Some time ago I became good friends with a certain Asus Pundit P1-PH1. I found it, sad and forgotten, in a local electronics dumpster. Initial diagnostics showed a dead PSU, which I replaced with one from an old MSI small-form factor desktop PC. I also expanded the RAM to 2 GB 533 MHz (maximum it can take) and swapped the single-core Intel D for a faster Pentium 4 processor, clocked at 3.20 GHz. After some reading I realized that the memory can be clocked up to 667 MHz. As I have 2x 1GB 667 MHz DDR2 bricks, I will upgrade this box in the nearest future. To top it off, a 120 GB IDE drive.
The Pundit is a rather dated piece of hardware, though thanks to GNU/Linux I can restore it back to its former multimedia centre glory. As my operating system I chose BunsenLabs Linux, based on Debian Stable. Other noteworthy alternatives are Debian Stable itself, Arch Linux, Manjaro Linux, Bodhi Linux, AntiX and Peppermint OS. Frankly, Arch Linux would be the lightest on resources, but I always have problems with theming and Pundit has some slots/ports I am not entirely familiar with. In other words, the less to configure, the better!
BunsenLabs offers a fairly easy installation procedure, as the installer is based on Debian’s original installer and the bl-welcome post-installation script handles many useful to-dos. Still, I did some minor tweaks to improve my user experience. Below, a summary:
- Spacefm as file manager instead of Thunar
- Midori as Internet browser instead of Iceweasel/Firefox
- Volumeicon as volume icon instead of Volti
- Blacklisted redundant kernel modules in /etc/modprobe.d/
- Installed firewalld and the firewall system tray applet
- Installed additional plugins for Geany
I almost never use more than 1 GB of RAM and CPU usage rarely exceeds 50%. Then again, I don’t do anything especially fancy. It is highly likely that Windows XP would run smoother on this machine, though without regular updates, GNU/Linux is the only safe option. Thereby, grab your favorite GNU/Linux distro and make your legacy hardware shine once more!