Old computer: openSUSE 11 or 12?

Hello to everyone,

I have this old computer, and I would like to try openSUSE to replace Windows XP, which is starting to act weird sometimes. I was wondering which version would be better for this computer.

It has a:

  • Pentium 4, 1.6 GHz (a Willamette),
  • 2 x 512 MB SD-RAM (PC133),
  • Asus P4B-MX, (AGP, PCI, Intel 100/ProVE ethernet adapter),
  • Radeon HD 3650 (cheap card, 64-bit),
  • Hercules “Gamesurround Muse 5.1” (CM8738 soundchip by some Taiwanese company “C-Media”),
  • Plenty of HD space with 2 partitions, a “BenQ” CD-rom, a “Philips” DVD-rewriter (which I’m afraid is about to totally break down any day now)

This PC once was a HP Vectra VL420 of which only the mobo-CPU-CPU cooler are original.

I have an old Geforce 6600GT (AOpen “Aeolus”) lying around here, which I could use instead of that Radeon (though it may have a cooling problem that may need fixing first).

Considering the specs of this machine, should I try openSUSE 11 or 12? Would it make any difference?
I have my doubts about that (64-bit) Radeon HD. I have another Radeon HD 3650 by Sapphire (128-bit), which makes XP crash (strangely enough; maybe a BIOS issue?). Would it work with openSUSE?

I am new here, any ideas are welcome.


Here’s my USD$0.02 worth on this. I don’t think it matters so much about the distribution … what’s going to get you on performance is the desktop environment. It’s been awhile since I’ve run a machine with those specs, but to be honest KDE and GNOME-3 might be a bit heavy-handed for that machine (not that they CAN’T run, as I’m sure there are people on here who run them on that class of machine, but it’s more that you will have to tune the system after installation to make it run BETTER).

My suggestion:

Use OpenSUSE 12.1 vs 11.4 – generally speaking it seems to perform better at the OS level
Use a lighter weight desktop environment like XFCE (not GNOME or KDE) – it will definitely work better / perform better on older hardware

Once installed, disable services that you don’t need via YaST.

If you really want to use GNOME or KDE, you could try one of the liveCD’s and see how they work on your machine too but I suspect that, without some tuning, GNOME and KDE are going to be a bit sluggish. is it possible you could increase the RAM on the machine? That would make a difference if you could. Also, if you are going to use GNOME or KDE, the better video card you have, the more responsive the machine will be.


I’d go for 11.4 + LXDE. oS 11.2 is unsupported - well, there’s evergreen, of course.

Hi Crazy Sue,

I agree
12.1 + LXDE or XFCE

Try the different video cards and see which seems best. I’d give the Geforce a go

Thank you, everone, for your ideas and advice.

Earlier today I saw indeed that the install offers LXDE instead of KDE during the install, and that LXDE is lighter. I may give that a try.