Tuesday, 16 April 2013

How do you cope with only 1 gig?

Sorry - this is geekery, rather than music.


If you're going to travel somewhere that theft is apparently natural and property considered to be common, is it a good idea to take shiny, desirable bits of kit or is it better to haul something old and borderline disposable?

This week I picked up an old laptop from another business owner where I work to take away. He'd put Vista on it when he first acquired it 7 years ago and had hauled it round to use making presentations, gradually silting up the OS under layers of applications with varying degrees of usefulness. It had got to the stage of taking about 5min to boot and then another 3min to open a powerpoint talk, while battery life had dropped under an hour. The poor little thing only had 1 gig of RAM (hence the title) and was thrashing the hard drive just to start up.

The plan was to swap out the original 80Gb HDD for an old WD 320Gb drive (warranty replacement for a failed drive) I had laying about. The memory was a bit more problematic, because although it would *probably* take a 2Gb stick, there was only 1 slot, and the theoretical max was 1Gb. Plus I didn't really want to spend £25 on a 2Gb stick of PC-5300 laptop memory if it was going to get nicked.

So the trick is to find an OS that can cope with 1Gb RAM and still not play the waiting game.

I tried a bunch of different OSs run 'live' of DVDs and to my surprise Pear Linux 7 came out well ahead. Now this seems wrong because it's basically Ubuntu (slightly slow) with a heavily modified  Gnome 3 interface (also slow) but running a newish kernel (3.7 - fast). So on it went and it was very usable indeed, except that some aspects were broken and I couldn't be bothered to keep trying to fix it. I moved down the Pear scale and installed 6, but that hung & crashed.

Right now it has Mint KDE on and has just finished updating. Tomorrow I'll see how KDE copes on a 1Gb platform.

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