oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

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oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by lfnfan » Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:54 pm

I am in the market for a new laptop, and want to experiment / learn linux on it. I have a modest budget, but want to make sure I can run Oolite ok.

Would appreciate any pointers re flavour of linux, and hardware specs/linux compatability:

I am thinking Linux Mint 10 for the os - seems quite noob-friendly.

For the hardware, I have narrowed it down to 2 laptops, both with Intel Core i3 processors (350M or 370M), HM55 chipset, 2 or 3 Gb of DDR III RAM, display resolution 1366 x 768.

HP G62-b18 or Novatech N3

any comments much appreciated.

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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by Lone_Wolf » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:13 pm

HM55 requires a recent kernel version, linux mint 10 has 2.6.35 which should be new enough.

The HM55 doesn't have dedicated graphics memory, but uses system memory instead (most intel graphics do that).
I'd suggest checking if it's possible to upgrade the memory of these laptops (could be done at a later point if needed).
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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by lfnfan » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:31 pm

thanks Lone_Wolf

for an extra £20, I can u/g the Novatech from 2gb to 4gb ram.

Would the '3.25gb' useable ram be irrelevant for this laptop, then?

cheers

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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by Cody » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:38 pm

Well worth the extra £20 to double the RAM, I reckon.
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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by DaddyHoggy » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:43 pm

It doesn't state if the Windows 7 is 32 or 64 bit (we use Enterprise at work so I don't know if Home Premium only comes in 32 or 64 bit variety) - if it's 32-bit you won't be able to access more than 4GB RAM anyway - I presume 3.25GB usable is based on how much is given to the gfx card?
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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by lfnfan » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:58 pm

that's what I thought too. The Novatech also has a slightly faster processor than the HP. I have not really heard of this outfit before, so that is causing me a little pause for thought.

I have now come across a Toshiba (another big 'brand') for £30 above my budget which has 4gb and a slightly faster processor than the Novatech.

hey, I like the new BB -
"At least one new post has been made to this topic. You may wish to review your post in light of this."
- so polite too.

apropos of which: the blurb on the Toshiba says 'Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit'. Mint 10 is also 64-bit so 4gb ram would equate to 1gb for gfx, and still 3 for system.

Drivers / OpenGL support aside, is 1gb gfx enought for Oolite-Linux plus the usual suspects eye candy oxps?

(El Viejo - any more writing since Kaxgar?)

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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by Cody » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:06 pm

I'm no expert when it comes to laptops, but I like the Toshiba.
It should run Oolite okay, I'd have thought, but someone else may know better.

Yes, lfnfan, there is a wip... but it's going slowly, atm.
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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by Lone_Wolf » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:16 pm

On a 32 bit system 4 Gb is the max you can access directly.
Starting from the top address the ram memory below 4 Gb is used for communication with hardware (similar to the memory between 640k an 1 M for the dos 16-bit systems).

depending on how much space the hardware needs, the OS can use maximum 2.9 - 3.4 GB .
(the graphics tend to be the biggest user of this memory space).
Any memory above 4 Gb can only be accessed by using a trick like PAE (similar to XMS / EMS in 16-bit dos).

A 64 bit system can adress much more memory directly, and just puts the memory used to communicate with hardware on top of the system ram.

In short : a 32 bit OS with 4 GB will never be able to use the full 4GB, a 64 bit OS will.

Note : this is a limitation of the way x86 processors use memory, it affects linux, windows , OSX and all other OSes running on x86 processors.

Edit 1: the amount of memory needed for GFX depends on several things, incuding the resolution.
I expect the HM55 will use an amount in the range of 256 / 384 / 512 MB .

Edit 2 :
Toshiba tends to have special stuff invented by toshiba in their laptops that takes time before it is supported under linux.
Check carefully what experiences others have with linux and a specific toshiba model.
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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by Cody » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:22 pm

I've just noticed that the Toshiba has a number pad, which must squash the other keys up a little.
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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by lfnfan » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:32 pm

ah cool. good things to those who wait and all that. Thx for your view. I'm wondering if the friendly penguin with the oolite logo on his chest will make an appearance?

huh! - well spotted with the number pad. didn't even see that blip on my scanner. Reading the blurb, it does say 'full-size keyboard, with 10-digit keypad.' In fact, it would be good to find one of these on display at a bricks-and-mortar shop to see how big that keyboard actually is. I struggle touch-typing on smaller keyboards.

@L_W - thanks for the explanation. So let me get this right - the amount of memory that can be addressed directly - is that a function of the o/s (32 bit / 64 bit), or of the processor (x86 / x64)? or some combination of the two (as you seem to allude to)? If I can`t get my head around this, I will have my work cut out when it comes to linux...

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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by Lone_Wolf » Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:29 pm

lfnfan wrote:@L_W - thanks for the explanation. So let me get this right - the amount of memory that can be addressed directly - is that a function of the o/s (32 bit / 64 bit), or of the processor (x86 / x64)? or some combination of the two (as you seem to allude to)? If I can`t get my head around this, I will have my work cut out when it comes to linux...
It's a combination of processor and OS capabilities.
all x64 processors can run in 32-bit OR in 64-bit mode, so with those you can choose what OS you install on it.
If you run a 32-bit OS on an x64 proc, the proc will run in 32-bit mode.
All recent (younger then 4/5 years) AMD processors are x64 porcessors, intel still makes x86 processors ( i3, i5 & i7 are x64 ).

Don't worry though, as user your primary question is :
What applications do i need that don't run on / don't benefit from 64 bit ?

For linux the answer is : very few applications don't work on 64-bit, so if you got a x64 proc, use 64 bit linux.


for windows there are a lot more apps that don't work / benefit from 64-bit, so for windows :

pc has less then 3 GB : use 32-bit
pc has 3 - 4 GB ram : test both 32 and 64 bit versions, pick what's best for you.

PC has more then 4 GB : use 64 bit or dualboot
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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by JensAyton » Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:02 pm

Lone_Wolf wrote:In short : a 32 bit OS with 4 GB will never be able to use the full 4GB, a 64 bit OS will.

Note : this is a limitation of the way x86 processors use memory, it affects linux, windows , OSX and all other OSes running on x86 processors.
Actually, this isn’t true. Using PAE, a 32-bit system can address well beyond 4 GiB of physical memory (in practice, up to 64 GiB with current hardware). A 32-bit kernel can manage 64-bit apps using more than 4 GiB of memory, and 32-bit processes can usefully use more than 4 GiB of physical memory too, although it takes extra effort. The only hard limit is that a 32-bit process can’t use more than 4 GiB of address space.

32-bit Linux supports PAE as an option. 32-bit Windows supports it, but doesn’t make good use of it. For Mac OS X (where there is no outwards distinction between 32-bit and 64-bit systems) PAE is used if the kernel happens to be running in 32-bit mode.

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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by Thargoid » Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:38 pm

Typing this on an HP G62 which I got for Mrs T at Christmas. It came with Win7-64, and I must say it's doing sterling service and runs everything very smoothly.

Only slight niggle is the keyboard, which is a slightly odd layout and also has a row of extra "function" keys (for printer, calculator, web browser etc) down the left hand side which I still haven't got used to (I keep pressing the printer key instead of the left shift key for example).

But aside from that I can't say it's put a foot wrong yet, and she loves it for Farmville etc.

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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by Lone_Wolf » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:52 pm

Ahruman wrote:
Lone_Wolf wrote:In short : a 32 bit OS with 4 GB will never be able to use the full 4GB, a 64 bit OS will.

Note : this is a limitation of the way x86 processors use memory, it affects linux, windows , OSX and all other OSes running on x86 processors.
Actually, this isn’t true. Using PAE, a 32-bit system can address well beyond 4 GiB of physical memory (in practice, up to 64 GiB with current hardware). A 32-bit kernel can manage 64-bit apps using more than 4 GiB of memory, and 32-bit processes can usefully use more than 4 GiB of physical memory too, although it takes extra effort. The only hard limit is that a 32-bit process can’t use more than 4 GiB of address space.

32-bit Linux supports PAE as an option. 32-bit Windows supports it, but doesn’t make good use of it. For Mac OS X (where there is no outwards distinction between 32-bit and 64-bit systems) PAE is used if the kernel happens to be running in 32-bit mode.
I was talking about a system with exactly 4 Gib of physical memory, and in 32 bit mode you LOOSE some of that memory.
A 32-bit kernel can manage 64-bit apps using more than 4 GiB of memory
Perhaps OSX does support this, but windows and linux don't use it afaik.
IF started in 64 bit, linux can run 32-bit applications, but a 32-bit linux can't run 64-bit applications.


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Re: oolite-linux - linux noob - which hardware?

Post by JensAyton » Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:44 pm

Lone_Wolf wrote:
Ahruman wrote:32-bit Linux supports PAE as an option. 32-bit Windows supports it, but doesn’t make good use of it. For Mac OS X (where there is no outwards distinction between 32-bit and 64-bit systems) PAE is used if the kernel happens to be running in 32-bit mode.
I was talking about a system with exactly 4 Gib of physical memory, and in 32 bit mode you LOOSE some of that memory.
Again, 32-bit Windows can use all 4 GiB (or more, depending on version) if the appropriate option is set (although there are compatibility issues), as can 32-bit Linux (where it’s a compile time option). They can’t, however, map in a full 4 GiB in a single process as some of the address space is used for other purposes.

The architectural flaws that stop Linux and Windows from handling 64-bit processes under 32-bit kernels are purely software issues (and the reason users have to worry about this kind of stuff in the first place).

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