Suggest OS for low end rig

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by Skylinestar, Sep 1, 2017.

  1. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    I'm planning to build a spare rig from old parts:
    - Intel Pentium E5200 2.5GHz cpu
    - Biostar G31M+ LGA775 motherboard
    - 2x 1GB DDR2-800 ram
    - WD 80GB SATA hdd

    WinXP will definitely run fast on it. But I'm thinking of Ubuntu too. I've heard Linux has lower system requirements than M$ Windows. How true is this? Will Ubuntu run faster than XP on this rig?

    Alternate is to go through the hassle to build a hackintosh. I believe this is the toughest but I do heard nice story about how smooth OS X runs on old hardware.

    The main usage of this rig is basic internet surfing, or probably just scanning my thumbdrive for viruses/worms in case my main gaming rig (runs on Win10) fails to detect it.

    Any opinion is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    EDIT: Built complete.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  2. Frobozz

    Frobozz [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'd vote to try Ubuntu. If you have the time to hackintosh it, then you could squeeze in an evaluation of a linux distro or two to see how things go.

    Should that not work out - Does your stack of parts have an existing Win10 upgradeable key?
     
  3. AltTabbins

    AltTabbins Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    Windows 10 will run fine on it but I would give a few Linux distos a shot. If nothing works Windows 10 should be fine.
     
  4. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    I don't have any Win10 key.

    Win10 run faster than XP on this old rig?
     
  5. michalrz

    michalrz 2[H]4U

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    It's hard to predict. In my cases, I once installed 10 on an older computer and it had major problems with desktop composition, stuttering, mouse...
    On the other hand, it works fine on low end modern hardware. 2 gigs of RAM is the absolute minimum (minimum pain but still pain) for anything.

    Same for Linux - the performance can depend on hardware-software compatibility. I have seen it run just fine and I have seen it stall.

    With old hardware like that you just need to try out both camps and hope it works good enough without serious stalling.

    Ubuntu should be fine. If you find it too slow and like to try another, there's of course a lot out there. Again, you will be battling with both the hardware being old, but also with software bugs.

    XP would of course be the quickest because of the IMMENSE requirements differences (and feature set!) between it and either 10 or Linux.
     
  6. FlawleZ

    FlawleZ Limp Gawd

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    XP would be a featherweight OS on that hardware. Will probably be the highest performance Microsoft OS for most tasks on that system. Linux could offer similar or better performance. If neither of those tickle yiur fancy I would choose Windows 7 over Windows 10 hands down. Probably the best blend between lighter weight and a more modern IS.

    If this is just an internet browser and your actually using this also for scanning thumb drives, it's no contest. Linux all the way.
     
  7. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardness Supreme

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    On hardware that old and with that old, small spinner drive, Linux will run like crap. More than likely Windows 10 will be not all that much better if at all. I would do either XP on that or perhaps install an extremely light weight version of Linux with minimal GUI effects. (Yes, I l know I said Linux would run like crap on that and I meant it but, I was referring to most normal, modern Linux distributions.) This has been my direct experience, anyways.
     
  8. SmokeRngs

    SmokeRngs [H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2008

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    It's not going to cost you much of anything to try out some Linux distros so I see no reason not to try some out. All it's going to cost you are some DVDs or CDs and even then that's going to be practically nothing if you're like me and keep some rewriteables around.

    I'd say the biggest issue you'll run into is the hard drive. It's not the fact that it's a spinner that's an issue (I'm running a really old WD 640 AAKS drive which was later relabeled as the blue line) but the fact that it's a much older and lower performance one. You're also going to be running into issues of storage space. Linux is almost always going to be a smaller footprint than an a semi-modern MS OS. I have an 80 gig partition for my Win7 install and only have just under 30 gig free at the moment. That's with all my games installed to a different physical drive as well as quite a bit of other software which doesn't need a reinstall with a new OS or at the least keeps the settings files in the directory with the program install. The only software I have installed to the OS partition is the stuff which must be reinstalled every time you install the OS.

    I simply can't recommend WinXP for much of anything especially if the system is going to be anywhere near an internet connection. The only time I would recommend that OS is if it's not going to be on a network and if you have software which absolutely requires the OS to run.
     
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  9. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    Linux loves spinners, by comparison I've always found Windows 10 to be painful on a spinner at best.

    Personally, since XP, I've never found Windows to be great on low end hardware.
     
  10. SmokeRngs

    SmokeRngs [H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2008

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    I have no issues with my spinner even on modern Linux distros. Hell, the startup time for my Manjaro install is a small fraction of what it takes for even Win7 to start up. Win10 was an even slower startup. From the time the OS starts to load to the time I get to a usable desktop in Manjaro is probably 30-45 seconds with my spinner. With Win7 I usually step outside for a smoke instead of sitting and waiting.
     
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  11. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    My suggestion is https://antergos.com/

    Its an arch based Linux.... it is very user friendly and is a rolling release which is 100% up to date at all times. The installer gives you a choice of Desktops to run out of the box with one installer.

    With low ram I would look at XFCE, or Gnome. (yes I said gnome... really 200mb isn't much more mem usage imo and it tends to be snappy) XFCE is a fantastic choice though.

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=ubu-1704-desktops&num=1

    Look through this recent phoronix article that goes into ram usage for different desktops... and perhaps it will help you select one. From his testing you can see Gnome uses around 600k of ram by default xfce around 400k. That isn't really a huge deal though in general.

    If you are a tinker type you can also get zram up and running, zram is a ram compression tech that is part of the linux kernel. Zram can be used to move your swap to memory... which can work really well if you are constantly hitting the swap. There is a sweet spot where your say 20-40% light on the amount of ram you need. If you are constantly using way more then the ram you have it will still run like ass. It is used by googles chrome os and android... and its part of the reason a chromebook with only 2gb of ram doesn't feel as terrible as you would expect. If you decide to use zram just google setting up zram + your distro.... in most cases you can enable it at the terminal and test it out in a way where its gone if your reboot. If it helps out (in cases where you are hitting the swap a lot) you can go all the way and set it up to boot.
     
  12. Krenum

    Krenum [H]ardForum Junkie

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  13. CannonfodderCO

    CannonfodderCO n00bie

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    If a primary use is browsing I'd be hard pressed to recommend XP, not much in the way of browser support nowadays (not to mention security issues inherent with an EOL product). I'd say windows 7 would run fine on that, see it all the time. If you're feeling a bit more adventurous then pick from your choice of distros... It won't be a record setter regardless of OS really but all of them will be a good backup and browsing system.
     
  14. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardness Supreme

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    ive got a system running w10cu with an e6400(2.1), 2GB(ddr2 666), 80GB(7200) and its usable for basics use like browsing, youtube, dvd playback, office etc.
    the system I'm on now is the same but with 4GB, SSDs and a 280x and its surprisingly usable and plays older games pretty good, some newer ones too.
     
  15. skiddierow

    skiddierow Limp Gawd

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  16. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    My findings exactly.
     
  17. Ultima99

    Ultima99 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'd stay away from XP as it would be most vulnerable to anything you might be trying to detect. Obviously Linux is the best in that regard, but if you want Windows 7 or 10 would be a better choice than XP.
     
  18. Brian_B

    Brian_B Gawd

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    If it's just basic web browsing and web apps, I would go with a lightweight linux GUI distro - Mint or something. Load it up with your browser of choice, and your good. There's probably a dozen distros that are set up exactly for this purpose and ready to go out of the install ISO.

    Can still play with Hackintosh install on the side if you want - that is a bit more hardware dependant and I don't know offhand if your hardware is all supported. Once you get it running, it will work fine ~as long as you don't install Apple OS updates carelessly~

    I wouldn't run XP on anything that thinks about touching the internet if I didn't absolutely have to for some reason.
     
  19. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    When considering XP you have to consider that you most definitely won't be running the latest versions of Chrome or Firefox as they're not supported under XP.
     
  20. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    You mean there are just too many worms targeted at XP? How likely will I be targeted just by visiting yahoo?

    Is Ubuntu light weight? My computing experience starts with DOS (pre Windows era), followed by all sorts of Windows until today. Sorry, I'm a total n00b on Linux.
     
  21. DrLobotomy

    DrLobotomy [H]ardness Supreme

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  22. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    Highly likely... you don't have to visit anything at all. MS in their wisdom of the time left plenty of ports open on purpose. A XP machine connected to the internet that doesn't even open internet explorer is still likely to be infected with something over an open port. (yes I know MS patched the worst of that... still ya do not under any circumstance install xp when there are better supported options.)

    Also as bullet already mentioned... all the major web browsers have stopped providing newer versions for XP. So if you run Chrome for instance you will be running a version that is almost 2 years old. No updates for XP.
     
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  23. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    Easier and harder love it. And yes true.

    If you want to try out Linux....
    #1 on distro watch is Mint... and its a great start distro. It is based on Ubuntu, but uses the cinnimon desktop which many switchers like.
    #3 manjaro is also a good starter option. It is based on Arch which is power user distro, but not as bad as some make it sound. Manjaro is super easy to install and is very solid. Its #3 for a reason.
    #4 Ubuntu.... the Ubuntu you hear about the most. The best known of the everymans Linux distros. Its not a bad option to start with.
    #5 Antergos... also based on Arch, the one I would suggest myself. Its installer allows you to select from any of the major Desktops. Its got a solid arch base... and allows you to "install with non-free" drivers.

    The install with non-free drivers. You have not mentioned what video card you are using. Linux doesn't work like windows when it comes to drivers. Windows kernel is what they call a Micro-Kernel. It does very little... to access hardware it uses a driver system. So you have to go and grab drivers for all your hardware. Linux is what they call a Macro Kernel... that means the kernel takes care of everything, so all drivers are included in the kernel. This means you won't have to run around looking for drivers for all your stuff, it will all just work. (on your older hardware really don't worry everything will just work). When it comes to video cards however Intel and AMD both have open source drivers... so they are included with the kernel and also just work like everything else. For Nvidia they have never open sourced their drivers, so Linux has a basic free open source driver that does the basics but most people want to install the Nvidia non open source driver for best performance.

    Anyway bottom line is Mint / Manjaro / Antergos all provide an option right when you install (if your using Nvidia) that says "install using non-free drivers" if you click this it will use the Nvidia kernel module (just what it sounds like a module that adds itself to the kernel so it can control your NV video card). If you choose to go with Ubuntu.... they don't offer an install with non free option, HOWEVER don't go to the Nvidia website either, when you first boot a window will pop up that will offer you Additional Drivers... there you can select Nvidia non-free driver install it and after a reboot you will forever more have the proper Nvidia drivers, and when you update your software it will also update your NV driver if anything new comes along.

    - What you really want to consider I would say almost as much as what distro to try first is what desktop you want.
    https://fossbytes.com/best-linux-desktop-environments/
    There are plenty of Linux desktop environment comparisons on the web do a little research. My suggestion for a new Linux user is almost always to go with Gnome (unless you choose to try Mint). Gnome isn't the lightest, its not the fastest. But its solid and does everything well. Mainly I suggest it as its the default DE for EVERY major commercial distro at this point (ubuntu/Fedora/Suse) It gets the most support / updates. There are tons of other great DEs don't get me wrong... but starting with Gnome is never a bad choice imo. Considering the low amount of ram you are dealing with XFCE is another great choice.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  24. Brian_B

    Brian_B Gawd

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    The vast majority of linux distros, just using default install settings, will come in well underneath the footprint for a typical, non-customized Windows 7/10 install. Most distros will run off the boot ISO as Live CDs and be just as happy (although they will boot slower if you have them on disc/USB than if you installed to a SATA drive), and I don't know of many that require a drive larger than 8GB. Mint, for instance, in the default config is under 2GB for the Live Install ISO.

    Keep in mind it runs and runs well on computers like Raspberry Pi - you can get ultra-lightweight distros if you really want to.
     
  25. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    This is creepy, although all the XP rigs in my work place are still running fine.

    Anyway, I've just tested the Ubuntu 16.04 by running it live via USB on an older PC (intel Presler Pentium D 945). Seems pretty smooth to me (surfing on firefox & playing music). On XP (main OS), the CPU fan will ramp up (damn annoying fan noise) when loads increase. On Ubuntu, it cruised along at low fan rpm. Looks like Ubuntu will run well on the better E5200 cpu.
     
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  26. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    Most companies still running xp thankfully have them behind good firewalls... not something I would suggest. At home though ya your at the mercy of your routers firewall for the most part. MS patched the worst offender of open port processes with their wcry xp patch. Still ya scary is right. :)

    Glad your liking Ubuntu. It is a solid well supported distro not a bad option.
     
  27. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    What makes things scarier is that in the days of XP dial up was still common. No NAT, no firewalls, just an XP machine totally open to the internet. I think the only reason why attacks weren't even worse was due solely to the fact that dial up was so slow.
     
  28. naib

    naib Gawd

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    yes because linux won't run on low spec machines, will run like crap on spinners :confused: do you lot listen to what you write...

    SSD's have only become commercially viable in the last few years.. I have been running desktop Linux since PATA and do you know what ran like shit? WindowsME which was around for spinners and PATA. WindowsBOB etc...

    At the time of my transition I was using Windows 2K and both ran fine on spinners. Stop talking crap, you are an embarrassment to this board

    Code:
     uname -m -i -p && free -h && df -h
    x86_64 VIA Nano processor U2500@1200MHz CentaurHauls
                  total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   available
    Mem:           1.7G        214M        142M         16M        1.4G        1.5G
    Swap:          511M         40M        471M
    Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    /dev/root        47G   17G   28G  38% /
    devtmpfs         10M     0   10M   0% /dev
    tmpfs           175M  5.1M  170M   3% /run
    shm             875M     0  875M   0% /dev/shm
    cgroup_root      10M     0   10M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
    /dev/sda3       188G   63G  116G  36% /home
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
  29. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    I think I know, but just for clarification, who are you referring to naib?
     
  30. naib

    naib Gawd

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    This exact quote, which is full of crap

     
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  31. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardness Supreme

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    Nope, my experience says otherwise and also, you took me out of context and did not bother reading further. Oh well, he goes another thread down the U v T way, enjoy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
  32. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardness Supreme

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    Dude, I did not talk crap and you have decided to make it personal, not me. I gave my experience and that was all, at least for modern linux distributions, which is what I talked about. (Old crappy spinner drives like an 80GB one are slow, period and no amount of software from anything will change that.)

    Edit: Oh, and please, quote me where I said it will run like crap on spinner drives. I just checked my post and I did not say anything of the sort.
     
  33. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardness Supreme

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    Try running it off the 80GB drive and let us know the results. If it runs good enough, good but, if it does not, do you have another, newer hard drive sitting around that you could through in that machine?
     
  34. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    My experience reflects naib's findings. Generally speaking Linux handles spinners far better than Windows. In fact in direct comparison to Windows 7 Linux boots faster on a spinner and settles to a usable OS far faster than Windows.

    Windows is downright horrible on a spinner.
     
  35. jmilcher

    jmilcher 2[H]4U

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    Windows 10 will run faster yes. And you can get a key for $15 here on the forum.

    I have windows 10 on a old netbook that came with windows xp. Yes a netbook. As a proof of concept. And it's very usable with only 2 gb of ram and a Intel atom cpu with windows 10 on it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
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  36. naib

    naib Gawd

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    do you know what linux is actually better on spinners than windows?
    1) the OS footprint is smaller thus the OS doesn't have to thrash as much to service itself
    2) Linux doesn't hit swap until it really has to. Windows by design will hit the pagefile constantly. I remember reading an article that this was by design to ensure a "constant" performance rather than a cliffedge when you run out of RAM...
    3) fragmentation ....

    --edit--
    http://www.tuxradar.com/content/benchmarked-ubuntu-vs-vista-vs-windows-7


    so a rotating HDD...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  37. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yeah, I remember having a Netbook with XP that ran slow. However, once I installed Vista Ultimate on it, it ran much better, for whatever reason. :)

    Hey Naib, you are right, I am wrong, whatever, move along, do not care, enjoy.
     
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  38. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    That's interesting. A big reason why XP made a comeback after the launch of Vista was due to Vista's ability, or lack thereof, to run on low end hardware like netbooks. That's why initially a lot of netbooks came with Linux until Microsoft started allowing OEMs to use XP on those devices.
     
  39. stormy1

    stormy1 Gawd

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  40. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yeah, it was odd but, then again, the netbook did have 2GB of ram and I think it was a 320GB hard drive. As long as you gave Vista Ultimate enough ram, it would run reasonably well. (I would not suggest it today because you cannot even run Windows updates on it anymore.)
     
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