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rvijay 02-11-2013 11:24 AM

Anything about old PCs, their uses, related OSes and their users
 
I have a very old Pentium 2 PC, tried various linux distros and it is super slow when they load rarely, usually they don't boot. This thread is a last ditch effort for this PC. Here is the full post about this at another forum:
http://www.freedomlist.com/forum/vie...=223201#223201

snowpine 02-11-2013 11:33 AM

You said you got SliTaz working, so what is your question exactly? Were you expecting Linux to be super fast on a very old Pentium 2?

TobiSGD 02-11-2013 11:33 AM

Please post the complete specs of that PC, especially CPU, RAM and harddisk size.
Also, what is the intended purpose of that machine?

rvijay 02-11-2013 11:58 AM

Specs:
AMD 333 Mhz Processor
Ram: 32 Mb
Hard Drive: 4 Gig
Floppy Disk Drive
CD Read Writer
No Ethernet card
Screws for case missing, so need to handle it carefully.

Yes, I expected this PC to be slow but not this slow. I used this from 1999 - till 2006. Now I see how much faster everything has become. Back in those days this PC was ok. Now even my eReader seems faster than this PC.

I wanted to use this PC sort of as a backup PC if my main PC goes down. Or if it works ok for very basic surfing and text reading, then I cam use this more and give my main PC rest so that this will last longer.

snowpine 02-11-2013 12:03 PM

Time to recycle your old Pentium 2 with 32mb ram. Not worth the price of electricity to keep it running! Here is a $25 computer with much higher hardware specs:

http://www.raspberrypi.org/

If you check your local Craigslist, Freecycle, Goodwill, you can upgrade your hardware for zero or low cost.

http://kmandla.wordpress.com/2010/10...-old-computer/

Honestly you can simply go to your local wireless store and get a free smartphone (with 2 year contract) that has much better hardware specs and will be a more capable machine for "very basic surfing and text reading" with the side benefit of fitting in your pocket (and you can make phone calls too).

rvijay 02-11-2013 12:19 PM

Yes it feels nostalgic but appears it is time to recycle this PC. Even my eReader works far better. It feels a bit sad as I learned Linux on this PC and my first posts here were from this PC. However, I have had to give up other PCs in the past once their life was over. Nothing is for ever and everything comes to an end.

frieza 02-11-2013 12:21 PM

sheesh, @ the people who say 'just buy a newer machine, they're cheep', some people (myself included) actually WANT to use old hardware
that being said, a machine like that you're probably better off adding a big hard drive and a text-only server install, such as a file server, or a web server.

snowpine 02-11-2013 12:28 PM

Moore's Law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law

Pentium 2 was introduced in 1997.

notsure 02-11-2013 12:49 PM

Personally, I would consider the P2 to be a waste of electricity at the very least. After that I would consider it to be a waste of time waiting for the computer to work. Life is too short to use slow computers. Why allow a computer to bottleneck your life? ha

TobiSGD 02-11-2013 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rvijay (Post 4889204)
Specs:
AMD 333 Mhz Processor
Ram: 32 Mb
Hard Drive: 4 Gig
Floppy Disk Drive
CD Read Writer
No Ethernet card
Screws for case missing, so need to handle it carefully.

Well you could add some RAM to make the machine able to even handle the most basic tasks (when a GUI is involved), but to be honest, I would not spend 1 for upgrading a machine like that, it is simply to old and not worth the money. If you can get more RAM for that machine for free you can install a distribution aimed at older PCs, like antiX, but you won't have much fun with it. Most newer distributions will not work anymore on such a machine because it lacks support for PAE and does not support the full i686 instruction set.

Quote:

Now even my eReader seems faster than this PC.
Most likely that is because it is faster than that PC.

I would second snowpine here, get something better, usually you can get much better for a small amount of money or even for free.

Quote:

Originally Posted by frieza
that being said, a machine like that you're probably better off adding a big hard drive and a text-only server install, such as a file server, or a web server.

May be a good learning system for text-only, but not a server. At least not without adding a network card.

ukiuki 02-11-2013 12:54 PM

Quote:

...512MB ram and 40G hard drive...
Quote:

Originally Posted by rvijay (Post 4889171)
...Pentium 2 PC...

What is the clock of this tresure? Does it have off board video card?
Quote:

Originally Posted by rvijay (Post 4889171)
...tried various linux distros and it is super slow when they load rarely, usually they don't boot...

Please note you can't expect it to boot/load the system if your doing the default install(if that is the case), there are very few distributions that will run in an acceptable speed on those old machines, also you have to be careful with that because too much load can fry the motherboard or other parts.

It is possible to get it to work and run fast but probably not with any default install of any distro, it will be best to do a custom install. Debian is one good choice when it comes to old machines, minimal install followed by custom build can do the job.
Here some old machines running with that kind of setup:
Cyrix 250Mhz, 96Mb RAM, 30Gb hd, 32Mb video card
Pentiun II 700Mhz, 256Mb RAM, 40Gb hd, integrated 32Mb video card

Here you can find lots of info about old computers: http://kmandla.wordpress.com/howtos/

PS. I took too long to post and several posts come after I wrote the stuff, please just ignore the already answered questions.

Regards

rvijay 02-11-2013 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ukiuki (Post 4889249)
Here you can find lots of info about old computers: http://kmandla.wordpress.com/howtos/

PS. I took too long to post and several posts come after I wrote the stuff, please just ignore the already answered questions.

Regards

Thanks for all the info. and the last link. Good to know all this.

NyteOwl 02-11-2013 01:56 PM

Speed problem here is the amount of RAM. I'm using two K6-2's (350MHz, & 500 MHz), a K6-III+@600MHz and a Celeron 550MHz but they all have 384-512MB RAM.

rvijay 02-11-2013 03:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NyteOwl (Post 4889292)
Speed problem here is the amount of RAM. I'm using two K6-2's (350MHz, & 500 MHz), a K6-III+@600MHz and a Celeron 550MHz but they all have 384-512MB RAM.

What OS are you using on these ? I have 500Mb Linux swap partition also on this desktop, still not helping. Appears the older Oses are crashing as they are not able to recognize the more recent flat panel monitor.

I have Monitor: LG Flatron W1934S

Until 2005, Vector Linux 3.2 and Knoppix 3.6 worked perfectly on this PC. However, I had to setup Horizontal and Vertical refresh rate for the monitor manually then.

Also, on this PC, it says Ram can be extended max to only 256Mb on this, however there will not be a performance increase after 128Mb.

rvijay 02-11-2013 03:31 PM

This thread made me readup on how to setup FreeNas:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/25559...rn_server.html

Also got Freq for my PC:
Horiz: 30 to 83 Khz
Ver: 56-75 Hz
http://www.lg.com/levant_en/monitors/lg-W1934S

I need to use Xorg to set it up.

Also, found this:
http://hackaday.com/2011/08/19/insta...ld-pcs-part-2/

Free BSD needs atleast 64Mb of Ram and 5Gig HD for graphical interface install. Min. is 1Gig:
http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO...stall-pre.html

Free BSD 8.x will work with 24Mb Ram but there is a lot to learn about it. Also, graphical install is again demanding, the live CDs only work with command line interface. So, this is not very helpful either.

I got it working actually with Knoppix 3.6 Karma pays off. I had made several copies of this OS on CD to give to others around 2004. Have to use the following boot options:
knoppix lang=us desktop=wmaker screen=1024x768 depth=24 nodma 2

USB Mouse needs to be replugged usually once the OS has fully booted. It took me two days to work on this, but glad I got this figured.

It works ok and doesn't flicker like the slitaz Linux. Now I understand that security can be a concern if I go online with such an old PC. However, this PC is perfect for:
1. working offline, with no online distractions and minimal graphics.
2. reading text, pdf files
3. storing helpful info., manuals etc., on the hard drive
4. charging USB devices that I have like mp3 player
5. great backup temporary PC if my main PC fails, actually by using this PC more, I can extend the lifespan of my main PC.

Slitaz performs a lot better on this PC at resolution 640x480
This PC seems to actually have just 16Mb of Ram and has 500MB Linux swap, however slitaz doesn't seem to use it. Other drawbacks:
1. slitaz doesn't allow to write to mounted partitions (most OSes are like this tho, except DSL, need to modify fstab and mtab. Not great for live CD)
2. hard drive installed grub fails to boot and
3. the the browser doesn't allow to change colors. I prefer to have black background as this is better on eyes.

I got DSL also to boot atleast partially with the following:
dsl vga=normal lang=us nodma

However, after it boots, it goes thru xsetup and crashes after that. I even tried resolution 640x480 and depth 8, didn't help still.

As suggested by others here, I will keep an eye out for chances to upgrade this PC if it presents itself and continue to learn. It is also a great PC to revise Linux.


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