WelcomeWelcome | FAQFAQ | DownloadsDownloads | WikiWiki

Author Topic: Another thin client awaits a TC install  (Read 23244 times)

Offline Triophile

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
Another thin client awaits a TC install
« on: December 08, 2011, 06:55:10 PM »
Hi guys.

I just treated myself to an HP5720 thin client from eBay. Spec-wise, it's a 1GHz Geode with 512MB RAM (upgradeable to a gig) and a 512MB DOM (Disc On Module) flash ATA drive.

I'm surprised by how usable this thing is with XP Embedded, let alone TC! It's not blindingly fast, but it's certainly OK, and it's totally silent. With TC on it, it should be perfect for Youtube (Seamonkey + Flash 11), general browsing and some word processing :-) Can't wait!

I was toying with the idea of getting a bigger DOM, but am I right in thinking their transfer speeds are often poor, and perhaps poorer than a fast USB 2.0 memory stick? Anyway, is the 'right' way to do it to have the OS and programmes on the flash drive, the swap file on a fast-ish but not too expensive memory stick, and maybe my personal data on another USB stick? I realise the swap-file memory stick might not last too long with all those writes.

Cheers, Jon.

Offline Rich

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11267
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 08:08:19 PM »
Hi Triophile
If it were me, I'd leave the DOM as it is, up the RAM to 1Gig, skip the swap for now, and then run it
for a while and see how it performs.

Offline SamK

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 713
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 10:46:17 PM »
I was toying with the idea of getting a bigger DOM, but am I right in thinking their transfer speeds are often poor, and perhaps poorer than a fast USB 2.0 memory stick? Anyway, is the 'right' way to do it to have the OS and programmes on the flash drive, the swap file on a fast-ish but not too expensive memory stick, and maybe my personal data on another USB stick? I realise the swap-file memory stick might not last too long with all those writes.
Hi Triophile
Another option to consider is to replace the DOM with a hard disk recycled from a redundant laptop.  This way a standard frugal installation of TC can be achieved (including swap) and will incorporate space for personal data.  The disk might also be used to boot from.

In such a configuration 512MB RAM is quite usable, however extra will not hurt.

Ultimately, the limiting factor is likely to be the CPU in conjunction with the use to which you put the machine.  It might be useful to install software that enables monitoring of the system load, CPU and RAM usage.
   
   

Offline curaga

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10970
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2011, 01:31:04 AM »
Even if the DOM is slower in speed than an usb stick, the greater cpu overhead of usb might still tip the scales on a Geode.
The only barriers that can stop you are the ones you create yourself.

Offline Triophile

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2011, 09:43:31 AM »
Thanks for the replies guys:

SamK: I was pondering the addition of a hard drive, but I just love the ghostly silence of no moving parts :-) I think I'll stick with flash memory for now, see how I go, and then if I need space and swap-file endurance, I'll go for an HDD.

Rich: do you think TC with Flash 11 and Seamonkey, but no swap file, will run OK in a gig of RAM? I don't tend to have more than three or four browser tabs open at any one time, and generally only one running Flash, but doesn't FF/Seamonkey have a bit of a reputation for gobbling memory?

curaga: good point, that hadn't crossed my mind :-)

Pending the OK from Rich, I'll go for the extra memory, do a persistent TC install, and see how I get on.

Cheers, Jon.

Offline Rich

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11267
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2011, 09:55:32 AM »
Hi Triophile
I currently run Opera10 with Flash10 with 512Meg of RAM and no swap. I typically have 6 or 7 tabs
open along with 2 terminals, 2 instances of Midnight Commander, and AppBrowser running.
Quote
but doesn't FF/Seamonkey have a bit of a reputation for gobbling memory?
All browsers tend to gobble memory. You can check the cache settings and knock the values
way down.

Offline Triophile

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2011, 04:58:30 PM »
OK, got the gig of RAM, and tested it with XPe for an hour or two, and it seems fine.

Now, as far as installing TC goes, cue the sound of a head banging repeatedly against a wall...

It seems to run fine off the CD, but it took about 10 attempts to get a persistent install onto the 512MB DOM. I suspect the CD-RW I'm installing from is fine, as it was the one I used to get a persistent TC onto my Dell desktop, and that went without problems. Anyway, it's on the DOM in the HP thin client now, but installing FF and then Seamonkey through the Apps downloader produced icons in the Wbar, but no browsers when clicking on the icon, or going through the On Demand menu. Sigh, here we go again.

I know there are some posts about similar problems in the forum, but I had hoped this installation would be relatively painless, as I have some experience with TC on a previous machine.

Cheers, Jon.

Offline Triophile

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2011, 06:29:34 PM »
OK, after a number of removals and re-installations, I've got FF working fine. I added Flash 11 and Oss/Ossmix, and it's playing Flash videos off YouTube, albeit a little choppily.

It would be nice to have smoother Flash playback, though given the puny 1GHz Geode processor and the 16MB integrated graphics of the Sis741GX chipset, I'm quite surprised the machine's gotten this far :-)

In terms of upping the speed, I was comtemplating:

1) Would a faster DOM help? This one apparently reads and writes at around 8Mbps, while some of Trascends alternatives are about three times as fast. Given the fact that I've got the swap file in RAM, would a faster DOM make no difference?

2) Upgrading the CPU, possibly to an NX1750 at 1.4GHz, as detailed on this very useful page:

http://grope.thruhere.net/T5720/Gallery.html

Adding a small fan to cope with the extra heat shouldn't be too problematic.

3) Trying to get the optional HP expansion bay, to allow me to fit a PCI (yes, PCI rather than PCIe) graphics card.

What do you reckon guys? Of course, I might just need a fundamentally faster machine, but this T5720 is close, so close to being all-round usable for what I want for everyday use in a PC, and it uses very little power :-)

Cheers, Jon.

Offline speedbug78

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2011, 06:50:29 PM »
If it were me, I think I'd try the PCI graphics card route, they should be cheap, and have be able to have quite a bit more memory than 16MB.  You may even be able to find a fanless one that will do the job.  Sounds like you are really close which is fun, though in my experience that's when the floor can drop and you find out how far "close" is from "finished" ;)  Hope that's not the case for you though.  The only thing I would check on first is card compatibility and drivers for TC.

Offline Rich

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11267
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2011, 10:38:20 PM »
Hi Triophile
The first thing I would check is if streaming through the network is a bottleneck. Download one of
those choppy videos into the /tmp directory and try playing it back from there.

Offline curaga

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10970
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 02:34:12 AM »
Yeah, you should be able to get a Nvidia PCI card (the only video accel flash on linux supports).

It would be useful to post some of the issues you had installing, perhaps some are our bugs.
The only barriers that can stop you are the ones you create yourself.

Offline Triophile

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 05:09:48 AM »
Thanks for the feedback guys.

I installed Seamonkey, and that does a slightly better job with Flash. If I'm not doing anything else on the machine (including not even moving the mouse pointer around on-screen), then Flash playback is smoother, but still not 100%.

I'll have to ponder my next move, as I can't afford to spend too much on this box to get it up to scratch - I know what you mean, speedbug78! I've had the same problem with other machines, which were close, but no amount of extra expenditure would quite get them there.

The next acid test is DVD playback from an external USB DVD drive. I'm not looking forward to this one, as I suspect it'll be a fail, but fingers crossed...

Rich: Once the video has fully downloaded after the first playthrough, and I replay it, playback is slightly smoother, but still, anything like mouse-pointer movement on-screen slows replay back down. Reminds me of my girlfriend's old but still fully functional Dell Inspiron with onboard graphics and Centrino 1.8GHz running XP SP3: basically, choppy with Flash if you're doing anything else.

curaga: a couple of times, I had problems getting the install even onto the DOM - it didn't seem to install at all for some reason. Then, once it had sort of installed, a message appeared while booting saying something along the lines of, 'Verifying DMI Pool data - success', but then it just hung. A couple of times, trying to install from the installer tool on the Wbar, it stopped recognising the external USB CD drive I was using, despite having booted off it, and not having plugged any USB sticks or anything else USB in after the boot.

Offline curaga

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10970
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2011, 05:18:23 AM »
Oh, ok. Those sound like hw/bios issues more.

The only sticking point for DVDs would be the gpu. Sis chips are horrible. Assuming a decent gpu and Xorg, that hw should have no issue playing DVDs or xvid/divx - for reference, my Pentium2 can do that with its Ati Rage Pro.
The only barriers that can stop you are the ones you create yourself.

Offline Triophile

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2011, 06:15:20 AM »
Mmmm, I was in two minds about this TC when I saw it had a SiS chipset. I still thought it might be worth a go though, but perhaps I was wrong :-) My Acer Aspire One with a Puny Atom and onboard graphics had no problem at all playing DVDs. Oh well...

I could always put the original 512MB stick of RAM back in, in case the mobo isn't 100% happy with the new 1GB stick, and test everything again.

I'm running this TC install with the windows manager 'out-of-the-box', which I assume is Xvesa. Would a change to fbdev or Xorg improve matters, do you think?

Cheers, Jon.

Offline Rich

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11267
Re: Another thin client awaits a TC install
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2011, 07:03:22 AM »
Hi Triophile
Actually the window manager is flwm_topside which is quite capable and very light on resource
usage. The default graphics mode is Xvesa. You could try fbdev, instructions are on this page:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/faq.html
I don't know if Xorg would help without an accelerated graphics driver. I read somewhere that there
are none for your chipset.
Quote
Rich: Once the video has fully downloaded after the first playthrough, and I replay it, playback is slightly smoother, but still, anything like mouse-pointer movement on-screen slows replay back down.
That suggests that you are currently at the limit of your hardwares capabilities since the slightest
increase in overhead such as mouse movement or network activity is enough to affect playback.
While it might be tempting to install a faster CPU, you would not be addressing the real issue which
is a bottleneck in the video hardware.
The link you posted provides some good information. I suggest you follow these two points in it
before purchasing a particular video card:
1. Check the power requirements of the video card
2. Check for the availability of accelerated Linux drivers