The humble developer rig (2015)

3 minute read Published: 2015-03-24

Seven years have passed since I built my last desktop PC and it's showing it's age. I've been surviving on a 32-bit CPU and 2GB ram for long enough - it's time for an upgrade!

The humble developer rig is a balance between form and function, price and power. It doesn't need to be the absolute best, but it does need to shine if it's going to be compiling code for at least the next 7 years.

Case

NZXT H440

€112.80

CPU

Intel Core i7-5820K 6-Core 3.3GHz

€400.80

CPU Cooling

NZXT Kraken X61 Liquid Cooling

€132.80

Graphics Card

EVGA 02G-P4-2966-KR GeForce GTX 960

€239.80

Memory

Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB DDR4-2400mhz

€209.80

Monitor

Dell UltraSharp 34 Curved 21:9 Monitor (U3415W)

€741.45

Motherboard

Asus X99-DELUXE

€359.20

Power Supply

Corsair RM550

€108.90

Storage

120GB OCZ Agility 3 SDD

re-used

500GB Western Digital Velociraptor HDD

re-used

Total

€2305.55

The storage drives are the only components being reused from the previous build. They will eventually be replaced with two 500GB Samsung 850 Evo's. I'm holding off until it's absolutely necessary so I can get more for my money.

The display is amazing for productivity. I wrote more about this in Large display paradox resolved. In short: I highly recommend a 21:9 aspect ratio monitor, especially for Mouseless programming.

Linux Support

Below is a table of the usual suspects when it comes to hardware support in Linux.

Device

Chipset

Supported

Driver

Audio

Realtek ALC1150

__

Bluetooth

Broadcom BCM4360

__

wl

Graphics

nVidia GTX960

__

346.47

LAN

Intel I211

__

igb

Intel I218-V

__

igb

WLAN

Broadcom BCM4360

__

wl

The open source nouveau drivers work but could only manage 800x600 out-of-the- box. I found the following error in dmesg:


    nouveau E[  DEVICE][0000:01:00.0] unknown chipset, 0x126010a1
    nouveau E[     DRM] failed to create 0x80000080, -22

Perhaps it will work in a future release. For now, the proprietary nVidia driver provides the full 3440x1440, which I downloaded from the nVidia website because the debian repository only has version 340.65.

Sadly, I've been unable to get sound through the monitor speakers via the display port. I can get sound using headphones, but the speakers are silent. The nVidia output ports in pavucontrol are all marked as unplugged, so I suspect it's a driver issue. I've emailed nVidia for support.

Conclusion

The build is super-quick, compiling the 3.18-rc6 linux kernel using the Phoronix Test Suite in 77.21 seconds. And that's without overclocking. But numbers are half the story. It looks great, and is a joy to develop on, which is what I spend most of my time doing.