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Suggestions for Small Form Factor Linux build

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Pabbi77

Member
Nov 12, 2018
13
0
Charlottesville, VA
I want to move from my old Windows 7-64 Pro ( still going strong ) to a Linux build using a Small Form Factor case and motherboard. I built my own PC's for a number of years but the Win 7 was the last build with 7 first came out. I am woefully out of step with the modern hardware so I would appreciate some guidance in selecting components.

I retire next year and want to retire my Win 7 with me. :) Start my retirement with Linux.

Thanks to all!
 

strongst

Senior Moderator / Developer Committee
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I want to move from my old Windows 7-64 Pro ( still going strong ) to a Linux build using a Small Form Factor case and motherboard. I built my own PC's for a number of years but the Win 7 was the last build with 7 first came out. I am woefully out of step with the modern hardware so I would appreciate some guidance in selecting components.

I retire next year and want to retire my Win 7 with me. :) Start my retirement with Linux.

Thanks to all!
For really small Form factor Linux PC's you can use a raspberry Pi.
Otherwise ITX form factors are really small for PC components. But this depends on your requirements(number of space you need).
Otherwise you can run Linux on everything nowadays 🙂
 

Pabbi77

Member
Nov 12, 2018
13
0
Charlottesville, VA
Thank you....I think the Pi will be too small for me, I am more comfortable with the ITX size. My company uses some Dell Optiplex 7060 ( I think 7060 ) and I like the size on my work desk. Would want to keep that size at the house with multiple USB connectors.

I did not know Linux would run on any motherboard, I had been told that some boards were not possible, which frankly boggled my mind. I played with Minix years ago when it came out ( prior to Linux ) and then later Linux. I moved away from Linux at that time as it was not ready for prime time and we where too entrenched in MS.
 
I want to move from my old Windows 7-64 Pro ( still going strong ) to a Linux build using a Small Form Factor case and motherboard. I built my own PC's for a number of years but the Win 7 was the last build with 7 first came out. I am woefully out of step with the modern hardware so I would appreciate some guidance in selecting components.

I retire next year and want to retire my Win 7 with me. :) Start my retirement with Linux.

Thanks to all!
What are you planning on using the build for ? I ask this because I tried to build a mini workstation and ran into serious issues. You can run Linux on just about anything, but what you want to be able to do with that Linux installation will determine hardware requirements. From a performance standpoint the smaller you go the less power you have available. Cooling can be tricky also with sff builds. If the Optiplex is sff like one I have it's roughly 12x12x4. You can pack decent performance into one that size but it takes careful planning. HTPC is the form factor to get close to that size and mITX desktops are about twice as thick. For ease of building in, there are also micro-ATX mini towers that aren't huge and mATX can be a lot cheaper. Here's a couple places to look at sff:
SFF.Network
r/sffpc
 

Pabbi77

Member
Nov 12, 2018
13
0
Charlottesville, VA
What are you planning on using the build for ? I ask this because I tried to build a mini workstation and ran into serious issues. You can run Linux on just about anything, but what you want to be able to do with that Linux installation will determine hardware requirements. From a performance standpoint the smaller you go the less power you have available. Cooling can be tricky also with sff builds. If the Optiplex is sff like one I have it's roughly 12x12x4. You can pack decent performance into one that size but it takes careful planning. HTPC is the form factor to get close to that size and mITX desktops are about twice as thick. For ease of building in, there are also micro-ATX mini towers that aren't huge and mATX can be a lot cheaper. Here's a couple places to look at sff:
SFF.Network
r/sffpc

Appreciate the reply. Use will be home use only, printer, internet, GIMP, etc., nothing treasonous at all. I may at a later date move it to a 3D printer but that is further down the road.

The cooling and such is a concern for me to be honest. The Optiplex ~12x12x4 units we have at work run 24-7 and have been perfect ( other than Windows 10 ) and are the reason I have entertained going to a smaller form factor. I appreciate the links and will take a look at those.

thanks!
 
Coolermaster Q500L , spec are mostly in photos, b460m pro vdh wifi mobo
 

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Crysis2

Senior Member
Dec 24, 2012
276
49
tehran
Hi
Since you mentioned that you know your way around i'll go directly into tech detail.
I recon using mini-DTX instead mini-ITX (reason? well with it's being a little bit bigger yet almost very small you get NVMe m2 slot plus more expansion)
Well for mainboard i recommend "ROG Crosshair VIII Impact" it's AM4 which means Ryzen 2 and 3 sreies.(might be able use 5 series)
Also 2 DIMM means 64 GB of RAM and M.2 ports. And i guess 15 total USB's thart are accusable with this board are enough for your need. Also some nice to have like wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 are available.
Sadly unlike intel CPU there is no on board GPU aka iGPU with AMD CPU (unless you go for G series which have APUs) might present some headache in linux you know GPU drivers are a little bit troublesome in linux world. (personally using NVIDIA Titan X on desktop and 1660Ti Max-P on laptop without problem).
For other part you really don't need to think twice almost all resent HW (from 2012 and newer) should work easily with Linux.
Here is brief info of mentioned mainboard.

1628170299727.png


hope I've been a little bit help!
 

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    Coolermaster Q500L , spec are mostly in photos, b460m pro vdh wifi mobo