Modern Hardware vs Privacy

Discussion in 'hardware' started by amarildojr, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    The time where I renew my hardware is coming. My concerns are processor backdoors and UEFI.

    My current Hardware is:

    AMD Athlon II X2 250 (OC @ 3.7 GHz)
    ASRock N68 VS3 UCC (Legacy BIOS)
    8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz CL9 Corsair Vengeance in Dual Channel (I'll keep it)
    AMD R9 270X OC Edition (I'll keep it too)

    First, I want to change my processor and Motherboard. I was thinking of buying a Phenom II X6, but it wouldn't be such a leap with my current MOBO.

    Prefferably, I want AMD processors.

    The motherboard must be new (less than 2 years since release) and it MUST have a Legacy BIOS.
    It also must have a good chipset.

    The new Hardware will be used for gaming, and for OpenCL rendering. The OpenCL device will be my current GPU, but somehow a faster processor speeds up the process a bit.

    I'm accepting any recommendations. I'll decide what is best according to my budget, which can't play a role here because the dollar price changes everyday.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Why? UEFI is more secure, especially with W10.

    The trick here is your RAM that you want to keep. That may hold you back (as well as the legacy BIOS) since DDR4 is the new standard. But also, not all motherboards will support your old RAM. This is why motherboard makers maintain QVLs (qualified vendors lists) for RAM and CPUs - to show what RAM and CPUs are supported for each board they make. In other words, if you want to upgrades your motherboard, you should look at upgrading the whole bundle (CPU, mobo, and RAM) at the same time.

    As for worrying about "processor backdoors" don't. Google it. Those are extreme cases, and nothing new.

    Sorry, but budgets always play a role. Otherwise someone may suggest a $300 motherboard while someone else suggests a $60. So we need to know what your budget is. And the intended purpose of this computer too.

    Also note that you most likely need to budget for a new OS license too as your current license most probably is an OEM/System Builders license and therefore is not legally transferable to this new computer. So while technically you can move your old drive to this new computer, that would not be legal. The exception would only be if you purchased a full "retail" version license with your old computer and by far, most people don't because full retails are considerably more expensive as seen here for Windows 8.1 Pro Full Version vs the OEM Version.
     
  3. Joxx

    Joxx Registered Member

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    I'm with you on that, and have no answer for it.
    I dread this internet of things where you can't trust your CPU, your fridge or your car.

    As to the processor your best bet would probably be the FX-4300. it's under 100 US dollars, a 4 core with 3.8ghz stock speed (overclockable). It's not the most modern of CPUs but you can't argue with the price.
    As to the Mobo there's the Asus M5A97 R2.0, compatible with your RAM and with legacy BIOS (I'm not sure about that "less than 2 years"). It's less than $100 and has good user reviews.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  4. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I agree, but that's why we have security software, routers with NAT, we keep our operating systems updated, and we don't become "click-happy" on unsolicited links, downloads, and attachments. If you don't let the badguys in, they can't reach a processor's backdoor (if there is one).

    I am much more paranoid when it comes to my smart phone. With my PC, the closest a badguy knows where I am is my ISP's POP (point of presence). That is, where my ISP connects to the Internet. In my case, that is 10 miles away in the next town over.

    With a cell phone, they know exactly where you are standing within a few meters. They know where you've been, how long you were there, the direction you are heading - and in some cases, the products in the aisle you are standing in front of.
     
  5. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    Forgot to mention: I don't use Windows, specially not Windows 10.

    My main concern is UEFI making connections at boot time. I don't want that.
     
  6. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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  7. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    I understand UEFI, I just don't want it, and don't need it :)
    I just don't remember if the network connections at boot time are an Intel thing. Probably are.

    I'm very concerned with security. However, UEFI wouldn't add much to what I already have. I'm not worried about security threats, and I'm not worried about local attacks either.
     
  8. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Then what's the problem? UEFI is much more flexible than legacy BIOS when it comes to controlling and managing your hardware. The BIOS is being replaced because it has limited capabilities.

    That does not mean you must learn a new system. It just mean the feature is there if the need arises.
    I don't know what you are talking about here. No computer needs a network connection when booting. Many computers are still used in a stand alone setup. But if a connection is there, the computer (and OS) will take advantage of it.
     
  9. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    There's no problem. I just don't want UEFI at this time. I see no reason to use it, and I didn't study it yet.
     
  10. Balthazar

    Balthazar Registered Member

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    I think that modern hardware and privacy is a contradiction nowadays. I am not saying that everything's bad but often there are too many unknown variables. That's why I decided to buy used stuff and repair & assemble it myself. That's how I came to Coreboot and Libreboot.
    http://www.coreboot.org/Welcome_to_coreboot
    https://libreboot.org/

    Would that be something of interest to you? There are lists of compatible boards on the Coreboot/Libreboot websites available and knowledgeable people are working on making it available for more & newer boards (+ eradicating bugs).

    My computer cost considerably below a hundred bucks and I put in stuff I already had (SSD). I also exchanged the Intel wifi-card for one that does work without proprietary software (another 5 bucks on ebay). After kernel updates there sometimes are problems but most of them can be solved pretty easily. All in all I am very happy with my used & self assembled computer. It's fast, has a SSD and 8GB of RAM. Enough for surfing and office.

    There is a nice site that helps regarding hardware:
    https://h-node.org/home/index/en

    Sorry, not what you asked for but just a thought.
     
  11. Joxx

    Joxx Registered Member

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  12. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    Absolutely :thumb: However, it's not easy to see a good and modern MOBO that will work with Coreboot. That's one of the reasons I still want to stay with Legacy BIOS.

    I'd do that too. However, since my chipset will be either NVIDIA or AMD, I doubt that I'll have anything on the Internet side of things requiring proprietary firmware :)

    The only place where I'll allow proprietary firmware is on the GPU.

    I have 8 GB as well and I'm able to render complex 3D images, play a few 3D games, browse, and office. All at the same time :D 8GB is enough for me, at least for now. Once I start rendering things at 4K I might have to buy more RAM.

    Thanks, I've been looking for that website for a few weeks.

    No problem :) We actually think alike.
     
  13. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Certainly your choice and I respect that. I just feel if upgrading, there's no reason not to get the latest for best performance and longest future proofing. A BIOS based motherboard can hold you back. A UEFI based motherboard will carry you years into the future.

    The reason to use it is simple and as noted before; it is more secure and provides you, the user, more control. If not studied yet is what's holding you back, I say, study it. 10 minutes with Google will tell you all you need to know. UEFI vs BIOS: Understanding the Differences is a good starting place. And remember, the BIOS is not just legacy, it is prehistoric in the computer industry, dating back to 1975!

    Just consider it is all I ask. I'll stop harping on that now.

    And for sure, do not confuse privacy with security. They are not the same thing. Microsoft or Google knowing what sites you visited is totally different from a bad guy getting your bank account numbers, passwords, contacts, or other personal information, or compromising your system to use it to distribute spam or malware, or to enlist it into their bot-army for DDoS attacks.
     
  14. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    :argh::argh: OK!

    I am considering, just not for the next upgrade. For this upgrade I'll use Legacy BIOS; then for the other next upgrade I'll see if Coreboot is working fine with modern hardware. If it's not, then I'll grab myself a UEFI MOBO.
     
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