It is often alleged that the hardware manufacturers that preload linux overprice their machines. This primarily serves as an attempt to set the record straight. This is not a complete or comprehensive listing of all the known linux friendly vendors, but it represents a good slice of those who offer lower prices. Of course, Dell do not offer linux on consumer product lines ( though this might change very soon ... ) . They are only included for comparison purposes.

It is worth noting that this document primarily looks at lower priced linux computers. I am not trying to knock anyone who wants to sell expensive computers, but rather, draw attention to the fact that there are vendors who can provide low prices on linux computers built from quality components.

Most home users want a computer that can compete on price/performance with a Dell Dimension, not a Dell precision workstation. If a windows newbie asked me for advice about buying a computer , you can bet that I would not say "precision workstation". So if some of the linux hardware dealers want to sell high end models, that's cool. But this discourse is targetted at people for whom a Precision workstation or its linux equivalent would be a waste of money.


 IDE systems
 SCSI systems

The Vendors

 Advanced Systems Labs A vendor who have been around for some time. Since they don't advertise on Slashdot, they are not as widely mentioned as VAResearch or Penguin, but establish a quite, reassuring presence at events such as the recent linux expo. These guys have pretty good prices.
The computer Gallery These guys aren't a "pure" linux shop, they do windows as well. Little is known about them ( including warranty info unfortunately ). They offer a lot of configuration options.
Dell The guys who barely even need an introduction. Known for providing good service to windows users, these guys are slowly bringing linux into their list of options. However, the main reason I have them here is as a point of reference to compare the other guys to.
Linux Hardware Solutions Linux hardware solutions is a shop that prides itself on high standards on quality control and customer service. LHS targets the customer who is willing to pay a modest premium for five star service. LHS will sell you a quality system tailored to your needs.
OEM computers THese guys are a windows/linux shop, and only appear to offer Caldera. An unknown quantity ( but one with a decent warranty and low prices )
Penguin Computing Touting their machines as "the worlds most reliable linux systems", these guys run Slashdot adverts, so are well heard of. Not terribly cheap, but provide good warranty, and are one of the better known dealers of the linux shops.
SW Technology A humble linux shop which has received good reviews from some of my friends who are satisfied customers.
TCU inc I am just about to receive a computer from these guys. Very flexible regarding configuration options available ( they can basically ship anything , even if it's not on their site ) , and commited to Linux. Insanely low prices.

AMD Systems

The only vendors among these to offer AMD systems are TCU-inc and OEM computers. A K6-2 350 system is about $150 cheaper than a pentium II-350 system with similar components.

IDE PII system configuration

The table below shows a summary of the info below. The IDE systems are configured "close" to this: Note that the systems are much the same ( for the most part)


Vendor Model CPU HD Video MB Mem Sound Eth ZIP ? Speakers ? CD  Warranty PRICE
Aslab  ProXa P350 10G 7200 IBM Matrox Millenium G200 8M Asus P2F 128 Creative PCI128 Integrated 10/100 Int IDE No 40X UDMA 1yr 1505
The Computer Gallery Custom P350 10G 7200 IBM Matrox Millenium G200 8M Asus P2B 128 Creative AWE64 No Insider Yes 32X UDMA ? 1462
Dell XPS R P400 8.4G UDMA STB NVidia 16MB TNT AGP Intel SE440BX ? (my guess) 128 No No Yes No 32X UDMA 3yrs 1513
Linux Hardware Solutions PS350W 100 P350 8.4G UDMA Diaomond Viper V550 TNT AGP ASUS P2B 128 No No No No 32X ? 1598
Oem computers PII  P350 10G 7200 IBM Matrox Millenium G200 8M ABIT BX6 R2i440 128 SB 16 No yes Yes 32X EIDE 2yrs 1319
Penguin PII IDE P350 10G 7200 IBM Matrox Mill G200 Supermicro 
Single CPU
128 SB 64 Intel 10/100 No no 50x IDE 2yrs 1400
SWT Pentium IDE P350 10G 7200 IBM Matrox Millenium G200 8M Asus P2B 128 Creative AWE64 No internal Yes 32XEIDE 2yrs 1552
TCU-inc Custom quote  P350 10G 7200 IBM Dimand Viper 550 16M AGP Intel SE 440BX 128 Creative AWE64 No internal no 40x IDE 1yr 1220