Repurposing an old rig

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Stoof2010
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Repurposing an old rig

Post by Stoof2010 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:47 pm

Ok so I have an old rig I stopped using a while ago.
I worry about it working with Linux properly.
CPU: AMD a6-5400k
MOBO: msi a68hm
Discreet graphics:AMD Radeon HD7570 1gb ddr5 (I think it was put into some dells back in the day)
RAM: 8gb ddr3 1866

I have no other purpose for any of the hardware on it. I ran windows 10 on it and was even able to get dual graphics through AMD software to work with the iGPU and the HD7570.
I've heard horror stories about using AMD stuff especially graphics cards on Linux.
My hope is to be able to get a LTS (hopefully 19.x) to run on it as I've grown accustomed to it, but I'm open to suggestions

Since the hardware is so old is there a better chance that drivers and stuff have been worked out for it like my printer was going from LM18 to 19 and it automatically worked?

I'd hate to just get rid of it and was hoping I could bring it back to life but from what I'm reading about people getting AMD stuff going I worry, so I come here, humble, to ask before trying and wiping the windows off the system to see what you guys/gals think.
Thanks for any help in advance!!
(P.s I haven't even tried to live boot it yet. Need to clean the dust off it first) lol.

If this is in the wrong area, I apologise. Please move to proper area. I don't mean to violate any rules, I'm still new here and definitely a newbie.

jglen490
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by jglen490 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:03 pm

It's old, and you've stopped using it. Sounds like a great opportunity to experiment.

If it works, you have an interesting Linux Mint computer. If it fails, you've lost nothing but an hour or so. Give it a try, the OS is free and the hardware is not that terrible.
I feel more like I do than I did when I got here.
Toshiba A135-S2386, Intel T2080, ATI Radeon® Xpress 200M Chipset, 2GB RAM, 500GB

athi
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by athi » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:05 pm

That machine still has a lot of life left as a Mint box. You should be able to run Cinnamon without issues, Mate and XFCE would run even better. Try running Mint from a Mint live USB to see which version you like. I run Mate 19.2 on core2duo machines with less ram.
Mint Mate 19.1. Main rig is HP 800G2 I5 6500 16GB ram, 120GB boot drive, 2x3TB, 1x4TB data drives. Oldest rig is Mate 18.3 on Dell D620 with 32bits core duo.

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blueocean
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by blueocean » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:55 pm

It should work just fine and everything should work with any of the 3 Mint versions. What brand of motherboard does it have?
To mark this issue solved, go to your original 1st post and click the edit pencil and add [Solved] at the beginning of the title and click Submit.

decrepit
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by decrepit » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:02 am

this machine was running mint mate fine with only 4gb ram. I installed a SSD, that sped it up no end, the I've added another 2gb ram so I can run windows 7 in virtual box. That's fine as long as I don't do too much other stuff with mint. I envy your 8gb, that would improve virtual box a lot.

You may find you enjoy the mint experience so much, your windows machine will start gathering dust

Stoof2010
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by Stoof2010 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:44 am

blueocean wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:55 pm
It should work just fine and everything should work with any of the 3 Mint versions. What brand of motherboard does it have?
It's an msi a68hm "military" board

I'm more worried about it getting confused with the APU graphics and the discreet graphics card. Don't know if I can run them together or not in dual graphics like I did on win10. But if I can't, I'm hoping i can figure out how to choose which one (discreet). Or at least I assume the 1gb discreet card would be more powerful than the onboard hd graphics on the APU
Last edited by Stoof2010 on Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

Stoof2010
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by Stoof2010 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:49 am

decrepit wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:02 am
this machine was running mint mate fine with only 4gb ram. I installed a SSD, that sped it up no end, the I've added another 2gb ram so I can run windows 7 in virtual box. That's fine as long as I don't do too much other stuff with mint. I envy your 8gb, that would improve virtual box a lot.

You may find you enjoy the mint experience so much, your windows machine will start gathering dust
Yeah I already have a 120 GB SSD in it and a blank wd1tb blue drive since I pirated the one I had as a storage drive for the next machine after that. Bought one but by then I want using it.
I'm running 19.2 right now on my Thinkpad T420 that I upgraded with 4 extra gb ram (8 total) and a 2tb 2.5" firecuda hybrid drive.
I've seen partitions schemes with the root and boot on SSD and /home on spinning drive but I think that may be a bit out of my league. I'll still mount it as storage drive though just hope the 120gb ssd won't fill to fast.
Plan on putting snapshots on the data 1tb drive too. That should help.
Edit:
Yeah I have many windows machines. I keep one at each TV in my house (no cable just internet) that I use to stream from. Idea here is to get familiar enough with Linux so next upgrade machines I build I won't have to pay for windows.

Stoof2010
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by Stoof2010 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:53 am

jglen490 wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:03 pm
It's old, and you've stopped using it. Sounds like a great opportunity to experiment.

If it works, you have an interesting Linux Mint computer. If it fails, you've lost nothing but an hour or so. Give it a try, the OS is free and the hardware is not that terrible.
That's what I was thinking!!!
And I plan on swapping for a new 120gb SSD I have spare to do the experimenting on. If it doesn't work, Incan throw the original SSD back in and it boots back into windows 10 :-)
Does seem like it may be a project with all the AMD hardware and the graphics.

athi
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by athi » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:52 am

Stoof2010 wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:49 am

I'm running 19.2 right now on my Thinkpad T420 that I upgraded with 4 extra gb ram (8 total) and a 2tb 2.5" firecuda hybrid drive.
I've seen partitions schemes with the root and boot on SSD and /home on spinning drive but I think that may be a bit out of my league. I'll still mount it as storage drive though just hope the 120gb ssd won't fill to fast.
Plan on putting snapshots on the data 1tb drive too. That should help.
Edit:
Yeah I have many windows machines. I keep one at each TV in my house (no cable just internet) that I use to stream from. Idea here is to get familiar enough with Linux so next upgrade machines I build I won't have to pay for windows.
Had a machine like that, / and SWAP on 120GB SSD and /home on 3TB HDD. You have to use "Something Else" option during the installation, relatively simple. Did it that way because at the time I don't know how to use fstab to automount.

Don't have cable TV either and had a Windows machine at each TV to play video from a DLNA server and go online like you have. Found out I can get Android TV boxes for about $30US to do the exact same thing. Tried Firestick and Chromecast, found TV box to be much more capable for less cost and TV box don't need to be online to work.
Mint Mate 19.1. Main rig is HP 800G2 I5 6500 16GB ram, 120GB boot drive, 2x3TB, 1x4TB data drives. Oldest rig is Mate 18.3 on Dell D620 with 32bits core duo.

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blueocean
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by blueocean » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:08 am

Stoof2010 wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:44 am
blueocean wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:55 pm
It should work just fine and everything should work with any of the 3 Mint versions. What brand of motherboard does it have?
It's an msi a68hm "military" board

I'm more worried about it getting confused with the APU graphics and the discreet graphics card. Don't know if I can run them together or not in dual graphics like I did on win10. But if I can't, I'm hoping i can figure out how to choose which one (discreet). Or at least I assume the 1gb discreet card would be more powerful than the onboard hd graphics on the APU
Were it me and just for general use, I'd stick with the APU and take the discrete card out. I have used those A6 APU and they are plenty good for everyday use and supported by Mint. After install is all finished and you've tested it, you can make a new Timeshift restore snapshot. Then add the card and check it out. If you are unhappy, you can put it back like it was. You can even jumpper the motherboard if need be, after removing the card, to reset to factory settings.
To mark this issue solved, go to your original 1st post and click the edit pencil and add [Solved] at the beginning of the title and click Submit.

Stoof2010
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by Stoof2010 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:24 pm

athi wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:52 am
Stoof2010 wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:49 am

I'm running 19.2 right now on my Thinkpad T420 that I upgraded with 4 extra gb ram (8 total) and a 2tb 2.5" firecuda hybrid drive.
I've seen partitions schemes with the root and boot on SSD and /home on spinning drive but I think that may be a bit out of my league. I'll still mount it as storage drive though just hope the 120gb ssd won't fill to fast.
Plan on putting snapshots on the data 1tb drive too. That should help.
Edit:
Yeah I have many windows machines. I keep one at each TV in my house (no cable just internet) that I use to stream from. Idea here is to get familiar enough with Linux so next upgrade machines I build I won't have to pay for windows.
Had a machine like that, / and SWAP on 120GB SSD and /home on 3TB HDD. You have to use "Something Else" option during the installation, relatively simple. Did it that way because at the time I don't know how to use fstab to automount.

Don't have cable TV either and had a Windows machine at each TV to play video from a DLNA server and go online like you have. Found out I can get Android TV boxes for about $30US to do the exact same thing. Tried Firestick and Chromecast, found TV box to be much more capable for less cost and TV box don't need to be online to work.
I'll look into that TV box.

And I'm still not sure about splitting the system. I think 120gb should be fine for OS and installed programs and just have the spinning drive as storage and snapshots

Stoof2010
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by Stoof2010 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:26 pm

blueocean wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:08 am
Stoof2010 wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:44 am
blueocean wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:55 pm
It should work just fine and everything should work with any of the 3 Mint versions. What brand of motherboard does it have?
It's an msi a68hm "military" board

I'm more worried about it getting confused with the APU graphics and the discreet graphics card. Don't know if I can run them together or not in dual graphics like I did on win10. But if I can't, I'm hoping i can figure out how to choose which one (discreet). Or at least I assume the 1gb discreet card would be more powerful than the onboard hd graphics on the APU
Were it me and just for general use, I'd stick with the APU and take the discrete card out. I have used those A6 APU and they are plenty good for everyday use and supported by Mint. After install is all finished and you've tested it, you can make a new Timeshift restore snapshot. Then add the card and check it out. If you are unhappy, you can put it back like it was. You can even jumpper the motherboard if need be, after removing the card, to reset to factory settings.
I think that's a good idea and help save headaches. If I can't get the discreet to work I can just use the onboard. If I recall the 2nd gen onboard on my t420 is less powerful than the a6 Radeon and mint runs great on my laptop :-)
Good call.

Stoof2010
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by Stoof2010 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:25 am

I'll try and post how it goes. Got tied up with my laptop again and testing hard drives to prepare for Using what I've learned about USB installs to make a portable installed Linux drive.
I'm having a blast with all this.
Hopefully there are no big hiccups and I'll definitely use the onboard APU graphics at first and take a snapshot before trying to add the discreet card and switch to that.

Stoof2010
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by Stoof2010 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:09 am

ok gents!!! did the install tonight and so far all went well.
i booted the live USB with the discreet card in to see if it would be listed and machine function and it does!!!
so I went on with the install on a small (to me) 120G SSD. may add a spinning drive later once its settled and proved out to be a stable system.
EDIT TO SPECS: only 6gb functional since i have the bios set to allow 2GB to the integrated graphics in the APU from when it was a windows rig and i was using dual graphics.
I have to do some digging here and elsewhere on the net about specifics to see which video car is active (integrated or discreet) that i saw mentioned in a video. also to see if both are actually functional in the system or just being recognized or what.
what i can say is im streaming a video right now and all is going well.
It even picked up the cheapo external TP-Link wifi usb thing and works very well.
ill report back once i find out how to see which video card(s) are working and how each work. If the discreet card is either the same or better ill be able to enable that and reclaim 2 GB of ram to bring me up to 8 actually available for the system :-)

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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by Spearmint2 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:52 am

to see the video cards.

Code: Select all

inxi -G
to see setup of display resolutions and refresh and ports.

Code: Select all

xrandr
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Stoof2010
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by Stoof2010 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:24 am

Spearmint2 wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:52 am
to see the video cards.

Code: Select all

inxi -G
to see setup of display resolutions and refresh and ports.

Code: Select all

xrandr
I tried the xrandr --setprovideroffloadsink command to choose the discreet card and got an error.
So i wonder if since I have the motherboard set up for dual graphics in bios if it's using both cards?!?
The info command shows both but having trouble choosing one
Edit: nevermind when I use the DRI_prime=1 before it to show which is actively rendering openGL I'm getting AMD Turks which is what the discreet showed as with the inxi -G command. The other is Trinity (it's a Trinity processor)
Ironically though I did change the 2gb shared ram for video in bios down to 0 and then up to 1 before going back to 2 because even though the discreet is primary renderer and has it's own 1gb vram, it seriously affected the video playback.
So I think I have the discreet set as primary but no way to know. The integrated seems to still be being used since the ram shared for video memory set in UEFI bios has a huuuuge impact on the video playback.
:-/ maybe someone can make sense of that. I don't know what to make of that.

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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by Spearmint2 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:24 am

why didn't you run it just as I posted?
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Re: Repurposing an old rig

Post by Stoof2010 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:38 am

Spearmint2 wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:24 am
why didn't you run it just as I posted?
I did.
Before you made that comment I already was messing with the video cards. About 2 hours ago when I did the install.

Then when you commented I ran the commands like you said
There was a video insaw yesterday then again today about showing the cards and how to switch the main to the discreet card.
Was experimenting to see which runs better, the integrated or the discreet.
But it's not working out right, but the computer is working well as far as I can see :-)
I just don't know what most of this stuff means
I had the bios set up for my windows machine so I had to play with that after install too.

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