[TriLUG] OT: hardware question
billvinson at nc.rr.com
Tue Mar 26 11:20:35 EST 2002
On Tuesday, March 26, 2002, at 08:26 AM, Andrew Perrin wrote:
> Sorry if this is too far off-topic.
> I've got an old machine into which I'd like to breathe some new life.
> a Pentium 200, and runs debian fine including X. It does get slow,
> though, and when I use top to figure out why, it looks like the real
> bottleneck is memory; it's got 96M. When things get slow, load average
> gets to around 1.3 and the top CPU hog is generally kswapd, which makes
> think it's actually the swapping that's taxing the system.
The main question is what are you running in XFree86? GNOME, KDE, or a
lighter weight window manager? The newer GNOME and KDE versions can
chew up memory very fast with all the bells and whistles. I find with
an older machine it is best to run windowmaker or blackbox (or something
similar). They will feel much more responsive and are quite nice.
> So... I'm thinking of adding some memory to the system. A couple of
> 1.) Does this sound like a reasonable way to handle it, given the
> situation I've described?
If you're running a large desktop environment, then yes you have the
problem nailed. If you're running something slim and light, then there
is something going on. BTW, one of the biggest issues I have found with
my systems is that sometimes I don't run the drives with DMA access
turned on. This slows everything down as the CPU is taxed heavily for
all disk access (including swapping). Is your system/drive DMA
compatible? If so, as root try 'hdparm /dev/hda' (Insert correct disk
in place of hda if that is not right). What does it say DMA is set to?
> 2.) Is there any sensible way of figuring out the biggest SIMM the
> motherboard will accept? Currently it's got two 32M and two 16M SIMMs;
> like to replace the 16M's with 128M's if the board will handle it, so
> end up with a total of 320MB. I don't have the MB documentation anymore,
> and the company I bought it from (for whom I used to work) is now
Unless you can find old SIMMs cheap on eBay then it is probably not the
best use of money.
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