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Will older version of Mint perform better on old hardware?


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Aug 31, 2023
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I've just installed Mint 21.2 on an old laptop (specs below). The Mint performance seems very sluggish, no better than the windows installation it replaced. Would I get better performance installing a version of Mint developed when the laptop hardware was less obsolete? If so, which version should I target? Thanks for any assistance.

Mint was installed as a clean overwrite of the existing windows disk.

Kernel: 5.15.0-82-generic x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 11.4.0 Desktop: Cinnamon 5.8.4
tk: GTK 3.24.33 wm: muffin dm: LightDM Distro: Linux Mint 21.2 Victoria base: Ubuntu 22.04 jammy
Type: Laptop System: Dell product: Latitude E6430 v: 01 serial: <superuser required> Chassis:
type: 9 serial: <superuser required>
Mobo: Dell model: 0H3MT5 v: A00 serial: <superuser required> BIOS: Dell v: A16
date: 08/19/2014
ID-1: BAT0 charge: 4.4 Wh (95.7%) condition: 4.6/62.2 Wh (7.3%) volts: 11.8 min: 11.1
model: Sanyo DELL 2VYF51C serial: <filter> status: Charging
Info: dual core model: Intel Core i5-3320M bits: 64 type: MT MCP arch: Ivy Bridge rev: 9 cache:
L1: 128 KiB L2: 512 KiB L3: 3 MiB
Speed (MHz): avg: 1395 high: 1396 min/max: 1200/3300 cores: 1: 1395 2: 1396 3: 1396 4: 1396
bogomips: 20733
Flags: avx ht lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx
Device-1: Intel 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics vendor: Dell driver: i915 v: kernel ports:
active: LVDS-1 empty: VGA-1 bus-ID: 00:02.0
Device-2: NVIDIA GF108GLM [NVS 5200M] vendor: Dell driver: nouveau v: kernel pcie:
speed: 2.5 GT/s lanes: 16 ports: active: none empty: DP-1, DP-2, HDMI-A-1, LVDS-2, VGA-2
bus-ID: 01:00.0
Device-3: Microdia Dell Integrated HD Webcam type: USB driver: uvcvideo bus-ID: 1-1.5:3

Display: x11 server: X.Org v: driver: X: loaded: modesetting unloaded: fbdev,vesa
gpu: i915 display-ID: :0 screens: 1
Screen-1: 0 s-res: 1366x768 s-dpi: 96
Monitor-1: LVDS-1 model: BOE Display res: 1366x768 dpi: 112 diag: 354mm (13.9")
OpenGL: renderer: Mesa Intel HD Graphics 4000 (IVB GT2) v: 4.2 Mesa 23.0.4-0ubuntu1~22.04.1
direct render: Yes
Device-1: Intel 7 Series/C216 Family High Definition Audio vendor: Dell driver: snd_hda_intel
v: kernel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
Device-2: NVIDIA GF108 High Definition Audio driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel pcie:
speed: 2.5 GT/s lanes: 16 bus-ID: 01:00.1
Sound Server-1: ALSA v: k5.15.0-82-generic running: yes
Sound Server-2: PulseAudio v: 15.99.1 running: yes
Sound Server-3: PipeWire v: 0.3.48 running: yes
Device-1: Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network vendor: Dell driver: e1000e v:
IF: eno1 state: down mac: <filter>
Device-2: Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 driver: iwlwifi v: kernel pcie: speed: 2.5 GT/s
lanes: 1 bus-ID: 03:00.0
IF: wlp3s0 state: up mac: <filter>
Hardware-1: Intel 82801 Mobile SATA Controller [RAID mode] driver: ahci v: 3.0 bus-ID: 00:1f.2

Local Storage: total: 238.47 GiB used: 13.39 GiB (5.6%)
ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: LITE-ON IT model: LCM-256M3S 2.5 7mm 256GB size: 238.47 GiB
speed: 6.0 Gb/s serial: <filter>
ID-1: / size: 233.18 GiB used: 13.39 GiB (5.7%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda3
ID-2: /boot/efi size: 512 MiB used: 6.1 MiB (1.2%) fs: vfat dev: /dev/sda2
ID-1: swap-1 type: file size: 2 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) priority: -2 file: /swapfile
Hub-1: 1-0:1 info: Full speed or root hub ports: 3 rev: 2.0 speed: 480 Mb/s
Hub-2: 1-1:2 info: Intel Integrated Rate Matching Hub ports: 6 rev: 2.0 speed: 480 Mb/s

Device-1: 1-1.5:3 info: Microdia Dell Integrated HD Webcam type: Video driver: uvcvideo
rev: 2.0 speed: 480 Mb/s
Hub-3: 2-0:1 info: Full speed or root hub ports: 3 rev: 2.0 speed: 480 Mb/s
Hub-4: 2-1:2 info: Intel Integrated Rate Matching Hub ports: 8 rev: 2.0 speed: 480 Mb/s

Hub-5: 3-0:1 info: Hi-speed hub with single TT ports: 4 rev: 2.0 speed: 480 Mb/s

Device-1: 3-2:2 info: Maxxter Wireless Optical Mouse ACT-MUSW-002 type: Mouse
driver: hid-generic,usbhid rev: 1.1 speed: 12 Mb/s
Hub-6: 4-0:1 info: Super-speed hub ports: 4 rev: 3.0 speed: 5 Gb/s
System Temperatures: cpu: 55.0 C mobo: 47.0 C sodimm: SODIMM C gpu: nouveau temp: 50.0 C
Fan Speeds (RPM): cpu: 0
Packages: 2170 apt: 2163 flatpak: 7
No active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list
Active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/official-package-repositories.list
1: deb http: //packages.linuxmint.com victoria main upstream import backport
2: deb http: //archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu jammy main restricted universe multiverse
3: deb http: //archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu jammy-updates main restricted universe multiverse
4: deb http: //archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu jammy-backports main restricted universe multiverse
5: deb http: //security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ jammy-security main restricted universe multiverse
Processes: 260 Uptime: 4m Memory: 7.66 GiB used: 1.37 GiB (17.9%) Init: systemd v: 249
runlevel: 5 Compilers: gcc: 11.4.0 alt: 11/12 Client: Unknown python3.10 client inxi: 3.3.13

Even if they did, you shouldn't use them. They'd be out of support, meaning no longer getting security updates (of which there are many, as it is the nature of the beast).

Cinnamon is not a lightweight desktop environment. So, it's going to consume more resources than a lightweight distro. If you look at the bottom of your text (code tags are appreciated), you'll see that you're using all of your RAM.

There are a variety of choices you can make from here. Increasing RAM is generally easy and likely possible with your system. Using fewer applications at once is another option. Minimizing RAM use (often by the browser) is another option. Finding a lightweight distro will help a little, but you'll still use similar amounts of RAM if you open similar applications.
Thanks for the prompt reply. Looks like a hardware upgrade is in order.
Thanks for the prompt reply. Looks like a hardware upgrade is in order.

I'd vote for that at a personal level. It's just the thing to do, for me. You could also add swap and let the kernel use that to move things in and out of memory - but don't think of swap as 'extra RAM' as it's really nothing of the sort.

Though, you can get better performance with what you have. Many people use Mint with the same amount of RAM, and some even less.

For instance, if you're using that much RAM because you have a browser with a bunch of tabs open (probably the most common cause), there are solutions for that. Right now, I'm cruising with 18% of 32 GB in use on a Mint box. (I most usually use Lubuntu, which you'll find runs a bit lighter - and I'm on the Lubuntu dev team with my role in testing - but I have Mint installed on this computer.)

And, yeah, you can try various distros. There are lightweight distros meant for older hardware, but your hardware really isn't all that old. More RAM would help.
Info: dual core model: Intel Core i5-3320M
i've got that same processor in an older system that works fairly well with mint 20.3 xfce and 8 GB of ram. the xfce and mate desktops are supposed to be at least a bit lighter than cinnamon.
If you look at the bottom of your text (code tags are appreciated), you'll see that you're using all of your RAM.
i'm only seeing ~18% in use.
Memory: 7.66 GiB used: 1.37 GiB (17.9%)
You may do better with older equipment using MX-23 , Mint xfce should be ok not speedy but solid. Cinnamon uses a lot more resources..
'm only seeing ~18% in use.

Ah, I read it backwards in my haste. Good catch. (I'm in the process of leaving for a medical appointment.)
Distribution wise, you may find Mint LMDE5 a little quicker than Ubuntu based Mint 21 [it has less baggage]
or change to a light or medium weight distribution
medium wt, MX-Linux, Peppermint, Parrot,Debian stable
Light wt. Antix, linux-lite, Bunsen labs,
there are numerous distributions in each group.
Welcome to the Forum.

Never use old versions of Mint because as these are no longer supported. I'm running Mint Cinnamon 21.1 on an 11 year old Laptop...4GB of Ram...64bit and an i5 CPU...it runs just fine.

Of course I'm limited to what I can do...can't run VMs or multi-task but can use it for general use.

These are the only versions now supported...https://linuxmint.com/download_all.php

Mint Cinnamon 21.2 is very new and could have a few bugs...this usually happens with a new version...these will be fixed in time...maybe try Cinnamon 21.1 as this runs just fine.
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I'm running LMDE 6 on a 14 year old HP mini with a much lower spec than your laptop and it runs beautifully.

My advice steer clear of the Mint Ubuntu base, for some reason I have found it has "issues".

You could also try Neptune Linux, which seems to be extremely well configured and also ran like a dream on the HP.

Speed (MHz): avg: 1395 high: 1396 min/max

Info: dual core model: Intel Core i5-3320M bits
What I am not clear about, please:
"i5-3320M" says 3,3 GBit CPU oder "Speed (MHz)" says 1395, speak 1,4 GHz ?

I could see Knoppix 9.1 from stick (´installed´ as the DVD-version, as DVD-copy so to say) on a 1,6 GHz Laptop very fast. Installed to an SSD-drive it could be still faster.
Linux Mint Mate rather slow there.
About other Linux-variants I cannot say anything.
This processor [from 2012] is a 2 core 4 thread CPU base speed 2.6gh max boost speed 3.3gh [note the higher speed only activates when under full load]
this machine is 4 years younger than mine, which currently runs LMDE6, the only upgrade I made to mine, was to swap out the plate spinner HDD for a SSD
CPU base speed 2.6gh
Ah, OK, thank You.
With 2,6 GHz a Mint also should do it well.
But details - as lots of tabs opened in the browser, which is a special point, despite not un-important; which depends just on the speed of the browser at all (in the main,I think), I recommend PaleMoon (for Linux) - I do not know much about.
Or all other Linux variants, which are basically fast.