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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
[SOLVED] Which Puppy for this tiny computer?
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 2868
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PostPosted: Fri 01 Feb 2013, 15:20    Post subject:  [SOLVED] Which Puppy for this tiny computer?
Subject description: 600 MHz Celeron M CPU, 1 GB RAM; more specs inside
 

OK, so I know I'm the one usually offering advice for low-spec systems... but... I thought I'd ask what other people would run on this sort of thing.

Doing a custom build with a really special motherboard. This is one "special" board! It's an industrial 3.5" form factor thingamadoober, so it's not got much horsepower to it, but it's TINY. It's about the size of two desktop hard drives stacked one on top of the other.

System specs --

Commell LE-370CM6 motherboard
Integrated Celeron M 600MHz Shocked
1GB DDR-333 SDRAM (well, OK, it's a downclocking DDR400 stick)
60gb laptop IDE hard drive
Laptop IDE Combo drive (with adapter to 44pin IDE connector)
Intel WM3B2200BG WiFi card from a ThinkPad laptop (this is a MiniPCI card)
lotsa custom cables...

Ports will be 2xUSB, 1x audio (headphone), VGA, and PS/2 for keyboard & mouse via splitter (it's one of those boards with a combined PS/2 port, like on a laptop). The VGA cable will be custom, because I need something for a small space -- so it's going to be two connectors and a bit of ribbon cable. The USB cable will be custom, because the pin header has nonstandard spacing (2mm instead of 2.54mm/0.1")!

Power is a 12v 72w brick, going into a 4pin "molex" connector on the motherboard -- exactly like the P4 or "4 pin 12v" connector on a regular motherboard. Not like the "molex" power connector on a hard drive! There is a "Berg" (floppy style power) connector on the board which will be adapted to run a couple fans, as needed.

I will be using a very old PS/2 keyboard (Dell AT101W; it's mechanical) with this build, as well as (if I can get one) a PS/2 optical scroll mouse.

I'll mention that I'm rather averse to ClassicPup right now. No offense meant to anyone, it's just not my cup o' tea.

Given all of that information... what Puppy would YOU run on this?

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Last edited by starhawk on Wed 13 Mar 2013, 11:56; edited 2 times in total
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rokytnji


Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 1330
Location: Pecos/ Texas

PostPosted: Fri 01 Feb 2013, 17:15    Post subject:  

I'd try Diamond Puppy Linux or maybe even
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=74369



For a non Puppy Distro. I always use AntiX on low spec machines.

You have not mentioned which Desktop enviorment you would prefer either like XFCE,Fluxbox,Icewm,JWM,E17 or whatever also.

Lighthouse 32bit Puppy is pretty cool also and runs OK on my OOOOOOOOld
Ibm a22m with the same speed processor but with 256MB of ram on it.
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 2868
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Fri 01 Feb 2013, 17:39    Post subject:  

Desktop environment is, oddly enough, not something I'm terribly particular about. I have a liking for IceWM because it's tremendously themable. I like GNOME 2 Shocked because it's quite familiar to me.

I'll say right now that I'm pretty sure jejy69's GNOME232 Puppy would likely have horrible performance on this system. I'm willing to give it a chance, though.

My only real super-strong insistence with ANY window manager / desktop environment -- is that it have a tray with a menu button and program entries. What in Windows is called the taskbar. I don't care whether it's on the top or on the bottom (actually, I kinda like top trays just ever so slightly more... because they're different, lol) but it must be there in some way or I really don't like it.

Also on my "no" list is TurboPup. You can't customize it the way I want to, without tremendous nasty breaking of things. (I've tried.)

EDIT: I'd also like to stay away from Lighthouse -- had a bad experience with it. Sorry, but that's enough for me.

EDIT2: Flash, I can tell you've been here Wink what Puppy would YOU put on this system?

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amigo

Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 2247

PostPosted: Sat 02 Feb 2013, 03:25    Post subject:  

GNOME 2 on a 600MHz CPU -HaHa -you're very funny! Good luck with that. I'd say use a normally-installed Slackware on that machine. But, of course, add some lighter desktop environment stuff.
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chiron


Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 87
Location: Franken, Bavaria, Germany

PostPosted: Sat 02 Feb 2013, 05:53    Post subject:  

I have an old ThinClient with a Transmeta Crusoe CPU at 800 MHz, with 512mb of RAM and a CF card as a harddisk and run Lucid 528. Reason is, on my other machines, I have fatdog, or lucid 520/528, and I did not want yet another OS to get used to. Runs OK actually, although there is a quite noticeable lag when starting programs, even geany or roxterm. I really don't know whether the 'special for old hardware' puppies would be so much faster. I disabled the pupevent thing, and most all background tasks. I have pureftpd running, and a small program that controls and switches the lights and heating and irrigation in my terrarium, which is the main purpose of the machine. Has been running stable for weeks now and since it's on 24/7 anyhow, doubles as a very low-spec NAS (USB Stick permanently attached).

On my Musicplayer (VIA C3, 0.8 GHz, 512MB RAM) I tried different Puppies, but also setled for the Lucid 528 finally. No really noticeable differences in performance between this one and the old hardware puppies again.

The Celeron M 600 MHz should be comparable to those two machines, I guess.
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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat 02 Feb 2013, 07:29    Post subject: wary or lucid  

Wary or Lucid Puppy should be happy on that PC.

It's not old or slow by Puppy standards. Its specs is like the original eeePC, and squeeze runs well in my eeePC.

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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sat 02 Feb 2013, 22:01    Post subject:  

Apologies for not posting more on this topic...

I got this board as an eBay find, and it's being quite frustrating. Whatever doofus had it before me, programmed it for a 75hz monitor (I think) -- only one monitor in my house (the antique samsung) will display an image from it at all, and that one monitor doesn't get it anywhere near close to correct! (The way it shows up --it's hard to describe, sorry-- leads me to believe that the frequency settings are all wrong.)

Until I can find a compatible monitor to fix the display issue, I'm afraid there's not much to do here.

Do keep giving me suggestions, though -- I'd love to hear more.

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8-bit


Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 3368
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Sat 02 Feb 2013, 23:16    Post subject:  

In xorgwizard, have you tried the TWEAK button that I think allows one to adjust the frequency used?
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
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Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sun 03 Feb 2013, 00:11    Post subject: Re: Which Puppy for this tiny computer?
Subject description: 600 MHz Celeron M CPU, 1 GB RAM; more specs inside
 

starhawk wrote:
I'm rather averse to ClassicPup right now. No offense meant to anyone, it's just not my cup o' tea.
Is ClassicPup a particular puplet (one that I havent heard of) or do you just mean you're bored with the basic pup range and want something more vibrant?

One of my favourites is a multimedia version of Wary511 which Ttuuxxx did:
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=67137

Makes pretty good use of resources.
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Sun 03 Feb 2013, 00:22    Post subject:  

@greengeek -- http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=42553 Wink

@8-bit --

Can't get there. Here's the problem, in more detail...

I have 4 monitors in my house. 2 are eMachines 17" 'flatscreen' CRTs. 1 is a Samsung SyncMaster 510MP. The fourth is a very vintage Samsung CVL-4955 with a datestamp on the back "December 1991" Shocked

I tried it on one of the eMachines and the SyncMaster. Neither would even acknowledge any presence of an incoming signal.

The vintage monitor --being far too unsophisticated to reject undesirable input-- does display an image. Sort of.

What happens is that the displayed image is squashed into about 1/5 the screen, which is repeated over the remaining portion of the viewable area. The entire screen flickers and jumps and scrolls a little. There's just enough there that's intelligible for me to tell that the video chip is fine. It's the frequencies that are mondo off.

I'd upload a video somewhere and link to it -- but I can't find my tripod and my camcorder is surely out of juice (I haven't used it in over a year!).

Unfortunately, I've no idea how to fix it without a monitor that will properly accept the input -- which is something I don't have.

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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 1271

PostPosted: Sun 03 Feb 2013, 11:24    Post subject:  

Neither the processor nor the memory are serious problems for many Puppies. I put a Puppy 3 something on a 600 MHz Celeron with 256 MB. What I remember from that era was a struggle with different steppings of the Intel 810 video. (You may have some problem with recent Adobe Flash Player on some low-spec machines. It just seems to keep demanding more.)

What really concerns me is the screwed up video. You say you bought it off eBay. This could mean someone else fooled around with the factory settings, or even reflashed the BIOS. I'm guessing the board was set up to use that LVDS to LCD display rather than VGA output. This might well display something that you can read if connected to the right wires in a laptop LCD ribbon cable. If you have a broken laptop of the right vintage that may be an option.

What you really need to do is force VGA output into VESA mode. If you try this on another machine, and remember the exact keystrokes, you might even be able to type blind and make it work on this one.

Another wild idea is that the video ram may overlap the RAM in which your programs run.

Right now I have a machine with a mini-ITX motherboard, a Celeron 215, 1 GB RAM and (despicable) SiS video graphics running Linux Mint 14 XFCE nicely, if I stick to VESA video. I'm using that, instead of Puppy with a frugal install, because I want to keep as much of that limited RAM free as possible. I could use Puppy with a full install, but I felt more comfortable doing this with an OS where full install is the default.
----

For some reason, while thinking about this project of yours, I keep hearing the voice of Richard Nixon saying "I relish a challenge". Wink
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sun 03 Feb 2013, 12:32    Post subject:  

A lot of these low-power SBCs are pulls from medical equipment -- this board was quite likely running a 75hz flat panel in a hospital somewhere. (IIRC, 75hz is a common refresh rate for those screens...)

The problem with LVDS is that there is no such thing as a standardized pinout. The connector on this board is 40 pins (two rows) at 1mm or 1.25mm pitch (pitch being the spacing from the center of one pin to the center of the next). It's a special connector made by Hirose. I can likely get the mating connector on eBay, but finding the (usually unpublished) pinouts for the screen end of things is nearly impossible. FWIW, the companies on eBay that do mobo->flatpanel screen converters all seem to require a minimum order of 100 on custom cables. They will not do just one. (They're also all in HK/China, which I don't mind nearly as much.)

The board also supports two different panel voltages (and I don't know which one it's set to, because the datasheet on this board is rather poorly written in spots). So if it's set to 5v output, and I hook a 3.3v panel to it, I just cooked a panel.

I really wish I could call the manufacturer, but Commell (the company) is in Taiwan, and they've no offices anywhere else. I cannot afford a call to Taiwan! (They don't seem to reply to email, either.)

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Custom Build: HP MOCA-AR + Core2Duo T7200 + 4gb RAM + 256gb SSD
...just needs a pretty case Wink
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2547
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sun 03 Feb 2013, 15:18    Post subject:  

I had a similar "multiple video" issue once when I mated an eeepc to an old screen and if memory serves me correctly I found that racyNOP532 was one of the few pups that booted with a readable screen. Totally different reasons for screwed up video of course, but maybe worth a trial with racyNOP532 anyway? Its a lightweight modern kernel pup. It's been pretty solid on a range of my gear.
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=81031
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Sun 03 Feb 2013, 15:27    Post subject:  

This is happening from initial powerup -- it's not anything Puppy is doing, it turns on this way.

Whatever the last owner did to cause this, they did it in the BIOS. (I've tried pulling the BIOS batt. I'll do it again, just to be 100% sure.)

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Custom Build: HP MOCA-AR + Core2Duo T7200 + 4gb RAM + 256gb SSD
...just needs a pretty case Wink
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2547
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sun 03 Feb 2013, 17:47    Post subject:  

Hmmm, sounds like complete loss of sync maybe. No change in symptoms if you use the "auto settings" features in the OSD thingy in each monitor? Sometimes that'll help some screens lock in on odd timings/resolutions. Maybe the cable pinouts don't match?

I never fully understood the difference between vga and svga as far as the signals levels go. I wonder what the native setup was for that mobo.
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