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I have a rather old motherboard/processor and I'm trying to install a nice lightweight linux on it. However, I can never get through the installer because it's so slow. It took me over 400 seconds to attempt to bootstrap CrunchBang linux before I just shut it off.

It's a micro ATX with a 2.9Ghz single core CPU. 1.5GB of DDR memory and a PATA (the long flat serial cables) DVD-ROM. Could it be my PATA connection? Seeing as this is all with Live CDs.

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Could be slow DVD drive. –  soandos Aug 26 '11 at 12:21
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3 Answers

Looking at the specs, and my general experience, it might be none of the above. Any way to force crunchbang to do a verbose boot so you can see where the boot process is freezing up?

Most DVD drives tend to work fast enough, since CD drives are at their theoretical maximum. I'd try swapping the IDE cable to rule it out, but somehow, it dosen't smell like that.

My vote is there's something specific that's acting up with crunchbang (do other distros work? The specs are plenty for debian or ubuntu), and its a case of what is called, to use the technical term "random gremlins"

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SATA came to the optical drives for convenience' sake, not for speed need. The smaller connectors and other benefits, as well as MoBo maker's desires to minimize the number of controllers and connectors they had to cram onto their PCB drove the adoption of SATA as the standard connector for optical drives. PATA is still quite capable of sufficient speeds. Journeyman Geek is probably more right than Matth1a3 here. –  music2myear Aug 26 '11 at 14:50
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Every distro I've tried via DVD doesn't work (very very very slow). I'm trying a USB install right now. –  MaxMackie Aug 26 '11 at 15:55
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My vote is the DVD drive or DVD cable... 2.9ghz and 1.5gb ram should be plenty

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I'm going to try hooking up a SATA dvd drive and hope it makes a difference. –  MaxMackie Aug 26 '11 at 12:57
    
You can always try to perform an install over network if your distro of choice supports that, if your network card supports that and if you have a second computer to act as PXE server. –  vtest Aug 26 '11 at 13:05
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400 seconds? To do what? 7 minutes is not that long for the full install. Be more specific.

Try installing Puppy or something using a USB drive intead of the DVD drive, which eliminates that as your problem piece. Also try running memtest86, again off the USB drive. Unetbootin can help you create bootable thumb drives.

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7 minutes to load the installer for me to choose my time zone. I would say that's much too long :) –  MaxMackie Aug 26 '11 at 15:54
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