There's plenty of room to improve the Hardware section on this website, but this particular set of ideas would be useful to implement an easy to use "Mint System Builder" as described in the idea below:
The "Mint System Builder" should be able to guide people through creating computers fit for their needs. For better hardware selection it would be nice if the Hardware section would include details either posted by the users or added by the hardware maintainer team (which I volunteer for).
Here's a list of basic stuff required for better system building:
1. Mixed PS/2 keyboard/mouse port available?
2. PS/2 keyboard port available?
3. PS/2 mouse port available?
4. Sound on-board?
5. Network interface on-board?
6. Video on-board?
7. Supported RAM types + frequencies
7.1. Example DB table field names:
7.2. Sample data for memory fields:
0 - RAM type not supported
X - for RAM type supported / X = number of RAM sticks supported (useful for DDR/DDR2 & DDR2/DDR3 mainboards)
8. Maximum supported RAM size
9. Short textual description of RAM slots (2xDDR2-800, 2xDDR3-1066 OR 4xDDR2-667 OR 6xDDR2-800 etc)
10. USB ports available on the back panel
11. Total USB connectors (mainboard included)
12. How many USB1 ports?
13. How many USB2 ports?
14. How many USB3 ports?
15. How many PATA/IDE ports?
16. How many SATA ports?
17. How many SATA-1 ports?
18. How many SATA-2 ports?
19. How many SATA-3 ports?
20. How many AGP slots?
21. How many PCI slots?
22. How many PCI-E slots?
Based on the information above people could build systems that work perfectly with Mint. They wouldn't even need to see all these details in the browser because the selections will change dynamically based on selections. For experienced users, a simple "Why?" link in the right of the selection boxes would show more details. However, they are very likely informed on what the hardware can do and won't need too many details.
I would be happy to get in touch with the web developers to assist with whatever I can in order to make this tool work in here. There's a lot more to add but not to get too technical it's better to stop here.
P.S. All this wouldn't have to be required to add hardware and we could even hide the detailed part of the form until the users chooses "Yes, I want to help" on the following question:
"Are you willing to help us by adding the full specifications of your hardware? (if you know them)"