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Old 01-09-2005, 11:53 PM   #1
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Question Upgrading an older PC to try Linux

I have an older Dell system that I would like to install Linux on so I can try it out.

Description: Microprocessor type: Intel® Pentium® III microprocessor that runs at 800 MHz internally and 133 MHz externally
L1 cache: 32 KB SRAM (16-KB data cache; 16-KB instruction cache)
L2 cache: 256-KB Advanced Transfer Cache that resides in the processor's core. The L2 cache runs at the processor's internal clock speed.
Microprocessor mounting: SEPP2 package connected to the system board contains processor and cache circuitry.

System chip set: Intel 82820 AGP set
Data bus width: 64 bits
Address bus width: 32 bits
DMA channels: seven
Interrupt levels: 15
System BIOS chip: 4 Mb (512 KB)
System clock: 133 MHz (matches external processor speed)
Diskette/communications ports: 48 MHz from the system clock

Bus types: PCI (version 2.2) and AGP (version 2.0)
Memory: Rambus 1.1 (max RAM 512MB, I have 256MB.)

I'm wondering if it would make sense to upgrade the processor before I install linux on it. Knoppix 3.6 seems to run fine on it but I'm wondering if it would be meaningfully better with a processor upgrade (assuming I can find a processor to upgrade it with at a reasonable price).

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance for your help!
Old 01-10-2005, 12:02 AM   #2
Registered: Sep 2004
Distribution: Gentoo
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Older processors are fine for Linux. And installed distributions usually run a whole lot faster than Knoppix. You shouldn't have a problem. People run Linux on processors far older than a PIII.
Old 01-10-2005, 01:37 AM   #3
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Northern England
Distribution: Debian Wheezy 64-bit
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You'll be fine with those specs. I have a 600Mhz PIII with 256MB RAM, and it runs Slackware 10 very nicely indeed. It would benefit from doubling the RAM to 512, though - KDE is just perceptibly "laggy", but then it's a notorious memory hog, much as I like it. No problems at all using XFCE, Fluxbox or IceWM.

In every other respect it's just as usable as my main Athlon XP2400 machine, at about 1/10th of the cost - a princely £36 ($67) from eBay.

Hope this helps,

Old 01-10-2005, 03:13 AM   #4
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Old system? My current system is a P3-700 Tho I have a AMD64 under construction.

My p3-700 runs mandrake 10.0 at the moment. I don't think you need bother with the upgrade CPU...
Old 01-10-2005, 08:50 AM   #5
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Thanks for the great feedback!

This is my older system. I have an opteron system as well but I do not want to convert that to Linux untill I feel more comfortable with supporting it. The last command line work I did was with DOS in the 80's and I was a complete novice.

I am planning to try the most recent 32bit fedora "distro". Wish me luck!

Thanks again for the feedback!


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