Hardware requirements

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The X terminals

Minimum

The minimum usable X terminal is a 386/sx 25mhz with 4 megs of ram. While not that fast, it makes a usable station to run a web browser (such as netscape). Image will display fast enough. Scrolling won't be fast though (some wave effect). While the machine display slowly, the application server has no problem feeding it. The machine operates slowly, but without any pause. As such it makes a confortable station.

One must note that 386 computers are older than the Linux project. We have found that few have unsupported video adaptors (or less than capable ones). Unfortunatly, finding replacement video adaptor for those machines is not easy. Those machines are generally using ISA slots.

Recommended X terminal

While faster is always better, we have found that a 486 computer using a Vesa local bus or PCI video adaptor offers a very good performance. Redrawing and scrolling is crisp. For example a DX/2-66 with a ATI Mach32-2meg is a cool station, running smoothly in 64k colors mode.

Memory and disk drive

With 16 megs of ram, you do not need a hard drive at all on the X terminals. With 4 or 8 megs, we recommend setting a small swap file (8 megs). The installation kit will do it for you. It will create the swap file in the DOS partition.

No Linux software is installed on the harddrive, so the machine may be both an X terminal and a normal DOS/Windows workstation.

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The server

The key here is not that much the CPU but the available ram. We have experienced very good result with a Pentium 133 driving 4-6 X terminals. Depending on the programs used, memory between 96megs to 128megs is required.

Note that again, faster CPU and more RAM is always better but a lowly P133 with enough ram is a good performer. Most people have experienced with P133 and 16 megs. Throw some rams.

Desktop users (office tasks) work by chunk. They load a file and then read and then type a little and then preview. With 4-6 users, this means that they will seldom use the server CPU at the same time. This is why they will get in general excellent performance. Even if they do, you will find that it does not show that much, thanks to Linux efficient multi-tasking.

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Last update: Tue Jun 14 11:24:05 2005