[K12OSN] 486s or PIs

"Terrell Prudé, Jr." microman at cmosnetworks.com
Wed Feb 9 23:55:34 UTC 2005

Robert Lefebvre wrote:

>I'm looking to get used computers donated for use in developing world
>countries and using K12LTSP. I can ask for any type of computer I want
>(I might not get them but I can always ask :-) but the older the unit
>the better the chance of getting it for free. There is even the
>possibility of picking up the old ones locally in those countries even
>if it means buying them, because they may be less than what it costs
>to ship them. So my question is "What kind of performance hit would we
>take by using 486's as thin clients instead of PIs or PIIs ?? My
>initial thought is none. Am I correct?

Go for Pentium I's or higher.  A Pentium-60 would be just fine as a thin 
client, as long as the motherboard supports PCI.  PCI support is the 
real kicker here.  It is true that 486's certainly have the CPU oomph to 
be thin clients, but not many of them have PCI.  A 486 with a PCI slot 
would in theory be just fine, but the PCI support in 486's was said to 
frequently have issues.  That said, if running 10Mbps NICs is OK in your 
situation, and 486's with ISA or EISA are what are available, then try a 
few out and see if they work out for your situation.

In my experience, thin clients need to have 32MB DRAM, though NFS swap 
will allow you to do it in 16MB on x86's.  They don't need more than 
32MB, but it obviously wouldn't hurt anything if they do have more.

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