Recommendations for operating system

Hans Franke Hans.Franke at
Mon Aug 28 07:19:15 CDT 2006

Am 27 Aug 2006 21:13 meinte Choctaw Bob:

> I think that this just squeaks in as being on topic.

> I am looking for suggestions for an operating system for a PC, specs 75 
> MHZ Pentium, 16 MB Ram, 4 GB HD, currently running PC-DOS Ver 7.  
> Original IBM PC-DOS right out of the factory sealed box.  I am thinking 
> about  putting GEM on the machine, maybe CP/M-86.  Thought about GEOS, 
> but rejected it, too closed. 
> Specs seem too tight for Linux or BSD, or at least little advantage over 
> DOS or CP/M.

> Anyone have experience with an operating system that might work, and be 
> capable of useful work?

Depends what you considere usefull. If you like Unix, then Linux
is a good choice. With a little tuneing and a very lightwight
window manager, you may run most actual stuff without problems.
In fact, even a fattened Gnome or a KDE heavywight will run as
fast ast Win 98 does. 

In all cases, the real bottleneck is not the CPU, but rather your
memory. If possible, and most Pentium-75 boards can, you should
upgrade to 64 MB - then even WinXP is doable. In fact, especialy
on slow CPUs, XP outperforms 98 by 5-15% due way better cache and
memory handling. In comparsion, 98 is the bloated OS. Also XP is
_way_ more responsive to user interaction. they did a great job
to give early feedback, so that applications _feel_ faster under
XP, than by using 98. Thats in real world application more important
than real speed. isn't it?

Said that, we have to agree that the 75 is not realy a race horce,
nor has been when it was new - the 50 MHz bus speed has been a way
to sell lower performance ('value') PCs. If your PC has bus speed
setings, it might be worth a try to set it to 60 or 66 MHz, resulting
in a 90/100 MHz CPU speed. Most Pentium, especialy the late versions
weill easy follow. And you could try to set the multiplier to more
than 1.5. I've seen Pentium 90 going up to serve as 166.

Mult Bus Speed iComp
 1.0  50    50 (Never official)
 1.0  60    60   510
 1.0  66    66   567
 1.5  50    75   610
 1.5  60    90   735
 1.5  66   100   815
 2.0  50   100 (Never official)
 2.0  60   120  1000
 2.0  66   133  1110
 2.5  50   125 (Never official)
 2.5  60   150  1176
 2.5  66   166  1308
 3.0  50   150 (Never official)
 3.0  60   180  1270 (Only very short available)
 3.0  66   200 ~1420

Especialy the comparsion P166/P180 shows the influence of bus speed
vs. CPU Speed. a P166 (66 MHz x 2.5) is in real world apps faster
than a P180 (60 MHz x 3.0). Thats also why the P180 was only around
for a real short time. So, speeding up the bus is the best to get
out more of your P75, since the restriction to 50 MHz bus speed was
artificial (unlike the multiplier).

Back then, with the open multipliers and various bus speeds, just by
swaping jumpers or dip switches, the golden age of overclocking ruled.
The basic .35 micron process was fine for some 300 MHz, meaning that
>=50% of all die manufactured where good for at least 200 MHz, a well
made heat sink with fan given. This was very obvious with the PII that
began with the same process and was widely seen only as 233 and 266 CPUs
- the top notch 300 MHz model was not only rare, but also did run quite
hot - shure signs for the maximum capability of the .35 process.

Socket 7 was a great time.

Now, coming back to systems, I still give out P166-P233MMX systems to
people. A good configuration to run Office I found would be:

4+ Gig drive as C with all Apps
4+ Gig drive partitioned as Z/D where Z is a 512 MB dedicated swap.
1 DVD drive (if possible a writer at 40 Euro)

Such a machine can satisfy all every day (home-) office needs without
problems, and they found quite some happy users arround here. Of course,
you should not try to runn any video game - but when adding an old
Nvidia Geforce2 or 4 card it'll even make lots of game fun.

Linux (Gentoo with KDE) runs equaly well - except that the people
I usualy give this machines to are not realy computer geeks.

So, try to tickle a bit more 
VCF Europa 8.0 am 28/29.April 2007 in Muenchen

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