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[libreplanet-discuss] Trying to build a 100% free desktop computer / hom

From: Harry Prevor
Subject: [libreplanet-discuss] Trying to build a 100% free desktop computer / home server to the BIOS level; help needed
Date: Mon, 27 May 2013 20:26:37 -0400

I've built one computer for a friend before, but this time I'd like to
build one for me. I'm basically trying to build the most powerful
personal computer possible (within reason) that's compatible with 100%
free software.

Here's the breakdown on the parts I've chosen (generated by PCPartPicker):

> PCPartPicker part list:
> Price breakdown by merchant:
> Benchmarks:
> CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($119.99 @ NCIX US)
> Motherboard: Asus F2A85-M/CSM Micro ATX  FM2 Motherboard  ($94.20 @ Amazon)
> Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory  ($72.99 @ 
> Newegg)
> Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk  ($219.99 @ NCIX 
> US)
> Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card  ($289.99 @ Newegg)
> Case: Silverstone TJ08B-E MicroATX Mini Tower Case  ($99.99 @ Amazon)
> Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V 
> Power Supply  ($55.99 @ Amazon)
> Keyboard: Filco Majestouch-2 Wired Standard Keyboard  ($149.00 @ Amazon)
> Total: $1102.14
> (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
> (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-26 19:17 EDT-0400)

I've already had this gone over by the PC-building enthusiasts at
/r/buildapc for technical compatibility, but now I'd like to have some
freedom enthusiasts check it over for free driver support / other

Some notes:

- I know that the CPU has an AGPU in it, and I'd be kind of wasting
that power by using a dedicated graphics card, but it's kind of my
only option given that I have to stick with the F2A85-M motherboard
for coreboot support.
- I already have my own mouse and monitor, which is why they're not on
the parts list.
- The Asus F2A85-M motherboard was chosen because, as far as I can
tell, it's the only relatively recent motherboard that's still sold
that supports coreboot (the free BIOS replacement); see
<> and
- The GTX 660 Ti GPU was chosen because, as far as I can tell, both 2D
and 3D graphics acceleration is supported with the free nouveau
driver; see <> and

And my questions for you guys:

- Does the AGPU on the AMD CPU pose a freedom issue? Are binary
drivers or firmware required for it to work?
- Is the 3D / 2D acceleration using the nouveau driver for the GTX 660
Ti GPU too unstable to be usable?
- From this page: <>
It seems that video decoding using my graphics card would require
binary firmware? Is my assumption true? How important *is* video
- Are there any parts in this build that pose a freedom issue? Would
Richard Stallman use this computer?

You may want to look at my reddit threads for this; there's a lot of
information and discussion there.


Thanks a lot ahead of time for any responses.

Harry Prevor

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