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  Author  Subject: Re: cpu speed?

Posted on 06-23-2002 07:47 p.m. ET  reply

Original Poster: Mark Krentel

> I found this curious. The computer I've been working on was 133 cpu and had
> a 4X cdrom and is now running linux Red Hat extremely slowly.
> I took back my old 100 cpu tower that I let her use while I played repairman
> with hers and am putting Mandrake 7.0 on it.and it has a 40X cdrom but
> appears to run twice as fast.

Well, CPU speed is just one part of system performance, but it sounds
like something else is going on here. Is the machine a little slow
(up to 2x) or ridiculously slow (10x)? Is it general slowness or one
specific application? And did it used to be faster, and did you
change anything?

There's not much to go on, but here are some possibilities:

(1) How much memory is in the two machines? If it's swapping from too
little memory, that will drastically affect response time.

(2) Make sure the L1 and L2 caches are turned on in the BIOS, and
check that the machine has an L2 cache.

(3) Run top to see if there's some other program that's gobbling up
system resources, especially %CPU and RSS (resident set size).

(4) Check /var/log/messages (and other files in /var/log) to see if
some device driver is spewing error messages.

If it's none of these and if you still want to track it down, then try
stripping down the hardware. Remove any nonessential devices, reset
the BIOS to setup defaults and see if that helps. And check the
hardware and BIOS for IRQ or other conflicts.


> Can you install any linux platform on any pc?

On the low end, carefully check CPU type. This varies by distribution.
Many newer Linuxes are compiling for i586 or higher (and someday it'll
be i686). For non-Intel CPUs, make sure the CPU type is specifically
mentioned on the box. For example, although RH 7.1 supports an Intel
486, I've seen it barf on an AMD upgrade chip.

On the high end, there's often a lag time before Linux supports some
types of very new hardware. This is especially true of video cards,
although technically the issue is with X windows, not Linux. See

And in general, some types of devices aren't supported because the
manufacturer keeps the specs a secret and thus Linux can't write a
driver for them. Check the Hardware Howto.


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