Linux recommendation for older pc with atom processor and 1gig ram?

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by roark37, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Hi, I have an older pc with an atom processor and 1gig of ram and was wondering if any linux distro could run reasonably well on those specs and if so which would you recommend? I currently have XP on in it and the main thing I am looking for is better web browsing speed and better boot time and I mainly only need to run a browser. Can any llinux be a noticeable improvement over XP or are the specs just too low for even decent performance? Thanks.
     
  2. pandorax

    pandorax Registered Member

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    You can install lxde from any distro you want.
     
  3. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    You could install Debian jessie (probably only x86) server (with no desktop). After doing ...
    Code:
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade
    ... you could install the full LXDE desktop ...
    Code:
    sudo apt-get -y install xorg lxde
    ... or even just the basic LXDE desktop ...
    Code:
    sudo apt-get -y install xorg lxde-core
    ... and then install whatever additional apps that you want.
     
  4. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    LXLE running perfectly on 17 year old hardware.
     
  5. fblais

    fblais Registered Member

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    Lubuntu is probably a good choice too.
     
  6. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Forgot to mention I used LXLE 12.04 LTS not 14.04.
     
  7. SouthPark

    SouthPark Registered Member

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  8. Nanobot

    Nanobot Registered Member

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  9. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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  10. The Red Moon

    The Red Moon Registered Member

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    With such a plethora of options available,I would err on the side of caution and perhaps either use a linux distro on a separate hard drive partition or use a virtualbox.Although the first option would more likely give you a far more comprehensive view on how a distro works on your particular system.
     
  11. Daveski17

    Daveski17 Registered Member

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    I found LXLE ran beautifully on my old x86 laptop with 1Gb RAM from a DVD on the the optical drive. Unfortunately when I tried to install it the laptop had problems due to it being old and knackered hardware. From what I saw of LXLE though it should run really well on underpowered or older hardware. I was quite impressed.
     
  12. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    I would love to install KDE3 somewhere. It's my favorite DE. You could install OpenBSD if you want KDE3 :D Or do some hackings to have it on Debian.

    MATE is pretty light as well. It's a GNOME2 fork after all.
     
  13. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the replies and I hope to try some of them soon but I have some follow up questions about running live from a usb. From my understanding some distros like Puppy and I think Porteus but there may be others, will load entirely into RAM with the live usb. But if that is true wouldn't web browsing and everything else be super fast running from RAM? Now my example of only 1gig ram may not be enough but for computers with 4gig never mind 8 gig or more of ram I would think should fly even in live mode as I thought RAM is even much faster than SSD. But I don't think this actually happens so I figure I must be misunderstanding something. If any of you know can you please explain how that works? Thanks.
     
  14. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    On an old Inspiron6000 with just 512MB RAM I run Xubuntu with no issues at all. I recommend Xubuntu vs Lubuntu (in case you want to use an Ubuntu system).
     
  15. shadek

    shadek Registered Member

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    Lubuntu. Worked on a 12 year old laptop so now my wife uses it and she doesn't complain about slowness, long loading times et cetera. And I don't have to worry about her browsing and clicking everything.
     
  16. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    I'm still in the process of exploring this and have tried several live usb's including Lubuntu, Puppy, Porteus but none of the live versions I have tried so far recognizes the ethernet on the old pc. This surprises me as I had expected maybe some trouble with the wifi but most of those do recognize that. Is that normal? And with XP the ethernet works fine. Is there anything that can be done so the ethernet is recognized? I don't want to even attempt at install or dual boot until I can use ethernet with it as I thought that was one of the points of using live usb first. I do plan to try Zorin and Manjaro next running live so maybe one of those will recognize ethernet. Thanks.
     
  17. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    @roark37

    Honestly I would just shell out the money for another GB of RAM. That will make the PC much more useful, and much more pleasant to use, though it's not strictly necessary.

    As for the desktop, Xfce works okay in my experience (though right now I'm using Fvwm).

    I don't think desktops/window managers are usually a major source of performance loss, BTW, unless you count those that require OpenGL support - Unity, Gnome 3, and suchlike will be very slow on a netbook with a weak Intel GPU. For low-spec machines you want to use a strictly 2D window manager. If the video card is really weak, try enabling outline move/resize for windows, which will prevent lots and lots of needless redraw operations.
     
  18. AutoCascade

    AutoCascade Registered Member

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    You might try Mint Mate. Mate is pretty lightweight. What type of ethernet nic is on the machine?
     
  19. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    I'm not sure of the ethernet nic and I am at work so will have to post it tomorrow. But I also was wondering do all the offshoots of Ubuntu have the same drivers so the same recognition of hardware? As you recommended Mint Mate which I was considering anyway but since Lubuntu did not recognize ethernet and both Lubuntu & Mint are based on Ubuntu(I think) then will that mean Mint won't recognize it either? Or do each of them have their own group of drivers which are not necessarily all the same? Thanks.
     
  20. fblais

    fblais Registered Member

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    Can you replace the NIC?
     
  21. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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  22. inka

    inka Registered Member

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    antix (based on debian stable) ships with a kernel containing assorted drivers for various older hardware.
    It provides several preinstalled window managers, including JWM, iceWM, and fluxbox.
    (antix, not the "antix MX fusion", which is debian_testing+xfce -- available as 64bit only IIRC)
    http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=antix
    I've done a LOT of distrohopping & can tell ya that antix and MX provide the absolute best persistence + snapshot / remaster tools

    http://exegnulinux.net/
    exegnulinux = current debian stable + TrinityDE
     
  23. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    My ethernet adapter seems to be the Intel 82552. Is there any reason that would not be recognized?

    I have tried Xubuntu also live and same issue with no recognition of ethernet.

    Maybe I'll try Antix as you recommend as well.

    I am considering just installing(probably Lubuntu but not decided for sure) and then after install hope I can get driver for ethernet installed and working. Do you think that 2nd part likely after install? Or if live not seeing it then installed won't matter either?

    I am also thinking about just getting a used desktop to try linux on as I am sick of the trouble my old pc giving me with it. I see many desktops on Craigslist and elsewhere from $40-60 range with minimum of 2g ram and dual core processors so cheap enough to experiment with. But my concern with used if it has Windows XP or 7 on it is what else is on there as I am not confident of being able to detect spyware or malware or being able to wipe it completely clean. If I installed linux on used pc immediately would that securely wipe everything off it from before so I would have nothing to worry about?

    Thanks again for everyone's help.
     
  24. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    @roark37 -- Intel NICs should be recognized. But maybe LiveCDs don't include all drivers. You can search for the name of the driver for your NIC, download it on another device, and then install it from a USB drive.
     
  25. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    I second Xubuntu.
    Mrk
     
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