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Need a list of supported hardware

Posted on 2000-03-07
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I'm going shopping for all the pieces to put my Linux box together tomorrow. I haven't quite made up my mind yet but I think I'll either be going with Red Hat or Corel Linux distributions.

Can anyone point me to lists of supported hardware since I'll be buying each piece by itself and assembling the whole system. (I spent 30 minutes on Corel's site and couldn't find a list or much information at all!).

More importantly I hear that the distribution itself doesn't really matter. It's the kernel and available drivers. So I guess what I would love to have is a list of hardware for which there is a driver.

I'd like to take that list with me when I go shopping for parts tomorrow.
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Question by:totsubo
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by:jlevie
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For Red Hat, the Hardware Compatability List (HCL is http://www.redhat.com/support/hardware/intel/61/rh6.1-hcl-i.ld.html). For Corel (and yeah it's hard to find) the HCL is at http://linux.corel.com/products/linux_os/hardware.htm
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by:totsubo
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jlevie:

How does hardware compatibility relate to the distribution I choose? Am I right in thinking it doesn't matter about the distribution (i.e. if two distributions have the same kernel then they both support exactly the same hardware)??

totsubo
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jlevie earned 100 total points
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Distributions based on the same kernel tree do support the same hardware. Your question specifically referenced RedHat and Corel, and they don't support the same hardware because they use two different kernel trees. RedHat uses the Linux kernel and Corel uses the Debian kernel.

As far as the kernel, yes the same kernel and version will support the same hardware. However that's not the full story. Most of the hardware support is provided by loadable modules and different distributions will have a different module set included. It also matters what X server package is included. If it's Xfree86, that's one list. If the distro includes another X server package there'll be additional cards supported.
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by:totsubo
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Thanks. How do the Debian and RH kernels differ? I thought if they both have say a 2.2.20 kernel, then technically they are identical.
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by:jlevie
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Well that's not easy to answer. RedHat is based on the Linux kernel which tends to change more rapidly and be more "cutting-edge". Debian changes less often and tends to be a bit more conservative. You can read about them for yourself at www.kernel.org and www.debian.org.
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by:orz012999
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I didn't buy hardware that would be happy with Linux, and it was such a pain.  Here is what would be good along the lines of hardware that I would recommend.

Video:  Voodoo3 3000 or Matrox G400($$)  (you can play Quake3arena, Tux, unreal tournment.  It is a little pricey, but well worth the investment. If you want to plug in a VCR or something to your card, check out here:
(http://www.mathematik.uni-kl.de/~wenk/kwintv/how.html) and check out the bottom right section of the page (in the green area) which will tell you what works well with the Video4Linux drivers.

Sound:  Yamaha OPL-SA2( or SA3) based card or a Turtle Beach Pinnacle.  Both work excellent, so you don't have to mess with ALSA(program for those with  cheapo(windoze)sound cards).

Harddrive:  This shouldn't matter but I do have a Maxtor, which works awesome.  Quiet and never a problem.

Modem: Since I have a Rockwell modem (win-modem) I might as well throw it away because it doesn't work AT ALL in Linux, and probably never will.  Since I am not to familiar with modems, check out here: ( http://www.o2.net/~gromitkc/20000308a.html ), they have almost ALL of the info about modems.  Also, if you want more info, check out ( http://linmodems.org/ ) they have tons of info.

CDROMs and Floppy drives aren't a big concern with compatability.  It depends only if you get SCSI or IDE.  I recommend IDE.

:-)

~Jonathan
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by:orz012999
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On video for that last part, I meant to say was on the "left" part of the page, in the green area, not on the left.

Tell me how it all turns out.

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by:totsubo
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I think I've decided on the PC I will get. Here's what it would have. If any of it might cause me a problem please let me know ...

CPU:     500MHz Celeron
Memory:  128 SDRAM (PC 100/CL=2)
MB:      Intel 440BX chip set ATX
HDD:     ATA66 10GB HDD
CD-ROM:  44X ATAPI CD-ROM
Video:   Matrox MGA-G200 8Mb AGP
Monitor: 17" Daytek 1571-DT ( i think)
Sound:   not decided yet


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by:jlevie
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ATA-66 can be a bit of a problem with the current kernels, none of which are currently distributed with an ATA-66 driver as far as I know. It would cost a few points, but ATA-66 drivers were the subject of a fairly recent question that's been answered, so you might want to do a site search.

The G200 is fine, if you can find one. I thought they'd been discontinued a few months back, but I could be wrong.

If you stay with a major player (Creative, Yamaha, etc) you should be okay and the system will certainly run fine even if sound isn't working.

You don't list a modem and may not need one, but if you do I highly recommend an external modem w/RS232 serial interface. With that type of modem you're certain not to get one of the useless "winmodems" that for the most part won't work and probably will never work with Linux.

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by:totsubo
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I was wondering about ATA-66. I heard it was a problem too but a friend assured me it wasn't. I'll look for a PAQ like you suggested, unless someone can tell me more info (I'll gladly give points for it).

For the sound card I actually have a Yamaha YMF724 PCI soundcard but I hear it's not supported by Linux.

For a modem I have an external ISDN terminal adapter. I don't know if I'll be able to get it working but I'll give it a shot before buying a new modem.

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by:jlevie
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The problem with ATA-66 is that it's just too new for Linux to have the necessary drivers. There are efforts underway to produce the drivers and there's at least one out there, so I guess it depends on how close to the "bleeding edge" you are willing to run.

Personally I'd probably be a bit more conservative and forgo the ATA-66 for now, especially if this is your first Linux system. Any decent EIDE drive would work for now and when the ATA-66 support is more wide spread you could upgrade the disk.

I think the Yamaha can be made to work with either the Alsa or OSS drivers. And quite frankly either are better than what comes with RedHat (I don't know about Corel).

What ISDN adapter do you have? I didn't have any problem getting a Motorola BitSurfer to work.

Not meaning to muddy the waters, but have you considered an AMD cpu in one of the good quality motherboards (Soyo, Tyan)? Compared to a Celeron the performance is pretty awesome and the price is very reasonable.
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by:totsubo
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HI again jlevie!

Here's my problem. I live in Tokyo and don't speak japanese. So I have a hard time finding a place that will sell me the necessary parts. I can't just hop on the phone and ask what a particular store has and the price.

I found the above system for a *really* good price (Above system including win98 kbd, mouse, no monitor will run me about $850). The dealer doesn't support Linux but I was hoping that hardware was reasonable enough that Linux should run on it. That's why I am asking your advice before buying it.

As for chips, I would have prefered a PII or low end PIII but they are rare here. And anyway the dealer doesn't want to change the chip on the system. Plus with the MB I am getting I can easily upgrade to a PIII in the future but going with an AMD chip/board would make it a bit harder to upgrade to a PIII no?

I found on the RH site that the Yamaha card my system comes with is not supported.

As for modems, since I live in Japan I think the ISDN specs are a bit different from the US. My TA is an external OMRON adapter.
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by:jlevie
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Yeah, being in Japan would make it more difficult to pick-and-choose. With the exception of problems with the ATA-66 drive, the rest looks okay. It ought to be possible to pick up some other lower performance disk pretty reasonably (and you could just keep the ATA-66 for when the drivers are readily available). The MB you've found is probably the best choice given the circumstances.

External ISDN adapters generally look like modems to the system. It's just a matter of working out what init sequence you need to send to get them to work.
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by:totsubo
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I just finished surfing the web and seem to have found some lists saying that the newer 2.2 kernels support ATA-66. Is this true?

As for the TA I think you are right. But seeing as my documetation is in Japanese I wonder how i'll find the initialization string. Is there an easy way to find it on win95/98 (since I am using it it fine on that system).
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by:jlevie
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Did the references mention which 2.2 kernel (2.2.14?)? I'm pretty certain that 2.2.12 doesn't, per this statement from RedHat's site:

Most IDE Controllers operating at UDMA/66 are unsupported with the current Linux Kernel. UDMA/66 drivers are in the development tree of the Kernel but support for these experimental drivers is not included with Red Hat Linux 6.1

I have heard of folks using the developmental kernel (2.3.x) successfuly. But in your case that becomes a chicken-and-the-egg problem. You need to compile the new kernel and for that you need a running system and for that you need a working disk drive.

As for the TA, you might be able to get the info out of win95, although I'm not sure where it is (and don't have any windows OS's anymore except one copy running under VMware (www.vmware.com) on my laptop). The vendor may have a web site that has more info if you can find it (it's not www.omron.com, I checked).
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by:totsubo
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Going with jlevie
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