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  1. #1

    Post Best Linux distro for playing ".mkv" Dell 4300

    I am looking for the ideal distro for my Dell Dimension 4300. It has a 1.7ghz processor and 512 mb ram along with an old Ge-Force card, probably 64-128 mb. Currently outputting Debian Mint XFCE to my HDTV via its VGA input.

    My question is surely one of the greatest that any noob could, or has ever asked. But I am not new at all to Linux, I am looking for the best distribution here based on several specific criteria, hoping to get answers instead of just reasonable opinions.

    I would simply like to know which may be the best suited for my PC. My ideal distro, based on the last 3 that I have tried already would need to be very versatile when it comes to hardware compatibility. Also it will need to utilize all of my hardware most efficiently.

    My goal is to be able to browse the web and view "HD 720" material not only in my browser but through VLC Player as well. I have several ".mkv" files that I am unable to play.(I do have all plugins/extensions) It must be the fact that I "hosed" the last build trying to install the specific driver for my card along with being fed up with choppy SD video in firefox. Also have not been able to get my santa-cruz sound card driver functioning properly. Like I said, not out to do much else with this machine.

    I lost my XP disc so Linux is my first choice anyways. I know that this is possible, so if I get no responses, I will just pick another distro again and keep going. Until I find one with older hardware support and smoother driver install attempts to come along and make this computer as fast as it could actually be.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated guys!
    Debate away, I prefer Fedora overall.

  2. #2
    Hello and welcome!

    For a (hopefully) hardware compatible distro, I was going to suggest Fedora, but it sounds like you're already on that plan. If you are running on lite resources (RAM specifically) you don't want to run GNOME3, but alternative DMs abound (lxde, openbox, fluxbox, etc.).

    As to handling multimedia, I was going to suggest VLC, but again...

    So you have you tried this combo yet (latest Fedora + VLC) and not been happy? Or do you have some problem getting it going?

    If you're just looking for a packaged VLC for your distro, the ATrpms repo provides a binary package of VLC for Fedora 17 (and other versions). Just install the ATrpms yum config file and "yum install vlc".

  3. #3


    Thank you for replying,
    Excuse me,

    My apologies ahead of time for the length but I am trying to be as specific about my ultimate goal for this project as possible, with as much detail as I am able to provide you for reference to my 2 main goals. That being said.. take a deep breath, maybe some coffee as well but it is really very not far beyond my skill level. Only just out of reach, thus this post and its incredible length.

    I have no problem getting VLC and fedora set up, just wondering what the ultimate standalone configuration would be for browsing YouTube, Viewing HD .mkv files and possibly experimenting with Wine and older video game emulators. That would be all I would need to have other than basics like text editor, image viewer, calculator etc. I guess what I am looking for is a guide to compiling Fedora from a stripped down Install..

    *Format, partitioning and all(I am easily able to do that part) just need a little guidance.I remember that back in Fedora 8 there was about 4-5 CDs to install but I also have two new Fedora install DVDs. One has "it all" and the other gives the option to install the components that I choose but I "hosed" it bad last time, unable to successively utilize the capabilities of

    #1 Video Card: ("Nvidia P36 Geforce NV880.0 REV B 2 mx 64mb AGP VGA S-Video Video Graphics Card 180-P0036")* which I have yet to find the correct driver for..

    *Sorry about all of the info but I am quite prospect-full on the whole build. I was told that I may have used an (ATI) Geforce mx 400 driver for a 64 or even 32 bit rig.

    #2 Sound Card: ("Santa Cruz N270, "E209305"")*

    *The mkv/HD YouTube streaming are only semi-optimistic goals but eliminating choppy YouTube streams at the lowest quality and constantly cutting out audio clipping in between everything that I do are the primary objectives of this conundrum of an issue.

    Finally the build will be in the bag.

    The biggest issue with doing this that I need to worry about is going to be (memory/cpu/bus speed) resource consumption, and I am quite familiar with KDE. I would consider it a strong side of my knowledge of different distributions. Of course after the video card is working, I only need to locate the proper driver for the glitching issue with the aforementioned sound-card.

    *Where would be a good website to start where I can find the fedora drivers I am looking for? Any help regarding installation of said drivers would be craaazzzy kudos, bonus helpful, as well as advice on the best GUI/OS Platform to pick for the easiest "downloading/installing of programs/dependencies/said packages", plugins/extensions,(<Winamp port>?), wine etc. and drivers auto-manually. All of which I have no problem with doing myself.

    *I have been using "Synaptic Package Manager/Software Manager" in Debian Xfce but have no problem using the command line to get and install everything piece by piece on my own, but would prefer installing Fedora via a gui, as I do not know all of the commands by heart and would have to look them all up again,one by one.

    I only have basic knowledge of several Linux distributions and several other gui as well as KDE, Xfce, Gnome, etc etc. There are quite alot of commands to learn throughout the many platforms on which Linux systems operate, but I must say that Fedora Core and KDE are up there with Xfce and Mint. I really appreciate all of the input that the Linux community has to offer here on the web.

    &: Even if I do not have to switch to Fedora again and somehow get this crazy sound/video issue out of the way. I will be eternally grateful for any information that could help me conquer this preposterous driver situation.

    Either way.. (Keeping Mint Debian Xfce, or starting all over again with a fresh Fedora installation), which I would rather do. (Just to make sure there are bare minimum dependencies on CPU/RAM for the sake of my quite sad 32 bit standalone web TV of a goal.).

    That is all until meltdown, when I put in another Fedora DVD or get the time to locate the correct drivers for Debian Xfce.. In a few days to a week it will either be BSOD, because I "hosed" my video again or running Half-life 2 and playing .mp3 playlists glitch free.

    This whole post/project is part of a massive effort to achieve this overall simple, yet incredibly time consuming goal of "The typical living room PC". Using several other "forums" as well as "Debian Mint "Xfce's" forums", a collaboration of my progress up to this point with this now 12 year old Dell 4300bc

    So, its late and I arn tired, umm ?

    ???: This is the ultimate question I have to ask here. Which is the most efficient distro/GUI to suit this machines hardware? “Based on potential overall system resource availability” (aka overhead) For maximum performance in Firefox and VLC. As well as image viewing and editing/recording audio tracks.

    Thousands of years ago, way back before it was impossible to buy a "nonHD RGB VGA" cable and freeze time by smashing atoms together, it was actually able to run Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour flawlessly. Nothing like a Dual-core 3ghz with twice the bus speed, ram and twice the v-ram did though.

    That was before a "bargain" of a power supply bulged 3 of my capacitors and the MB/CPU voltages dropped, like near tears three hours in to Max Payne 3 and countless hours upon days worth of modding Fallout 3 and New Vegas. :'-| I am just finally moving on, please forgive my little rant, I would just love to listen to music and surf the web comfortably on my HDtv like the good old days.

    Thank you everyone for taking the time out of your day to read and respond to my posts. You have my respect if you have read this far. Please excuse my rant, I am many, many days into this build but my shattered courage and broken heart will never mend until I can chill out and stream "HD Motocross on Redbull Television" once again.

    Thank you again and good afternoon to you sir, I really appreciate all of the great people here, and out there making Linux better than Mac and Windows. For those of us who prefer to take the long road and maximize resource utilization and productivity, I wish you all the very best. Good day sir!


    PS: my eyes are finished for the day.. fdwqvsfbc. gte..zzz! "inserted punchline here".. In a nutshell, I am sorry for all of the repetitious jargon ultimately leading up to two quite simple solutions that I have come up with. Although, I am also still seeking solid advice for making the decision on which the most efficient distribution/gui combo for maximizing the machines available resources would be.

    PS: Sorry again for the length.
    *Shall I flip a coin over which distro/gui barebones OS is better? I cannot seem to stick to what I know and have learned over the years because I know way too many distributions/guis on a need to be "that" knowledgeable "so then learn it all asap and do it" basis... So much so, that my head could almost explode**.

    **That is what I have learned about Linux this year alone. Besides the knowledge of Red Hat and Fedora 8 from 5-6 years ago. I have successfully had the same "hosed video" with 3 installs and either way will be re-formatting and partitioning from scratch on a 20 Gig 7200rpm Maxtor harddrive. "I cannot wait to start again so I can finish again and have it be right this time, 4th try"

    *I will not give up

    PS: That is all (reaching for schnapps) for now,, thank you for letting us nubbies post in your forums. Much obliged It was fun, untill next time guys.

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    If you have an NVIDIA card (confirm by looking at the output of "lspci|grep -i vga"), then for the best performance, I'd recommend that you use NVIDIA's binary driver. Otherwise, you are relegated to the underachieving Xorg driver packaged by your distro (e.g., in Fedora, called "xorg-x11-drv-nouveau" or "xorg-x11-drv-nv").

    For sound, the ALSA drivers come with the Linux kernel, although the latest drivers (and libraries and user-space tools) can always be retrieved from:

    Before bothering w/building these from scratch, though, make sure your system, specifically the kernel and alsa-related packages, are up to date first, as it is usually better to go with system updates, where possible.

    It is hard to nail down a specific distro, based upon your requirements. If you truly want the best performance, you may want to go with a distro like Gentoo, which uses the Portage packaging system to build all packages from source, expressly configured for your platform and desires. Related to that, but more severe in approach is, which is self-explanatory.

    There are also several multimedia-oriented distros, such as:

    These are basically all-in-one HTPC (Home Theatre PC) solutions, but you might consider these overboard, though.
    Last edited by atreyu; 10-30-2012 at 03:58 PM. Reason: fixed link

  6. #5
    "It is hard to nail down a specific distro, based upon your requirements. If you truly want the best performance, you may want to go with a distro like Gentoo, which uses the Portage packaging system to build all packages from source, expressly configured for your platform and desires. Related to that, but more severe in approach islinux from scratch . org , which is self-explanatory."

    Just the answer that I believe I was looking for, thank you. I will try Gentoo and see how it goes. I like debian xfce but it just comes with "everything" and the kitchen sink.
    Your advice is greatly appreciated
    Kudos man.

  7. #6

    Arrow xfce debian, Graphics Driver - 180-P0036 Nvidia P36 Geforce 2 mx 64mb

    Trying to get the right driver, and failing miserably. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

    The pics have my output for " lspci|grep -i vga" and the Debian Xfce version.

    I can live with the sound issue and manually stripping this distro if the proper video driver works out the choppy video issue. I am quite far in to this build and waiting for a reason to self-destruct it.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #7

    xfce debian Video Graphics Card 180-P0036 Nvidia P36 Geforce 2 mx 64mb

    Here is my current driver.. screen-munched
    It is x86 "nv11 x86/MMX/SSE2"
    The card is AGP
    Probably a fail, but my tv says otherwise at a 1024x768 max res on both tv and or the monitor. If anyone knows where to find the correct driver I will post a cool pic for you and it would mean the world to me.
    Easily common knowledge to you guys, i am no guru.
    Plus maaaad kudos.

    Any good site suggestions for locating old drivers? Possibly such as a
    "Santa Cruz N270", "E209305" driver, for a 12 year old Dell?
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #8
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    Either at home or at work or down the pub
    Debian Nvidia drivers. I recommend the DKMS method which will keep everything up to date when you get a new kernel.
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