Thank you, @Ulfnic: Now that I know this thread is in its proper home, I’ll continue. Thank you, too, Murdock2525, for your response: I didn’t want to get into the specifics of the new system until I knew this was the right place in the forums to pursue the subject.
Playing off of the questions @Eltuxo put forward (regarding cost and purpose), let me address immediate and probable future purpose:
Immediate need: A 2- or 3-monitor system to aid in the writing, research, editing, website maintenance, and book publishing work that I do for our non-profit. Right now, I operate with a three-monitor kludge run by my Lenovo Thinkpad (2460x1440), a 24-inch Samsung (1920x1200) and a much older Dell pivoted to “portrait” orientation (1280x1024 [or, pivoted, 1024x1280]). (All the equipment is my own, as the non-profit’s >10-year-old Core 2 Duo was put out to pasture two years ago.)
Short-term need: Within 3 months I hope to get back to editing audio messages and publishing podcasts.
Probable need starting sometime in 2021: Begin producing instructional videos. I don’t want to get to that point and have to say, “Whoops. If only I had known that the system should have been capable of such and such!”
It’s especially because of the audio work (which I have done before) and the likely video work (of which I have done very little) that I’m seeking input on building this workstation. That, and I’m sure I’ll need some monitor guidance as well.
As to @Eltuxo’s other point, namely cost: I had originally envisioned doing all of this for about US$1,000. I have approval for that much. Then, after more consideration, especially the video editing, I thought perhaps the “box” itself could be done for $1K with the monitors extra (an additional $600-$800?). “More” might be possible, given that there is an unusual end-of-year surplus.
No, there will be no gaming on this rig, not only because it’s a “corporate” machine, but because I’ve never had any interest in gaming.
The machine currently envisioned would be something like this:
CPU: AMD Ryzen with 8 cores / 16 threads. (This could well be an “emotional” preference, given Ryzen’s new “hotness.” I can be reasoned with if some Intel offering is better in the long run.)
RAM: Minimum of 16 Gb (given that I have to run one or more virtual machines with older research-related software that will never be ported to Linux, and for which there isn’t even a remotely similar equivalent), BUT with the option of being able to add an additional 16 Gb to the initial 16 Gb for a total of 32 Gb. Also, I generally run 6 workspaces, each of which has its own multi-tab session of Firefox open.
Video card capable of driving up to 3 monitors. Does it need to power them via DisplayPort? I don’t know – diminishing my ignorance is part of why I started this thread. And, of course, expanding into video editing is in view (pardon the pun).
QUIET! — Fan noise drives me up the proverbial wall. But since I have to maintain this machine (I am “tech support”), and I am not the most dexterous of fellows, I don’t want to fiddle with liquid cooling. (Though we are a Christian organization, I would live in constant fear of a motherboard “baptism,” either by “sprinkling” or “immersion”! 8-P) Since the early days of integrated mobo graphics, I haven’t had to deal with an actual video card, and the thought of a whining, multi-fan graphics card gives me the heebie-jeebies. (During brief periods of intense processing during video and audio compilation, sure, I understand. But not while writing, thinking, doing online research, etc.)
- I don’t want to dump every desired spec in this one post, but let me say this about the monitors: I work best when I can have multiple LO Writer documents (and PDFs and Jutoh documents) open side by side. I can pretty well display two “full height” documents side by side on my personal 24-inch 1920x1200. It can be done (and perhaps better) on my Thinkpad’s 2460x1400, but at a mere 14-inch diagonal, it’s not ideal when I’m “pushed away” from the screen (in order to take in all three screens). Would 2460x1440 be the ideal for all three monitors (factoring in the increased cost over 1920x1080 screens)? Would there be any scaling issues with Ubuntu Maté 20.04x (our organization’s OS of choice)?
That’s it, for now. I hope I haven’t killed the discussion with an initial dump that’s too large. Thanks in advance for any advice!