen years ago. It’s an old X-Fi. I may dig it out and see if it still works at some point

                                      So after hooking up the VR headset and having it unplugged at bootup, the video card is getting confused about which video output to use even though the monitor is the only one hooked in to the card. Takes a minute or so for it to figure it out and then it works right. Rather minor problem but I may take a look in the UEFI and see if there’s a way to correct things in there but I suspect it’s something in the card’s firmware and would need to be fixed by a card revision

                                      Anything else I should consider doing? Been a long time since I had to set up a system 🙂

                                      • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Bob Marley.
                                      #889
                                      DeVaultSetter
                                      Keymaster

                                        Good luck with the X-Fi, dug up a four year old post with driver problems.
                                        Driver problems with VR known at AMD and Reddit. No issue without the VR headset then?
                                        As a matter of interest, tried more than one monitor yet? There’s a few issues with PrgLnch & W11, we’ll get to them. 🙂

                                        #891
                                        Bob Marley
                                        Keymaster

                                          Good to know! Mine is a Creative SoundBlaster brand, I believe. Not entirely sure of the exact model, though. I haven’t really messed with it since 2010. It used to belong to my dad… 😛

                                          Haven’t experienced issues with VR yet! There was another driver update released the other day, though, so I may install it. Since VR is a newish thing, it’s probably a good idea to stay on top of the driver updates 🙂

                                          It booted okay today so not really sure why it was taking a minute or two to sort out the line for a couple of days. /shrug

                                          Probably going to need to reach out on the Linux forums about the audio. A cursory look at the docs didn’t give me an idea on if the jacks can be remapped from input to output on Linux like they can on Windows.

                                          Haven’t tried hooking up another monitor yet. Want to try and get the kinks out of things before I do too much. 🙂

                                          Sounds good. Will be watching for the thread! 🙂

                                          #895
                                          Bob Marley
                                          Keymaster

                                            There’s a step missing in the article to repair the bootloader. In it, you reinstall the kernel but this resets the flags for the packages in the package manager so they’re no longer automatically cleaned up, causing the boot partition to fill up. I’ll reach out to support soon to see what the default settings should be so that I can correct it. 🙂

                                            Eventually, I’ll probably look at seeing if I can help update the steps on their end to include all this information since the docs are open source:)

                                            • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Bob Marley.
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