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HelpfulTechWizard

What distro for a Linux noob on a low power machine

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I have a sic

Spoiler

Athlon 64 tf-20 (1.6ghz)

3gb of DDR2 666 MHz single channel

Radeon (not so) HD 3200

160gb HDD

New gaming laptop, and want to replace it's dying copy of windows 7 with a linux distro, but want to be able to run older games. I know that I would need wine, but is there anything else I'd need for DX9 and older games? Which distro would be best for this usecase?

 

PS: I'd want it to be a free distro, and want it to be installable off a Windows install. I have my desktop and want to be able to install it to the laptop's drive.


I am still TechWizardThatNeedsHelp, just less of a mouthfull.

 

My beautiful, but not that powerful, main PC:

My new PC I'm saving for:

  • NZXT H1 Matte Black
    • Comes with a 650W NZXT PSU
    • NZXT AIO
  • Ryzen 5 3600
  • MSI B450i GAMING PLUS AC
  • XPG ADATA 2800Mhz
  • RX480 untill I have more for a 2060 or 2070
  • 2tb Sabrent Rocket Q PCIE gen 3 NVME SSD
  • Samsung 470 128GB SATA SSD
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Any distro can do that. I'd run Arch with a light DE like XFCE.


Quote me to see my reply!

SPECS:

CPU: Xeon X5650 OC'd to 4.2GHz @ 1.35V (courtesy of @XR6)Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X58 RAM: 4x4GB G.Skill DDR3 1866MHz GPU: Asus RX 570 Strix Storage: WD Blue 1TB and a 128GB Kingston UV400 PSU: EVGA 600B Case: Fractal Design Define C Cooling: H100i V2, be quiet! Pure Wings 2 (two intake, two exhausting through radiator) Monitor: 3x Dell P2210 on a Steelcase Eyesite triple monitor stand Mouse: Logitech G403 Prodigy Wireless Keyboard: It changes, but usually Focus FK-9000 Mousepad: Steelseries QcK XL Headphones:  Sennheiser HD598SE

 

 

 

 

i use arch btw

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Posted · Original PosterOP

 

2 minutes ago, kelvinhall05 said:

Any distro can do that. I'd run Arch with a light DE like XFCE.

DE? XFCE?

20 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Try out xubuntu, runs pretty well on slow hardware.

 

Just try the games, your probably not getting good gpu performance though.

Lol, it can get 40-50ish on 720p low playing Portal. I also managed a OC of over 380mhz with no voltage increase. 

 

Would either Arxh or Xbunutu be installable to another drive from a windows install?


I am still TechWizardThatNeedsHelp, just less of a mouthfull.

 

My beautiful, but not that powerful, main PC:

My new PC I'm saving for:

  • NZXT H1 Matte Black
    • Comes with a 650W NZXT PSU
    • NZXT AIO
  • Ryzen 5 3600
  • MSI B450i GAMING PLUS AC
  • XPG ADATA 2800Mhz
  • RX480 untill I have more for a 2060 or 2070
  • 2tb Sabrent Rocket Q PCIE gen 3 NVME SSD
  • Samsung 470 128GB SATA SSD
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Share on other sites
Just now, HelpfulTechWizard said:

DE? XFCE?

Desktop environment. XFCE is an example of a lightweight one that doesn't suck.

Just now, HelpfulTechWizard said:

Would either Arxh or Xbunutu be installable to another drive from a windows install?

You mean a dualboot? Yes.


Quote me to see my reply!

SPECS:

CPU: Xeon X5650 OC'd to 4.2GHz @ 1.35V (courtesy of @XR6)Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X58 RAM: 4x4GB G.Skill DDR3 1866MHz GPU: Asus RX 570 Strix Storage: WD Blue 1TB and a 128GB Kingston UV400 PSU: EVGA 600B Case: Fractal Design Define C Cooling: H100i V2, be quiet! Pure Wings 2 (two intake, two exhausting through radiator) Monitor: 3x Dell P2210 on a Steelcase Eyesite triple monitor stand Mouse: Logitech G403 Prodigy Wireless Keyboard: It changes, but usually Focus FK-9000 Mousepad: Steelseries QcK XL Headphones:  Sennheiser HD598SE

 

 

 

 

i use arch btw

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 hours ago, kelvinhall05 said:

You mean a dualboot? Yes.

No, not a dualboot. I don't have a USB drive or disk drive for a install, so Id have to take the HDD out of the laptop, install it on the desktop, then put it back. I wanted to know if I would need to boot a install disk into the bios it install it, or if it could be done in windows.


I am still TechWizardThatNeedsHelp, just less of a mouthfull.

 

My beautiful, but not that powerful, main PC:

My new PC I'm saving for:

  • NZXT H1 Matte Black
    • Comes with a 650W NZXT PSU
    • NZXT AIO
  • Ryzen 5 3600
  • MSI B450i GAMING PLUS AC
  • XPG ADATA 2800Mhz
  • RX480 untill I have more for a 2060 or 2070
  • 2tb Sabrent Rocket Q PCIE gen 3 NVME SSD
  • Samsung 470 128GB SATA SSD
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Share on other sites
Just now, HelpfulTechWizard said:

No, not a dualboot. I don't have a USB drive or disk drive for a install, so Id have to take the HDD out of the laptop, install it on the desktop, then put it back. I wanted to know if I would need to boot a install disk into the bios it install it, or if it could be done in windows.

You really can't buy a $5 USB, or borrow one?


Quote me to see my reply!

SPECS:

CPU: Xeon X5650 OC'd to 4.2GHz @ 1.35V (courtesy of @XR6)Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X58 RAM: 4x4GB G.Skill DDR3 1866MHz GPU: Asus RX 570 Strix Storage: WD Blue 1TB and a 128GB Kingston UV400 PSU: EVGA 600B Case: Fractal Design Define C Cooling: H100i V2, be quiet! Pure Wings 2 (two intake, two exhausting through radiator) Monitor: 3x Dell P2210 on a Steelcase Eyesite triple monitor stand Mouse: Logitech G403 Prodigy Wireless Keyboard: It changes, but usually Focus FK-9000 Mousepad: Steelseries QcK XL Headphones:  Sennheiser HD598SE

 

 

 

 

i use arch btw

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Frankly the distro doesn't make that much difference. The choice of desktop environment makes the biggest difference regarding resource usage. Back in the day, both Gnome and KDE were considered big and resource-hungry. I think that's still true of Gnome 3, but the new KDE Plasma 5 DE is really resource-efficient. I've even run it on a netbook with an Atom processor and 1GB RAM, and it worked fine (I could only have maybe 1 or 2 tabs open in Chrome, but that was more than I expected after the terrible Windows 7 Starter Edition experience). I'd recommend at least trying it. But if you still need something lighter, I'd recommend LXQt. It's a nice DE that's lighter on resource usage than XFCE which is the usual lightweight recommendation. The Enlightenment desktop is another lightweight DE that you don't hear about often, but it's also worth checking out.

 

As far as being noob-friendly, I think Linux Mint or Manjaro are good choices. LXDE may also be worth checking out. I like Gentoo, but it's not for someone looking for an easy OOTB experience. And although it may not be the best choice for your purposes, I'll at least throw this out there: FreeBSD, from my experience, gives better performance than Linux on low-end hardware. There's more of a learning curve with FreeBSD than most Linux distros (unless you use something like GhostBSD), but it's not as intimidating as something like Gentoo. The only issue with FreeBSD is some rough edges and gotchas when it comes to support for some gaming-related issues like USB gamepad support or needing to jump through hoops to have both a 32-bit and 64-bit version of Wine installed at the same time. For gaming, you'll almost certainly want to go with Linux.

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9 hours ago, HelpfulTechWizard said:

I have a sic

  Hide contents

Athlon 64 tf-20 (1.6ghz)

3gb of DDR2 666 MHz single channel

Radeon (not so) HD 3200

160gb HDD

New gaming laptop, and want to replace it's dying copy of windows 7 with a linux distro, but want to be able to run older games. I know that I would need wine, but is there anything else I'd need for DX9 and older games? Which distro would be best for this usecase?

 

PS: I'd want it to be a free distro, and want it to be installable off a Windows install. I have my desktop and want to be able to install it to the laptop's drive.

you could try kubuntu or kde neon or pop os . they all will work pretty well on your pc specs..


 want to install chrome os? here's how.

"If elevators hadn't been invented, all the CEOs and important people would have their offices on the first floor as a sign of status...........

....And the entry level employees would be up on the 80th floor."

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Honestly, your PC aren't that underpowered to the point of needing niche distro. Something like Pop!OS is very user-friendly and would run fine on it.

 


Main Rig :

Ryzen 7 2700X | Powercolor Red Devil RX 580 8 GB | Gigabyte AB350M Gaming 3 | 16 GB TeamGroup Elite 2400MHz | Samsung 750 EVO 240 GB | HGST 7200 RPM 1 TB | Seasonic M12II EVO | CoolerMaster Q300L | Dell U2518D | Dell P2217H | 

 

Laptop :

Thinkpad X230 | i5 3320M | 8 GB DDR3 | V-Gen 128 GB SSD |

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 hour ago, Fatih19 said:

Honestly, your PC aren't that underpowered to the point of needing niche distro. Something like Pop!OS is very user-friendly and would run fine on it.

 

Lol, I want to not push the CPU as much with the OS, as it is already at 50%-75% load with just windows 7.


I am still TechWizardThatNeedsHelp, just less of a mouthfull.

 

My beautiful, but not that powerful, main PC:

My new PC I'm saving for:

  • NZXT H1 Matte Black
    • Comes with a 650W NZXT PSU
    • NZXT AIO
  • Ryzen 5 3600
  • MSI B450i GAMING PLUS AC
  • XPG ADATA 2800Mhz
  • RX480 untill I have more for a 2060 or 2070
  • 2tb Sabrent Rocket Q PCIE gen 3 NVME SSD
  • Samsung 470 128GB SATA SSD
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Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, HelpfulTechWizard said:

Lol, I want to not push the CPU as much with the OS, as it is already at 50%-75% load with just windows 7.

Try boot into Pop!OS with a USB drive and check your CPU usage.


Main Rig :

Ryzen 7 2700X | Powercolor Red Devil RX 580 8 GB | Gigabyte AB350M Gaming 3 | 16 GB TeamGroup Elite 2400MHz | Samsung 750 EVO 240 GB | HGST 7200 RPM 1 TB | Seasonic M12II EVO | CoolerMaster Q300L | Dell U2518D | Dell P2217H | 

 

Laptop :

Thinkpad X230 | i5 3320M | 8 GB DDR3 | V-Gen 128 GB SSD |

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Posted (edited)
On 9/27/2020 at 7:19 AM, HelpfulTechWizard said:

No, not a dualboot. I don't have a USB drive or disk drive for a install, so Id have to take the HDD out of the laptop, install it on the desktop, then put it back. I wanted to know if I would need to boot a install disk into the bios it install it, or if it could be done in windows.

I'm answering to two problems in your approach:

 

Installing from Windows:

 

All Linux distributions will want to boot their installation media, one way or another. There is no way around this (AFAIK!). Some Linux are installable from another Linux (or roughly GNU-compliant OS), but none are installable from Windows.

 

Although in principle it is possible to make an installer for Windows, it just is not worth the hassle and effort, so they probably do not exist (I must admit I haven't checked all distributions out there). You could set up a VM, pass trough the target HDD to it, add a virtual bootdrive to the VM containing the installation media and install that way, if you just can not use actual bootable media to install Linux (EDIT: another alternative in my following reply, however it, too, is not that simple, but does not need another host computer/HDD for the VM).

 

Installing in another computer (while moving the HDD to and from it):

 

While not using the same computer for installation is possible, it is not worth the hassle IMO. You need to make sure the drive is bootable once you install it back on the laptop, but this is not trivial (unless you are quite experienced with setting up boots). There is also the caveat that the boot configuration of your Desktop might(=will) get messed up, unless you know what you are doing.

 

It is way easier in case the laptop and desktop are old enough they are using legacy boot (not UEFI). Should work like this: remove all other drives from the desktop -> install laptop HDD to the desktop -> install Linux -> move HDD back to laptop. This will not circumvent the need to boot from the Linux installation media, and as such you will gain nothing, unless you have some notebook which can not use the installation media (while your desktop can).

 

With UEFI, there is the additional difficulty: you need to create the boot entry for Linux's boot loader by hand on the Laptop - which means, you need to boot from another media containing Linux or fix it from Windows with some utility (which might, or might not, exist).

 

TL;DR: Just boot the installation media for the Linux on the Laptop.

Edited by Wild Penquin
Some TYPOs / brainfarts!
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Posted (edited)

Some internet search will come up with some solutions (to not using installation media) 😁.

 

Basically, the process is to save the installation media on the HDD, add a bootloader - or a configuration to an existing one - to boot from it (this is all done from Windows). Saves the need for external media. Seems like unetbootin can do this. There are many more examples around in the internet.

 

The downside here is that the Windows partition can not be removed during installation - as the ISO resides there - which might result in your Linux partion size being limited to whatever is free besides the Windows partition (better resize it before you start), and start nearer the end of the disk, which might not be optimal depending on your goal. Specifically, the Linux partition needs to be moved later in case you want to use more of the disk.

 

This could be circumvented by a) having the whole installation media cached in RAM - but this means it needs to be quite small to fit in there, and the installation image needs to support loading to RAM process - or b) make an extra partition at the end of the disk just for the installation media. This way the Windows partition can be nuked during install (and Linux partition made in it's place, and resized later after the extra partition has been deleted). However, there is the problem that if the installation fails for whatever reason, your Laptop will be in a non-bootable state - which will mean, you will need something else to boot it! 😁

Edited by Wild Penquin
clarified last paragraph, lathough I think the idea was already clear
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