In college I built a desktop with Mike Specter and Matt Neville. It has lasted nearly 8 years without any major issues. I have only upgraded the hard drive and then only for a larger HDD. It is still fairly responsive and usable, although it struggles with higher quality video and resource intensive websites.

Component Model Purchase date
Motherboard ASUS P5Q-E LGA 775 Intel P45 10/14/08
Memory OCZ 2x1GB DDR2 1100 10/23/08
CPU Intel Cre 2 Duo E7300 2.66 GHz 11/09/08
HDD Seagate Barracuda 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB SATA 3.0Gb/s 11/09/08
Graphic card EVGA GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 11/09/08
Power supply Corsair TX650 650W 11/09/08

PCI Express 3.0 x 4, M.2 Generation 3 (see Samsung PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD) provides significant read and write performance increase by using a new PCIe interface instead of SATA. The improved performance is probably not worth the additional cost when compared to a standard SATA SSD, however it is a intriguing improvement in desktop systems.

I can save $30 by buying the motherboard and processor together at Microcenter.

Note that I will probably continue to use my old SATA HDDs so the PCIe M.2 SSD will just hold the root partition. And I’m sure I would be fine with just 8GB of RAM as tempting as it is to buy 16GB. I will hopefully be able to reuse my current power supply, however it may be too large and is not modular, which is an issue for such a small case.

With a little help my parents were kind enough to buy me a few key components for Christmas including i7-6700K CPU, 256GB M.2 Intel 600p SSD, and Gigabyte mini-itx motherboard with a H170 chipset. The mismatch between the CPU and motherboard chipset was based on price and the fact that I will almost certainly not want to overclock my machine.

Since then I purchased a low profile Dynatron copper heat sink that includes a fan, as well as 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM, which will be throttled to 2133 MHz from 2400 MHz. I also purchased a fan cable splitter so that I can control the top and front fans of the case at once.

At work Dylan was kind enough to help me remove the HDD chassis in the case by simply chiseling off the heads of several rivets that attached it to the case.


After my initial installation I booted into Fedora and made a few changes. When I rebooted the system I was unable to boot because I was prompted by a Fedora secure boot shim for a key. After reinstalling I didn’t run into the problem again, but it was more than a little disconcerting.

I updated ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs to replace the default home directories.

Foreign languages

Libreoffice is shipped with the generic Fedora image, but foreign languages need to be installed. I was able to install German and Italian support using the Software application. Unfortunately, the German and Italian packages don’t appear to be represented by package groups, but looking at the logs the following packages were installed.

German packages:

Italian packages:


After reviewing Arch Linux’s fantastic wiki I decided to generate a Ed25519 key, which isn’t supported by GNOME keyring. I needed to generate a RSA key to connect to an older machine, but otherwise it worked well, with one other exception. Whether it was the Ed25519 key or some other reason GNOME’s keyring service refused to connect:

sign_and_send_pubkey: signing failed: agent refused operation

I killed the process and was able to connect successfully.

Process CPU usage

Several proccesses displayed especially high CPU usage at times. While using Gnome that included the following:

Non-x86 desktops