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Thread: kernel performance for old hardware...

  1. #1
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    kernel performance for old hardware...

    Greetings linux experts....

    I'm a longtime Ubuntu user (~6 yrs) and prefer to run old hardware (<1Ghz processor, <512MB ram). For this reason i've stuck with older Ubuntus (8.04, 10.04) and prefer to run with openbox desktop to keep things lean.

    I've been doing some distro research but can't find an answer. Seems as though many previous Ubuntu users have switched to Arch linux and often mention how lean and non-bloated their installs/systems run.

    I'm happy with Ubuntu and the performance is okay, considering the old hardware.

    Question: If Ubuntu 8.04 uses linux-headers 2.6.24 and the latest Arch linux uses linux-headers 3.5.6, won't the most recent install of Arch (they use a rolling release system) run heavier/slower than my old Ubuntu 8.04 install?

    This is my hunch, can anyone with actual experience confirm?

    Thanks in advance,

    Mardybear

  2. #2
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    Re: kernel performance for old hardware...

    Newer kernels are not necessarily always slower, sometimes, they'd have better hardware support and optimizations, which makes things faster.

    As for wich distro is leaner or faster, it's really up to you: what programs and services you install at boot, what DE and programs you use, etc. Both Ubuntu and Arch allow for a very minimal and a very bloated setup, as well as middle grounds, and I strongly suspect that claims like "distro x is so much faster then y" are pure nonsense.

    Ubuntu 8.04 had a much leaner Gnome DE, compared to some contemporary DEs.
    Last edited by mikewhatever; October 11th, 2012 at 12:30 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: kernel performance for old hardware...

    I would really go with Lubuntu if I were you.

    http://lubuntu.net/ -- 12.10 is coming out in 8 days!

  4. #4
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    Re: kernel performance for old hardware...

    I was thinking that lubuntu may interest you. It has openbox for a wm and even though its running the 3.x kernel you have the option to go with the non pae version.

  5. #5
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    Re: kernel performance for old hardware...

    Howdy...

    Thanks for your replies. There are a lot of Lubuntu fans on this forum! I appreciate your responses but my intention wasn't to start a favourite distro thread.

    As per my original post, i was hoping someone with actual experience might be able to confirm whether a linux-header 2.6.xx versus linux-header 3.5.x actually runs faster or slower on their particular system. I realize there will be hardware differences between my system and someone elses.

    Thanks mikewhatever...i also realize that software and desktop environment choices make a difference. That's why i run openbox.

    FYI: My linux-header 2.6.xx shows as 76MB and the Arch linux website lists the installed 3.5.x linux-header as ~50MB...does that mean that my older/less advanced header actually has a larger footprint?

    Thanks in advance,

    Mardybear

  6. #6
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    Re: kernel performance for old hardware...

    As a poster above mentioned, the newer kernel's aren't necessarily slower. Why not give arch+openbox a shot? If the newest kernel does happen to be slower, you can still compile a 2.6 version from the AUR and use it as your default, or try a version of the kernel with the BFS patch

  7. #7
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    Re: kernel performance for old hardware...

    Thanks pissedoffdude...

    I'm leaning towards giving Arch linux a try but i hate to distro jump, enjoy keeping old installs running as long as possible and don't actually have the hard drive space to spare for a multi-boot linux system. So before i spend a fair amount of time and effort installing and setting up an Arch linux install i just wanted to know if anyone out there has actually tried this already for comparison....might save me a lot of effort.

    On the otherhand....by the time this thread is completed i probably could already have a test install running

    Anyone out there actually tried these kernels to see if there's a difference (2.6.xx vs 3.5.x performance on older hardware). I notice that a lot of Arch linux users often jump between Ubuntu and Arch but typically return back to Arch in the end.

    Thanks again for any users who can post about their experiences between these kernel differences.

    Mardybear

  8. #8
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    Re: kernel performance for old hardware...

    Quote Originally Posted by mardybear View Post
    ...

    As per my original post, i was hoping someone with actual experience might be able to confirm whether a linux-header 2.6.xx versus linux-header 3.5.x actually runs faster or slower on their particular system. I realize there will be hardware differences between my system and someone elses.
    That doesn't make much sense. From what I can guess, you are probably after kernel performance benchmarks, which are numerous and public. For example: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...test2439&num=1


    FYI: My linux-header 2.6.xx shows as 76MB and the Arch linux website lists the installed 3.5.x linux-header as ~50MB...does that mean that my older/less advanced header actually has a larger footprint?

    Thanks in advance,

    Mardybear
    What sizes are those? I am afraid I've no idea what you are talking about.

  9. #9
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    Re: kernel performance for old hardware...

    hi again mikewhatever...

    Thanks for the link but Linux Kernel Benchmarks Of 2.6.24 Through 2.6.39 does not provide a comparison of linux kernel 2.6 vs 3.5 (my original post), so it's not helpful.

    I haven't been able to find any info that compares 2.6 and 3.5 for performance. If you come across this type of information please let me know. Google is usually my friend but not this time.

    Mardybear

  10. #10
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    Re: kernel performance for old hardware...

    I'm using an old Dell desktop, circa 2002, Intel® Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.40GHz with no enhancements added.

    I'm running Natty with a 2. something kernal, and 12.10 xubuntu with the latest kernal. I can tell no difference in them. They both work just fine for me. They seem fast enough, certainly they do not stall or lag.
    Remember When Double-Dog dare ya's and water balloons were the ultimate weapon?

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