Which FreeBSD is best for my PC?

Beech Rintoul beech at freebsd.org
Mon Dec 1 03:26:48 PST 2008

On Monday 01 December 2008 02:11:13 Polytropon wrote:
> On Mon, 1 Dec 2008 11:53:11 +0100, Mel <fbsd.questions at rachie.is-a-geek.net> 
> > 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... :-)

I was running KDE3 on a 750MHz box and it was really slow. I can't even 
imagine trying it on a 350MHz box. Stick to one of the simpler smaller apps if 
you need a desktop.

Beech Rintoul - FreeBSD Developer - beech at FreeBSD.org
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