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I have an old Pavilion Slimline with a Pentium Dual Core E2140, 2GB RAM and a Radeon HD2350 graphics card. I thought about giving new life to this machine with Linux.

At first I tried Elementary OS and directly installed it thinking it couldn't be performing worst than Windows, but I was wrong. The problem was clear: graphics card not being used properly. System speed was not unbareable, but the machine was generally unusable. A lot of sceen tearing, big problems in scrolling menus and browser pages, impossibility to watch video, sloppiness in moving and resizing windows.

Now I'm trying Xubuntu and Lubuntu live from USB, and they are even better in general system speed, but graphics problems are still there. The system is always able to properly recognize and name my card, so I don't think it's using generic drivers, software rendering or something. And if I go into Additional Drivers it gives me no third party drivers to install, so I really don't know what to possibly do to get an enjoyable desktop experience on this machine.

I find it really strange performance is THAT bad, I've always had excellent experiences with Linux on older hardware.

UPDATE: I found out that old 12.6 fglrx drivers works on my card on 12.04.1 or previous versions. So I installed Xubuntu 12.04.1 and got fglrx to work, but I still have bad performance. According to fglrxinfo command proprietary drivers seem to be working, so I can't really see what's the problem. Maybe this is the least linux-friendly graphics card in graphics card history and there's nothing that I can do other than binning this machine. :|

  • Don't bin the machine yet. There are many other distros that may be able to work with the card. I would try some distros not based on debian such as fedora or archlinux (antergos has a great installer for beginners). – chaptuck Jan 15 '16 at 18:35
  • Yep, I'll try at least XFCE version of Fedora before I give up. ;-) – Nico Musone Jan 15 '16 at 21:16
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I would try actually installing the most recent Xubuntu or Lubuntu. There have been some updates to the kernel for radeon graphics cards. Running from a USB on an older machine can cause it to run slow but once installed it might work better. According the the wiki and this page your card is (mostly) fully supported on the open source driver. As long as you aren't doing intensive 3D graphics you shouldn't have a problem.

  • I've not tried newer Xubuntu or Lubuntu actually installed on my machine, but I think I'm 100% sure they suffered the same graphics problems that I had with previously installed ElementaryOS. I'm pretty sure bad disc drive performance isn't going to create crazy tearing and sloppiness in every graphical aspect of the system. Maybe instead of installing fglrx I should try and fix open drivers. But open source drivers should be well alive and automatically configured when I install the OS, I think. – Nico Musone Jan 15 '16 at 21:22
  • @NicoMusone With Radeon cards its really a hit or miss kinda thing. I have a radeon card in a desktop computer and I've had problems with both the open and proprietary drivers. And mine is supposedly "fully supported" as well. Good luck with whatever you do! – chaptuck Jan 15 '16 at 23:19
  • Found a low cost HD 6450 that should still be fully supported by AMD proprietary driver. Plus it's a much better card, so I think I'll buy it. With my current card's 64mb of memory I could even say it's just not good enough to run a modern OS's desktop... – Nico Musone Jan 16 '16 at 14:05

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