No, really.

My main computer is a DELL Inspiron 8200 notebook with 1.9 GHz P4M and 384
MB of RAM, while my GF uses a regular desktop computer, an AMD with 1 GHz
and 512 MB of RAM. Both computers use a GeForce 4 (440 Go on the notebook,
MX440 on the desktop).

Both run Gentoo 1.4 with regular updates and KDE, that is, until both
harddisks in the desktop died an early and unexpected death and had to be
replaced and I needed to quickly install an OS for my SO.

Distribution of choice for that was Slackware 9.0 with updates to 9.1 on the
AMD - and it is blazingly fast, actually a lot faster than the DELL
notebook.

Startup into KDM takes about *half* the time on the seemingly slower desktop
and the new KDE 3.2beta1 (with unofficial packages) takes 10 seconds to
load, as opposed to 40 seconds on the notebook (with self compiled KDE
3.2alpha2).

I have used the notebook for over a year now and I know that it is a really
fast machine that plays games like Splinter Cell (WinXP on an old 10G disk)
or UT2003 without a glitch.

I tried many distributions, also in order to get familiar with all the
hardware in DELL and make it work as good as possible and I finally decided
to stay with Gentoo because of the clean package concept and way to
configure things on the command line.

glxgears runs with 2700 fps at 1600x1200x16, however the presumably slower
desktop runs it with 2800 fps at 1920x1440x16, which I find a little odd.
Also, I briefly tried Slackware on the notebook and glxgears sped up to 3200
fps, roughly a 15% increase in performance, which is weird, considering the
fact that the Gentoo system is presumably so much more optimized and custom
tailored to the machine.

I played around with all kernel releases since 2.4.18 and currently run the
latest 2.6test9 kernel with good success, having tried all Gentoo kernels
and more or less all experimental kernels since 2.5.50.

What is your experience? Is Gentoo really as fast on your machine as
expected, or were you just as disappointed about its performance as I am
currently?

Would upgrading the notebook to 768MB make a huge difference or just a
cosmetic one?

What alternative to Gentoo is there? SuSE and RedHat are way to bloated in
terms of graphic configuration for everything; Debian was my distribution of
choice until I switched to Gentoo and I am seriously thinking of switching
back to it, despite the hassle of testing|stable|unstable mixes.

I doubt it is the installation itself: I tried a clean install with GRP, as
well as a complete compile from scratch setup and could not detect any
difference in performance.

BTW, performance: Why is IDE so sucky? Whatever hdparm settings I use, the
machine feels incredibly slow when I move data from one to the other
partition or do an updatedb. Is there any remedy for that? I found the new
2.6 kernel no better and Gentoo's tuned kernels was the same.

OK, more of a rant than an actual quastion, though I feel many people may
want to share their experience in terms of performance.

Peter Lemken
Berlin

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