how to use old laptops with via gfx
so I can fix and setup a couple of old laptops with via gfx but I was wondering if they are able to run modern distros. I mean are they functional at all?
I had an old HP p4 3ghz that because of an old unsupported radeon was a nightmare to use, is via the same? if it is I won't even bother
Try using IceWM, it works well even in VESA
Shitcan the compositing DE and go oldschool DE over a modern distro. Some of those old chips would not run Unity/gnome-shell/cinnamon even if a perfect driver for them existed, due to not enough VRAM or too old/no OpenGL. Remember, WinXP, (much less Windows 98) never had compiz, much less gnome-shell or Unity, and Aero reached the Windows world with Vista in 2007. Remember how fat and slow that was considered?
Originally Posted by Pallidus
That 3GHZ machine with the "old unsupported radeon" will be a fast, responsive machine with IceWM even if you have to use VESA, just no 3d stuff, no games, etc. It will handle DVD or smaller video just fine. If you can get a 2d accelerated driver working, expect video playback to 720p, do NOT expect 1080p playback on any single-core except by VDPAU.
A simple IceWM based desktop is exactly the kind of desktop these machines were designed to run. Ubuntu, its derivatives, and probably most other modern distros still have IceWM in their repos. You do have to know how to set it up. You need nm-applet and nautilus, nemo, or pcmanfm in your startup file, so you get a full desktop. You need to edit the menu files to reflect what you actually have installed.
That 3GHZ Pentium 4 was a very fast machine in it's time, Prescott as well as the Athlon 64 were never considered slow. They only seem so now because software has gotten so fat. DE's are among the worst offenders.
One mans trash is another's treasure
This is an indictment of the OS, not the computer. Remember how VIsta was so slow compared to XP, driving people to use circa 2008 Linux distros to wake their machines up? You can still find disk images for older distros, and there are distros tuned for older machines as well. For years I've suspected most computers need to use an OS no older than they are, yet no more than 5 years newer as well. Used to be ten years for Linux, we are slipping in that regard. I think we are having a "vista moment" with current X drivers and DE's.
Originally Posted by Pallidus
As recently as 2008, a Pentium 4 or Athlon Thunderbird/Athlon XP found on a curb or in a dumpster was a real treasure for some of us. For years I did audio editing on Pentium III's and a 500MHZ early Athlon, those were what we got for free from 2002-2008. In 2008 my crew had a whole bunch of PIII's set up in a community center for free internet access. Compared to these, a Pentium 4 was and is damned fast. I've never had a "too slow" complaint from a friend I gave a 1.4GHZ Pentium 4 laptop with Ubuntu Karmic on back in 2009. Yes, it had crappy graphics, no, it doesn't run Compiz or need to.
The only Pentium 4s that are power hogs are the Prescott chips, you'd be amazed how small the heatsink on a circa 2002 Pentium 4 can be compared to the huge towers needed on today's big 4, 6, and 8 cores. Of course, these modern machined to different jobs than P-4's were designed to do, such as HD video editing.