Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

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Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby Rudemeister on Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:42 pm

I keep hearing about how Linux Mint runs fine on low resource hardware. I think that's nice. But I have Mint 14 KDE 64-bit running on some great hardware and it cranks! I bought one of these HP XW8600 Workstations as a refurbished system on eBay. If you're interested, there are plenty more of them from a few different companies being sold on eBay right now. What a deal I got on this baby! Now I have Mint running on 8 cores at 3Ghz with 32Gb of DDR2 DRAM!!!! I have never had a system that runs so smoothly before. KDE 4.10 is just awesome on this hardware. I am using kernel 3.7, but I think I'm going to update to 3.8 soon. Anybody else have any experience with kernel 3.8? I only still run Windows because there are still some apps I have to run for work. It actually runs pretty good in VirtualBox. I have Windows XP Pro installed in one virtual machine. I have Windows 7 32-bit installed in another virtual machine.

I enabled the OpenGL 3D extentions in KDE 64-bit. I have the cube spinning to switch desktops along with a bunch of other eye candy working great. This is my default favored operating system.

Memory has gotten cheap too! I bought the machine with 4GB being composed of 4 each 1GB modules. I pulled them out and installed 8 each 4G modules myself! I also added the 2 TB drive and the Blue Ray drive. What modern hardware are you running?

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Last edited by Rudemeister on Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Harware

Postby catweazel on Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:05 pm

Rudemeister wrote:I am using kernel 3.7

I'm very interested to find out how you did that without completely b0rking the system. I've tried several times to go up to 3.7/8 and all I've succeeded in doing is turning my kit into a boat anchor.

Would you mind sharing the process, please?
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Harware

Postby Rudemeister on Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:58 pm

TehGhodTrole wrote:Would you mind sharing the process, please?


I just added the "edgers" PPA to all the systems I administer. This hasn't borked one with modern hardware. I did bork one with an old Nvidia chip, but I went into a terminal session and returned the driver to 304.64. The kernel has been fine.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Harware

Postby zerozero on Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:17 pm

this https://launchpad.net/~xorg-edgers/+archive/ppa
(i'm using it on my raring install mostly to get newer mesa/xorg than the versions available in the ubuntu archive and it's working fine - for me)

as with all the low-level interference with our system (and xorg-edgers touches the basics: kernel-xserver-mesa) precaution and a fresh backup are necessary tools :D
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Harware

Postby catweazel on Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:19 pm

Rudemeister wrote:I just added the "edgers" PPA

Ah. That explains things. I was following the dodgy instructions at upubuntu.com. Thanks for that. I've got a dist-upgrade going right now. I'll let you know if I've b0rked yet another install.

Cheers, squire.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Harware

Postby catweazel on Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:24 pm

zerozero wrote:fresh backup are necessary tools :D

Indeed. I learned the words clonezlla and parted magic very early on. However I was up gone past midnight last night installing Mint 14 KDE and cnfiguring it. I just did a dist upgrade without a backup. No big deal if it borks because it's a learning exercise for me.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Harware

Postby catweazel on Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:03 pm

Well, this time it went better, marginally. The kernel installed fine and worked a treat, except it busted the AMD proprietary drivers so I purged the new kernel. Back to normal now. It looked like dkms choked on 3.7.

It's a shame really because that kernel was noticably quicker. Thanks anyway.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Harware

Postby Rudemeister on Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:27 am

TehGhodTrole wrote:The kernel installed fine and worked a treat, except it busted the AMD proprietary drivers so I purged the new kernel.


This is exactly why I avoid AMD video cards. They work okay in Windows, but often choke on Linux. That's why I advise all who will listen to go with Nvidia if you are going to go Linux 3D acceleration. The Intel drivers are stable too, but slow. Besides, Nvidia graphics cards aren't very expensive at all. Especially if you value your time. There are a bunch of them on eBay in the $30 range.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Harware

Postby catweazel on Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:34 am

Rudemeister wrote:This is exactly why I avoid AMD video cards. They work okay in Windows, but often choke on Linux. That's why I advise all who will listen to go with Nvidia

I advise people to use AMD cards for the same reason. Besides, the problem was dkms. nVidia's drivers also need the kernel headers so they would have the same problem.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby Rudemeister on Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:11 am

Good luck, dude. I hope you can get it to work. I always say if it doesn't work right away, get a bigger hammer. :D
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby powerhouse on Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:28 pm

Nice setup you got, Rudemeister. I wonder if you could run a Xen hypervisor and your Win 7 as a VM with VGA passthrough?

By coincidence I just saw one of your older posts asking about OpenBox (you mean VirtualBox?), KVM and Xen.

Well, I was in the same boat a year ago and decided to go with Xen since I needed full hardware acceleration for my graphics card under a Windows 7 VM. Xen was the first to offer this, and still seems to be years ahead.

What this Xen setup does for me is that I got rid of dual-boot. Windows runs in a VM but anyone using it would be hard pressed to find any (performance) difference to a native installation.

Your PC should be a good candidate for that. Except perhaps the Nvidia graphics card - AMD has better support for both Xen hypervisor and for VGA passthrough to Windows. You will probably need a second graphics card for it anyway.

So, if your hardware meets the specs and you are ready to spend some time to get Xen and Windows with passthrough running, you may want to try my how-to here: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=112013

You could easily turn your PC into a workstation for 2 people working simultaneously on it. Or run a full-fledged Windows VM for gaming on a Linux/Xen host.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby Rudemeister on Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:08 pm

powerhouse wrote:Nice setup you got, Rudemeister. I wonder if you could run a Xen hypervisor and your Win 7 as a VM with VGA passthrough?


Well, Powerhouse, I know that 3D acceleration in the VM's I have now doesn't exist. I've only been using Virtualbox. So you're saying that 3D acceleration works in Xen, but not well with Nvidia? Hmmm. Well, I'm already commited to Nvidia at home and all the computers I supervise at the office. I do have one 3Ghz P4 with an AMD graphics chip. I might just fiddle with that setup first. I don't want to bork my production machines by experimenting on them. I think I'll give this a whack and see what happens on the P4.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby powerhouse on Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:13 am

@Rudemeister: It's not a good idea to use a production machine for that, at least not unless you have an easy and fast way to get it back working.

The hardware requirements are very strict with Xen and PCI / VGA passthrough to work properly. On the processor side it must support VT-d for Intel CPUs (and this must be enabled in the motherboard BIOS).

Some Nvidia graphics cards are supported, or can be made working with newer Xen hypervisors (4.2) or patches. Some Nvidia cards such as the Quadro series starting with the Quadro 2000 should work out of the box as secondary GPU. It's best to have two VGA adapters, one for Linux, the other for the Windows VM.

If you don't need native graphics acceleration under Windows - i.e. if you don't have any need for dual-boot - you probably won't need VGA passthru.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby homerscousin on Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:15 am

Hi, Rudemeister. Have you run any benchmarks on that rig? I installed Phoronix Test Suite but I have only run 1 test. Xonotic 0.6. I think it is #145 on the list. It was a 960 MB download for just that 1 test. I'll gladly post my last result if anyone is interested. Just need to crop the screenshot first, got my whole desktop and not just the window.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby Rudemeister on Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:07 pm

snapshot1.png
Here's my MInt 14 KDE desktop
snapshot1.png (548.76 KiB) Viewed 2964 times
XW8600.png
This is the Windows benchmark
XW8600.png (141.69 KiB) Viewed 2964 times
I'm dual booting with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and Mint 14 KDE 64-bit. When I first got it it had 4GB install in 4 each 1GB DIMM's. But I pulled those out and plugged in 8 each of some 4GB DIMM's. I tweaked some other stuff since I have put it all together too. I haven't done a Linux benchmark on yet yet. I think I will a little later. I had to Install Windows first to get GRUB booting both OS's properly. So I ran the default gaming benchmark that came with Windows. I'm sure imy score would imporve if I ran it again, but I don't really care too much about that for the time being. Here a screen cap of my Linux Desktop and the Windows Benchmark.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby homerscousin on Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:20 pm

I hope you do install Phoronix. I don't quite understand it. Huge downloads for every test? Seems very thorough, but to the point of overkill x 10. Here's the only benchmark screenshot I have so far.

sysmon07.png
i5 3570k, ASRock z77 Extreme 4, 8 Gb Ripjaws 1600, Antec 430w psu, HVR 1600 tv tuner, custom case- marble top, oak face. Carver & DCM Time Window sound system. Mint 14 KDE.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby Rudemeister on Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:23 am

powerhouse wrote:If you don't need native graphics acceleration under Windows - i.e. if you don't have any need for dual-boot - you probably won't need VGA passthru.


@Powerhouse, my previous computer was a homebuilt P4 with 4GB of memory. It was maxed out and worked fine for years. But it was time to retire it. I installed Win7 on the drive. Then I installed Mint. It divided the drive almost in evenly in 2 and setup grub for a dual boot. Setting up Windows with all the other stuff took an entire Saturday. Setting up Mint 14 KDE took an hour. Geez. Anyway, I've setup a VM for Windows7 32-bit and Windows XPP 32-bit. Win7 VM has 4GB and WinXP has 2GB. Both VM's run faster than the native Windows on the previous machine. I have no intention of running games in them either. I actuall use the Win7 VM because I haven't found another mail client that will connect to an Exchange server using RPC. The idiot that set it up didn't allow for POP or IMAP, so I'm stuck booting Windows just to run Outlook. I must say that Outlook 2010 is a great mail client too. As fashionable (often rightfully) as it is to disparage Microsoft, Outlook is very nicely done. I actually like Win7 too. Anyway, I rarely have had cause to boot into Windows. VirtualBox is working that good. I have been playing games too. But I installed Steam for Linux and games just rock on this machine. I think I might look into running Outlook in Wine and then there would be no use for it at all. Linux on decent hardware is just so awesome, I can say enough good things about it. It has been funcioning PERFECTLY with Mint 14 KDE 64-bit as a primary OS. Awesomeness! :D
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby anandrkris on Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:30 am

@Rudemeister - Am jealous of your specs. :)

I have updated my laptop to Kernel 3.8 and been running KDE 4.10 since
their RC. My graphics card is Nvidia 540M Optimus - so it is a 'bumblebee' setup.

http://www.cyberwizzard.nl/site/blog-li ... ivers.html - Ubuntu Kernel 3.8 and NVidia Drivers. Thanks to these patches my Nvidia 304.64 are now working. I know 304 is old and needs to be updated but 304 seems to be driver under nvidia-current.

Looks like my performance as such has improved a great deal. I played TF2 and SuperTuxKart. Better FPS and loads much faster.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby homerscousin on Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:28 pm

Just want to correct my test result above. I don't know exactly how to get the test to begin at a particular graphics setting other than edit the test-definition.xml file in the xonotic folder, or bring up the settings menu as soon as posible after the test loads. It starts by default at ultimate. Takes 10 seconds to change, so if anything, any setting less than ultimate might be a touch low.

New Numbers: all at 1920 x 1080
Ultimate : 18.94 fps
High : 59.95 fps
Low : 129.41fps

The number above was a test where I changed to high after some time so it was an average of 2 settings. 27 fps at ultimate just isn't right.
i5 3570k, ASRock z77 Extreme 4, 8 Gb Ripjaws 1600, Antec 430w psu, HVR 1600 tv tuner, custom case- marble top, oak face. Carver & DCM Time Window sound system. Mint 14 KDE.
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Re: Mint 14 on High Performance Hardware

Postby powerhouse on Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:43 pm

@Rudemeister: Saw your Windows Experience Index and thought I through in this Passmark:

Image

Above Passmark is from a Windows 7 Pro 64 bit Virtual Machine :shock: running on a Xen hypervisor. The only weak point I can find is the 3D graphics index of the Nvidia Quadro 2000 card - for the same price I could have gotten an AMD HD7970 with much better 3D performance. I run the Quadro with VGA passthrough, so the graphics performance is like native.

Actually, my 3D Graphics Mark of 1369 inside the VM is even better than the average 3D Graphics Mark of 1295 for this card, see http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Quadro+2000.
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