New Desktop 2016

After many years of having an everyday laptop with a headless server, I decided I wanted an everyday desktop computer at home. The parts are on order. By my birthday I hope to have the new system up and running.

My main reason for this choice is my changing eyesight: A 15" 1920x1080 laptop screen is getting too fine for my eyes (that's 141DPI). So I selected a 27", 2560x1440 monitor (that's 108DPI, even though it will have 78% more pixels than my laptop).

But it is also a good time to get a faster build system, and also something that will bring graphics up to date for games from Steam and GOG (on Linux, of course!)

I settled on a refreshed Haswell-based system, because Skylake seems too new to have good support in Debian Stable, and many of the motherboards are simply awful according to reviews. The details are here. As per my usual plans, I'll run things at stock speed even though many of the items are sold as overclockable.

The main item I'm sad about is TSX, the Transactional Memory Extension. As far as I know, this remains disabled in refreshed Haswell, because Intel's first implementation was buggy. Oops! But probably not much software will benefit from TSX at least for a few years.

(Not noted are some of the minor parts I'll salvage from the debris piles in the basement, like case, keyboard and mouse)

Update, 2016-04-16: The new system runs like a champ. The main compatibility note is that I am using the nvidia closed-source driver from jessie-backports. Power draw while idle is about 40W. Building software (hostmot2-firmware) on all cores is 140W. Game playing (Bioshock Infinite) seems to peak at about 220W. Software suspend works, but bootup and shutdown are both quite quick too.

Update, 2016-05-11: I had persistent problems with monitor power saving. I found some indications that this is a known bug in the proprietary nvidia drivers, except that they claimed the problem was solved in the version I am running (352.79-1~bpo8+1). In my case, I cured the problem by switching from displayport to DVI-to-HDMI, and "xset dpms 300 0 0" to enable only "standby" power saving, not "suspend" or "off". The symptom was, the monitor backlight would initially go off, but after a short time it would come back on again with a black screen. Typical nvidia bug report thread: https://devtalk.nvidia.com/default/topic/791786/linux/dpms-not-working-on-gtx980-with-displayport-connection/

Entry first conceived on 19 March 2016, 23:35 UTC, last modified on 12 May 2016, 1:58 UTC
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