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  1. #1

    How to tell what distros are compatible with this processor?

    I have an old mini-desktop computer I want to have as a spare machine for internet browsing and checking email. It has a copy of XP currently, but the previous owner didn't put the key in so I can't get onto it at all. I plan on putting linux on it, just not sure what it can handle. It has 384 megs of RAM I believe, and the processor is a via C3, so I'm not even sure if I can run linux on it. I've checked the faqs and googled a bit, but I can't tell if it's i486, i586, or one of those things, and I'm not sure what linux distros(if any) are compatible.

    Will linux mint be able to run on a 900mhz processor of this sort and 384 megs of RAM? I'm thinking no, but it's the only linux distro I've dabbled with before.

    If not, will ubuntu? Will opensuse?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Tucson AZ
    I have Linux Mint on an old 800mhz machine and it works. Not blazing fast but it's more or less just a test machine. It does boot and work fine. I do have 1GB of RAM but I think 384 should work. I expect Ubuntu would be the same. The RAM would be the most likely problem.

    Others you could try would be Puppy, Macpup, Slax, Slitaz. You could go to the distrowatch web site where they have the top 100+ distributions listed and links to their sites.

  3. #3
    I may try to get some more RAM, according to the manual of my motherboard there's a limit of 512 megs per slot, and on the linux mint webpage it mentioned 512 megs of RAM or more.

    I took the linux distro quiz and my top ones were opensuse, followed by ubuntu and mint, which is why I'm mainly interested in those.

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    I can be found either 40 miles west of Chicago, in Chicago, or in a galaxy far, far away.
    You can run many decent current distributions on 386MB of ram, but you will want to use a low-profile desktop such as XFCE instead of Gnome or KDE. Debian will work just fine. Also, the VIA chip is Intel x86 (32-bit) compatible, so you should not have a problem. The best thing is to get and burn a live CD or USB image and boot it up. It will either work, or not...
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  6. #5
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Mason Texas
    Lubuntu (ubuntu with LXDE desktop) or AntiX linux should run fine on the ram you have. Also, if you go to Distrowatch, and click on the distribution tab, it will bring up more than just the top 100 distros. Good luck!

  7. #6
    Linux Guru Segfault's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    VIA C3 has a little quirk. It is an i686 according to Intel specs. But for GCC it is i586 because GCC expects cmov instruction from an i686 and VIA C3 does not have it.
    You need a distro that comes with kernel configured for i586 and the system built around it with CHOST=i586.

    Ubuntu and Suse are not what you want. 384 MB of RAM is good enough for a minimal desktop running Xfce, OpenBox, etc.

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