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Old 12-26-2008, 04:39 PM   #1
malto
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Slackware 12.2 USB Installation - Extremely Slow


Hello,

I've gotten Slack 12.2 installed on an Intel Atom 330 based PC using only an 8GB USB stick as the hard drive, and it is incredibly slow.

For example, just loading the hugesmp kernel through LILO takes about a minute. Once everything is loaded, the machine speeds up significantly, but it still appears that file system accesses are a major bottleneck.

Once logged into KDE, the system still responds incredibly slow to anything that seems to require much file system access.

In order to determine whether or not this issue is actually a hardware problem, I installed Ubuntu on the same stick, and it seems to be much quicker.

Is there something I can do to speed up the system's access to the USB stick?

Thanks.
 
Old 12-26-2008, 05:12 PM   #2
C-Sniper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malto View Post
Hello,

I've gotten Slack 12.2 installed on an Intel Atom 330 based PC using only an 8GB USB stick as the hard drive, and it is incredibly slow.

For example, just loading the hugesmp kernel through LILO takes about a minute. Once everything is loaded, the machine speeds up significantly, but it still appears that file system accesses are a major bottleneck.

Once logged into KDE, the system still responds incredibly slow to anything that seems to require much file system access.

In order to determine whether or not this issue is actually a hardware problem, I installed Ubuntu on the same stick, and it seems to be much quicker.

Is there something I can do to speed up the system's access to the USB stick?

Thanks.
For the loading at LILO try adding this word to a new line in /etc/lilo.conf (before the Linux section and VGA section)

"compact" (with no quotes)

This will dramatically increase the load times in LILO

Example

Code:
append=" vt.default_utf8=0"
boot = /dev/sda
  bitmap = /boot/slack.bmp
  bmp-colors = 255,0,255,0,255,0
  bmp-table = 60,6,1,16
  bmp-timer = 65,27,0,255
prompt
lba32
compact

timeout = 1200
change-rules
  reset
vga = 791

# Windows bootable partition config begins
other = /dev/sda3
  label = Windows
  table = /dev/sda
# Windows bootable partition config ends
# Linux bootable partition config begins
image = /boot/vmlinuz
  root = /dev/sda1
  label = Linux
  read-only
# Linux bootable partition config ends
 
Old 12-26-2008, 05:31 PM   #3
malto
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Thanks. I'll give that a shot once I get Slack reinstalled on the disk (since I tried Ubuntu...). I'm not so sure that this will help with anything other than the load time, though. When in KDE, the system responds so slow it's nearly unbearable. With a dual core 1.6GHz processor (even if it is an Atom...) and 2GB ram I would imagine it should be a lot quicker than this.
 
Old 12-26-2008, 06:20 PM   #4
Dinithion
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Even though USB2 got a theoretical speed of 480MBit, a flashdrive in practices is really slow. (Depending on brand, read: Prize). In usb stick world you get what you pay for. Many cheep flashdrives got a USB2 support but isn't very much faster then a USB1 flash drive. A drive that is USB2 compatible isn't necessary a fast drive.

I've experienced USB2 flash drives with read speed down to something like 4-5MBits. Imagine to load a OS of perhaps a 100MB with 5MBits/sec. Things like that take a lot of time.
 
Old 12-26-2008, 06:45 PM   #5
malto
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Registered: Dec 2008
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I do understand that USB is much slower than a regular disk interfaces, but it does seem that Ubuntu is faster than Slack for some reason...

We may replace the USB stick with a solid state drive if we can't find a solution, though it would be nicer to stick with the USB stick because of cost.

A word about this application... I'm on an undergrad electrical engineering team, and we've got to build an autonomous robot for our capstone project. This system is on a mini-ITX board mounted to the top of the robot, and we'll be using it for all of our image/video processing since we'll be navigating through the use of webcam(s) only. It should be a pretty fun project, I hope.
 
Old 12-26-2008, 06:59 PM   #6
Dinithion
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Location: Norway
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Oh. I'm sorry. I read you first post a little to fast. It is odd that ubuntu is faster on the same stick. Personally I would try out slackware on an old fashion harddrive to see if the speed got better.

Btw, the project sounds awesome! I study electrical engineering myself, but we don't get to do cool stuff like that :/

Last edited by Dinithion; 12-26-2008 at 07:00 PM.
 
Old 12-26-2008, 09:48 PM   #7
malto
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Registered: Dec 2008
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I added "compact" to my lilo.conf file, and it sped up the kernel load time from over a minute to a few seconds. However, the system is still really sluggish once it's booted.

The project should be really interesting. Our robot has to compete in the IEEE region 5 robotics competition, so we chose to build this as our senior project.
 
Old 12-26-2008, 11:32 PM   #8
grissiom
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Did you install Ubuntu or Kubuntu? If you compare Ubuntu with Slackware, it may be a problem about KDE vs GNOME, not only two system. If you want to debug into this problem, you may install a Kubuntu to see whether the system is still sluggish or not. If Kubuntu is much faster than Slackware, it may be a problem between two systems.
 
Old 12-27-2008, 06:00 AM   #9
guanx
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A simple command will show where the problem is:
hdparm --direct -t /dev/YOUR_HDD
where YOUR_HDD is your usb stick, usually sda or something alike.
 
Old 12-28-2008, 12:13 AM   #10
malto
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Registered: Dec 2008
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Thanks for the advice. The system is at school, and I'll likely stop by tomorrow to take a look at what hdparm shows. I'll post back here to let you know what the output is.

Thanks again.
 
  


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