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Author Topic: x86 vs ARM etc for TC  (Read 2595 times)

Online thane

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x86 vs ARM etc for TC
« on: July 21, 2013, 01:40:19 PM »
I intend this as sort of a general rather than purely technical discussion of the best way(s) to use Tiny Core Linux.

Currently I'm running TC on a desktop AMD box with 2G RAM, base and extensions on an 8G USB stick (no hard drive). Pretty minimal setup -- Minefield, Flash, PDF viewer, media player, BOINC, a few games. This works fine for me so no complaints there. But there's this big clunky box sitting on my desk, and I now see devices with the same RAM and storage that look like tiny cubes or just a USB stick. Esthetically it's tempting to switch. However, discussions on the web suggest that because of performance issues you should keep using x86 unless you need portability or low power consumption. I use TC on my home desktop and don't really anticipate using it anywhere else.

Also wondering whether TC will ever be as convenient to use on ARMs etc as it is on x86. My understanding is that because of variations in ARM architecture you can't have a generic ARM repository -- you pretty much have to compile yourself for whatever processor you have. That in itself would probably keep me in the x86 camp.

Hopefully none of this is totally off-base.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2013, 05:30:13 PM by thane »

Offline curaga

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Re: x86 vs ARM etc for TC
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 04:29:24 AM »
You're correct with the ARM situation. There are little to no standards, with widely varying practises on how to boot ARM.

Staying with x86 doesn't preclude having a small box with low power; it's merely not as small or as low power as ARM ;)
For example Zotac has some nice boxes:


This one has an AMD E-450 apu, a max power draw of 28W, and a size of ~33cm x ~24cm x ~7cm. Its performance is nicely above the common ARM box still, and they also offer more powerful CPUs in the same form factor (Trinity/Richland). There are smaller boxes if you're comfortable with soldered RAM and flash; personally I prefer to be able to use a hard disk and to switch the RAM, so this is about as small as I would go.

Many of the small boxes are ISO mountable too, so you can mount them behind a display, out of sight.
The only barriers that can stop you are the ones you create yourself.

Offline theYinYeti

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Re: x86 vs ARM etc for TC
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 05:27:48 AM »
The ARM world is indeed very fragmented. However, a few big categories stand out, and you can have a single kernel for several different ARM machines, as you can see with Debian:
For example, I happily use the "armel" port of Debian on my SheevaPlug.

Besides, Linux programmers are doing a great job of merging all ARM work, with the goal of having a single ARM kernel for all ARM machines, as is the case with x86 up to a point. It's work in progress, though.