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Linux, Unix, and *nix like Operating Systems Forum

Linux based desktops/laptops - Speed/cost vice windows?

 2:04 pm on May 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

I need a decent machine for my weekend residence, mainly for working with Joomla sites, Google analytics, etc.

Funds are tight.. Heck, the aren't tight, they are scarcer than honest politicians right now....

I tried putting linux on an old Windoze box and it didn't run much faster than windows. My though was that a linux based laptop or desktop might run faster and be cheaper than a windows box.

However, in doing some scanning through various sites, I don't see that. I though one of the big non computer retail chains was going to be offering new linux boxes a while back but I don't see that.

What I'm looking for is either a desktop or laptop for less than $350 that would give reasonable speed . Is it possible to find unix boxes in that range?

Also, I see some refurbed desktops for about 200 that come with windows 7. I thought win 7 would run terribly with only 2 gb of ram. I could purchase one of them and install ubuntu alongside windows. My question is, what is a realistic minimum for linux in terms of Ram/cpu ?

I don't need 'knock your socks off' performance, I just want to be able to get in and edit joomla sites without growing cobwebs waiting for page refreshes.



/rambling question



 2:32 pm on May 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

I tried putting linux on an old Windoze box and it didn't run much faster than windows. My though was that a linux based laptop or desktop might run faster and be cheaper than a windows box.

Depends on the linux distro that you want to run..
Win7 will run like a dog on 2 gigs of ram ( unless you "lighten" it <= not for the faint hearted, but can be done with vlite, as win 7 is basically vista done right )..the major linux distros have all succumbed to the same bloat as windows, just not to the same degree..

To get something that will run fast..on not much RAM the best thing is to go for a distro that is a LTS ( long term support version), try mint maya ( looks and feels nearest to windows ( xp ) for those coming from windows ) or debian wheezy..

I'm posting this from maya 64 ( it exists in 86 and 64 )..and 4 gigs RAM..it is fast and I have well over over 100 tabs open in Opera ( which at that figure, eats most of my RAM ) ..the 86 version is if anything a little bit faster on the same machine..but I have some things that I run as 64, so installed the 64 bit version..

I haven't tried wheezy..I know some who have..I'm told it runs about the same speed as maya on the same box with the same config..

I don't like what happened to ubuntu ( and it was slower ) ..you could also look at BSD ..or CentOS..

This is the machine that I use to connect to my sites and make uploads , downloads etc..I have never experienced "cobwebs" using it ..:)

My winboxen ( win 7 64 ultis ) are air gapped from the net..and each has dedicated tasks ..dev or photo etc ..


 3:09 pm on May 29, 2013 (gmt 0)


Thanks - Your reply put a lot of the peices together for me. I have been away from linux for a while and didn't consider that some of the linux distros were getting bloated. That makes a lot of sense now.

THe old machine i was playing with is at the shore so I'll burn a couple of the distros and try them out next time I'm down there. In the meantime, I'll look to see if I can find a machine with 4gb or ram.

Again I really appreciate your info..




 3:29 pm on May 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

From what I've read, I think if you go with Debian with an Lxde/Xfce desktop environment you'll notice a difference. I'm still slugging along in the latest LTS of Ubuntu and I just can't get comfortable with Unity even after, what is it, 2 years? We're on the verge of switching to Debian. I just don't like it when my desktop environments (or my search engines) do my thinking for me...


 8:09 pm on May 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've been running Mint Maya with Mate for some time now and it's fine on a low-end machine (6-core processor, 2Gb RAM) with 4 RDS servers open, thunderbird mail, half a dozen Kate editor sessions and half a dozen firefox windows with approx average of 8 tabs/window.

Current uptime 54 days so getting a bit sluggish at times with so much permanently open.

Secondary machine (not currently in proper use but lower spec) seems fine and the second-hand Compaq CQ60 laptop, used every evening for audio and video from network and extension Tb drives is more than adequate.

My brother is running a very low spec machine trying to get to grips with linux - again Mint Maya - and gradually succeeding, though it's slow on his setup.

I too gave up on ubuntu - far too bloated and too complicated to use after 10.4. Mint Maya is based on ubuntu 12.04 but seems to contain its excesses.


 10:07 pm on May 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

You say you don't see the Linux box running faster than Windows but your comparison is how fast web sites run. However, when you are looking at web sites, you are doing that through the browser program which will be essentially the same thing on both Windows and Linux.


 9:30 am on Jun 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

When you are looking at websites, not only is the browser doing the same thing, but what it is doing most of the time is waiting for the network.

What I can say is that even "bloated" linux distros are not all that resource hungry. The slowest machine we have, a dual core Atom netbook with 2Gb of RAM, can run a standard Ubuntu install well enough for light use.

My latop (i5 with 4Gb) is very snappy running Ubuntu with the MATE desktop and rarely uses much more than 1Gb of RAM.


 1:39 pm on Jun 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

For that matter, till just two weeks ago, I had two PIII boxes with 192MB of ram that ran a FreeBSD server and desktop. I didn't use the desktop for years but ran it just to see what was there before I pitched it and it chugged along just fine.


 5:21 pm on Jun 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

My Desktop: Mint 14 Nadia x86 (old dell omniplex)
My laptop: Mint 14 xfce (Latitude D830)

Favorite feature is workspace (desktop) switcher

So - | Files, editor | SFTP | Web Server |

Only use my windows machine to check sites for appearance every so often

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