Notes on setting up host alqualonde

Russell Bateman
October 2023
last update:

Table of Contents

Alqualondë, the name
Server installation
The build
Populating the case
Finishing the build
Install Ubuntu Server
Memory use

This is a log of events building my first new desktop in 6 years. I'm choosing to run Mint 20.1 Ulyssa LTS,
which is based on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa, Linux kernel 5.4 and Cinnamon 4.8.

Alqualondë, the name

Most of my machines are named after elf kingdoms in Middle Earth. In a sense, host alqualonde deviates from this because elven Alqualondë is in Aman and not properly in Middle Earth, however, this distinction is a bit academic and this document is about computer hardware and software. Still...

When Fëanor the asshole, decided to leave Valinor, he needed ships to make his flight easier (in order to avoid the passage or the dread Helcaraxë). The Noldor possessed no ships, so they took them by force from the Falmari, the Teleri of Valinor. Olwë and his people would not give them up since the flight of the Noldor was against the will of the Valar. F&eum;anor and his sons began the violence; the Falmari only defended themselves, but Fingon's people coming up and mistaking the Falmari's intentions as attacking at the order of the Valar, joined the fight. Many Teleri were slain and the ships taken.

The kinslaying led to the prophesy of the North, a curse pronounced at the Valar's behest by Mandos whereby the Noldor were banned from Aman.

Host alqualonde replaces tol-eressea. Tol-eressëa was the island east of Valinor also by Teleri.


Because of tol-eressea's age,

Vendor  Price   Description
Amazon  $ 150   Intel Core i5-12400F 4.40 GHz 6-Core Processor
Amazon  $  80   Corsair Vengeance LPX 32Gb (2×16Gb) DDR4 DRAM 3200MHz C16
Amazon  $ 110   Asus Prime H610M-A D4-CSM Micro ATX LGA1700 Motherboard
Amazon  $  70   Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
Amazon  $  23   Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal OEM Optical Drive DRW-24B1ST Black
Amazon  $  43   ARESGAME AGV Series 500W 80+ Bronze Non-modular ATX Power Supply
Amazon  $  53   Thermaltake Versa H21 SPCC ATX Mid Tower Computer Chassis CA-1B2-00M1NN-00,Black
        $ 529   Total (before tax, shipping free)

Everything's ordered, the memory promises to be up to a month away, but the rest should arrive over the next two weeks.

Component          Projected arrival  Vendor  Arrived
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx         y yyyyyyy      Amazon  

Asus Prime H610M-A Motherboard


  1. a fan (marked by yellow X)
  2. a power supply (marked by red X)
  3. a 4Tb spindle (marked by blue X)
  4. a DVD spindle (marked by green X)

Ultimately, we're looking for this to happen...

Now comes the motherboard...


For the 1Tb M2 SSD, that I will be using as my boot (root) drive under Linux, the mobo came with a cooling option and hardware to mount it with. Here it is assembled:

But, I wanted to draw your attention to the "rear" screw that holds (and possibly acts as a ground). The spacer (to stand off from the mobo) and screw came (2 copies) with the mobo. I didn't realize that this is what those were for until I started looking for the mounting solution. I'm pointing at this with my screwdriver before I cover the M2 with its heatsink.

I put the second spacer and screw together in the space for the second M2 should it ever be installed (for safe-keeping). See the yellow circle to the left.

Also, I have reinstalled the heatsink; I removed a strip protecting the self-stick padding underneath this heatsink because it looked like that's what I was supposed to do. You can see the heatsink, as yet unmounted, and that strip in the second image (light blue in color).


I had originally order the memory from B & H Photo, but it was on long back-order, so I cancelled it and got it from Amazon instead.

I found this utterance which seems very relevant. Without having stumbled upon it, I would never have know.

DDR4 Ram is defaulted to 2133/2400Mhz. XMP/AMP must be manually enabled in the BIOS essentially over-clocking the RAM to the advertised speed (3600Mhz).

Install Ubuntu Server headless

  1. Download Linux Mint with Cinnamon desktop, what I like to use. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu. I'm going to run the latest, 20.1 Ulyssa.
  2. Verify the ISO download using these instructions:
    russ@gondolin ~/Downloads/ISO $ ll
    total 1987164
    drwxrwxr-x  2 russ russ       4096 Jan 19 07:04 .
    drwxr-xr-x 27 russ russ      12288 Jan 19 07:03 ..
    -rw-rw-r--  1 russ russ 2034827264 Jan 19 07:02 linuxmint-20.1-cinnamon-64bit.iso
    -rw-rw-r--  1 russ russ        397 Jan 19 07:03 sha256sum.txt
    -rw-rw-r--  1 russ russ        833 Jan 19 07:03 sha256sum.txt.gpg
    russ@gondolin ~/Downloads/ISO $ sha256sum -b *.iso
    14f73c93f75e873f4ac70b6cddc83703755c2421135a8fbbfd6ccfeed107e971 *linuxmint-20.1-cinnamon-64bit.iso
    russ@gondolin ~/Downloads/ISO $ sha256sum --ignore-missing -c sha256sum.txt
    linuxmint-20.1-cinnamon-64bit.iso: OK
    russ@gondolin ~/Downloads/ISO $ gpg --keyserver hkp:// --recv-key "27DE B156 44C6 B3CF 3BD7  D291 300F 846B A25B AE09"
    gpg: directory `/home/russ/.gnupg' created
    gpg: new configuration file `/home/russ/.gnupg/gpg.conf' created
    gpg: WARNING: options in `/home/russ/.gnupg/gpg.conf' are not yet active during this run
    gpg: keyring `/home/russ/.gnupg/secring.gpg' created
    gpg: keyring `/home/russ/.gnupg/pubring.gpg' created
    gpg: requesting key A25BAE09 from hkp server
    gpg: /home/russ/.gnupg/trustdb.gpg: trustdb created
    gpg: key A25BAE09: public key "Linux Mint ISO Signing Key " imported
    gpg: no ultimately trusted keys found
    gpg: Total number processed: 1
    gpg:               imported: 1  (RSA: 1)
    russ@gondolin ~/Downloads/ISO $ gpg --verify sha256sum.txt.gpg sha256sum.txt
    gpg: Signature made Wed 06 Jan 2021 09:10:08 AM MST using RSA key ID A25BAE09
    gpg: Good signature from "Linux Mint ISO Signing Key <[email protected]>"
    gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature!
    gpg:          There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner.
    Primary key fingerprint: 27DE B156 44C6 B3CF 3BD7  D291 300F 846B A25B AE09
  3. From this verified ISO, make an installation DVD.
    1. Launch K3b.
    2. Choose Tools → Burn image.
    3. Navigate to select the ISO I downloaded above.
    4. Click OK.
    5. Eject and label the new DVD; this is what we'll boot alqualonde from when we finish the build.

  4. Boot the new computer from this DVD...
  5. Well, not so fast. We have to configure the BIOS to boot from it. First, as appears under Storage Information in the center, the BIOS sees all three of my devices (the SSD, the Western Digital and the DVD). But, it would not allow me to set the order:
  6. I was new to this rodeo. I dinged around a while studying the BIOS manager, but ended up simply rebooting to it and magically they appeared. I ordered them such that I could boot...
    1. DVD
    2. M.2 SSD
    3. WD hard drive

  7. While I was in the BIOS manager, knowing that my memory is much faster than the BIOS said it was, I changed some settings. This is the first time I have ever over-clocked any components of a computer. I probably need to enable the ASUS Performance Enhancement, maybe do some other stuff.

  8. Also, I can probably over-clock the CPU too. I just don't know if I want to do that, if it will shorten the life of my CPU, etc. I'm not into video, games, etc., but the model number of my Intel processor does end with k, right?

  9. With this in place, I was able to boot and install Linux Mint (see story above). That worked out very well. Concerned about the temperature, the first thing I did was to install xsensors and run this monitor. For now, very idle of course, the cores are 25° or colder.

Memory use

What does my new machine look like ordinarily? I have 32Gb!

root@alqualonde:/home/russ# free -m
              total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   available
Mem:          31950       15733        4909         664       11308       15107
Swap:          2047          36        2011

root@alqualonde:/home/russ# dmesg | grep oom-killer               # see about dmesg
(the out-of-memory process killer is not running)


(Warning signs of a low-memory situation would be...)