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#1 2019-04-24 11:23:12

Registered: 2019-04-24
Posts: 1

Tune low spec pc.

Hello I have a Asus Eee PC 1201HA.
I hope this is the right place to put in the post.
The laptop has really low spec:
CPU: 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520
Graphics & chipset: Intel US15W / GMA 500 graphics
Memory: 2GB DDR2

I'm running dwm as window manager. And Firefox as browser. Web pages load very slowly and videos lag hugely.

Anything I can do to make it fast?

Thanks for help.


#2 2019-04-24 17:57:35

From: Zurich, Switzerland
Registered: 2017-08-10
Posts: 823

Re: Tune low spec pc.

I have an Eeepc 701. I use seamonkey or dillo instead of firefox, firefox is just hopelessly slow
in my experience.

For videos (for instance Youtube) I use the browser, press stop immediatelly before the
video starts to play and I use youtube-dl to download the file, then I recode the file with
ffmpeg. Or I simply set the resolution to 720p or lower.

For mail I use trojita or seamonkey --mail instead of thunderbird (same rule applies here
as to firefox).

Sadly most "modern" webpages like reddit are just resource monsters - I don't understand
how things can be so slow just for rendering some text..

(written on a 386 MB Pentium III Copermine with 700 MHz).

P.S. You're absolutely in the right place :-)


#3 2019-04-24 23:32:59

From: Yorkshire, UK
Registered: 2018-06-16
Posts: 1,009

Re: Tune low spec pc.

That's similar to the chip I'm using now; a N270, except mine is clocked at up to 1.6GHz while yours is 1.33GHz.  I can't see any other big differences between the two, although hopefully your northbridge doesn't run as hot a mine does.

I'm using openbox currently with xfce4-terminal (because I love how I can invoke a dropdown terminal with a single keystroke).  Maybe dwm would be faster, and I have used tiling wms on other boxes of mine, but on a small screen like this I kind of like being able to layer windows.  I also use firefox as my web browser, although I use plugins to limit all the crap that modern websites like to do to my poor computer, partly for security reasons, but being able to load pages faster is a nice bonus.  I used to use noscript, but I'm currently settled on uMatrix.  uMatix does seems mean I need to relogon here about twice a day, and I've not yet got to the bottom of why that is, but it does give me slightly more control over what everything does to my computer.  I don't even know why so many people seem to be happy to let googleanaltics sniff all of their web traffic.  If you want to see how fast pages can load, install lynx or links or some other text mode browser, and try that; a number of modern sites won't load anything if you don't let them load any scripts or images, but most of the old sites I used to use in the pre web 2.0 days are still about and still work in text mode browsers.

Edit: And I also never watch videos in the web browser.  I usually don't even go as far as starting the video in the browser; links come from forums and my rss feeds and I can feed them into you-get or youtube-dl (my go to downloader, but seemingly a little broken just at the moment).  For short videos with non-complicated graphics I can pipe that into mplayer and play them live with or without a little caching, but for all of my subscriptions at the very least, I use a faster desktop computer I own to transcode them using ffmpeg to the screen resolution of my eeepc.  I then play these over the network by having a defined sshfs entry to the server in my fstab that I mount and then play using mplayer from.  It still takes about half an hour to transcode a 10 minute video though, so this does mean I don't see a lot of stuff on the day it's been posted.

Architecture: pentium4, Testing repos: Yes, Hardware: EeePC 901+2GB RAM+OS half on the SD card.


#4 2019-05-17 10:45:23

Registered: 2019-05-17
Posts: 32

Re: Tune low spec pc.


I am also running dwm right now and even already used it on other linuxes before arch, but I advise pale moon as the graphical web browser. It is based on goanna which is a gecko fork and is much faster in my opinion. I do not see if there is any pacman packages for it (maybe I missed it) but there is a bzipped tar prebuilt executable that works.

I would say it is the fastest full-blown browser for low end single core machines right now.

EDIT: Also install "lull the tabs" plugin as it saves you memory. Also if you are opening a lot of tabs or trying to browse while doing memory intensive other stuff, consider setting up "zram" which is faster than swap. On my old machine I was having 1.3Gb RAM and set up zram to use the last 300 only so in practice it was only compressing when I pretty much used it all. This just gave around 300 Megs of "faster swap" but it was worth it for some applications and cases. Then I had around 1 Gigs of real swap partition and only enabled even bigger swapping for very long code compilation that otherwise failed. In any ways the default zram configuration in its source code is that it uses up half your memory in the worst case as the zip-area. This is bad in my opinion so I changed it to 25% roughly. I say this is hardcoded in the source code but that source is some python if I remember well so you can just install it in any ways and change the file by hand afterwards if you want to.

PS.: I also have my own problems because I am new to arch. Just stumbled upon this before I ask my own questions haha

Last edited by prenex (2019-05-17 10:53:37)


#5 2019-05-17 15:41:49

From: Zurich, Switzerland
Registered: 2017-08-10
Posts: 823

Re: Tune low spec pc.

hi prenex. :-)

IMHO palemoon seems to be slower than searmonkey.
Also, the standard AUR build of palemoon creates a binary with a SSE2 requirement.
Rumours are, this can be switched off.


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