Linux on 386: a datapoint

Linux on 386: a datapoint

Post by K.J. Seefried I » Thu, 23 Feb 1995 04:16:50



With all the discussion about Linux on a 386, I rummaged through my
s*heap and came up with the following test machine:

Compudyne branded i386SX/25 with 8MB RAM (no cache, no FPU)
Generic IDE Controller
        2 x Seagate ST1239A IDE Disks (201MB/ea.)
Wangtek 150MB QIC Tape
3Com 3C509TP
Adaptec AHA-1542CF SCSI Controller
        Sony SCSI CD-ROM (Single Speed)
Generic ET3000 SVGA Video Card w/ 512KB Video
(also tried Zenith-branded Headlands Tech. HT208-based card;
 couldn't get X to run (no suprise))

Loaded up Slackware from a CD-ROM (Version 1.0 kernel, X386 2.1).
Allocated a 28MB cache across both disks.

A 'make zlilo' took 4,104.68 user, 761.58 system and 1:22:16
elapsed time.  I don't think I'd want to do much kernel hacking
on it, but fine to add the occasional added device or patch.

X386 ran (SVGA server).  It's not what I'd call snappy, but it
is functional.  An accelerated server would help alot.  Of course,
not using a fossil like the ET3000 would probably help, too.

Ran mail, news and Mosaic.  At the command line, mail and news
are very snappy.  Under X, they ran adequately.

Compiled NetHack.  Played it.  Was pleased.

Played nice on my home network with the bigger Linux machine, a
Windows NT 3.5 machine, a WfW 3.11 machine and a Cisco IGS.  FTP,
telenet, etc., all worked fine.  

CONCLUSION: Feels like the old Sun 3/60s I used back in school.
Command line performance should please anyone; X is a tad slow.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this configuration
would be adequate for general use by anyone wanting to learn Unix,
do simple to mid-level programming, hook up to the net, and/or had
very little money to spend.

ODD NOTES:  

My subjective feeling is that a 25-MHz i386SX is about the baseline
for more than passing use (I had previously played with linux on a
16MHz i386SX).  

As mentioned before, new 386DX motherboards are sub-$100.  Add 8MB
RAM, ~200MB disk and an accelerated video card (if you intend to run
X).  Add Linux and rock 'n roll...

A friend of mine mentioned that he has an old i386DX/33 machine (a
Zenith, I think).  He added the optional 64KB cache memory, and
it substantially improved his X performance.  I've seen 386DX mother-
boards offered with 128KB chache; it seems it would be worth looking
for.

Also, there seem to be a host of motherboards offered with 486SX,
486SLC (of various manufacture) and 486DLC chips.  These are claim
to be faster than a 386DX, several have, and many fall under $100.

--
- K.J. Seefried III


 
 
 

Linux on 386: a datapoint

Post by David Dyer-Benn » Sun, 26 Feb 1995 13:32:46



Quote:>With all the discussion about Linux on a 386, I rummaged through my
>s*heap and came up with the following test machine:
>Compudyne branded i386SX/25 with 8MB RAM (no cache, no FPU)
>Generic IDE Controller
>    2 x Seagate ST1239A IDE Disks (201MB/ea.)
>Wangtek 150MB QIC Tape
>3Com 3C509TP
>Adaptec AHA-1542CF SCSI Controller
>    Sony SCSI CD-ROM (Single Speed)
>Generic ET3000 SVGA Video Card w/ 512KB Video
>(also tried Zenith-branded Headlands Tech. HT208-based card;
> couldn't get X to run (no suprise))
[snip]
>CONCLUSION: Feels like the old Sun 3/60s I used back in school.
>Command line performance should please anyone; X is a tad slow.
>There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this configuration
>would be adequate for general use by anyone wanting to learn Unix,
>do simple to mid-level programming, hook up to the net, and/or had
>very little money to spend.
>ODD NOTES:  
>My subjective feeling is that a 25-MHz i386SX is about the baseline
>for more than passing use (I had previously played with linux on a
>16MHz i386SX).  

That sounds about right.  I'm running a 386/40 with 16meg of memory.
I'm *not* running X on it.  Without X, most everything feels snappy
though big tasks are definitely slower than on sparcstation 10 at work
(kernel full build takes over 1/2 hour, for example).  I run it as a
bbs, and it's had up to 5 people running news and posting and sending
mail, mostly using emacs as their editor, without even breaking a
sweat (load average < 1).  

I've got an old 386/25 that I'm thinking of bringing up as another
Linux box.  It'd probably be all right as is, or for only about $200 I
can put a Cyrix 486-50DX2 in it (probably I can reduce that price if I
shop at all; that was from an ad that just happened to hit my
eyeballs).   Only problem is I don't know what I need another Linux
box for.

Think I should try my 386sx-16 laptop with 3 meg of memory and a 20
meg hard drive?  With the help of stacker I've been able to run
windows and Ami Pro on it :-) .

I'll bet Linux really notices the difference between a 386 sx and dx --
the bus width to memory, in particular.
--
David Dyer-Bennet, proprietor, The Terraboard             Minneapolis, MN

Web URL: http://www.veryComputer.com/~ddb (SF, photo)

 
 
 

1. Problems booting SV/386 on Intel AT-386-Computer

hello everybody out there,

i'm working with an Intel 80386-mainboard, Intel 2 mb 32-Bit Above-Board,
GENOA Super Hires Graphik-Card, Mitsubishi Multiscan-Monitor (1471??),
NCL-Controler (ST506-Type), CDC WRENII80SH Harddisk and CHINON 1.2 MB
FDD.

Running DOS, i don't have real problems. But UNIX...

I bought Microport System V/386 and tried to install by booting the
boot disk. The prompt "boot:" appears and i hit RETURN. Boot starts,
but about 20 sec later there appear some beeps on the speaker and ...
the system has hung up.

Even changing graphic modus to monochrome does change anything.

So, is anybody out there running System V/386 on an Intel 80386-
Mainboard? Anyone else suggestions?

Any comments are appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

--
 Ulrich Weis                        | UUCP:  ...!uunet!unido!sbsvax!chauvi



 D-6600 Saarbruecken 11, W. Germany | Phone: +49 681 302 4136

2. PCMCIA and PNP modem

3. 386/ix mailx as distributed with 386/ix

4. Scripted control of 'Telnet'

5. Emulating 386 on 386 (was: Topic for discussion - future of WINE)

6. win95 --nullmodem--> linux via PPP?

7. linux.exe and linux.386

8. Curious problem with /etc/environment and su

9. Tiny Linux on a 386, also loading linux with floppies

10. 4-Port BBS on 386-40 mith 8MB and LINUX possible????

11. linux on 386/40

12. Linux for PS/2 80 386 available?

13. Which linux for 386?