So I'm now officially in the world of 64bit computing! Having grabbed the Fedora Core 5 CDs for 64bit processors, I did my first installation onto my new machine and it was pretty sweet. The Shuttle is definitely more quiet then most desktops (didn't really compare against the Sonata box, though), but not quite as silent as the Mac Mini.
The last time I installed Fedora Core, I felt it was already fairly easy to install except I did run into a snag with my CDROM that I had to search around the web for a bit to resolve. The formatting, partitioning, and package installation took a bit of time, but it was all automated so didn't require any intervention on my part. When setting up the new box, I was a bit unsure about whether there would be any trouble with the hard drive since in the past large capacity hard drives always seem to introduce some setup issues.
It turns out that I had nothing to worry about. This has definitely been the easiest linux install I've ever done. I simply inserted the install CDs and let it rip. It went extremely fast, and the whole process took roughly 30 minutes and I installed a lot of packages. Once it was done, the system booted into X without a hitch (i did have to change the refresh rate from the display control panel).
I ran a yum update to get the latest patches (~100Megs worth), grabbed the latest nvidia driver (make sure to have a new kernel then the original that shipped with FC5 since that kernel doesn't allow non-GPL modules), configured Apache and Samba through the control panel and I was done!
Honestly, I'm pretty impressed. I had expected to start the installation, go to work and finish everything when I came home. I still need to transfer the old files over to the new machine, figure out what to do with the old server, and do some customizations but as of now I have a fully enabled 64bit linux machine running. :-)
I still need to figure out how to deal with playing media files since many 64bit apps don't have the 64bit plugins and aren't able to load 32bit plugins. I'll probably have to use some of the apps in their 32bit form which isn't necessarily a bad thing.