Which distro for a high spec desktop pc?

Hi everyone, just registered as a new user. I’m a Linux newbie and I’ve come here to ask some questions which I can’t really find the answers to on the net, or at least what I have found has been vague. Ok, as the subject says, does anyone know or can suggest a distro that would compliment or run well on a high spec home desktop machine I have just built?
I had planned to install Win 7 on it as my old pc running XP will be abandoned in April next year by Microslop so I also realise my question might raise some eyebrows seeing as Linux distros seem primarily aimed at keeping older pcs alive but I’m getting cheesed off with Microslop messing their customers around and I think it’s time to jump ship and get control of my pc back to make it do what I want it to do. My use of the pc is general, play the odd game, rip a cd or two to ogg to play back on my media player in my car, edit the odd wav file that I’ve captured from an old lp record through the soundcard, etc etc.

The spec of my new machine is as follows:

Intel i5 4670K cpu
Asus Z87 Pro LGA1150 mobo
8Gb Vengeance Pro Black DDR3 2133MHz CL9 RAM
256GB Plextor M5 Pro Extreme SSD
Asus GeForce GTX 660Ti DirectCU II graphics card
Soundblaster X-Fi Titanium HD soundcard
LG GH24NS95 cd/dvd writer
It’s a given that I need internet access obviously and I would use the onboard network controller on the mobo (wired ethernet connection, not wifi).

I appreciate it’s getting very close to Xmas and people may be busy but any and all suggestions, hints and tips will be gratefully received.

Hi Eldon

Welcome to the forum

I wouldn’t say linux is primarily aimed at low spec PC’s although there are many distros that are, but there are also feature filled heavyweights such as Ubuntu & Mint, Mint would be my choice out of these 2 but you can still use a more lightweight distro like Peppermint (that would fly on your PC) and add the features you want,

One of the real advantages of Linux is that it’s configurability is endless, in a way Windows can never be,also you can try any Linux distro in a live session so you could try various distros without making any changes to your PC before committing yourself to install anything

Anyway good luck whatever you choose, and if you need any further help you’ll find a lot of helpful, friendly people here only too willing to give you a hand

Graeme

I would agree with Graeme, above, that Linux is not primarily aimed at keeping older PC’s alive - it is, however, customisable to such an extent that this is something it is exceptionally good at.

My own PC’s are old(ish), and I run Ubuntu 10.04 for this reason, but also becuase I like Gnome, and everything else I need is reasonably easy to achieve. But I have a son in law also running 10.04 on a nearly new Toshiba laptop, as he got utterly hacked off with W8.

The main reason I went to linux a number of years ago, was that it got us off the windoze gravy train, and away from the utter garbage that Micro$oft claim is an operating system.

The main thing about Linux is the way it can be customised, and really, only you can decide which distro you want… some people love the Unity desktop, some don’t … I ran open solaris for many years,and loved it, but then…

After you have checked the Hardware Compatibility lists for any known issues with your hardware, and availability of appropriate drivers, then try a few distro’s… it is not like it will cost you anything, other than some time, and you will learn something new with each one you try…

The hardware spec you have listed appears quite high, and I would guess you would have little problem running any distro… However, you might have to research the gaming side of it a bit, as I, for one know nothing about this, I have never played a computer game in my life! (old age,probably!)

ATB

Sim

As the choice of distros will not be limited by your machine, I would suggest to read up about other factors like:
How often you want to update your system, some distros (like Ubuntu or Mint) run on short release cycles but you need to reinstall in say every 6 months, although they may also offer LTS (Long Term Support) with updates for five years.
Others might offer semi rolling releases (like SolydXK or Mint LMDE) with update packs ranging from one to three months, but you only install it once.
Some of the others (like Arch) are full rolling releases, where updates come on a daily basis. But beware that bleeding edge would mean more maintenance.
Please bear in mind that in Linux you update the whole system, includin the OS and all installed applications.

Thanks guys for your replies, you’ve all given me food for thought. Ok, now that my hardware specs seem to be ok, my next question is what would be a good distro in your experience that would offer long term support because I want to try and get away from the endless windoze updates that always seem to be plugging some gaping hole somewhere in the OS? I realise you’ve all said that it’s just a matter of trying a distro until I find one I like but I read somewhere that there are over 24 THOUSAND various distros(!)
Also, I’ve heard reports that there could be problems with the bios on the motherboard being a UEFI - is that a factor you could advise me on?

I’m gonna step out of the norm here, and suggest openSUSE (with the Evergreen repo, for long support). It’s the “flagship” KDE distro, and has a liveCD for you to have a play without having to install anything (ok, all the major distros do!). Anyway, it’s supported for a little while, and even when the new version comes out, you can upgrade it by burning a new DVD from their website (NOT all major distros allow this). OpenSUSE is very geared towards new users, with the awesome Yast Control Centre (a brilliant config tool), and nice package manager (a package manager is like an app store, where you get ALL your software from on Linux, no more downloading from websites!)

If you can hold out until May, I’d suggest Mint 17 Cinnamon or KDE, as that’ll be supported for 5 years. Plus Mint is awesome :slight_smile:
It’s based on Ubuntu, so if you find that Ubuntu/Unity floats your boat more, check out 14.04 LTS when it comes out :slight_smile:

Peppermint 4

I’ll be that surprised everyone :slight_smile:

UEFI in and of itself shouldn’t be a problem (if necessary just select “legacy BIOS mode”) … secureboot may be, but if you’ve not got Win8 pre-installed and are planning a dual boot setup, just disable it :slight_smile:

@ chemicalfan

KDE … Pffft!!! :wink:

@MarkGreaves

Nowt wrong with KDE. :slight_smile:

Peppermint is fine regardless of having a high end unit. Just add what you want and it will be super slick! Still not totally in love with the stock file manager though.

Thanks guys for more valuable insight.

@ Sim - I don’t do any hard core gaming, just the odd racing sim to pass the time and that’s it, nothing heavy and definitely NO shoot-em-ups online. I also am of a ‘certain’ age but it’s nice to go mad on a racing track once in awhile!

Oh dear, have I stumbled upon two distinct rivalries at work here? Namely between KDE and GNOME? (Yes, I’ve been doing some more research). So what’s the score then between KDE and GNOME? Anything I need to be particularly wary or aware of, as a newbie? Is one better than the other? How? In what way? Is one more, shall we say, ‘teccy’ than the other, where it can be customised to the nth degree and the other just does everything for you ‘out of the box’ so to speak?

You see, this is the sort of thing that frustrates and annoys us newbies because unlike windoze, where admittedly you are spoon fed everything and its apps tend to just work with little or no fuss, I’m coming to the rapid conclusion that there a ‘million and one’ variations of the same thing within the Linux world - i.e. several versions of, for example, an mp3 player that will only run on some distros and not on others (unless I’ve got hold of the wrong end of the stick there - I’m sure I will be corrected if that isn’t the case).

It just seems that there is such a bewildering array of combinations of OS types, distribution categories, country of origin, desktop interface, architecture and so on, that this vagueness starts creeping in again as to what is an ideal distro to pick, as I alluded to in my very first post, when I initially went searching on the net for answers before joining this forum. I’m not ranting (far from it) but I’m sure (I hope) that you can all see my apparent frustration in trying to move forward and make an informed choice. It’s almost as if there is too MUCH choice and ‘everyone’ is tweaking Linux to produce a distro that appears to be only useful to THEM. I mean, I’ve been looking at Distrowatch and on the right hand side of the homepage is a chart of distros and their ranking - and there’s a HUNDRED of them! What the heck? Really? So you see my need of some good solid advice and direction from experts like your good selves to wean me off windoze.

If what I need to know has already been offered to me in previous posts, then I must learn to stand back and look at the bigger picture I guess? If not, then I’m hungry for more. ;D

It just seems that there is such a bewildering array of combinations of OS types, distribution categories, country of origin, desktop interface, architecture and so on, that this vagueness starts creeping in again as to what is an ideal distro to pick, as I alluded to in my very first post, when I initially went searching on the net for answers before joining this forum. I'm not ranting (far from it) but I'm sure (I hope) that you can all see my apparent frustration in trying to move forward and make an informed choice. It's almost as if there is too MUCH choice and 'everyone' is tweaking Linux to produce a distro that appears to be only useful to THEM. I mean, I've been looking at Distrowatch and on the right hand side of the homepage is a chart of distros and their ranking - and there's a HUNDRED of them! What the heck? Really? So you see my need of some good solid advice and direction from experts like your good selves to wean me off windoze.

Moving from Windows to Linux is a bit like deposing a tyrannical dictator in favour of democracy, there is no perfect political system but at least with democracy we have a choice and we can choose our leaders and make them accountable,

For those who have lived all their lives under a tyrannical dictatorship the shift to a democratic system must be daunting , all that choice, freedom can be frightening for those who have never tasted it before, but once they do most would never go back, sadly some would still rather live their lives under a dictatorship that way they don’t have to make any choices or think for themselves, it’s all done for them, everything will be fine so long as they pay their taxes and keep their mouth shut

Linux is about freedom and with freedom comes choice, which is why there is so much choice

So if you are one of those people who would rather live under a dictatorship and not have to make choices or think for yourself then stick with Windows or buy a Mac and pay your taxes or grasp the freedom Linux offers and make your computer your own and rid yourself of the money grabbing tyrannical single party states of Microsoft & Apple

Graeme

Many Windows programs will run in Linux systems using a program called Wine. http://www.winehq.org/ it would be a good plan to check out what it has to say about any games you play.

I run a number of windows games using Wine so check it out.

I also use mint 13 Maya (I use the 64 bit Mate version) which is a LTS release supported until April 2017

@ Emegra

A bit off the wall there but thanks for your philosophical take on on the situation between windoze and linux - very alternative(!) But to suggest I have been a ‘slave’ these past 20-odd years is probably pushing it a bit? :o Not a linux evangelist are you, in your spare time by any chance? :wink:

A bit off the wall there

Yeah reading back it probably was but it’s what I believe

But to suggest I have been a 'slave' these past 20-odd years is probably pushing it a bit

I don’t think I said that

Not a linux evangelist are you, in your spare time by any chance?

I don’t really know maybe I am but I know what I believe in :slight_smile:

So have you settled on a distro or is the jury still out ?

I really like that Emegra! Coming from Windows to Linux is like getting democracy, and liberation, and freedom! It must be daunting to Windows converts. That said, it’s just a bigger scale of the “browser wars” - instead of choosing your own browser, you choose your whole flavour of operating system! Flavour is a good word, as distros are a bit like crisps for the average person. You don’t mind most of them, some you won’t touch with a barge pole, and one or two will be your go-to favourites.

I’d say to the Windows converts - don’t be afraid of choice. One of the great things about Linux, is that it’s free, costs nothing, £0.00. Therefore, if you try and don’t like a distro, ditch it and move to the next, and it’s cost you nothing but time. Couple that, with the concept of a Live CD/DVD, where you can fully “test drive” a distro without installing it at all, and finding your distro is a piece of cake (bear in mind though, that the performance of Live environments SUCKS!).

In relation to KDE vs. Gnome (vs. Xfce vs. LXDE vs…), I’d say try them out, it won’t cost you anything but time. Each distro has it’s own purpose & reason for existance, and you can get this by reading a review of it (Distrowatch is AMAZING! imo). KDE is openSUSE’s forte, Unity is Ubuntu’s baby, Cinnamon is Mint’s baby, Peppermint isn’t bad for LXDE :wink:

Anyway, just have a play :slight_smile:

OK, the lowdown.

Most people (and I agree) would advise an Ubuntu based distro, simply because as a beginner you’ll find more online help/docs/tutorials/walkthroughs/etc … and then there’s the plethora od PPA’s for adding software that isn’t in the default repositories (this can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it, but certainly makes life easier whilst you get to grips with Linux).

OK, Desktop environments … there are quite a few but the main ones are Ubuntu’s own “Unity”, Gnome3, Mint’s Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, and LXDE … oh yeah, and that horrible KDE4 monstrosity :slight_smile:
(only kiddin KDE4 is supposed to have improved greatly since I last tried it, but I was put off it a while back and just plain don’t like it … but that’s just an opinion… you’ll get a lot of those)

All are fully featured desktop environments but … Xfce and LXDE may be lacking some (IMHO unnecessary) bells and whistles of the others, but are faster/lighter for it.

Desktop environment is a personal choice and realy is just sitting on top of the core OS … so is just your window to it … what I mean is Ubuntu has Unity, Kubuntu has KDE, Lubuntu has LXDE, etc … but they’re all still Ubuntu under the hood.

Most common paths into Linux tend to be
Ubuntu
or
Linux Mint
both of which will serve you well, and as Mint is Ubuntu based, any Ubuntu help will tranfer well to mint too

I’m personally a fan of LXDE which is light and fast … I’m also not a big fan of a distribution that makes software decisions for you and pre-installs a ton of stuff.
Which is why I like Peppermint (for clarity, I’m now a Peppermint team member … so you can choose to take what I say with a pinch of salt, but I don’t push Peppermint for any reason other than I like and trust it).
Peppermint uses the LXDE desktop environment which is very light/fast … and through the default use of web apps rather than pre-installed local apps you get a fully funtioning system without any weight, and you don’t have to waste time ripping out the authors software choices.

That’s NOT to say you can’t install applications locally in Peppermint … you CAN, and being Ubuntu based it has access to all the software Ubuntu does, and all easily installed with a few mouse clicks … it just doesn’t make those decisions for you so thought it’s fully functional out of the box, it’s also more “build it the way you like it” if you get my meaning.

In short … my advice would be Mint, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Gnome, or Peppermint … but then don’t listen to me, spin up a few LiveUSB’s and test drive them for yourself before deciding.
Be aware, they’ll be MUCH slower from a LiveUSB than when installed to the hard drive … so don’t draw any conclusions about speed … in particular, Peppermints speed advantage won’t shine running from a LiveUSB … but at least you’ll get to see what to expect.

“isn’t bad” … I can find you, you know :wink:

Peppermint is LXDE done properly … a kinda cherry picking of the best bits of the lightweight Xfce and LXDE environments :slight_smile:
(prettier that standard LXDE and with a compositor for transparency, dropshadows, and window snapping … but still lighter than the full Xfce)

Is KDE available in the Peppermint repos?
:stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

It is … there’s nothing stopping you having a KDE session (plasma desktop or plasma netbook), though quite why you’d want to mess/clog up Peppermint in that way is beyond me :o

You may want to have a look at this.
http://dctutors.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/how-to-install-kde-412-on-ubuntu.html?m=1

Or if you’re actually sane … not :wink:

[EDIT]

Not to mention, Keppermint sounds stupid ;D

Though conversely, Leppermint sounds even worse :o