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I've been given a Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Si1520, which has been wiped clean - when turned on, it gets as far as 'NO OPERATING SYSTEM DETECTED', and that's it.
My only experience of Linux is a half-hour poke-about on a friend's Ubuntu, but I'd like to put an appropriate Distro onto this machine. My needs are very basic - I want to access my e-mail, watch DVDs, and use a word-processing application that will give me documents compatible with the Kingsoft Writer I use on my Windows7 desktop.
I have a computer-savvy friend who will download and install a distro for me, if we can find out which one is the most appropriate for the machine and my usage. I do realise that I'll have some learning to do once I've got the machine working, but I'd be very grateful for any advice.
I've copied a review of the Amilo Si1520, which I think includes all the tech detail that might be needed.
Many thanks for your attention,
Built around a T2300 Intel Core Duo processor which is clocked at 1.66GHz, Intelís i945GM/ICH7-M chipset combination and 512MB of DRR2 memory (8MB of which is used by the integrated Intel GMA950 graphics adapter), the Si1520 has more than respectable performance. This is demonstrated by its SYSmark 04SE score of 185; ample proof that it will run most of your everyday apps without too many problems.
Graphics performance is a different matter, as you would expect with integrated graphics. A score of 508 in 3DMark05 and a FarCry frame score of 7fps testify to this. Output from the GMA950 drives the 12.1-inch CrystalView WXGA widescreen display with its 1,280 by 800 pixel native resolution, and there is an ambient light sensor built in which automatically adjusts the screen brightness according to the ambient lighting conditions.
The keyboard is easy on the touch with well-spaced keys and, because of the small size of the chassis, thereís hardly any wasted space. Below the keyboard sit the trackpad and two mouse buttons, while above it sit the power button and five launch keys that quick-start a number of programs and utilities; E-mail, Web browser, Silent mode, Wireless on/off (which helps conserve battery life) and Multimedia application.
For storage the Amilo Si1520 comes with a 60GB hard drive as standard, but other capacity drives are available as options and thereís also a Dual Layer DVD burner. This burns DVD+/-R discs at 8x and DVD+RW and -RW discs at 6x, while Dual Layer discs are written at 2.4x for +R and 4x for -R.
Added to this are an Express Card reader and a 4-in-1 memory card reader built into the front panel, the latter supporting SD, MS, MMC and MS Pro cards, so you have plenty of options for shifting data on and off the hard drive.
The Amilo Si1520 offers no surprises when it comes to connecting it to the outside world; it incorporates 802.11a/b/g wireless networking, Bluetooth, 10/100Mbps wired LAN and a 56Kbps modem.
Battery life is not particularly impressive, though, with the laptop managing just over two and a half hours during MobileMark 05's DVD playback test and just over three hours for the Productivity test. Adequate, but not fantastic.
512MB of ram kind of Limits what to recommend. Your skill set to run a Linux distro is another.
If Slackware. I would say Salix Fluxbox (because I run it on a low powered atom netbook)
If Debian (I would say AntiX because the other Low powered Netbook runs that)
Being that threads like this gets a lot of responses. I'll defer to the other members here on this forum.
Since the hard drive is so small anyway, you could install a 32gb ssd. That would greatly improve performance.
As for Kingsoft Office, just install the Linux version.
As for a specific distro, I've had good luck installing Lubuntu on old hardware.
I don't think you have enough RAM for Mint. I would second the Lubuntu recommendation. It's designed for your specs and is newbie friendly with the added bonus of a large community. The desktop even looks like windows. But, I am not familiar with Kingsoft Writer.
www.lubuntu.net if you get this, make sure it is version 14.04.1 (there is a new beta 14.10--you don't want that).
So, your requirements are
(1) run in less than 512MB (the more spare memory you have, the more responsive your computer)
(2) easy to use and well documented
(3) stable and with a reasonable support period before you need to update to a new edition
(4) user interface not too alien for a Windows user
Thank you all very much; I think I'll start with Lubuntu until I've 'found my feet', but I'll certainly bear in mind that I can try others too - I believe I can run a distro from a disc or a flash drive without installing it anyway (correct me if I'm wrong there, please!) which makes trying them out a lot less hassle.
I'll go and have a read of the Lubuntu forum for a while before jumping in - and I''ll come back and let y'all know how it goes when I'm finally up'n'running (may take a while, I'm a carer and don't get anything like the time I'd like to spend on this sort of project)
I believe I can run a distro from a disc or a flash drive without installing it anyway (correct me if I'm wrong there, please!) which makes trying them out a lot less hassle.
You can indeed. There are a few which only have an installation disk, but most are what we call live disks, including Lubuntu.
One thing you're going to do is partition the hard drive. This page explains that and how to use GParted http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/gparted.html
I suggest / the root partition where Linux and its software goes, with about 10GB /home where your files go, with as much as you've got swap which is used if you run out of memory, with 1GB