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Old 10-03-2014, 01:21 AM   #1
dakoris73
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Question Newbie using older equipment


Hello there,

I have only been playing with linux for a few months now, and I'm wanting to setup a media computer that can be used for my kids to use for watching netflix on. I have a Dell Optiplex GX60 with only 2 Gb of ram installed, and I installed Lubuntu 14.04 32 bit OS on it, and it definitely works better than the XP OS that was on there before. However, when I try to watch a DVD movie, or Netflix video, the sound works, but the video tends to freeze on it.

Since I can't add anymore RAM to the system because the specs say its maxed out, and I've also tried installing Ubuntu 10.04 and 12.04 on it as well, and didn't seem to work either. Is there another linux version I can look at that would allow me to be able to use this computer to watch Netflix or DVD's on without it freezing up on me again?

Thank you for helping me out with this so that I can set this up for my kids' TV room.

Thanks.
 
Old 10-03-2014, 05:15 AM   #2
TenTenths
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I guess you could take a look at one of the dedicated XBMC distributions and try them if all you're looking for is a media player.
 
Old 10-03-2014, 06:07 AM   #3
berndbausch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakoris73 View Post
Hello there,

I have only been playing with linux for a few months now, and I'm wanting to setup a media computer that can be used for my kids to use for watching netflix on. I have a Dell Optiplex GX60 with only 2 Gb of ram installed, and I installed Lubuntu 14.04 32 bit OS on it, and it definitely works better than the XP OS that was on there before. However, when I try to watch a DVD movie, or Netflix video, the sound works, but the video tends to freeze on it.

Since I can't add anymore RAM to the system because the specs say its maxed out, and I've also tried installing Ubuntu 10.04 and 12.04 on it as well, and didn't seem to work either. Is there another linux version I can look at that would allow me to be able to use this computer to watch Netflix or DVD's on without it freezing up on me again?

Thank you for helping me out with this so that I can set this up for my kids' TV room.

Thanks.
There are Linux distros specifically focused on media. Geexbox, for example, aims to be a media center and is even supported on the Raspberry Pi, known for its little memory and slow CPU.

Other considerations:
  • what kind of video files do you watch? Modern compression algorithms require fast CPUs and probably also a lot of memory. You may want to look into less demanding video file formats. DVD (MPEG2 format) should work on a 2GB system, even with a comparatively slow CPU.
  • what video player do you use? Ubuntu should have a few alternatives, perhaps some of them are less resource-hungry.
 
Old 10-03-2014, 10:16 AM   #4
floppy_stuttgart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakoris73 View Post
Hello there,

I have only been playing with linux for a few months now, and I'm wanting to setup a media computer that can be used for my kids to use for watching netflix on. I have a Dell Optiplex GX60 with only 2 Gb of ram installed, and I installed Lubuntu 14.04 32 bit OS on it, and it definitely works better than the XP OS that was on there before. However, when I try to watch a DVD movie, or Netflix video, the sound works, but the video tends to freeze on it.

Since I can't add anymore RAM to the system because the specs say its maxed out, and I've also tried installing Ubuntu 10.04 and 12.04 on it as well, and didn't seem to work either. Is there another linux version I can look at that would allow me to be able to use this computer to watch Netflix or DVD's on without it freezing up on me again?

Thank you for helping me out with this so that I can set this up for my kids' TV room.

Thanks.
just an idea (did not test it). So far I know have the optiplex a spare place for a PCI card http://www.dell.com/downloads/us/pro.../gx60_spec.pdf . Perhaps you could install a second hand video card and connect the TV on it? perhaps is the onboard video not powerfull enough. If somebody has any experience here we should wait for an answer.
 
Old 10-03-2014, 11:38 AM   #5
DavidMcCann
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The problem is probably the CPU: a 533MHz Celeron! Video cards are for producing vector graphics, as I understand it, so adding one will not reduce the load on the CPU of decoding a video. You need a very lightweight distro, such as AntiX (standard edition, not AntiX MX) The last time I tested them, Lubuntu had 113 background processes, but AntiX just 69.

For DVDs, try several players: sometimes one is better, sometimes another. For on-line videos, you can try a lighter browser than Firefox, such as Midori. There's also a thing I've never tried: gtk-youtube-viewer. That lets you play a YouTube video without using a browser, to minimise resource demands.
https://code.google.com/p/trizen/

Last edited by DavidMcCann; 10-03-2014 at 11:42 AM. Reason: addition
 
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:48 AM   #6
knudfl
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#5 .

Intel Celeron processor with a bus speed of 533 MHz.
* The processor clock speed = 2.0 GHz.

-
 
Old 10-03-2014, 01:10 PM   #7
yancek
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You need specific software installed to play commercial DVD movies. See the Ubuntu link below:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Re...ts/PlayingDVDs

The link below explains how to get Netflix using Google-Chrome browser. You might be able to get the newest google-chrome 37 from the Software manager.

http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/08/n...upport-plugins
 
Old 10-03-2014, 08:52 PM   #8
qlue
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In my experience Ubuntu doesn't run well on resource limited machines.
I would recommend that you try either Lubuntu or Debian instead.

Alternatively, Crunchbang is a minimalist version of Debian and uses VLC as it's default media player. I've found this distro to run the smoothest on my low-spec machines.
(It provides an option to install either Chrome or Chromium as well)
 
Old 10-03-2014, 09:44 PM   #9
dakoris73
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Thank you all for your quick responses. I will look at the AntiX distro, and yes, with such a slow computer, Lubuntu with the Chrome manipulations does work, but the video freezes....

As for what media I'm hoping to use this computer for, I want to be able to just play your standard DVD, stream netflix and possibly Hulu.com video's. I'm aware of the manipulations needed in order to get Netflix to run, and willing to do this, but would like the video to not freeze while watching it....... ;-)

Any other responses / suggestions would be muchly appreciated.

Thanks again.
Mikey
 
Old 10-10-2014, 08:08 AM   #10
dakoris73
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Hello again,
Here's an update of my progress and attempts so far. I tried installing AntiX onto the older computer, and for most applications, it does seem to work pretty good. However, any type of intensive graphics usage seems to cause some problems with the computer. For example, when I try to run Netflix on it, the sound plays fine, but the display still freezes up, and I'm having the same issues when trying to play a DVD on this as well.

So after trying several different linux distros, and all seem to cause the same problems with the display freezing up, tends to the notion that the onboard video card is not up to specs with linux, and probably won't work for what I was planning for this system. I've considered adding a PCI video card to the system, but don't have any available that would work for this.

If anyone has any other possible suggestions / recommendations to try, I'm all ears......

Thanks again.
 
Old 10-10-2014, 08:21 AM   #11
Drakeo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakoris73 View Post
Hello there,

I have only been playing with linux for a few months now, and I'm wanting to setup a media computer that can be used for my kids to use for watching netflix on. I have a Dell Optiplex GX60 with only 2 Gb of ram installed, and I installed Lubuntu 14.04 32 bit OS on it, and it definitely works better than the XP OS that was on there before. However, when I try to watch a DVD movie, or Netflix video, the sound works, but the video tends to freeze on it.

Since I can't add anymore RAM to the system because the specs say its maxed out, and I've also tried installing Ubuntu 10.04 and 12.04 on it as well, and didn't seem to work either. Is there another linux version I can look at that would allow me to be able to use this computer to watch Netflix or DVD's on without it freezing up on me again?

Thank you for helping me out with this so that I can set this up for my kids' TV room.

Thanks.
That little machine has plenty of power to run a lubuntu I know I spent a day setting up a hp fax and and printer etc for one. Found out they really do not have a package per say but hp has a great script that handles the hard work and it was up and running that said. if you put a few dollars into a graphics card like say a gt 640 you would be amazed at how nice that little box is. By freeing up the onboard graphics and pushing a ton of work on to the gpu you would see a huge gain in performance ok. if using flash you may want to turn off the 3d.
or I think it is called hardware acceleration off. you can find for 50 dollars a nice older gpu on ebay that would really help you.

Last edited by Drakeo; 10-10-2014 at 08:22 AM.
 
Old 10-10-2014, 08:27 AM   #12
rokytnji
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While running antix. You should have posted

Code:
$ inxi -G
Graphics:  Card: Intel Mobile 4 Series Integrated Graphics Controller
           Display Server: X.Org 1.15.1 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
           Resolution: 1280x800@60.1hz
           GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 3.4, 128 bits)
           GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 10.1.3
harry@harry-Latitude-XT2:~$ glxgears
libGL error: failed to open drm device: Permission denied
libGL error: failed to load driver: i965
1642 frames in 5.0 seconds = 328.322 FPS
1895 frames in 5.0 seconds = 378.985 FPS
1893 frames in 5.0 seconds = 378.489 FPS
1887 frames in 5.0 seconds = 377.304 FPS
But maybe the point is moot now.
 
Old 10-10-2014, 08:33 AM   #13
rokytnji
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P.S. The Emachine I dug out of the dumpster is my media center in the Motorcycle shop running AntiX 11 for years and only has 1 gig of ram, with onboard graphics.

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...d-deliver-174/

I don't netflix but I get streaming video just fine in gnome-mplayer.

http://antix.freeforums.org/hulu-tv-...box-t3475.html
 
Old 10-10-2014, 02:00 PM   #14
mreff555
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I would give crunchbang a try. It has the majority of the functionality and user friendliness of Ubuntu without the bloat. I ran it for years without any problems.
 
Old 10-10-2014, 03:38 PM   #15
suicidaleggroll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berndbausch View Post
There are Linux distros specifically focused on media. Geexbox, for example, aims to be a media center and is even supported on the Raspberry Pi, known for its little memory and slow CPU.
The RPi also has a dedicated multimedia co-processor with 1080p H.264 hardware decoding. Not exactly the same thing as an old, slow desktop CPU.
 
  


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