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View Full Version : anyone using a laptop as a slimserver?



shermoid
2005-04-29, 10:16
greetings,

i have been considering using a dedicated laptop running debian linux as a slimserver, and freeing up my pc for other abuse. :-) has anyone done this in the past? i can't see that there would be any problems, but you never know until you try it. and, since i'd have to purchase a laptop for this trial, i wanted to see if anyone would say "DON'T DO IT!" first.

regards,
-sherm

max.spicer
2005-04-29, 11:43
Debian on a laptop isn't a problem. You often struggle to get features such as suspend to ram working properly on laptops, but I doubt you'll want that anyway. See http://www.linux-laptop.net/ for a list of laptops that are known to work with various distros. A friend of mine has just successfully put Debian on a Dell Inspiron 1150 with no trouble at all. I recently put it on an old Compaq Presario with a few more issues, but that was really just to do with the wireless card. Don't forget to select the 2.6 kernel at the start of the installation though! IIRC, just type linux26 instead of linux at the very start.

Jack Coates
2005-04-29, 13:39
max.spicer wrote:
> Debian on a laptop isn't a problem. You often struggle to get features
> such as suspend to ram working properly on laptops, but I doubt you'll
> want that anyway. See http://www.linux-laptop.net/ for a list of
> laptops that are known to work with various distros. A friend of mine
> has just successfully put Debian on a Dell Inspiron 1150 with no
> trouble at all. I recently put it on an old Compaq Presario with a few
> more issues, but that was really just to do with the wireless card.
> Don't forget to select the 2.6 kernel at the start of the installation
> though! IIRC, just type linux26 instead of linux at the very start.
>
>

only issue to consider is that many older laptops are not designed to
run 24x7 -- since I've done this to some of them, I can talk about how
they fail :)

Depending on age, you might see some screen failures, but this can be
avoided by turning off or turning down the brightness on the screen
(maybe even with a software tool such as i810switch).

Heat is a bigger issue, and if you close the lid for storage or
automatic screen blanking, you'll make the laptop get even hotter. It's
very common for the CPU heatsink on older laptops being run as servers
to warp from the heat, causing the fan to make godawful noises as it
grinds against the warped metal. Eventually this noise will stop, but
the CPU will also stop a little bit later.

All this said, I've had laptop servers live for months at a time,
noisily whining away. The disks are pitifully slow, but they do work.
--
Jack at Monkeynoodle dot Org: It's a Scientific Venture...
Riding the Emergency Third Rail Power Trip since 1996!

cschlatt
2005-05-01, 09:06
I've just recently bought a new laptop for this purpose. A no-name model with centrino (Pentium M 1.7 GHz) components for about 1000 Euros. After some weeks using it I really love this setup ... no noise, small, console integrated ;-)

I've installed Ubuntu Linux (which can be compared to an up-to-date Debian) without any troubles. I attached an external USB2 HD for the storage of my media files (better durability/speed than internal drive). After taking out the battery, you almost never hear any noise from this laptop.

cschlatt@notebook:~ $ uname -a
Linux notebook 2.6.10-5-386 #1 Tue Apr 5 12:12:40 UTC 2005 i686 GNU/Linux
cschlatt@notebook:~ $ cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor : 0
vendor_id : GenuineIntel
cpu family : 6
model : 13
model name : Intel(R) Pentium(R) M processor 1.70GHz
stepping : 6
cpu MHz : 1687.450
cache size : 2048 KB
fdiv_bug : no
hlt_bug : no
f00f_bug : no
coma_bug : no
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 2
wp : yes
flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr mce cx8 sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss tm pbe est tm2
bogomips : 3350.52