Running Ubuntu 9.10 With Older PC Hardware
Phoronix: Running Ubuntu 9.10 With Older PC Hardware
Last week we looked at the Ubuntu 9.10 netbook performance with two Atom-powered netbooks comparing the Karmic Koala numbers against that of Ubuntu 9.04. For the most part, Ubuntu 9.10 offered better performance over its predecessor, but there were a few performance drops in different areas. With our netbook results out of the way, next up we looked at how Ubuntu 9.10 is running with older PC hardware. For the testing in this article we pulled out an aging laptop and ran a set of tests across Ubuntu 8.04.3 LTS, Ubuntu 8.10, Ubuntu 9.04, and the latest Ubuntu 9.10 snapshot.
An Lenovo ThinkPad R52 is not considered "older hardware" in my opinion especially with that much RAM, ATi X300 and hard drive space. I would happily use that. In fact I would LOVE to have that because those specs are great and I really love ThinkPads.
Originally Posted by phoronix
I have used that model (had to crack the Windows password using Ophcrack for a client) and that thing flies and I believe it only had 1GB RAM.
I currently run Fedora 11 on an old ASUS laptop (1.6GHz single core, 512 DDR, ATi 9700m, 40GB HDD) and it performs satisfactorily especially when compared with Windows, which would run OK for a few days until it becomes unbearably slow.
How about other OpenGL games?
I've been using Kubuntu 9.04 and now I've upgraded to Kubuntu 9.10 with two ATI graphic cards both R300 series (Radeon 9600 on AGP and x300 on PCI-E) and I've tested 3D acceleration on Radeon 9600 (but the system (P4 32bit, 2GB RAM, motherboard with VIA PT880 chipset) is multiseat with both cards used) and I've seen that Nexuiz works better on 9.10 than on 9.04 and glxgears has 3 times better FPS than on 9.04 (both with KDE 4.3.2 desktop effects enabled or disabled).
If I've get some time to test x300 card I'll check the performance there.
I am particularly intrigued by the last test: MAFFT Multiple alignment program. What could this be due to? Is there anything in gcc or libc that could be making this slight but consistent improvement over time?
Originally Posted by phoronix
My R350 (Radeon 9800 Pro) card has indeed extremely bad perfomance with any 3d game in 9.10.
And the fact that I've got 512 MB of RAM makes it even worse.
Pentium 4, 2,39 GHz CPU is OK in Karmic.
Also, there's kind of too much HDD writing/reading going on.
I hate the fact that Windows XP runs better than Ubuntu atm.
WTF! That's an almost generalized huge performance drop!
What about the old refrain stating that Linux is so suited for older rig?
Last year I tried a Xubuntu 7.10 on a P3 500MHz laptop... ok quite old, but it was almost unusable (but I wrote my PhD thesis on it with win2000!!!!)
I think that unless you get Linux From Scratch or distros that openly aim at small/weak/old hardware... Linux has in time evolved aiming at bleeding edge rig. I'm not angry about it at all... but at least defy the old beliefs about Linux being able to resuscitate old HW.
IMHO, I think that two areas are mainly responsible for that performance drop: modern graphic drivers (blobs) are getting more and more complicated and designed over newest hardware.. and the kernel itself (I have modern schedulers in mind).
So.. is Linux getting more and more feature rich at the cost of getting heavier and heavier?
I couldn't explain otherwise the performance increase with modern HW and a slow-down with the older.
Anyone has different opinions or more clues to explain the results of the test?
I would blame the need of Linux to publicize to mainstream.
It's good and it's needed. However, this means with every new version of components that combine a distribution will add more and more features without enough time to iron out older bugs.
There's a good saying in XP, that every time you summit your code, the code should become cleaner not vice versa. I guess it's not applied in Linux parts. Maybe I'm wrong though, just being theoretical.
Maybe, but if it were bugs... modern hardware should get slower too! (sometimes it happens, with regressions). Here the matter is that newer HW generally becomes faster with newer Linux releases.. while older HW struggles.
Originally Posted by kersurk
My question is (I have gaming and 3D in mind): do the newest drivers rewrite also the older graphic card section? Are they completely different from those found in 2008 for instance? I mean, are they architecturally different, made with new technologies instead of just debugging the legacy ones?
If so, does it happen with proprietary drivers or even with OSS ones?
Maybe all the tests in the articles are just suffering one single unlucky situation with R52 or Ubuntu... but I suspect it's a more generalized issue in Linux world
It's a pretty powerful laptop in the test, crappy software makes it slow, especially in foss world where regressions and and optimizations are not really prioritized since the features and usability can't even reach acceptable level.
I have karmic in my office and at home, and I find it snappier than 9.04.
My eee pc 900 is usable again, and I could even use it for software development.
In the office I have a 4 year old intel box which seems to be faster.
My desktop at home is also faster especially that the Catalyst 9,10 driver made about 100% performance increase on my radeon hd 3200
I feel happy with karmic.