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gcmartin

Joined: 14 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Mon 18 Feb 2013, 20:31    Post_subject:  

I updated the thread to reflect ATOM processors.

This thread is as accurate as possible base upon what is seen in the industry and remembering what we did in Puppy testing of PAE,

Puppy does something rather unique in its operation that feeds the performance benefit from PAE use. PAE is NOT some special kind of Puppy. It is a Linux build that has the smarts to take advantage of built-in CPU features that were added after the original Pentium design. Intel never retooled the old RAM methodology or the newer PAE methodology. This design model continues and was embraced when the manufacturers moved from 32bit to 64bit. We continue to see the PAE RAM model in many/most of the 64bit CPUs, even today if you should run a 32bit distro on it.. If you have a 32bit PC and it can suport PAE, none of our testing has surfaced Linux degradation no matter how much RAM you throw at your PC. It just does NOT degrade performance. In the greater IT community, its been shown that under certain workloads, in "Tom's Hardware Comparison's" measurements, to provide positive performance results. This matches Intel's own decades old internal report. And, This is consistent with what we found in the testing here in Puppyland. PAE can and does have a positive impact by comparison..

This thread intends to shed light on community findings of PAE benefits. It is to be viewed as helpful in understanding the developer's PUPs that are being offered and the benefits that users will acquire in the use of PAE.

No one who has most of today's PCs should expect or will see any loss of performance in the operations of your desktop use with a Puppy PAE Distro. In fact, you should expect benefit in your use. All that Puppy LInux does is exploit the hardware for your use.

No offense anyone. This is for understanding. It is NOT designed to build camps of people for or against. It is information for person to understand the benefit being presented by developers.

It is hoped that it is seen as such. Here to help

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Q5sys


Joined: 11 Dec 2008
Posts: 1073

PostPosted: Mon 18 Feb 2013, 21:12    Post_subject:  

gcmartin wrote:
We continue to see the PAE RAM model in many/most of the 64bit CPUs, even today if you should run a 32bit distro on it.. If you have a 32bit PC and it can suport PAE, none of our testing has surfaced Linux degradation no matter how much RAM you throw at your PC. It just does NOT degrade performance. In the greater IT community, its been shown that under certain workloads, in "Tom's Hardware Comparison's" measurements, to provide positive performance results. This matches Intel's own decades old internal report. And, This is consistent with what we found in the testing here in Puppyland. PAE can and does have a positive impact by comparison.


I'm trying to track down the Red Hat White paper, waiting to hear back from a few people about it, but there can be a performance hit. Thats even stated in the BSD docs

Quote:
To access more than 3.2 GB to 3.7 GB of installed memory (meaning up to 4 GB but also more than 4 GB), a special tweak called PAE must be used. PAE stands for Physical Address Extension and is a way for 32-bit x86 CPUs to address more than 4 GB of memory. It remaps the memory that would otherwise be overlayed by address reservations for hardware devices above the 4 GB range and uses it as additional physical memory. Using PAE has some drawbacks; this mode of memory access is a little bit slower than the normal (without PAE) mode and loadable modules are not supported. This means all drivers must be compiled into the kernel.

When might this be an issue? Well here is one that I can think up... If a user grabs the PAE version of Slacko (for example), and then downloads a virtualbox pet that was built on a non-PAE slacko system. I'm not quite sure if there would be any issues in loading the vbox kernel driver. Will there be a problem? I dont know. Someone would have to test it out. If someone is having trouble running vbox this may be the reason and not be aware of it. (this is actually a good example of why its best to compile vbox on your system instead of trying to grab a pet for it)
Same also goes for TrueCrypt since it can utilize kernel crytpo services. I have tested neither so I dont know.


Does this render PAE a bad choice. No, it doesnt. I'd honestly doubt if most people could even notice a 5% performance issue in their ram. But for those that want to push things... its something to take into account. Toms Hardware isn't really a reliable source for fact... to many people on there making claims and not enough facts to back it up.

Benchmark: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=ubuntu_32_pae&num=5
Quote:
Only a very small drop in performance can be found with the PAE kernel in the PostMark disk test, but the 64-bit kernel was immensely faster.

In the fourteen tests for this article we did not find using Ubuntu's 32-bit PAE kernel to have a dramatic performance impact whether it be positive or negative. Granted, we were using just 4GB of system memory that is common to many desktops, but if using 8GB, 16GB, or even a greater memory capacity the performance penalties are perhaps higher. By far though exhibiting the best performance was the Ubuntu 64-bit kernel that often ended up being leaps and bounds better than the 32-bit kernel. Unless you have technical or business reasons for not migrating to 64-bit Linux with compatible hardware, there is no reason to stick around with a 32-bit kernel and worrying about physical address extension.


The simple fact is that on a fundamental basis PAE has to be a bit slower because of the mapping requirement to be able to access all the ram. There have to be more access requests for memory space to find exactly what you're looking for.

I asked a friend of mine for some other test results and he gave me these: Showing PAE as slower than non-pae





But here's one showing them the same



And here's one showing mixed results.



I also remembered another possible drawback with PAE... not all drivers support higher than 4gb memory addressing, so in the case of non typical hardware, some drivers wont work. This is a minimal instance, and probably wont affect many people but its still a possibility. The only possible issue that springs to mind right now has to do again with Vbox.

Does all of this support not using a PAE-kernel, not really. But facts are facts. People should at least be aware that there may be a minimal performance difference. It's a personal choice. <5% ram performance vs greater ram space.
I would be willing to bet most would desire the larger memory space, but I'm sure there are others who wouldn't. In any case, users have the right to know and make that decision for themselves. Which way do I go? Well both actually. For a laptop I'd opt for speed over space, for a desktop I'd opt for space over speed.

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01micko


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PostPosted: Mon 18 Feb 2013, 21:25    Post_subject:  

Q5sys wrote:
... If a user grabs the PAE version of Slacko (for example), and then downloads a virtualbox pet that was built on a non-PAE slacko system. I'm not quite sure if there would be any issues in loading the vbox kernel driver. Will there be a problem? I dont know. Someone would have to test it out. If someone is having trouble running vbox this may be the reason and not be aware of it. (this is actually a good example of why its best to compile vbox on your system instead of trying to grab a pet for it)
Same also goes for TrueCrypt since it can utilize kernel crytpo services. I have tested neither so I dont know.

For that particular circumstance that is why I patch the Makefile of the kernel such that PAE or 4g is appended to the kernel version. That is, typing uname -r in console returns the kernel version with the 4g or PAE appended. That means that anything compiled in the other is not available for the native kernel.

While this could potentially cause issues with some woof scripts it hasn't so far. I tested it with Barry's version comparison utility vercmp and it seems to handle that scenario fine.

This is a common practice (patching kernel version). All the major distros (apart from Slackware) do this.

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gcmartin

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PostPosted: Mon 18 Feb 2013, 22:31    Post_subject:  

PAE is not some special "BIG" performance impacting hardware feature. Its a simple replacement model for providing access to RAM versus the old (and current) method of accessing.

It is exercised at the system level on behalf of system/subsystem requests.

It merely carries out request for RAM on behalf of the OS.

Here is also a definitive report by a respected group on benefits. It kinda mirrors what we have seen with PAE use in the Puppyland community testing that has been done.

Here is a simple explanation of PAE hardware which also has been echoed previously published in threads.

Hope anyone who might be confused can get a good understanding from this information as well.

Be aware, that I am consistent in suggesting that should anyone have a 64bit PC, they may find very good packaging from FATDOG64 and from LightHouse64.

For 32bit PCs, most come with PAE and should you have one, a PAE version of a Puppy, when offered will give excellent performance which equals what you would get from its non-PAE conterpart. This is what the testing has shown. And, you can be assured that it will make use of ALL RAM you can throw at it for your workloads.

And non-PAE will perform on all platforms. But be aware of its limitation.

Hope these references brings clarity.

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Atle

Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Mon 18 Feb 2013, 23:29    Post_subject:  

Thanks for a really wanted and needed crash course in uppers and downers on PAE. Now I even know what it means Very Happy

Despite getting dragged trough complex information so hard to understand that the radio needed to be turned off for a while here, I still want to point out that the issue for me is that i feel Puppy is like a "Light linux", always listed on "mini distro" articles and recommended for small spec hardware.

And its there things goes wrong in my eyes. The current flagship is PAE and that is not so good for getting new users. At least there should be a better set of information on the major download site,

Once the flagship became PAE, i have noticed that Puppy is dropping at Distrowatch and that might be the reason. People THINK they will get a sleek nice minidistro for their wifes computer or their old one etc, and they end up with not being able to boot the live CD they burn. THAT is the problem. Not PAE or 64 bits this and that.

Most people i know would not be able to tell you what PART of technology PAE derives from. Is it shortterm for some rocketscience stuff? A vaccine? Those batteries burning inside the Dreamliner? What what what?

I fancy Puppy for its simplicity and HORRIBLE ability to just do things that are ABSOLUTELY stunning within computing. I love the idea of PAE. Its great.

But its not so great that a certain percentage of new users that has burned their CD and awaits a AWESOME experience are left with nothing but a message... This PC is not PAE compatible...

Do they then come back to puppyland to search the forum for a workaround or just jump to another distro or even WORSE... stick to Windowz.

PAE is here to stay and its good news. But that said, please change the flagship to the NON PAE and make sure there is CLEAR information about when one should download and try the PAE version.

I think the entire Puppyland will grow stronger under such a presentation and that new users are more likely to LOVE puppy at first sight if the FIRST experience is bootable for ALL.

I honestly felt like left out when i tried this PAE first time... It was like... Huuuuu Shocked Did they leave all of us that think OLD computers are great and are struggling with 512 ram in 2013?

Then... after some time i discover I can try "retroprecise".

While the floor is mine for a second... Retro does mean among other things BACKWARDS... That is not very excellent considering one is going forward.

To conclude... A first time user experience should come before anything else and having non bootable CDs for a certain percentage of new users is not gone do Puppyland any good.
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Q5sys


Joined: 11 Dec 2008
Posts: 1073

PostPosted: Mon 18 Feb 2013, 23:36    Post_subject:  

Atle wrote:
To conclude... A first time user experience should come before anything else and having non bootable CDs for a certain percentage of new users is not gone do Puppyland any good.


I couldn't agree more. PAE should be an option, but not the default.
(Right now with Slacko that is the case right? Anyone know about Presice?)

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Atle

Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Oslo, Norway

PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb 2013, 00:18    Post_subject:  

Precise is the current flagship, and the PAE version is the "main option".

Slacko does not have PAE version as a primary choice as far as I have seen.

One can have a look [ur=http://puppylinux.org/main/Download%20Latest%20Release.html]here[/url]

I guess this is the page where most people have their first landing in Puppyland. I guess most people will end up downloading the first option and that is the Precise with PAE.
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gcmartin

Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 4379
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb 2013, 00:55    Post_subject:  

Hi @Atle

Could you run this command and post results here using the PC you had problems booting, please.
Code:
hardinfo -r -f html > report.html.gz
At the bottom of your post, you have the option to attach the "report.html.gz" file the command creates.

Maybe we can spot something
Thanks in advance

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gcmartin

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PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb 2013, 01:25    Post_subject:  

I just went thru the Slacko thread. I am looking for evidence of some large (or small) persons reporting PAE is not working.
Edited: I, also, just went thru Barry's Precise thread, too.

Since in excess of 98% of all desktops/laptops sold have the PAE feature, especially those machines sold before 2006 (which is what is being presented by members recently in this thread), I (and you too) should expect to see complaints that PAE is not working from its ISO.

Where is the evidence???

P310Don, whom has helped us in the past by bringing the early ATOM processor issue to our attention and (I think) another member did also share that they had a rare Intel (newer than 2005) that did not have the PAE. These are two accounts of the many many who have posted and shared their configurations and their boot problems in the forum. Everyone else was able to boot and run without issues. Everyone!

The most prevalent problem with booting is the ISO hash on downloads....not PAE. And those of us who have been around Puppy Linux for awhile and help by testing have, on accasion, gotten a bad download whch borks at boot time.

So where is the evidence that any PAE is turning off users....old or new and steering them away from Puppy, as is being suggested? i, personally, have been responsible for at least 40-50 people over the last 3 years to boot PUPs and of late, to boot Slacko and Barry's RACY. Not one has reported issues. Somewhere, or somewhere else, there must be evidence of what you share.

This is not a challenge, its a request for assisting information.

Please help.

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Atle

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PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb 2013, 01:52    Post_subject:  

I am doing this hardware test as i write, but its been going on for like 25 minutes now. I think the hardware test failed on my machine as its gone near silent now...

But let me make a test as suggested, as I can create a bootable USB as done before, check that the PAE version works on a newer laptop I can access tomorrow and then test it on my own personal stock of crap hardware. I got 4 laptops and that is:

Dell Latitude D505 512 Ram
Acer Aspire One ZG5 512 Ram
Fujitsu Siemens Amilo X1 2 gig Ram
Fujitsu Siemes Lifebook S7010D 1 gig ram

Anyhow... I need to boot into Lucid as i think there is a feature there that can verify the download of precise to be ok or not.

If the ISO is ok, is a USB boot good to go as a test?

I can report on all four machines pretty fast once iso is verified.

I am running Slacko as we speak.
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Atle

Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb 2013, 03:06    Post_subject:  

Tested 3 machines with MD5 verified ISO. precise 5.4.3(current)

Dell Latitude D505 512 Ram NOT working with PAE
Acer Aspire One ZG5 512 Ram Working with PAE
Fujitsu Siemes Lifebook S7010D 1 gig ram NOT working with PAE

Error message given upon boot is as follows:


Loading initrd.gz.........................ok

This kernel requires the following feature not present in CPU
pae

Unable to boot. Please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU


Fujitsu Siemens Amilo X1 2 gig Ram was not tested as it seem to have given up being booted from USB, but a test will also be done and posted as soon as i have a boot CD available.
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gcmartin

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PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb 2013, 04:28    Post_subject:  

Hi @Atle
That makes sense in the messages you show. Thanks.

What is shown is good, in that, the Puppy distro builders have features in the system which alerts the user that the distro will not work on that hardware.

This is a similar message one gets when someone boots a 64bit FATDOG64/LightHouse64 PUP on a 32bit PC.

This message is clear and one would assume it to be useful to the viewer, too.

Admittedly, this can be disheartening,but, certainly should not be a "show stopper". For the right person(s), it would begin a trek to read or enter the forum.

I can see where on a rare occasion, one might end with all of their PCs being non-PAE.

I acknowledge your pain and your concern.

But, now, knowing that most PUP distros which are, both, 32bit and non-PAE will work for your class of PCs. This kind of things should be helpful versus a discouraging event. The Puppy community does NOT try to discriminate against anyone who has non-PAE PCs. It is my observation that most every 32bit PUP developer, including Barry, tries to present a non-PAE version to accommodate those PCs as well.

I have been in IT all of my life, and I have never owned or used a Netbook. And, I do fully recognize these as the planned follow-on to smaller laptops; that is, before the industry switched to tablets.

I hope this has been a help as your experience helps all of us see what you share. Now, should someone present these messages in the forum, we can be a help in sharing useful information.

You inspire enough that this may be a good time to post a thread or a document somewhere for users who would have some typical problems at boot time. And as well, there may be some guidelines that would suggest that if users see a particular message, what they should do about it.

Lastly, I have seen more and more PUP distro developers offering suggestions what platforms they foresee their distro running on. As such, this also is efforts by the development community to guide users in where they can expect some safe, tested operating environments.

These are just observations.

Again, Thanks for taking a moment to share your findings.

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gcmartin

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PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb 2013, 05:01    Post_subject:  

Atle wrote:
... I am running Slacko as we speak.
On this PC, would you mind running the hardinfo command on it and posting your report, please. Is hardinfo hanging on this PC as well?

Thanks

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Atle

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PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb 2013, 05:32    Post_subject:  

Its the same computer and the same Slacko. Its hangs at John Walker Benchmark or so, but yet there might be a useful information in the output given.
report.html.gz
Description 
gz

 Download 
Filename  report.html.gz 
Filesize  58.6 KB 
Downloaded  304 Time(s) 
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Atle

Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Oslo, Norway

PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb 2013, 06:02    Post_subject:  

Quote:
This message is clear and one would assume it to be useful to the viewer, too.


I think this message is clear to about 0.3 percent of the world population.

Imagine a young girl that has a little brother whom she would like to help to get started with computer, and she reads about Puppy Linux, THE BEST CHOICE for old computers. She reads this in a online Linux magazine.

She has only one burnable CD left. She uses prepaid "pay pr mb" mobile internet. Downloading nearly 200mb costs the same as she makes washing dishes at the local cafe for one evening. Since so recommended for low ram and low spec computers, she strikes out for the biggest download she ever dear to do.

It took 5 hours to download the file and its ready to boot.


You think this clear message will help her?
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