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Old 03-27-2010, 02:53 AM   #16
daggett
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KDE Desktop and alternatives and tweaking kernel with sysctl


KDE Desktop and alternatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
I already followed your suggestion, and installed XFCE on that machine. Still the machine feels slow, maybe because of traces of KDE still being there, dunno. I scrapped KMail for Thunderbird as KMail was too unreliable and too buggy. Maybe I should make a fresh install, but somehow I am against making "fresh installs", this is not Windows.
I like the KDE Desktop and the way applications are (in theory at least) integrated, but it seems it may be one cause of my performance problems.

What I would find difficult to manage without are:

* Kmail and Kmail's address book.

* Konqueror's bookmark manager with its flexibility and its search capability;

* The integration between KDE programs e.g. between Quanta and browsers (at the moment Konqueror) which allows me to view a web page in a browser with the pressing of F12.

If I could find roughly equivalent functionality elsewhere and ways to export my (very large) mail box and bookmarks to another programs and be able to preserve the folder and I would consider other Window Managers or Desktop environments, and if I knew it would improve my computer's performance, I would consider moving.

How to tweak my kernel with sysctl?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro View Post
... Turn off all services that you are not using, use Flashblock to minimize Flash usage, and tweak the kernel settings using sysctl. If you done everything you can in software, then you need to figure out which piece of hardware is causing the slow down. How you partition and which file system you are using depends on the performance of your computer.
If you can suggest how to tweak my kernel with sysctl I would be grateful. In case they may be helpful I am attaching:

* A text capture of top;

* the contents of all files under /proc/kernel

* my out-of-the-box Debian Lenny /etc/sysctl.conf which is input into /etc/init.d/procps, which calls sysctl

Thanks again.
Attached Files
File Type: txt top-out.txt (3.7 KB, 12 views)
File Type: txt proc-dump.txt (5.3 KB, 11 views)
File Type: txt sysctl_conf.txt (2.2 KB, 13 views)
 
Old 03-27-2010, 02:55 AM   #17
daggett
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How to eleting duplicate post?

I can't seem to find a button that will allow me to delete this post which was a mistaken duplicate of the previous post.

Can anyone tell me how?

(Or I could re-use it by editing it.)

Last edited by daggett; 03-27-2010 at 03:06 AM. Reason: Attempt to delete duplicate post
 
Old 03-27-2010, 03:31 AM   #18
daggett
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Should we or shouldn't we avoid using extended partitions

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
This is bare nonsense (that one should only use primary partitions and not use extended partitions), in fact the greatest nonsense I heard in years. Secondary partitions are partitions like any other, the difference is that the primary partition table can only hold 4 partition descriptions, and the extended partition table can hold as many as you like.
This is great news, if you are right.

The person who told me this is a mechanical (I think) engineer and had been looking closely at hard disks for some time in order to find models that he considered reliable and which met his particular needs (although I am not quite able to explain here what they were).

This is not to say he is right, but he seemed considerably more knowledgeable about hard disks than me, so I would be grateful if you were able to provide a little additional information that would allow me to resume my old habit of creating around 8-12 partitions per disk, without fear. Are there any resources where this has been discussed (that is assuming it was ever considered even controversial enough to discuss) or anything else you can point me to that would allow me to put my fears completely to rest?
 
Old 03-27-2010, 08:17 AM   #19
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daggett View Post
Are there any resources where this has been discussed (that is assuming it was ever considered even controversial enough to discuss) or anything else you can point me to that would allow me to put my fears completely to rest?
Google for it and you'll see that there are no such resources.
Think about it. Data is stored on a certain platter, track and sector. (cylinder, head, sector, chs). Partitions start somewhere and end somewhere. In ext3 file systems, data is written randomly somewhere in the partiton. If you have one large partition, there is a large area where data is written at random places. If you have several smaller partitions, data is written distributed randomly in smaller partitions, but sometimes one partition is used, sometimes others. So what is the difference in terms of head movement? Hopping from one track to the other always involves head movement, regardless whether you files are on one partition or separate partitions.

jlinkels
 
Old 03-27-2010, 03:02 PM   #20
Electro
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I can understand the confusion from the "parts list". It seems they want to hide AMD parts, so they can sell more Intel processors.

The "parts list" shows the following AMD processors after translating it.

Dual Core:
Athlon II X2 240
Athlon II X2 245
Athlon II X2 250
Athlon II X2 255
Phenom II X2 550
Phenom II X2 545
Phenom II X2 555

Quad Core:
Athlon II X4 620
Athlon II X4 630
Athlon II X4 635
Phenom II X4 925
Phenom II X4 945
Phenom II X4 955
Phenom II X4 965

For my personal system, I have an eye on the Phenom II X4 945 because I use a lot programs at once. If that processor is price too high for you, you could go for an Athlon II X4 630. I am sticking with fast processors because of Adobe Flash.

The attached file from the output of top seems truncated. Also if you were an administrator of a Linux server, you should of used "top -bn1". At this time I can only say is do not use wireless networks and turn off power management. If you are using wireless networks and encryption, no wonder your computer is slow. The processor is doing encryption and doing other tasks. Using power management such as Linux's CPU scaling called Governor set at the mode ondemand is going to hurt performance. Set it to performance to get your system back in order. The setting ondemand is mainly for battery use. Your processor has a better power management feature than what the kernel has, so use that if you want to lower power consumption.

The utility to change a setting in the kernel is with sysctl. If you like the setting, you store it in /etc/sysctl.conf. Any changes you make are volatile, so by storing the new settings in /etc/sysctl.conf will always be loaded upon boot up.

You can always use another Window or Desktop manager. Any KDE program will load the require libraries, so you can use Xfce. It does have the ability to preload KDE stuff if you want it to for reducing load times for KDE programs. Again I use Xfce with out any problems when using either Gnome or KDE based programs.

Using multiple partitions does reduce performance of your hard drive. It is best to use less partitions than more. The following lists how many partitions that I have on my hard drive and their sizes.

Code:
Disk /dev/sda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xe8000000

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1          14      112423+  de  Dell Utility
/dev/sda2   *          15          47      265072+  83  Linux
/dev/sda3              48       19457   155910825    5  Extended
/dev/sda5              48         112      522081   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6             113         177      522081   83  Linux
/dev/sda7             178        4001    30716248+  83  Linux
/dev/sda8            4002       19457   124150288+  83  Linux
sda1 = Dell Utilities
sda2 = /boot (EXT3)
sda5 = swap
sda6 = /var/log (EXT3)
sda7 = / (XFS)
sda8 = /home (XFS)

I put the swap in the beginning of the drive for throughput. Any partition that I do not care for throughput, I put it at the end of the drive. The use of XFS helps to provide high throughput and provides parallel accessing. File fragmentation using EXT3 or XFS is a lot less than file systems that Windows supports.

The benefits of using primary partitions compared to logical partitions is they are easily can be hidden. Also primary partitions are easier to find if the partition table is corrupted. Using only primary partitions limits you to only to four. An extended partition is a primary partition. Logical partitions does not have information where they start and end. The information where logical partitions starts and ends are stored in extended partition.

Using partitions does not penalize the reliability of the hard drive if the scheme is setup properly. An example of a bad partition scheme, if taking a 320 GB hard drive and created three partitions. One partition is 16 GB, the next partition is 256 GB, and the last partition is 48 GB, this can have a huge effect for performance. If the 16 GB partition is used for the OS and the 48 GB partition is used for storing user accounts while the 256 GB partition is store miscellaneous data. The actuator have to move from inner and outer just to function, so the overall performance will be poor. The voice coil in a hard drive lasts longer than the servo motor, so the wear and tear of the heads moving back and forth will not be as much as the servo motor starting up and powering down. If you use the hard drive's power management features, yes the hard drive will fail. The servo motor will fail, but the actuator will not wear out.
 
Old 03-28-2010, 12:45 AM   #21
daggett
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Further issues with choosing processors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro View Post
For my personal system, I have an eye on the Phenom II X4 945 because I use a lot programs at once. If that processor is price too high for you, you could go for an Athlon II X4 630. I am sticking with fast processors because of Adobe Flash.
I can afford the extra money, but are you able to give more detail why you think that it would be worth my while to exchange my Intel Intel i3-530 for the Phenom II X4 945?

Is it because:

(a) you know of problems with Intel processors in general or that Intel process in particular (including that which I have already mentioned) that don't exist with Intel processors; or

(b) your experience with AMD processors has been good, whilst Intels are largely unknown to you?

What swayed be to go out and buy the Intel was that I was told:

(1) that they were very power efficient and a differerent and better fan would have been unnecessary (Would I need to buy a special fan for the AMD?);

(2) that this chip is a quantam leap ahead of what AMD are able to offer in the same price range;

(3) that the problems noted with the Intel processor did not seem insurmountable.

Another factor which dissuaded me from buying the AMD Phenom II X3 555 was that I was told that it was, in fact, a faster model (a quad) that had been deliberately limited to becoming only a duo. That strikes me as an immoral waste of resources, knowing that every chip we make today with non-renewable petroleum, rare-earth metals, etc, is a chip that will be denied to future generations. To use so much resources and then to delierately throw away much of what has been built in order to serve AMD's price and marketing strtegy seems immoral. (Once I believer the practice was to simply sell quads which failed testing as duos, which makes sense, but now they seem to be deliberately crippling them).

No doubt Intel is probably as bad, if not worse, in other regards, but that knowledge help put me off buying the AMD Phenom II X3 555.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro View Post
The attached file from the output of top seems truncated. Also if you were an administrator of a Linux server, you should of used "top -bn1". ...
Thanks for telling me about "-bn1". I am sure someone told me about that a long time ago. The output is attached.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro View Post
...At this time I can only say is do not use wireless networks and turn off power management. If you are using wireless networks and encryption, no wonder your computer is slow. ...
I have a wireless LAN card inserted but have never activated it. I will turn off power management, but it is not immediately obvious how I do that. I can't find anything in sysctl.conf that suggests how it be done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro View Post
You can always use another Window or Desktop manager. Any KDE program will load the require libraries, so you can use Xfce. It does have the ability to preload KDE stuff if you want it to for reducing load times for KDE programs. Again I use Xfce with out any problems when using either Gnome or KDE based programs.
Are you able, to, for example, click on a link in an e-mail in Kmail and have a browser opne the link, or do you have to manually copy and paste the link into the browser?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro View Post
Using multiple partitions does reduce performance of your hard drive. It is best to use less partitions than more. ...
Thanks for this. So it is safe and reasonable to use maybe 5-8 partitions, but, maybe using 150 partitions might not be a good idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro View Post
I put the swap in the beginning of the drive for throughput. Any partition that I do not care for throughput, ... yes the hard drive will fail. The servo motor will fail, but the actuator will not wear out.
Thanks for all these useful suggstions and that helpful knowledge.
Attached Files
File Type: txt top-bn1-out.txt (16.3 KB, 9 views)
 
Old 03-28-2010, 03:53 AM   #22
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daggett View Post
I can afford the extra money, but are you able to give more detail why you think that it would be worth my while to exchange my Intel Intel i3-530 for the Phenom II X4 945?
It would have been a different matter before you had bought the i3, but, from where you are now, it really wouldn't seem worth it to change.

Quote:
(1) that they were very power efficient and a differerent and better fan would have been unnecessary (Would I need to buy a special fan for the AMD?);
The Intels are probably a better arch, until AMD manages to get its new range (bulldozer) processors out; having said that, AMD are selling off their processors at almost fire sale prices to stay in the business.

As far as the fan is concerned, the standard, boxed-with-the-processor, fan will work in either case. Historically, the boxed product from AMD has made a rawer, more irritating, noise than the Intel comparable part, but, on this new range of processors, there has been some cost saving from Intel which had led to the processors further down the Intel range getting a cost reduced fan which is probably noisier than the fan of old.

In any case, this is not a big issue; an aftermarket fan (eg, Arctic Cooling for an example of a fan that does a good job, unless you really are an extreme overclocker) can be a good investment if it allows the fan to run more quietly and noise is an issue to you.

Quote:
(2) that this chip is a quantam leap ahead of what AMD are able to offer in the same price range;
A quantum leap is the smallest possible change that can be made, and the difference is bigger than that...

Having said that, the fire sale prices from AMD mean and the general slightly lower prices of AMD motherboards, particularly if integrated graphics can be considered, that AMD do offer better value in this area, and Intel cannot compete in value for money at the lower end of the market. At the upper end, its a completely different story, though.


Quote:
Another factor which dissuaded me from buying the AMD Phenom II X3 555 was that I was told that it was, in fact, a faster model (a quad) that had been deliberately limited to becoming only a duo...
In some situations, more cores will be faster, in some situations it won't make a difference; usually in the 'core limited' form, they will overclock more, if overclocking is what you want to do; you describe this as 'a faster processor', which is, I suppose, arguable, but an oversimplification.

However, for these 'faster' processors, there is a simple procedure to unlock cores (only works with some motherboards, and only gets you back to where you would have been had the locking not been done, so, if core locking had been done to give the processor some margin at some particular voltage/temperature/clock rate, you will undo that work...which is decision for you).


Quote:
That strikes me as an immoral waste of resources, knowing that every chip we make today with non-renewable petroleum, rare-earth metals, etc, is a chip that will be denied to future generations. To use so much resources and then to delierately throw away much of what has been built in order to serve AMD's price and marketing strtegy seems immoral. (Once I believer the practice was to simply sell quads which failed testing as duos, which makes sense, but now they seem to be deliberately crippling them).
Irrelevant rant. Not only could you undo this, but the resource picture is more complicated than that:
  • A big part of the chip area is cache and what you are getting is a big cache shared over a smaller number of cores, rather than that big cache shared over a larger number of cores.
  • Rather than doing all of the NRE required to produce a new mask set and do the testing and maintain a separate set of process optimisation for that mask set, and all the resource usage involved in that, AMD have made the decision to make a trivial engineering change, but use more silicon in production. That depends on AMD's assessment of their engineering costs, the market opportunity for those chips. The processing is an issue, but the earth is not about to run out of silicon...

Quote:
No doubt Intel is probably as bad, if not worse, in other regards, but that knowledge help put me off buying the AMD Phenom II X3 555.
...and the BE is available for a trivially higher price, and that offers unlocked multipliers, and may have a little more margin, at standard settings...


Quote:
Thanks for this. So it is safe and reasonable to use maybe 5-8 partitions, but, maybe using 150 partitions might not be a good idea?
I cannot see any circumstances in which 150 partitions would be anything other than an unnecessary management problem. Anything that you force out on to the highest partition number, whatever that is, will be forced out on to a lower performance area of the disk (assuming a conventional HD and not an SSD) which may or may not be sensible, depending on what it is. And forcing data to be widely spaced out, in area terms, on the disk is going to slow things down.

@Electro
Quote:
If you insist on buying a new computer, the AMD Phenom II X2 555 BE will not be able handle all those tasks faster than your present system. It will mostly be equal or be a little slower because of its larger L3 cache. A large L3 cache increases latency, so the processor will be penalized.
I'm sure if you tell AMD that their cache slows the processor down, they would be prepared to cut down the size and make the processor cheaper to produce

Quote:
I am sticking with fast processors because of Adobe Flash
I find that not using Flash cures that problem (as well as any potential security problems with Flash). Some web sites make it compulsory, so I avoid them totally. Job done.

I just wish more people would do that, so that web designers would get the idea that flash-only decreases their readership and so the plague of 'flash only' sites could be stemmed, but there you go.
 
Old 03-28-2010, 07:36 PM   #23
Electro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daggett View Post
I can afford the extra money, but are you able to give more detail why you think that it would be worth my while to exchange my Intel Intel i3-530 for the Phenom II X4 945?

Is it because:

(a) you know of problems with Intel processors in general or that Intel process in particular (including that which I have already mentioned) that don't exist with Intel processors; or

(b) your experience with AMD processors has been good, whilst Intels are largely unknown to you?


What swayed be to go out and buy the Intel was that I was told:

(1) that they were very power efficient and a differerent and better fan would have been unnecessary (Would I need to buy a special fan for the AMD?);

(2) that this chip is a quantam leap ahead of what AMD are able to offer in the same price range;

(3) that the problems noted with the Intel processor did not seem insurmountable.

Another factor which dissuaded me from buying the AMD Phenom II X3 555 was that I was told that it was, in fact, a faster model (a quad) that had been deliberately limited to becoming only a duo. That strikes me as an immoral waste of resources, knowing that every chip we make today with non-renewable petroleum, rare-earth metals, etc, is a chip that will be denied to future generations. To use so much resources and then to delierately throw away much of what has been built in order to serve AMD's price and marketing strtegy seems immoral. (Once I believer the practice was to simply sell quads which failed testing as duos, which makes sense, but now they seem to be deliberately crippling them).

No doubt Intel is probably as bad, if not worse, in other regards, but that knowledge help put me off buying the AMD Phenom II X3 555.
I have great success with AMD processors since 80386DX-40 was my first AMD processor. The Athlon processor was very, very good. Intel processors are not unknown to me. I have both Intel systems and AMD systems, but I know that AMD has more grunt to get through massive amounts of data compared to Intel processors. Intel processors are weak in virtual machines which I use all the time. The quality of Intel and AMD is the same, so there is no comparison. At this time both the AMD K10 and Nehalem core processors are equal, so Intel is not ahead of the game as you thought. The only difference is Intel took the architecture and optimize it while AMD stuck what that have been created since they first started. Yes, Intel stole the architecture from AMD, but this is OK to do in the black market in Taiwan.

Basically AMD is ahead of the game and they still are. Hypertransport is still faster than than Intel's QPI and DMI. Also the i3 and i5 is limited in bandwidth. If you add two video cards, performance will suffer. On the AMD side, it will not because the Hypertransport bus is faster than QPI and PCI Express X16 combine. Intel is alone in QPI and DMI area while AMD is not. Hypertransport has a lot of support from several companies.

The Turbo and Hyperthreading is still gimmick features telling people that yes Intel processors are faster and better because AMD does not have these features yet. If you turn these features off, it sets an even playing field to compare AMD and Intel processors. When you do this AMD will come up to the top in real world scenarios. It gets interesting for AMD because their total system is cheaper. Power consumption is different, but TDP has nothing to do with power consumption because AMD and Intel has different definitions for TDP.

No you do not need to buy a better heat sink for a retail processor version. You could but you do not need to unless you are over clocking the processor to the extreme.

The AMD Phenom II X2 555 BE may have three to four processors. If it has four processors, two cores are disabled for a reason. There is reason is because the cores have failed tests while the other two did not. AMD is doing this so they have minimum waste. Usually if a processor failed tests, they are thrown away, but AMD is doing something better by saving these thrown away processors. If you care for using the materials wisely, go with AMD. Intel has more waste than AMD because they have money to burn or they can take more risks. Intel does take a lot more risks by hurting the environment (buying carbon credits and not filtering the waste from their fabs).

The integrated graphics from Intel or the i3 530 is still pathetic and it gets worst in Linux, so you just wasted money by going with Intel. You still have to pay more money to get the same functionality of AMD system that has a working integrated graphics processor in Linux.

The following is my future build.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/Pu...Number=8984714

Quote:
Originally Posted by salasi View Post
I'm sure if you tell AMD that their cache slows the processor down, they would be prepared to cut down the size and make the processor cheaper to produce
The reason why I stated that the AMD Phenom II X2 555 BE does not perform well in general purpose programs compared to games is the L3 cache per core (about 3 MB each) will have an increase in latency. In benchmarks is showing this as true because the processor should be fast enough, but it can not beat an Athlon II X2 250. I know that cache may not be the factors, but too much cache can hurt the performance of a processors if there is too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by salasi View Post
I find that not using Flash cures that problem (as well as any potential security problems with Flash). Some web sites make it compulsory, so I avoid them totally. Job done.

I just wish more people would do that, so that web designers would get the idea that flash-only decreases their readership and so the plague of 'flash only' sites could be stemmed, but there you go.
I watch TV shows on Hulu.com so I need a faster processor to handle the videos when some content is fast. At this time my notebook computer is fastest, so I will like to get a desktop that is faster.

I use Flashblock to control Flash, but I only let certain sites to show Flash. I set Hulu.com and Youtube as the only sites that I do not mind Flash being shown. Though I do agree that sites can be designed with out Flash and still look pretty or have eye candy effects.
 
Old 03-28-2010, 11:47 PM   #24
daggett
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Have exchanged Intel i3-530 for AMD Phenom II X4 955

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro View Post
I have great success with AMD processors since 80386DX-40 was my first AMD processor. The Athlon processor was very, very good. Intel processors are not unknown to me. I have both Intel systems and AMD systems, but I know that AMD has more grunt to get through massive amounts of data compared to Intel processors. Intel processors are weak in virtual machines which I use all the time. ...
Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed advice. And thank you, too, salasi for you detailed and helpful reply even if you think some of what I wrote was an irrelevant rant).

I went out and and exchanged my Intel processor and motherboard for an AMD Phenom II X4 955 (they did not have the 945) and a Gigabyte MA785GT-UDH motherbard.

So I trust that that is close enough to the right choice.

It may be somewhat surplus to my requirements. If I can tweak my existing system to work well enough, I know at least one friend who could use it.

(It probably won't be until the Easter Long weekend before I will be able to put it all together now.)

Off topic: Is there a limit to the number of netword cards an Intel PC can take?

This may be going off topic, but one of my goals is to turn an older Intel PC into a firewall router (and possibly web server, too). I would like to put in it as many network cards as there are PCI slots, but I have never yet successfully set up a PC with more than two. Every time I have put in a third, the third has not been found by my out-of-the-box Debian distribution.

Does the Intel architecture limit the number of network cards that can be installed? (If no-one has the answer at their fingertips, I will look, perhaps in forums about routers to find the answers.)
 
Old 03-29-2010, 05:56 AM   #25
jlinkels
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I built a router/firewall with 4 NICs once. 3 of them were ordinary wired NICs, the 4th one was an adapter card for a wireless PCMCIA card (Orinoco). It worked, but not all combination of cards was possible. Some cards simply would not co-operate with others, or would preclude the operation of otherwise working cards.

In general, 3Com 3C905 usually worked together nicely.

jlinkels
 
Old 03-29-2010, 05:04 PM   #26
Electro
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What jlinkels stated is not true. Each component uses a certain amount of registers in a certain range. If the computer does not have registers to give in that range to a component, the device will not work. The software or drivers also have to be designed to handle multiple cards.

For example, 3ware states four of their cards can be used in a computer at one time. They are not stating all motherboards are compatible, so it is more a chance of how many can work in motherboards that are not listed on their compatible motherboard table.

Another example, if you are using Jetway JNC92, you could have a total of four NIC. One card is on-board using Realtek RTL8111C and the other three can be either Intel 82541PI or Realtek RTL8110SC by including a daughterboard. You could have five by adding a wireless network card to the PCI slot.

When going the DIY route for computers, you will always play the chance game. I do not mind it because I prefer to use quality parts and know what is inside the computer. I do know that there will be a chance of conflicts. The amount of the same expansion card unknown, so you have to take chance to know how many. Though multiple NIC does not gain you better performance. Better performance does not always means more bandwidth.


Your present system is still under used, but you do not think so. There are some programs you could do to give you back some resources. I suggest disable Apache, portmap, nfs, winbind, named, rpc.statd, mysql, atd, inetd. Also you need to understand about sysctl. It is kernel parameter tweaker and not a service tweaker. To change governors, you have to use a different utility to do that from cpufreqd or specify the default governor when compiling the kernel.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 06:45 PM   #27
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro View Post
What jlinkels stated is not true.
What exactly is not true?

(a) I built a router/firewall with 4 NICs once.
(b) 3 of them were ordinary wired NICs, the 4th one was an adapter card for a wireless PCMCIA card (Orinoco)
(c) It worked, but not all combination of cards was possible.
(d) Some cards simply would not co-operate with others, or would preclude the operation of otherwise working cards.
(e) In general, 3Com 3C905 usually worked together nicely.


jlinkels

Last edited by jlinkels; 03-29-2010 at 06:47 PM.
 
  


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