Pre-built system for FreeBSD?
April 6, 2005 5:05 PM   Subscribe

I want to buy a pre-built system for under $350 on which I can install FreeBSD.

Recently, I tried installing Mandrake Linux on a 5-year-old home-built system, and ran into all kinds of hardware problems. I want to totally avoid that situation this time -- I want to buy a system on which I know for a fact that FreeBSD will run without issue.

The system need not be powerful. It will be a file server in my home and a web server for my infrequently-visited personal site. I'd like to run GNOME on the desktop.

The Dell Dimension 2400n is an OS-less box that looks perfect, for just $319, but it's got "Integrated Intel Extreme Graphics," about which there was an anecdote in some newsgroup postings about incompatibility with FreeBSD. I would love it if someone could provide some evidence to the contrary.

I'm also open to using a Linux distro, if this doesn't seem do-able for the price on FreeBSD, although FreeBSD is my top choice (a secondary reason for this project is to get some experience running a FreeBSD server).

Ideally someone will respond and say "I bought X from Y, installed FreeBSD on it, and everything worked perfectly."
posted by medpt to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
FreeBSD has a hardware vendors list including companies that sell pre-built machines.

You could also just go to your local computer store and have them build a machine for you with brand name parts. I can't recall the last time I ran into a hardware problem with FreeBSD, so as long as you don't have some weird cryptographic chip or an ancient SCSI controller you should be fine.
posted by cmonkey at 5:31 PM on April 6, 2005

FreeBSD has the i810 driver which supports "the i810, i810-DC100, i810e, i815, i830M, 845G, 852GM, 855GM, and 865G chipsets."

The Dell Dimension 2400 comes with the i845GL which has fewer features than the i845G, so it's a good bet that it will work.

Anecdotally, I have a Dell machine with an i830M running OpenBSD and it works fine. OpenBSD uses the same i810 driver from FreeBSD.
posted by event at 5:51 PM on April 6, 2005

You could also look into the dell SC-series poweredge tower servers. They're pretty much made to be cheap-to-disposable linux server systems.
posted by SpecialK at 6:13 PM on April 6, 2005

medpt, I have a 1U rackmount system that lived for two years at an ISP. It ran FreeBSD 5 without a hitch. It's offline because I moved. I will give it away to anybody willing to pay shipping. Email me at ldenneau at if you're interested, want specs, etc.
posted by ldenneau at 6:24 PM on April 6, 2005

White-box PCs, price-competitive with Dell. No weird integrated stuff forced on you.
posted by autojack at 7:32 PM on April 6, 2005

You could also look into the dell SC-series poweredge tower servers.

I second this. I have a handful of PowerEdge 500SC servers that are built surprisingly solidly (Dell doesn't exactly make the greatest laptops and desktops, y'know). They should run FreeBSD just fine. I think we bought them new for less than $500.
posted by cmonkey at 8:48 PM on April 6, 2005

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