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i686 up to 4GB Option

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I've just recently downloaded and installed Linux Mandrake 10.0 Official on a desktop machine, and also my laptop too.


However, I noticed one of two things. Firstly, I have an option for the i686 up to 4GB. I'm not sure which option to choose to boot from.


The desktop had 512MB RAM and I use the entry coded "linux". For the laptop, I had the i686 up to 4GB and the previous mentioned "linux" option. Why are there two, and which one am I best to use?


Also, my laptop wouldn't sort the graphics automatically, and wants to use XFree86, else I don't get a GUI. Is this normal? The desktop was fine, running an ATI Radeon driver. Laptop is Intel based chipset.


Apologies, only I don't really understand all this at the minute, but am learning slowly :-). Your help is appreciated so that I know which is best for me to boot with.

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How much RAM does the laptop have? If less than 1GB, use the default kernel.


i686-up-4GB doesn't mean i686 'up to' 4GB. It means i686-UniProcessor-4GB - i.e. it's for a machine with at least an i686 processor (anything after Pentium Pro) - but only one - and less than 4GB of RAM. For a dual processor machine or one with HyperThreading, you'd use a kernel with smp in the name (or the enterprise kernel, which has smp enabled). In other words, smp and up are opposed, and mean 'multi-processor' and 'single processor' respectively.


Actually, either kernel will work. But the reason you shouldn't use the up-4GB kernel for machines with less than 1GB of RAM is this. A default kernel will support up to around 1GB (actually 850MB or so) of RAM. Supporting any more than this actually results in a slight performance decrease. So using kernels compiled with support for 4GB or 64GB of RAM on a machine with less than 1GB will result in an avoidable slight performance decrease.


Sorry, that was a little badly explained, hope you got the gist.

Edited by adamw
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Excellent, thanks for that. I wasn't sure, as I'm new to this, and want to understand it a bit more and use it.


The laptop does have 1GB of RAM, so I think I should be OK using this option. It didn't appear on the desktop, which made me wonder why it was there.


Thanks for your help, I understood what you wrote :-) so you have nothing to worry about.


My book arrives in a few days, so at least I'll be able to persevere a bit more and learn! Well, that's the idea anyhow.

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