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fanatic

My Linux Gaming Machine

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Well, since this forum doesn't get a lot of new topics, I figured I'd give it some content by outlining my quest to build a machine specificially for gaming. The catch is that the operating system is Debian.

Todo

====

Install Debian 3.0r1

Get Graphics Drivers

Get Sound Drivers

Get network (Samba) working with Winblows machines

Install TV Adapter

Install Games

Tweak Games

Problems already encountered

====================

Debian installation taking too long, next time I install the bare essentials and apt-get.

Graphics card is outdated, Voodoo 3 3500. No drivers released since '99.

Sound card is super-outdated, SoundBlaster 16. However, is well supported.

TV Adapter, Voodoo 3500 needs drivers.

Possible Solutions

============

Buy new hardware - no.

Install a secondary PCI graphics card - possibly.

Progress

======

Currently installing Debian from net install.

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I'm taking feend's suggestion and starting over from the base. Everything in here is so old, I'll want the latest packages.

Phew! It's easier the second time. Lets see, I need to recompile the kernel for v4l and i2c support.

Edited by fanatic
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In the words of dual: AWwwwww Yeahh...

KDE 3.1.3. After taking dozens of hours to get it working (with long breaks), it looks beautiful. Mmmmm.

Kernel recompilation time!

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Yeah one of the biggest drawbacks (depending on how you look at it) with debian is the fact that it supports so many different architectures. For this reason big packages like GNOME, KDE, XFree86, etc. can be held back for awhile. Of course the chances are really good that you'll find an alternate repository but it can break compatibility if you're not careful.

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question: are you doing this to optimize game performance? if so then how much faster than a regular install do you think it can get?

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Well, to answer your question, I want it to look pretty and have the latest stuff too. I love having the latest things, even if it may slow down performance. =)

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If you're trying to make an uber-fast gaming machine, I'd recommend using Gentoo. It gives you full control over your system and will squeeze every last bit of juice out of your hardware. Setup can be a bitch though (*shakes fist at X and 24 hour KDE compile time*).

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are you going to play native linux games or use (shudder) wine? :blink:

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Well it's been a while, and the computer is still running great. (Debian is my distro of choice, atm) As far as native vs. wine, I'd like to run both. However, I had trouble getting winex to work, so I basically gave up on non-native games. Not to mention the video card in it is a voodoo 3500 which is very poorly supported.. and it sucks (16mb).

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Hmmm

Here is what I would probably be running in your scenario..

Default rh9 install Avoid server crap just the workstation needs.

Update your OpenGL with the 3DFX drivers.. since you have the voodoo

get latest PLIB :)

show the love with the latest stable X.. 4 something.

Latest stable Mesa

Step one release lower than the default gcc

In 2.6 kernel I noticed soundblaster is supported.. probably supported in a rebuild of 2.4 if you dont wish to go with 2.6.. yet I have no problems outside my usb issue which im almost fixed with.

make your wm to fluxbox latest... You dont need all that fancy bs with gnome or kde since that graphic crap takes up your memory which for the purpose of gaming performance we want the machine to breath performance.

Extras:

Speed up your kernel-

Remove all drivers that do NOT pertain to your system. example being video drivers that are not needed by your system. Krnls often come with general configs. Remove everything but the voodoo and graphic support drivers for your video..

Another hint is if you have to have it in your kernel for your system to work.. then build it in.. otherwise modulate it or dont have it at all. Really take some time to look at it.. you can shrink your kernel by quite a bit if you do so.

Also:

Dont install any services for the box since you wont be using them. services take up small memory that you would rather devote to your frag enjoyment. No you dont even need sshd on there. No ftpd or httpd. You really shoudnt even need lpd. :) I also killed the RHN stuff forever cause it sits there waiting for updates and whatnot. Its a waste to have on for your purpose.

Game installs.

If the game has configuration options make sure you read them. If you can configure it specificly for your graphics card setup or your system setup.. then set those options. Sometimes this can add improved performance.

Also there is something called DRI you may want to read up on. Im not too familiar with it but it might be a good read.

Hope that gives you a idea of where to head in both the performance arena as well as a guideline.

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