Intel Atom 330
Years ago, I bought this Jetway motherboard because of the Atom 330. This particular Atom is a Dual Core, 1.60GHz cpu that is embedded into the motherboard. Believe it or not, It consumes about an average of 1.2W of power. That would make it ideal for a music server, or so I thought.
My first task was to install Windows XP and give it a test drive. That was when I discovered it’s too weak for XP. Even with two cores, XP was slow and stuttering. I checked up on the motherboard only to find that it was introduced during Vista. That is the only OS that I’ve never worked on. Neither do I have an installation disc. Anyway, from the horror stories I hear, I have no yearnings to work on Vista. So, this Jetway motherboard was stored away, along with many others that failed to make the grade.
Since I have been testing old motherboards lately, I pulled out this Jetway board thinking it may work with one of the lightweight Linux. I naturally installed Bodhi Linux, hoping that the motherboard would speed up. To my dismay, it still wasn’t fast enough. Internet was slow, especially with sites like eBay or BBC. That got me searching for other Linux distros that are even lighter. And I found it in antiX-17.
With antiX-17 installed, the Atom 330 is as fast as a 3.0GHz Pentium 4. It can handle resource demanding sites like eBay and BBC without crashing. I am so delighted with it that I’m writing this post using antiX.
This is what the antiX-17 desktop looks like. At the top right corner is where the Conky display is. You’ll find important information like RAM, Swap and Disk Usage. I installed the Gnome System Monitor just for comparison.
This screen capture was made when I only had music playing through Audacious. No other programs were in use. No internet, no apps.
As can be seen, the memory consumption is only 208 MB. The Atom 330 cpu is hardly working up a sweat. Not even 10%. Great for a music server. Furthermore, should I need to surf the web or use other programs, it won’t hang. This is something that’s impossible with Windows XP. In Windows 10, forget it.
getting Wine to work
The beauty of Linux is Wine. It is all because of Wine that I can finally phase out Windows. For readers who are not familiar with Linux, what exactly is Wine.
Wine is an acronym for Wine Is Not an Emulator. It is a compatibility layer that allows Windows programs to run in Linux. What this means is that I can run my DATS, OmniMic, REW, Dreamweaver etc in Linux. Wonderful, isn’t it. Bye, bye, Windows.
I normally have no problems getting Wine to work with Ubuntu distros but with antiX, it’s different. I initially installed Wine through Synaptic. It installed without a hitch. I then proceeded to install one of my Windows softwares only to find there’s no Wine Program Loader. So, I thought maybe the Wine in Synaptic is the cause. I uninstalled Wine and re-install it directly from WineHq through the Terminal. The commands are (in bold):
Get Wine Key
Add WineHQ repository for Debian 9 Stretch
Update packages and install libasound2-plugins:i386.
Finally, install Wine-Stable
The installation went smoothly. After that, I checked the wine –version and it flagged wine-4.0.3 That’s good. I’m on the latest Wine. Then, I ran winecfg to install Mono and Gecko. No hiccups there.
I again proceeded to install one of my Windows programs and the same thing happened. No Wine Program Loader. After some googling, it seems that there’s a conflict with Debian and Wine. The Loader is there but the links are broken.
So, I’m back to square one. Instead of wasting my time trying to repair the links, I decided to install my Windows softwares manually. I tried to do it in the Terminal and it flagged me that I needed zenity for the GUI. I activated Synaptic and found zenity. Got that installed.
I shall use as an example a program called BoxPort that I use for speaker box modeling. For convenience, I copied the program to my Desktop. In terminal, I start by changing the directory to Desktop by typing
Now that I’m into the Desktop environment, the next command is
And what do you know, the familiar Windows installation wizard appears, thanks to zenity. Just go through the process as though it’s Windows and the app will be installed. The next step is to run winecfg in terminal and add the program using the “Add application” button. This will tell Wine that Boxport.exe is the file to launch BoxPort.
The last step is to launch Boxport. For that, I need to find where Boxport.exe is located in wine. The easiest way to do that is to use wincfg. With Boxport.exe highlighted, click on Add application button and you’ll be able to trace the path. Generally, all applications will be in the Program Files folder. In this instance, it is inside another folder called Box-Port Design. To launch Boxport, I type
wine “c:\program files\Box-Port Design\Boxport.exe”
This launches BoxPort like in Windows. The only difference is that I’m launching it in antiX-17 Linux.
With BoxPort launched, I can work with it like in Windows. Repeat the installation process with other Windows programs and they will launch in Linux. It may seem a bit daunting working with command lines but for older readers that have worked on DOS in their younger years, they will be in familiar territory.
A new lease of life
End of the day, I patted myself on the back for a job well done. I never thought that this motherboard would ever meet my expectations. It only shows that with a bit of perseverance and determination, an outdated, under-powered motherboard can still be put into service. This is made possible with antiX Linux. It is lean, fast and powerful. I love it.
December 20, 2019Computers