Which FreeBSD is best for my PC?

Polytropon freebsd at edvax.de
Mon Dec 1 03:11:23 PST 2008

On Mon, 1 Dec 2008 11:53:11 +0100, Mel <fbsd.questions at rachie.is-a-geek.net> wrote:
> We have a few oldies, just installed KDE 3.5 on a:
> CPU: VIA Nehemiah (997.17-MHz 686-class CPU)
>   Origin = "CentaurHauls"  Id = 0x698  Stepping = 8

Oldie @ 1 GHz? You must be joking. I'd bite my hand off for
such hardware. :-)

> That's pretty much as low as I'd go for normal desktop usage.

For KDE? Yes, I do understand that. I would not even think about
trying KDE or Gnome on a 300 MHz box. But desktop usage != KDE.
KDE = preconfigured desktop with many built-in functionalities.
I think Gnome has gotten pretty much the same like KDE in terms
of ressource consumption. (I can't tell for sure, I'm not using
it on a daily basis.) What about XFCE 4? Maybe that would be a
good point to start, unless of couse the toolkit is too heavy...

> The machine 
> you're describing, still makes for a good router or LAN resolver with low 
> traffic webserving.

I have such an "oldie", P2 300 MHz, 256 MB RAM, ATI graphics
(it's a Compaq Deskpro), FreeBSD 5.4, XFCE 3, OpenOffice 1.1.5,
custom kernel, mplayer (compiled), xmms, Opera 7, Sylpheed.
I'm not lying: This machine performs better in some regards
than my 2 GHz P4 with FreeBSD 7! Applications come up faster,
screen output renders faster. And even things that don't work
on my "fast" system (wine, screen resolution in X, duplex
printing) work excellently there. I've got no explaination
for this, but it's true.

As a server most "oldies" are good if they run well. The point
of energy consumption is worth mentioning. I have an experimental
server here, it's a P1 150 MHz with 128 MB RAM. For learning
purposes completely sufficient to me.

> Backup machine if disks are good.

Or backup server if added some exchangable media (tape / DVD-RAM),
inexpensive solution for automated data backup.

> Getting a decent performing desktop on there is as Polytropon said, a project 
> you'd do for fun, not cause you need a desktop.

That's correct. But hey, you learn a lot by building such a
system, and in the end, you have your "ultimate desktop" right
fitting your needs - not what the developers of let's say KDE
are convinced you're wanting. That's a lot of work, I know,
but once you're done, you can dump / restore this system to
other machines of that kind (eventually needing to change
some settings).

The final quality of the machine is a direct result from the
work you will decide to put in it. If you just want to do
"fast, fast", the machine will be sloooooowwwww... :-)

>From Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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