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Old 07-29-2012, 07:36 PM   #1
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Best Linux for Old Desktop & Laptop ?

Hi All,

I am age 60 always been a Windows Man,
but thinking of Going over to Linux for good.

My problem is that my hardware is getting as aged as me,
Desktop Pentium D & 1.5GB RAM, Office
Desktop Athlon 64 & 3.0GB RAM, Web & Photo
Desktop Core 2 Duo & 4.0GB RAM, Multimedia
Laptop Pentium 4 & 1.5GB RAM, Spare & Occ. Web
Notebook Core 2 Duo & 2GB RAM, Web Browsing

Cant afford to go higher spec this year, but maybe replace one Desktop with, Core 4 Quad with 6 to 8GB RAM, next year. Maybe replace Notebook with a Quad 4 Core 4GB RAM Laptop, next year.

Question is what Linux System to go for?,
I want to ditch Windows for good, hate Vista & don't like Win 7.

Tried Mint and had issues with drivers & graphics card = black screen, and would not run.

Tried running dual Operating system ( Windows XP/Vista & Ubuntu )on Notebook and two of the Desktops. Using Ubuntu 11.10/12.04, but a bad experience.

Multi tasking was better on the dreaded Vista than Ubuntu, and issues with Unity 3D Desktop, slowed most jobs to a stand still.

Im afraid Computer Rage had me Crashing out of Ubuntu when it froze trying to move a 2GB Video off a USB Pen, and Chromium browser freezing with more than 3 tabs open.

So my Dilemma should I try some of my Old Hardware with a Linux system, or Take the lot to the scrap yard next Year.

Then Buy one Decent state of the art Desktop,
e.g Core i7 with 10-12GB RAM, 1GB Graphics Card.
But all seem to come with Windows 7 or 8 in the U.K.

So any advice please, is running a Linux system like Lubuntu or Puppy Linux or another viable?

Old 07-29-2012, 08:15 PM   #2
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With that amount of RAM, most contemporary Linux distros should be able to run, assuming that the other hardware (video, etc.) is compatible.

Unity is a heavy desktop which demands lots of resources.

You might consider distros with a lighter default desktop, such as XFCE or LMDE, or even a window manager, such as Fluxbox. I would suggest downloading and burning several Live CDs, booting to them, testing for compatibility.

Off the top of my head, I would suggest Lubuntu or Xubuntu or SalixOS (which offers serveral versions).

Remember, too, that, once you select a distro, you can install a desktop environment/window manager of your choice and switch to it; you don't have to change distros to change the GUI. I ran Ubuntu with Fluxbox quite happily on one computer for several years.

I'm sure others will come along with additional suggestions.
Old 07-29-2012, 08:19 PM   #3
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All those specs are fine for a Linux machine, if we talk roughly about performance then most linux flavours will use equivalent memory to XP just for the OS. The major issue we have with linux is that brand new devices are not supported the best, as your machines aren't bleeding edge you shouldn't have many issues with device support using a current release of whichever distro you like.

If you do decide to buy a new pc test it thoroughly before you start working on it regularly, especially the graphics capabilities. It doesn't matter what OS it comes with because you just wipe it during installation.

I also reccomend heavily against dual-boot, if you need Windows for a specific application then run it in a virtual machine.
Old 07-29-2012, 09:18 PM   #4
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@white183a: You ain't too old for a new distro (I'm 79 myself), and neither are your machines. Sadly, Ubuntu 12.04 and some of its derivatives are putting a lot of stress on integrated-graphics motherboards. For not much money you can get a low-end graphics card like GeForce 6200 or 8400 that will take the burden off your CPU and give you a fine experience. I'm running Lubuntu 12.04 on a 2002-era Compaq (single core, of course) with 1 gig memory and a 256MB Nvidia 6200 PCI card (not even PCIe), and I run Compiz (a powerful compositor with visual effects galore) on top of it.
Old 07-29-2012, 10:04 PM   #5
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Resource consumption really comes down to the desktop environment, which can be VERY light. Take, for instance, the machine I'm writing this on. It's a Lenovo T420S with 8GB of RAM. I'm running OpenSUSE 12.1 (newest version) with a pretty standard XFCE desktop environment (no special memory tweaks, just installed XFCE and booted it). Current memory consumption is about 800MB, and the vast majority of that is the web browser. When I close down all running tabs but this one, memory consumption drops to <500MB, and still the majority of that is Google Chrome. When I shut down the browser entirely, memory consumption drops to ~300MB. That should give you an idea of how well any of those machines can run even a very modern distribution of Linux, provided you use a "memory conscious" desktop environment.

I'd say any of those machines can run any modern Linux distro with the right DE. However, avoiding Unity, KDE 4, or Gnome 3 might yield better results on the more "limited" machines.
Old 07-30-2012, 12:01 PM   #6
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I'm working on a computer with an AMD Sempron, 1GB RAM, and on-board SiS graphics; my laptop has a Pentium M underclocked to 600MHz. They're old!

If you preferred Windows XP to the newer things, look at the Xfce and Mate desktops. Salix is a very reliable distro with both available.

Mint is usually sound: exactly what happened with it? If you have a problem with a graphics card, a search will often find some-one has the solution.

Don't forget that your laptops should be encrypted if they have any confidential information on them. That's easiest to do with Fuduntu, Kororaa, Mint, Mepis, ZevenOS, and ZorinOS.

Last edited by DavidMcCann; 07-30-2012 at 12:02 PM.
Old 07-30-2012, 01:39 PM   #7
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My pentium4 hp dc7100 has TinyCoreLinux (jwm windows manager)
Last week I installed
- linux Mint12 with lxde on a not too old machine
- linux Mint13 64bit MATE on 12GB RAM multicore machine
- TinycoreLinux on a P-III 750MHz
- Pear Linux was tested (funny thing)
- download a lot of ISOs from
- install a linux on your biggest machine (Mint13 MATE 32bit?)
- have alook at the ISOs you have downloaded with the linux programm "qemu"
- burn few CDs (Mint13 xfce and MATE, pearLinux, tinycorelinux)
- install
- test
- change, adapt..

I think..
- for screwing in your seller: take TinyCoreLinux
- for looking good and being modern (for your friends): take LinuxMint
- for a touch of fun: take Pear Linux
Old 07-30-2012, 01:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by floppy_stuttgart View Post
I think..
- for screwing in your seller: take TinyCoreLinux
I heard TinyCore was good
Old 07-30-2012, 04:40 PM   #9
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on older machines with now unsupported 3d cards
i like CentOS 5.8 or 6.3
i have a old DELL from 2000/2001 that ran just fine with 512 meg ram using CentOS5

the same box with 1 gig ram is running SL6.2 just fine
even the unsupported Nvidia Gforce2 card is working with the open nouveau driver
xorg in sl6 is too new for the old 96 driver to work
Old 07-31-2012, 05:07 AM   #10
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Mint and mepis Antix are good starter distros.

Want to start using Tinycore also. Fixing to get back into Slackware. All our systems are single core and no better than early p4 cpus. Run one robot (with a p1) on Ubuntu 5.10. Web server is a pII upgraded to a slot 1 pIII. Nslu2 is running Debian 6. etc etc.


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