Need advice

arden arden at
Sat Sep 11 03:29:33 PDT 2004

On Sat, 2004-09-11 at 10:37, Bill Schmitt (SW) wrote:
> I'm a newbie to FreeBSD, and I like what I've seen so far. I've been 
> trying it on a machine I have here to get an idea of the plusses and 
> minuses of using it as a basic desktop system. I could use a little 
> advice to guide me in the process.
> I'm working with Version 4.10 now, simply because at the time I 
> downloaded it, the 5 release kept locking up in the middle of the 
> detection process. Also, my configuration seems to indicate that I 
> should be using XFree86, too, and a lot of the comments here have stated 
> that 5 will begin the use of xorg. However, xorg doesn't seem to support 
> the graphics adapter on the machine I'm working with (though, tweaking 
> XFree86 has been a bit of a challenge!).
> The machine I'm working with is a Gateway with a 300MHz PII that had 
> otherwise been retired. It started with 32MB of memory which I replaced 
> with a single 128MB chip. The motherboard has a built-in graphics 
> adapter that was put out by a company called Mpact, which doesn't appear 
> on any support list I've been able to find. Apparently the company was 
> acquired by somebody, who was then acquired by somebody else (ATI, I 
> believe) which then retired the processor. Because of that, when it 
> didn't work right away I didn't put too much effort into it. Instead, I 
> added a Diamond Stealth 2001 I had with the Arklogic 2000pv chip set and 
> 2MB of DRAM (from another retired machine) and used xf86cfg to create a 
> configuration file that disabled the onboard adapter and worked with the 
> Stealth adapter. While I'm not done tweaking it, I have managed to bring 
> up xfce at 800x600 in a low color mode, so far. I intend to try out the 
> various desktops and Window managers I've seen documented but chose xfce 
> to start because the comments here have generally indicated that it's a 
> good choice for a light, speedy, environment to begin. I did a full 
> install of FreeBSD, beginning with a minimal system from a CD, then 
> switching to FTP to continue, which seems to give me more options to 
> choose from. I used xf86cfg to get to the point where I can where I can 
> use xstart to bring up xfce with the a basic desktop on it. First, I got 
> it working with the basic VESA driver, and then with the ARK driver. 
> However, While I don't expect the machine to be a speed demon, it still 
> seems quite slow in comparison to the MS Windows versions (95 and ME) 
> that had previously been on the machine (I did a completely clean 
> install, so there are no Windows components, or anything else, left on 
> the drive).
> Considering all of that, my questions are:
> - Am I being unrealistic in choosing a machine with a 300MHz processor?
> - If I add another 128MB of memory, should I expect to see a dramatic 
> improvement?
> - Could the graphics adapter itself be the bottleneck?
> - If I picked up a newer graphics adapter that was supported by xorg, 
> would a switch to 5.x and/or xorg be expected to pick up the speed a bit?
> Thanks to anyone who might help fill in the blanks.
> Bill
>From my limited experience I'm not expert when it comes to free BSD 

It depends what you expect from the box but 

I have a similar box (amd 400) running 5.2.1 and its quite happy :)
in my opinion adding ram to any box will may things improve 

I added a cheap Nivdia 64meg video card that works well with Xf86 and
the driver is on the Nvidia site if you want 3d to work 

plan to play with this weekend just downloaded 5.3 

hope this helps 


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