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How An Old Pentium 4 System Runs With Ubuntu 10.04, 10.10

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  • How An Old Pentium 4 System Runs With Ubuntu 10.04, 10.10

    Phoronix: How An Old Pentium 4 System Runs With Ubuntu 10.04, 10.10

    Last October I wrote about running Ubuntu 9.10 with older PC hardware, but over this past weekend I restored an even older Phoronix test system to see how it runs with the most recent Ubuntu 10.04 LTS release and the very-latest Ubuntu 10.10 development snapshot in relation to the older Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS. This antiquated system has an Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, an 80GB IDE hard drive, and an ATI Radeon 9200PRO AGP graphics card.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=15115

  • #2
    mmm.......... quite interesting....

    Linux is really evolution. Evolution brings new "things", but loses others. Like humans loosing their tail

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    • #3
      After reading the title I actually expected an interesting article, that'd tell me about the desktop-performance of such an old machine. Y'know, things like the general responsiveness (snappyness) and memory-consumption (swapping kills desktop-performance).
      Well, I guess I should've known better. I should've know it'd only be a bunch of meanigless pts-graphs with pretty much zero value for anyone who's actually interested in how well such an old system fares as simple desktop-system with the latest Ubuntus.

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      • #4
        Thanks for testing that, but why there's only one test with OpenGL game? There should be at least Nexuiz, too.
        I'm really curious how more open source games work on these Ubuntu versions on R200 card.
        Looking at OpenArena if on other games the FPS rate drop would be simmilar there's now no doubt why my friends with R200 cards install Windows XP for games (even open source games) on the second disk partition with recent Kubuntu versions.
        I'm resting hopes in Gallium3D, that might give me some more FPS in both desktop effects and games on two R300 cards in my P4.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Zhick View Post
          After reading the title I actually expected an interesting article, that'd tell me about the desktop-performance of such an old machine. Y'know, things like the general responsiveness (snappyness) and memory-consumption (swapping kills desktop-performance).
          Well, I guess I should've known better. I should've know it'd only be a bunch of meanigless pts-graphs with pretty much zero value for anyone who's actually interested in how well such an old system fares as simple desktop-system with the latest Ubuntus.
          it works fine. i had such a box quite recently. and i wouldn't call it retired. it is a fine system for doing regular linux stuff.

          besides, there are folks with much older hardware than that who are getting things done.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Zhick View Post
            After reading the title I actually expected an interesting article, that'd tell me about the desktop-performance of such an old machine. Y'know, things like the general responsiveness (snappyness) and memory-consumption (swapping kills desktop-performance).
            Well, I guess I should've known better. I should've know it'd only be a bunch of meanigless pts-graphs with pretty much zero value for anyone who's actually interested in how well such an old system fares as simple desktop-system with the latest Ubuntus.
            Well, looking at my PC with P4 3GHz with HT and 2,6GB usable DDR1 RAM, Kubuntu 10.04 (two copies of KDE 4.4.5 desktop running at the same time - multiseat with one copy on 1080p LCD TV and second on 1280x1024 LCD monitor + 800x600 PAL/NTSC TV) works really nice - starts slowly (~2min from boot to fully load both KDE copies - looking at bootchart) because of need to read everything to memory at start but then it's working really nice and responsiveness is nice, too (with most desktop effects enabled). I'm using mostly QT/KDE apps as they work better (at least loads faster) than GTK/Gnome apps started in KDE.
            I use most KDE features with Nepomuk indexing on Virtuoso databases, desktop effects (on both seats), Kontact with Akonadi and system wide MySQL server for it's KDE databases, etc.

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            • #7
              On my system only fullscreen flash animations on 1080p display kills performance A LOT.

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              • #8
                Numbers vs. numbing

                Originally posted by Zhick View Post
                After reading the title I actually expected an interesting article, that'd tell me about the desktop-performance of such an old machine. Y'know, things like the general responsiveness (snappyness) and memory-consumption (swapping kills desktop-performance).
                Well, I guess I should've known better. I should've know it'd only be a bunch of meanigless pts-graphs with pretty much zero value for anyone who's actually interested in how well such an old system fares as simple desktop-system with the latest Ubuntus.
                I find it both hilarious and sad that you would rather read a bunch of completely subjective, essentially meaningless, adjectives. Well, here you go:

                "Ubuntu was snappy, and light. It was much more responsive and quick when compared to other sluggish distros. The graphics were creamy, the audio was rich, and the default application selection was chewy and firm. Beware, swapping totally kills desktop performance."

                Feel better? I bet you're an audiophile too!

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                • #9
                  The slower 3D performance is likely due to the tearing avoidance code in the dri2 support. A better comparison would be to look at newer distros with kms disabled.

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                  • #10
                    I expected some amount of CPU regressions (due to the huge number of drivers and stuff that went mainline in the kernel or gcc compiler complexity growing) but those were A LOT. What do you plp think of this?

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                    • #11
                      Antiquated? I've got two computers with these sorts of specs in my house. And I agree with Zhick, this doesn't tell you anything about the desktop responsiveness.

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                      • #12
                        I seriously think it would be most beneficial for everyone to know what the difference is between Ubuntu 10.X vs Win7 on older hardware. Boot-up times and desktop responsiveness along with common applications loading and usability. I think that's pretty much the extent of what's relevant on older hardware since most people would not use old hardware to game or do performance oriented databasing...

                        Although it's really interesting to see the regressions in performance! Keep up the good work!

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                        • #13
                          Definitely Linux does help keep old machines out of the landfills as all the posts indicate. I have one old thinkpad (T23) that chugs along nicely on Debian Sid...even more responsive than WinXP

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Zhick View Post
                            After reading the title I actually expected an interesting article, that'd tell me about the desktop-performance of such an old machine. Y'know, things like the general responsiveness (snappyness) and memory-consumption (swapping kills desktop-performance).
                            Well, I guess I should've known better. I should've know it'd only be a bunch of meanigless pts-graphs with pretty much zero value for anyone who's actually interested in how well such an old system fares as simple desktop-system with the latest Ubuntus.
                            Although some memory consumption report was expected, there are so far no objective tests for 'snappiness'. The problem was brought up previously with the appearance of Con Kolivas' Brain Fuck Scheduler. It's not totally impossible to make certain tests, but currently we have to rely on the collective reports of subjective user experiences, hoping the results are independent.

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                            • #15
                              Its really disappointing to see the new gallium drivers for old cards degrade in performance in comparison with the old mesa drivers. I have several of those old cards and was hoping to give them a new live sometime.

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