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On my laptop (hw info below) I currently run Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft). The computer has been my work computer since 2006.

I am considering doing a reinstall to get something more recent.

What can I expect, perfomance-wise?

$ lshw
WARNING: you should run this program as super-user.
lapdance                  
    description: Computer
    width: 32 bits
  *-core
       description: Motherboard
       physical id: 0
     *-memory
          description: System memory
          physical id: 0
          size: 2027MB
     *-cpu
          product: Intel(R) Pentium(R) M processor 1.60GHz
          vendor: Intel Corp.
          physical id: 1
          bus info: cpu@0
          version: 6.13.6
          size: 1400MHz
          capacity: 1400MHz
          width: 32 bits
          capabilities: fpu fpu_exception wp vme de pse tsc msr mce cx8 sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss tm pbe up est tm2 cpufreq
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If you notice a decrease in performance you can go to this question ubuntu.stackexchange.com/questions/2194/… it has some nice tweaks to make. And you can add some of your own if you have it. –  Decio Lira Sep 25 '10 at 21:36
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I'm sure you know this, but I feel obliged to mention that Edgy has been unsupported for nearly two and half years - meaning it doesn't get security updates. A slower new release is always going to be faster than a old totally useless virus-corrupted install ;) –  8128 Oct 3 '10 at 19:45

6 Answers 6

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's very hard to predict. Ubuntu makes some effort to streamline common tasks, giving an advantage to newer releases. But most applications gain features a lot faster than they are optimized, which gives an advantage to older releases. A newer release is likely to come with a default configuration tuned for a faster machine (especially in terms of display effects), but you can change the configuration.

Looking at your specs, you have a relatively slow CPU, but a more than adequate amount of RAM, so it's worth a try.

Another factor which is strongly in favor of 10.04+ is the ext4 filesystem, which is a lot faster than ext3. It can make a significant difference to anything involving file input/output.

One specific task which can benefit from a newer release is web browsing: 10.04 ships with Chromium (it's not the default browser, but it is part of the distribution), and Chromium is usually visibly faster than Firefox. (I don't know if Chromium works on edgy — it's available for hardy, but considering that Chromium uses a lot of libraries, including some from Gnome, edgy is pushing it.)

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@fluteflute: 10.04 does ship with Chromium, even if it's not part of the default install. And many programs work for older OS releases (e.g. Chromium works on hardy) (in fact few programs require an OS release that is younger than them!). –  Gilles Oct 3 '10 at 18:52
    
Personally I think "ships with" implies it comes out of the box, on a default install - but thanks for clarifying it in your post :) –  8128 Oct 3 '10 at 19:35
    
You won't get ext4 with an upgrade; you'll need a reinstall. –  Broam Nov 17 '10 at 20:22
    
@Broam: The Ubuntu upgrade doesn't convert your filesystem to ext4, but you can do it without reinstalling (a few features need to be enabled when the filesystem is created, but you will get most benefits if you convert). See Converting an existing Ext3 filesystem to Ext4. –  Gilles Nov 17 '10 at 22:00

I have 10.04 on a 1.7 GHz P4 and it never consumes more than 50% of the CPU.RAM usage is a little but high though(but i have 512 MB RAM only :( ).

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CPU does not really mean much to Ubuntu's performance. (Not at least getting things done, it will for tasks that are CPU bound like encoding obviously). With over 1gb of RAM it will run speedy. I can get away with less than half of what you have.

Try a live CD and see if everything works for you. If it feels fast even off the slow live CD, then it will run great. :)

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You'll really notice the improved boot time.

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With 2GB of RAM you should be just fine. Upgrading to a later version of Ubuntu shouldn't ever degrade performance (that's my opinion, not reality), and can be made to run fine on older hardware with a little tweaking. I run 10.04 and 10.10 on my laptop with 1GB RAM and a 1.2GHz 32-bit processor without problems.

There are certain applications (such as Gwibber) which I have heard have adverse impact on system performance. I don't use Gwibber and I have removed it from my desktop system. It runs on the laptop (idle, since I don't use it) without impact. I remember hearing complaints about Gwibber when 10.04 came out, but not so much since then- perhaps the issue has been resolved with an update.

If you go ahead and install 10.04 and notice a drop in performance relative to 6.10, I recommend firing up System Monitor and seeing if you can find an application hogging up resources.

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Gwibber has moved to sqlite from desktopcouch recently and performance has improved since then. –  akshatj Oct 2 '10 at 17:20

In my opinion, switching from 6.10 to 10.04 per se may not affect performance. However, the increased UI polish and graphical goodness brought into GNOME desktop could demand more from the hardware.

I would suggest trying xubuntu or lubuntu first preferable via a live cd/ live usb.

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