Suggest OS for low end rig

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

  1. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    Linux should have no issues detecting hardware for the most part. (including wifi, all the horror stories I have ever heard have involved 5+ year old odd ball wifi units that won't work in macos either cause they are crap :) Long live the winmodem)

    Gnome desktop tends to get mice speed right and allows for gui adjustments. However seeing as your using unity with the LTS version... check this out.
    http://www.pontikis.net/blog/fix-mouse-sensitivity-ubuntu
    I know the command line can be scary... but do the first part to see if this is in fact the issue you are describing. If using xset fixes the issue then you can create the mouse config file to make it auto start.

    Considering you have 2gb I would also check if zram is installed and running. (a lot of distros auto install it these days if you have 2gb or less ram... I don't know about ubuntu)

    You can check by opening your terminal and typing
    cat /proc/swaps
    You didn't install a swap part but if your system setup zram you will see something like this
    Filename Type Size Used Priority
    /dev/zram0 partition 2553148 0 5

    If you had one on a hdd it would look like this
    Filename Type Size Used Priority
    /dev/sda3 partition 11999692 0 -1

    If you don't see zram all you have to do with ubuntu is install zram-config (it will set everything up for you when you reboot it will be up and running)
    From a terminal you can install like this;
    sudo apt-get update (sudo gives you root access... this command just updates your software)
    sudo apt-get install zram-config (this will install the zram-config scrip... after you reboot if you run cat /proc/swaps again you should see zram swaps setup)
    If you really want you should be able to install the zram-config package from the GUI software installer as well.

    Chances are its already running I believe ubuntu is one of the auto zram install distros... but if not yes it will be worth turning on with only 2 gb. Have fun. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  2. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    Thanks for the mouse fix. I've set it to auto start.
    I'm not sure about the zram. Here's the screenshot.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    According to your screen shot its not setup.

    Its up to you but I would suggest using zram.

    With Ubuntu all you have to do is install zram-config.

    You can do that from the software center with the gui or by running

    Sudo apt-get install zram-config

    Its a script that will set it up for you nothing else you really need to do. zram is a kernel feature so the ubuntu script just enables it. After run cat /proc/swaps again and you should see zram swaps show up.

    Linux doesn't use swap as much as windows does but if you run out of ram it does need something to swap to. With only 2 gb it is very possible to run out of ram. Zram uses your memory instead of the hard drive to swap.... it uses a small but of ram as swap and uses a fast compression method. It tends to work pretty well on low ram machines within reason. Google uses it on ChromeOS by default. If you are browsing web pages or something and end up using 2.5gb of ram zram will have no issues handling that. It won't of course allow you to do anything crazy like edit 4k video or something. :)
     
  4. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    SSD:s are cheap nowadays... Just sayin'.
     
  5. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    What's the best CPU-Z equivalent on Ubuntu? Something that can read live cpu frequency, ram speed, spd timings, etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  6. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    Memory usage with [H]ardocp main page, [H]ardforum, and imgur (for uploading the screenshot below):
    [​IMG]
     
  7. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    Looks like your dangerously close to running out of ram. I would setup zram or a swap partition.

    As for machine info it looks like you found the unity/gnome system monitor. You can also use the terminal for more info from a command prompt you could type

    cat /proc/cpuinfo
    cat /proc/meminfo

    if you want a command line realtime usage readout just type
    top
    hit q to quit top.
    htop is also popular but you will likely have to install it first.
     
  8. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    ???
    [​IMG]
     
  9. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    Did you reboot after installing zram-config ?
     
  10. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    Oooopps.

    Filename Type Size Used Priority
    /dev/zram0 partition 509516 0 5
    /dev/zram1 partition 509516 0 5
     
  11. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    Pefrect you now have a zram swap setup.... if you want to give it a test... just load up a ton of browser tabs and try to chock your ram. Open a ton then run cat proc/swaps again... or watch your system monitor. You should see it kick in... being ram based though you won't hear any hdd clicking or anything. With only 2gb its better to have it setup then having things just crash on you. :) Being ram based though it is still possible to swamp things... but it should work as long as you keep things reasonable, I wouldn't go for the open tab record or anything.
     
  12. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    ChadD, the Zram expert!

    Should provide a noticeable benefit on mechanical HDD's, I've always used an SSD so I've never personally tried it myself - Might be something worth testing on one of the old junkers I've got here!
     
  13. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    It really helps on the low ram web surfer machines. Its why Google defaults to on with chrome books.

    The kernel supports 2 different types of zram compression. The default is LZO, but the kernel also supports lz4 compression. I am not sure how to enable lz4 as the compressor method in Ubuntu specifically. LZO is a better compression technique... LZ4 is faster (quite a bit faster). If you have 2gb and under I would stick with LZO its slowere deflating data however it has a better compression ratio which is good if you are extremely low on ram. LZ4 won't compress data as much, however it can be up to 3x faster deflating, so I would say for the 4-6gb type machines lz4 is likely the better option.
     
  14. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    ChadD

    In the screenshot below, is that "Swap" (47 of 995 MB) "running" in zram (in my ram) or in my slow hdd?
    [​IMG]
     
  15. naib

    naib Gawd

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    swap is HDD. zram is compression of in-ram memory pages to "free up" RAM
     
  16. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Better just enable swap no matter how slow your drive is. Swap is always better than no swap and run out of memory.
     
  17. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    But I didn't have swap space allocated during Ubuntu installation. As shown in post#86, swap is not available before I install zram. After zram installation, it suddenly pops out of nowhere, hence my curiosity.

    Anyway, I did a test:

    skylinestar@skylinestar-G31M:~$ sudo swapon --show
    [sudo] password for skylinestar:
    NAME TYPE SIZE USED PRIO
    /dev/zram0 partition 497.6M 57.4M 5
    /dev/zram1 partition 497.6M 57.4M 5
    skylinestar@skylinestar-G31M:~$

    Checking startup time. Is that even real?
    skylinestar@skylinestar-G31M:~/.local/share/applications$ systemd-analyze time
    Startup finished in 5.067s (kernel) + 22.806s (userspace) = 27.874s
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  18. naib

    naib Gawd

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    well zram can be configured as swap, so it could be. I am not familiar with the specifics of the configuration script.

    As to your boottime... possibly. I boot fully to a desktop in like 5seconds but I have an M.2 drive and use openRC
     
  19. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    Yes that swap in your system monitor is 100% zram. You don't have a swap partition setup. Your system has created a zswap and set it as your systems swap. It looks like its working exactly as it should be. Zram uses your memory as swap space. For what you are planning to use your machine for (basic web browsing ect) it is a very good solution. It uses LZO compression on things your not using a lot at the moment. LZO is like zip or rar compression... it compresses aprox to the same ratio as a lightly compressed zip format but deflates around 3x faster. For web browsing machines that works out very well as text from web pages tends to compress to almost a 3 to 1 ratio and even your lower end processor shouldn't take very long to decompress it. It should make your machine operate more like a machine with 3-4gb without having to do a bunch of hard drive swapping.

    Give it a good test.... open a ton of web pages and watch your system monitor... you should see it hit the swap. Of course it takes a bit of CPU overhead... but ime it is pretty slick.

    Your boot time seems pretty reasonable considering your hardware... are you complaining that it is slow or to fast ? :)

    For fun you can run "systemd-analyze blame" and see how long things take to load specifically. Not that I would change much really. About the only things you can get rid are things like perhaps Cups (apples/linux printing system) if you don't plan to use a printer at all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  20. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    Budget rig on $2 plastic 2-tier shelf. Monitor is a 15" HP L1506.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
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  21. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    I once had a 'server' that looked almost like that. I built if from leftover desktop hardware I had laying around. It had a cooling fan that was salvaged from an old toilet ventillator :D

    I built it as an experimental proof of concept (well, mostly the software in it) and we ended up running 7 years on that hardware. It worked like clockwork so we thought why fix it if it ain't broken.
    The ROI was quite high on that one lol.

    It was running perfect up to the moment I finally took the time to migrate the system to our virtualization platform. I was thinking to put the system for display in our office :D
     
  22. SmokeRngs

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

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    I ran a system similar to that years ago as my experimental testbed except I didn't any type of shelving to contain it. It just sat out on a small wooden tray table. It was an Athlon X2 4000+ with 1 gig of RAM and onboard everything including video. It would also run 2.9Ghz from the stock 2.1Ghz with a healthy voltage bump and 2.8Ghz at almost stock voltage. Even with such low specs that system ran damn smooth and felt faster with better multitasking than my E6400 system with high clockspeed, double the RAM, discrete graphics card and a faster hard drive.

    I really missed that system when I had to toss it into a case with a discrete graphics card and donate it to a family member who wasn't too bright and bought some software that their current computer couldn't handle. Software for a couple of kids for Christmas. I think I managed to put together a system with OS, updates and basic software in record time that Christmas morning.

    That was my primary Linux testbed and I never did get around to building another one like it. The really funny part is that almost all the hardware for that testbed came from me looking at RAM at Newegg one night to upgrade my main system. I ended up getting a RAM upgrade. And the x2 4000+ and a motherboard and a PSU. They were damn good bundle deals and I ended up spending $200. It was probably one of my best computer hardware purchases ever with the use I got out of it before I donated it.
     
  23. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    Sorry for this silly question: Does Chromium uses less memory than Chrome?

    Windows 7 is faster than Linux Mint Cinnamon?
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  24. zero2dash

    zero2dash [H]ardness Supreme

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    This doesn't surprise me...I've always thought Cinnamon was a bit of a bloated pig, at least in the VM testing I've done of it (with good hw dedicated to it...2 cores, 4 GB ram, 127 GB HD).
     
  25. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Heh Windows 7 and other Windowses pseudo-boot to desktop in that time. But in reality you're going to have a 100% hdd activity for multiple seconds to minutes depending on how fast drive you have nad how much stuff you have installed.
     
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  26. st4rk

    st4rk Gawd

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    Jesus...
     
  27. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    Chromium and chrome are for the most part identical.

    Googles non-free Chrome is based on their Open source project chromium. They add some AD reporting, and include a few DRM modules that aren't in the open source version.

    For the most part on Linux I would suggest sticking to Chromium. For windows users they have to find builds all the time... for Linux Chromium is in every major distros packages. You can still log into your google accounts for bookmarks... and if you do want to use DRM protected streaming sites like Netflix you simply have to install the widevine DRM package normally named something like "chromium-widevine" in most package managers.

    As for boot times... ya I'm not surprised windows 7 is at a desktop 10 or so seconds faster then Cin. Cin isn't exactly the lightest of desktops, its more modern then Windows 7... and as BOOnie mentions windows isn't really booted at that point we all know that. lol To be honest I'm not sure why anyone is all that worried about boot times anyway as long as a desktop machine is under a min I consider things fine. For a laptop I guess I can understand wanting to be up in 20s but for a desktop who cares.

    16:02:22 up 6 days, 34 min

    I'm not sure why I should honestly care much if I can boot in 30 40 50 or 60s when I only bother a few times a week. :p
     
  28. zero2dash

    zero2dash [H]ardness Supreme

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    Eh, partially true.
    7 boots to usable desktop because everything fires up during the Windows boot process.
    10 boots to desktop and pretends it's usable THEN starts loading everything else. It's a fake.
    If you don't group taskbar notification icons, you see this clear as day.
    One of the things that annoys me about 10...no idea why they did that other than trying to fool people into thinking it was faster.
     
  29. naib

    naib Gawd

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    swings and roundabouts. Chromium is the base sourcecode & Chrome uses this. Google adds their own stuff (tracking, plugins etc..) and then compile with their own build options. Such build options may increase or decrease memory footprint

    As to boottime... Things get a bit more interesting... Cinnamon is bloated for what it provides (but still lighter than gnome3 or plasma) and part of this is the window manager... However Elementary essentially uses the same windowmanager...
    I suspect something else is going on to then contribute to some of the variability. It was also a subjective desktop availability time. It would have been better if he used bootchart2 for the linux boot to truly determine the complete boot time to the desktop

    Still ... it aint long
     
  30. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    I think you've mentioned this before, and I have to say I don't agree.

    Windows 7 boots to desktop and then starts loading up running applications in the background and prefetching, it's slow as a wet week!

    I tested using my HTPC, a simple machine with 2GB (yes, 2GB, that's all it needs to stream media) of ram, a 60GB SSD and some kind of Sandybridge i3 with iGPU. Comparing Windows 7 to Linux on that Machine, bearing in mind that the Windows 7 install was as lean as can be as this device is strictly a home theater appliance, boot times were almost halved running Ubuntu MATE with Kodi 17 as opposed to Windows 7 running W7MC.

    On a well specced machine, Windows 10 boots in good time. But on a low specced machine with a spinner Linux still beats Windows 10 in relation to boot times.
     
  31. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    Since my old HDD is carried over from my previous multiple Windows builds, which is now really fragmented, should I bother to defrag it?
     
  32. zero2dash

    zero2dash [H]ardness Supreme

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    Fresh install, no apps, Win7 boots on my SSD's to usable desktop in about 10 seconds; that's with everything in the background loaded. SATA6 interface.
    Yes, Ubuntu MATE boots a few seconds faster than that to usable desktop.
    IME Win7 is fast when it gives the impression that it's booted to usable desktop - Win10 is not. Win10 usually continues to chug, and the mouse cursor skips around because of it. Then you see more icons pop up in the taskbar/notification area.
    That's been my experience with it. Same system, same SSD.
     
  33. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    I made the mistake of reinstalling my daughters Win10 to a spinner drive earlier. Different services (telemetry, defender etc) held the hdd at 100% activity literally for several minutes. The computer was completely unusable. In the end I had to do a complete reinstall to the pci-e SSD. Even then I had to disable 20+ unwanted services and applications (games etc ffs).

    At least the free win10s are pro so I had the GPOs to play with.
     
  34. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    You mean your drive that now has a fresh Linux install ? If you mean you are running and old copy of Windows on that isn't fresh I guess so. If you mean you created a ext4 Linux part on an old windows drive it is no longer fragmented its a new fresh file system, all the old data is gone.

    If you are using ext4 or btrfs or xfs or zfs ect fragmentation isn't something you have to worry about. Fragmentation is a windows problem.
     
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  35. Tiberian

    Tiberian Finger Me

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    FTFY ;)
     
  36. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  37. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    Haven't tried that one... installed it from the AUR on my arch box. Seems alright, not bad for txt mode. Not sure it got the mhz readings right on my machine but that could just be something odd on mine.

    I like http://wpitchoune.net/psensor/ for a nice low resourse GUI option. Most package managers have a psensor package. I like that it reports GPU and CPU temps.
     
  38. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    I followed the installation guide for s-tui (steps for ubuntu) but I can't launch the program. It says "ImportError: No module named pkg_resources". What did I miss?

    EDIT: OK. I got it fixed after searching around. I install PIP by following this guide:
    https://www.liquidweb.com/kb/how-to-install-pip-on-ubuntu-14-04-lts/

    pip 8.1.1 from /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages (python 2.7)

    Then, it's OK.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017