Am I An Utter Fool?

I’ve been impatiently waiting for a Mac mini (or mini Mac Pro) that I can use with my choice of monitors. Lisa has a Dell 49" monitor that I’m totally jealous of.

Apple’s never going to do something like that!

I finally lost my patience and pulled the trigger on something completely different. (I mean who knows how long it will be before Apple offers a really high-end desktop that’s not an iMac?)

So I just bought this…

Maxed out with a Ryzen 7 5800X, nVidia GTX 3080, 128GB RAM, and dual 2TB drives (1 m.2, 1 spinning). I know I could save money and probably get something better by building my own or going to a custom gaming PC maker, but these components are hard to get and I figure Dell can get them faster than anyone else. Even so this rig doesn’t ship 'til May.

And as long as I’m going for a power rig, I might as well go all out with a monster monitor.

A 55-inch OLED monitor that’s absurdly expensive. (It’s basically a hi-res TV but it costs a lot more.)

I rationalize this crazy purchase because

  1. I believe in open source, and like Linux as much as I like macOS. Dell supports Linux pretty well. (No I don’t plan on using Windows. Ick.)

  2. I really need to get to know the new PC hardware. Specifically The AMD Ryzen and the new nVidia ray-tracing GPUs.

  3. I can’t get an Xbox Series X or Playstation 5 to save my life, but I really want to play something new.

  4. Valheim (it runs on Linux!)

I’ve been saving up for something like this for some time. It’s kind of the Ultimate Gaming Machine for 2021.

OK tell me I’m a fool. I’m ready to be roasted. Or you can come over and watch me play Valheim this May.

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My only concern would be to validate that all that hardware is going to be utilized fully in Linux. No point spending that money if you can’t fully utilize it. As you know, most gaming rigs are designed for Windows since that is where most games are.

Can’t call you a fool when I’m extremely jealous :grinning:

At least this way your desktop serves a much different purpose instead of just being a faster, desktop version of your MacBook laptop.

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I’ve checked the individual components and there are no show stoppers as far as I can see. Of course, we’ll see when I install Linux. Naturally I’ll boot to the installer first.

And I’ll probably keep Windows around just in case.

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Go for it. I said in another thread that I don’t see Apple updating the Mini for a while; that would cannibalize new iMac sales. I think the Mini was more a proof of concept and a way to get people in the door and on board with a low barrier to entry. The Mini is not where Apple wants its users.

Dell missed a trick with their Alienware part numbers - that monitor should definitely start with AWE. :wink:

It’s your money - why shouldn’t you enjoy spending it? (sniggering over you having to one-up Lisa over the monitor though).

Wow super jealous about that monitor! I’ve got a 32" 16:9 and I need to move my head to see both sides of it - better order yourself a deeper desk!

Can’t help but feel that you’ve skimped a little bit on the spinning disk, but other than that it’s a beast.

Well now, such an opening. :smiley:

I agree with your thinking about getting hard to source parts faster/easier from DELL or other assembler, simply because they have to have supply agreements you won’t have access to from, say, NewEgg.

As for the massive monitor, I’m jealous, and also a little bit scared. Y’all get earthquakes down your way, so please make sure you tie that puppy down for safety, I don’t want to hear how it fell on you! :wink:

I think you might find a large screen is actually neck strain inducing unless it’s going to be quite far away from you… I feel like the TV distance triangle applies here too… Will be interesting for you to report on that.

Hopefully you got ECC RAM? Make sure you configure a RAM disk with all that RAM… and put your browser cache in it. (I’m sure that’s probably built in to Linux. On Windows Radeon RAMDisk is free up to 4G, but you could have a larger one for a few bucks. AMD Radeon(TM) RAMDisk ) A larger one is also great for when you’re doing things that may fail (like a video transcode in Handbrake.)

If it were normal times, and parts were readily available, I would have considered building a ThreadRipper for similar money, or a ThreadRipper Pro for more money. :wink:

Also, I assume you have a nice quality UPS to plug it all into, right?

If you’re a fool, then I’m a fool too cause I’d have pulled the trigger on this build for sure!

My next display purchase will totally be an OLED panel, so thanks for testing the waters with that :grin:

Regardless, will absolutely tune in for some Valheim. Enjoy this powerhouse!

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I was running multiple displays, but settled on the Dell 38" ultra-wide to cut it down to one. The 49" was tempting, but the curve is very slight and at that width, I thought it would cause too much left to right head motion. Plus, the 38" has a bit more vertical area than the other UW monitors (3840 x 1600 - 21:9 Aspect Ratio). I think something like the Samsung G9 49" UW has a more pronounced curve, which may work better for that size of display.

I do love the Dell displays. The panel looks great on this one. The bonus being that I can use the monitor itself as basically a KVM. I have 3 computers connected to it, all sharing one keyboard, mouse, and other accessories. The Windows based Dell Monitor software lets me setup hotkeys to toggle between two of my machines (the third is a Chromebook), so it’s super handy going between my work and home setups. There is a bit of a lag as all of the USB devices “find themselves” again on the computer, but nothing terrible.

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Yeah I might try a tiling window manager to take advantage of the real estate.

My desk is fairly deep. I’ll push the monitor all the way back which is about four feet from my seat. I’ll probably have to play with it to get it working right.

The boot/application drive is a fast m.2 SSD. The spinning drive is for backup and data. I’ll also be hanging some additional drives off for backup.

Unfortunately EEC RAM wasn’t an option - it’s a gaming machine and gamers have a bias against ECC because it’s slower. (Only 2% in fact.)

That’s why it’s not a Threadripper. Single core clock speed is more important than multiple cores when gaming. And, frankly that’s the case for most software. I think the 5800X will be fast enough.

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Oh yea, I remember you guys discussing ECC on this build during WW. Was curious about your desire for this, have you experienced corruption problems in the past? Or are you concerned about the amount of memory in this build leading to an increased chance for corruption?

Anecdotally, I’ve only ever used ECC RAM in very specific circumstances, namely high performance bare-metal database servers where nearly all data lives in RAM. Even in our hypervisors with ~768GB of RAM we don’t use it for performance and cost concerns. The virtualization software we use is super good about dealing with corruption without the need for hardware intervention.

A deep desk would definitely help. Mine is fairly deep, but it is also a corner desk, so the larger display would be harder to push back far enough (at least based upon my cardboard cutouts that I used to assess the size ;-). I used to have a large 27" monitor flanked on either side with a smaller 22". That worked pretty well as I could adjust the angle of the “wing” monitors.

I have used DisplayFusion for window management and it is pretty powerful and generally does a great job with multiple or very large displays. Lately I’ve been using the FancyZones option within the Microsoft PowerToys suite. While it has fewer features, it works well and I like simplifying my tinkering a bit.

Enjoy the large display. It is so tough to go back to smaller or multiple displays now.

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I’ve been using a 34" Dell UW for about 4 years now. I upgraded to a 43" LG 4K monitor with HDR in January. The Dell is now used for my work laptop, when I am in home office.

We need to work on those rationalisation techniques. :wink:

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Well you have to understand that particular little equation. I bought this in lieu of a Mac. And I will be running Linux on it. So as weird as this sounds, it’s a decision in favor of open source.

Part of the question for me was, do I like Linux as much as macOS, and can I do everything I want in it. And the answer is a resounding, yes!

FOSS isn’t the answer to every question, but I chose to use it whenever I can.

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I’m still worried that the monitor might be too big. I reassure myself with the following calculus…

It’s 48 inches wide by 30 tall (122 x 76 cm). That’s almost exactly the same width as Lisa’s monitor but twice the height. So even if I don’t look at the top half that often it will be a nice wide monitor.

At least I’ll be answering the question, how big is too big?

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Bottom line on any computer hardware, having too much is almost enough.

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This might be an issue, but maybe it’s not, due to the normal aspect ratio.

I used to have the same monitor as Lisa and had to replace it as it felt like the monitor was working me and not the other way around. I found that most UI uses the periphery so much for key menus or information gauges that the Dell 49 inch was like viewing a constant tennis match for me.

Thus I returned to a regular 16:9 but 4k screen at 32 inches. Which works like a charm. Fills my field of view almost perfectly and I can run it at native resolution without scaling (at a pretty short viewing distance of 20 inches, however).

There are simply diminishing returns with going bigger and bigger with the monitor, since you’ll have to push it further back on the desk to see it all. But then again, if your desk setup requires a certain distance between you and your screen, you kinda have to go big.

Only thing to hope for is that it does not feel like looking into an open tanning bed. But it won’t, because it’s going to be awesome. :wink:

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By writing this, you actually sold me a copy. I dove into it and found it to be quite the Pixelfest. It does have a nice vibe to it, though.

Especially given your 3080, maybe also consider Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Kingdom Come Deliverance is slightly older, but has a solid story to it and you can explore lovely woods, too. Finally, the Witcher 3 still springs to mind for medieval wilderness fun that benefits from a powerful graphics card. All three can be made to run on Linux.

I suppose you’ll be running Manjaro, so Nvidia drivers will be less of an issue. Setting stuff up for my 3070 on Debian took me a while, though.