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Old 11-05-2005, 10:28 AM   #1
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need distro to make older PC lightning fast


I read through many threads and wanted to ask my question. I thank you, in advance, for your help.

The stats:
HP Pavilion 6730
600 MHz Intel Celeron processor
128 MB RAM (256max) on the board

I dumped SUSE 9.3(?) on it. The machine runs fine, but slow as a pig. Can someone recommend a solid linux distro (even an older one) that will make this machine fly? Or maybe a way to strip down SUSE?

Basically, it's used for surfing the web, but I want to expand to word processing, music ripping,,,the usual. Right now, I can't even rip a CD to MP3 without the machine choking.

Old 11-05-2005, 10:58 AM   #2
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No distro is going to be all that fast on 128 megs. The best you can hope for is max the memory at 256. Even that won't be great.
Old 11-05-2005, 10:59 AM   #3
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The machine isn't that bad spec'd, but SuSE will be a little slow. You could look at uninstalling apps you don't need from with YaST2, and also look at the runlevel editor in there to turn off stuff you don't need like Apache webserer, MySQL database server, mail transfer agents, etc. Also, I'm guessing you're running KDE as your windowmanager - different windowmanagers are available, with KDE being the slowest + most resource hungry. Something like fluxbox of XFCE would be a lot lighter and quicker, though will look at a little different if you're just starting out with Linux.
In terms of other distros, Debian + Slackware will be very fast by default though take a bit more configuring. Something like Ubuntu might be middle ground. Fedora + Mandriva will work pretty much straight of the box and be a bit quicker than SuSE, but still sluggish in comparison. Have a read through some other threads on here to check out what people recommend, as you're likely to get a ton of opinions as to other distros to use!

Have fun!
Old 11-05-2005, 10:59 AM   #4
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I've been running slackware on 500 MHz PIII with 196 MB memory. It works like a charm. Forget heavy graphical user environments like GNOME and KDE though, you'll be better off with something like Xfce or even fluxbox. Firefox is quite usable with this hardware and so is OpenOffice. Ripping/enconding CDs has never been a problem either. I would suspect that it's also possible to have SuSE work reasonably well by stopping unneeded services and using a lighter desktop environment.
Old 11-05-2005, 05:05 PM   #5
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Slackware would run briliantly on your machine.

Check it out

Old 11-06-2005, 02:50 AM   #6
Registered: Feb 2005
Location: UK
Distribution: Knoppix 3.9, SimplyMEPIS 3.3.2, Mandrake 10.1, SUSE 10.0, Windows 2000 Pro, Windows XP Home + Pro
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Damn Small Linux worked faster than the speed of light on my P1 100Mhz with 32MB RAM, and being a Debian distro, is highly configurable and upgradable.
Old 11-06-2005, 07:15 AM   #7
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Another suggestion for Slack on that machine. I'd recommend using a window manager such as fluxbox instead of KDE or Gnome to save resources for your apps.
Old 11-06-2005, 07:53 AM   #8
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Old 11-06-2005, 10:07 AM   #9
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Try Dynebolic ( It's pretty light, live distro, fits in a single CD and has a lot of cool open source progs inside for post production(audio, video and image editing, 3D animation and more)
Old 11-06-2005, 10:19 AM   #10
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Vector with IceWM or XFCE will run great.

I run it on my Dell and it flies.
Old 11-06-2005, 10:30 AM   #11
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But, it's quite time consuming to make it fast if you compile the system by hand... and you need to anticipate the size of the downloaded packages and internet connection.
Old 12-01-2005, 12:32 PM   #12
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hp pavillion 6730

I recently swapped out a 64meg ram for 256 for a total of 384 (128+256). Everything works fine. A larger 512 module did not work, but I think that that module is only rated at 66mhz or 133 mhz. The mobo can only go to 100mhz. Supposedly, the max ram for this machine is 256x2=512. Use a program like cpuz

I have a Pavillion 6730 with 384megs (128+256) of PC133 ram. I tried a 512 module I had lying around, but it beeps and won't post. I think that there is no setting in the ram's speed timing table for the hp's top speed of 100mhz. The 256 module has speed timings for 66, 100, and 133 mhz and works just fine. Try a program like CPUZ to see the speed timings table listed on the ram module. You can definately get to 512 megs on the mobo. The HP site lists 512 as the maximum, but they also say that 256 is max on the same site.

Good luck!
Old 12-01-2005, 01:31 PM   #13
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Yoper linux also runs pretty darn fast

Peace V
Old 12-01-2005, 03:46 PM   #14
Registered: Oct 2005
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i am currently using slackwate 10.2 on a PC with less specs (400MHz 128MB RAM 4GB HDD)

and with KDE it is ridiculiously slow!
i am looking to change the window manager though i have no idea how...
i am thinking of choleterol free,
but as many of you suggest FXCE i will look into it...
Old 12-01-2005, 03:58 PM   #15
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I doubt this'll surprise many people but I'm voting Slack!

Fluxbox has been wonderful for me regardless of the computer's spec's (from K6-2 chips to Pentium 4s); I have no need for the extra fluff of KDE or Gnome.


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