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Old 06-01-2013, 02:59 PM   #1
dmsbb80
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Which distro for my legacy pc?


Windows 98
Pentium III
64 MB RAM
10 GB Storage

I want to wipe the operating system and put linux on it.

I need ideas on which distro, and even what I can use this pc for. I have unlimited curiosity so try me.
 
Old 06-01-2013, 03:06 PM   #2
btmiller
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You're going to have trouble running running graphical apps with only 64 MB of RAM. A lightwieght window manager like FluxBox or even TWM wil runn, but graphical applications like Firefox are going to absolutely crawl. Is there any way you can upgrade the memory? Even having 256 MB or 512 MB will give you some amount of headroom and make the computing experience much better. If you plan to use the machine as a CLI only server or terminal, then this is less critical.

Puppy Linux seems to be quite popular these days for older PCs, but having never used it I can't give a recommendation one way or another. I'd probably suggest Slackware or (one my favorites) Arch Linux, but the learning curve can be quite intimidating if you're totally new to Linux. If you're willing to read documentation and ask for help when you need it, though, these would be good choices. Debian might not be a bad choice, and you barely meet the minimum hardware specs.

Can you tell us what you plan to use the machine for? That migth help guide distro selection a bit better.
 
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Old 06-01-2013, 03:09 PM   #3
teckk
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This question has been asked over and over again on LQ. Search the forum for linux on an older PC.

Nothing will run great on that. Without a GUI yes, with a desktop manager no, you don't have enough RAM in it. You could put a bigger HD in it and make a file server, or use it for a firewall. Arch, FreeBSD, slackware etc. without X.
 
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Old 06-01-2013, 03:49 PM   #4
dmsbb80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btmiller View Post

Can you tell us what you plan to use the machine for? That migth help guide distro selection a bit better.
I'd like to make it a file server, like tekk said I will add a new HD.

I'll open it up here soon so I can see my options for upgrading the ram
 
Old 06-01-2013, 03:57 PM   #5
teckk
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That will be either PC100 or PC133. If you get all PC100 it will be ok. That old RAM is costly now because it's not used anymore. You can get some out of old PII or PIII type machines. I think that the chipset will allow a max of 512MB. That will be a PATA HD. Newegg and other places sell them for $25 - 160GB. Keep in mind used hard drives that old will fail. I've got a PIII FreeBSD machine with a 10 year old HD that works fine, but that's not to be counted on.
 
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:41 PM   #6
snowpine
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Your hardware is obsolete, and I recommend you recycle it.

A better option for your file-serving needs, in my opinion, would be an inexpensive NAS (network attached storage) device which should set you back about $100-200 (depending how much storage you need) and will give much better performance, storage capacity, power consumption, and--most importantly for a server--reliability/longevity than your old Windows 98 computer.

Last edited by snowpine; 06-01-2013 at 09:37 PM.
 
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:16 PM   #7
Beryllos
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If it has USB 2.0, I would not upgrade the internal hard drive. I think 10 GB is adequate for the OS, and you could use a USB external hard drive for the storage. That way, at any point you can recycle the old computer and put the external drive on another system.

What kind of Ethernet does it have? I am guessing 100 Mbps, which might be slow for a file server, depending on your expectations.
 
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:32 AM   #8
dmsbb80
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Wink

I appreciate all of the information and help. I decided to just take it apart and educate myself.

Thanks!!!
 
Old 06-02-2013, 06:32 AM   #9
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teckk View Post
That will be either PC100 or PC133. If you get all PC100 it will be ok. That old RAM is costly now because it's not used anymore. You can get some out of old PII or PIII type machines. I think that the chipset will allow a max of 512MB.
Sometimes PC100 will run OK with a 133 FSB, sometimed it wont. Best to check if its a 100MHz FSB or 133 MHz FSB before buying.

Most pentium 3s use i810/i815 chipsets which mostly have a 512MB maximum (some rare models go to 768MB) but it could be a i820, i840 or VIA chipset with higher max RAM.
 
Old 06-02-2013, 07:26 AM   #10
archShade
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What are you trying to achieve?

If you just have an old PC kicking around thats taking up space, and you think you should do somthing with it is almost certainley not worth it. I would just recycle it.

If you have a real requirment/want for a computer then it's worth doing a cost benefit analysis. Also worth including your time. Key points to remeber.
  • Time - yours it has value.
  • Power/Energy - modern low power stuff will be a lot cheaper to run in terms of electricity.
  • Reliabillity/Maintenace - Old components fail, getting replacement parts may be difficult or expensive.
  • Upgrades - As already mentioned there aer very few things that this will do in a modern situation without adding hardware, RAM and HDD space will almost certainley be expensive compared to what you could eget for a modern setup.

One thing ou could try is running FreeDOS and using it to run some old/classic games. although you may be better off just using you current machine with DOSbox to do this.

It's hard to work out what you need to install without knowing more about what you want to accomplish. The mention of using it as a file server has been mentioned, this seems like a bad idea a dedicated NAS device would probably work better. If your happy about the using USB(2.0) then it may be worth looking at a R-Pi you should be able to setup a decent fileserver quite easily and there plenty of support on forums. the entire setup should be doable for ~$100 (the big cost will be and external HDD. The R-Pi will also feel more like your doing somthing yourself.
 
Old 06-02-2013, 07:47 AM   #11
brianL
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You could try running an old version of Slackware on it: 8.1, for instance. If you're interested, get an .iso for it from here:
http://slackware.mirrors.tds.net/pub...kware-8.1-iso/
 
Old 06-02-2013, 11:14 AM   #12
kooru
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Hi and welcome to LQ!
Slackware without X.
A good "school" to learn linux and recycle your pc
 
  


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