"In 1996, Eric Raymond wrote a popular article for LJ called
``Building the Perfect Box: How to Design Your Linux Workstation''.
Lately, some of us have gone hardware shopping, and noticed that
the hardware choices have changed a little since Eric recommended a
Pentium 133 or 166 with 2GB of disk space. So, we asked Eric and
some other experts to help us update the recommendations for
building the ultimate Linux workstation."
"...we'll select the fastest CPUs we can get. Yes, CPUs, plural.
With background tasks on their own CPU, your cycle-hog processes,
such as MP3 encoding and the GIMP, will have the other all to
themselves, and that's good news. However, if you're on a budget
and are going for a general feeling of "responsiveness" when
starting programs or opening files, SMP won't help much, and you'll
be better off with one CPU and 10,000RPM SCSI drives than with slow
drives on an SMP system."
"When choosing a motherboard, be sure it supports ECC RAM,
and enough of it for your foreseeable needs. Considering the amount
of RAM in an ultimate Linux workstation and the length of time it
runs, you will get bit flips if you don't use ECC. There's a
new "Linux ECC" driver that provides extended logging of single-bit
ECC errors, which are normally invisible. If you have a supported
motherboard, you can use it for testing."