Need help in optimizing Fedora 33 for an old laptop

Hi,

I am a new user and have an acer aspire 5253 with 2gb ram and AMD dual core E-350 processor. I am using Fedora 33 workstation edition but my laptop seems to struggle with it (gnome uses a lot of my RAM on idle and gnome shell takes up a lot of cpu processing too and system feels sluggish). I am looking for help on the following -

  1. Is there any way to make it work in the gnome workstation edition(as i like the minimalist vanilla gnome look). I keep noticing that the SWAP memory of around 800mb keeps getting fully used so can that be increased? Any suggestions on improving performance in gnome?
    The system starts with around 900mb of 1.7gb usage at idle and after using firefox for some time it is around 1.4 of 1.7gb and swap memory is fully used. Even cpu usage sometimes keeps hitting 100%.

  2. What would be the best DE for better performance and reasonable stability? (I am fine with using a fedora spin variant with a different DE).

  3. Does it just make more sense to just switch to a lightweight distro? If yes which one? And how much of a difference will it make in the performance?

I am a beginner but am willing to learn. Any help is highly appreciated. Thank you.

1 Like

Probably Fedora Xfce Desktop will work a bit better… good luck
For a quick-solution it could be worth to start the Gnome “classic” GUI from GDM, which already should consume less resources.

7 Likes

I think LXQT is even more lightweight:

https://spins.fedoraproject.org/

3 Likes

Thanks guys! I am downloading both the xfce and lxqt spins to check them out.

2 Likes

Agreed.
My hardware is Lenovo S10-3 with Intel Atom N455 1,66 Ghz CPU and 2 GB RAM.

LXQT works fine.

In addition I killed many services.

2 Likes

True.

LXQT is working well for me too so I am going to stick with it. :v:

Would you please share what services can be killed?

I have a 2007 VGN-TZ17GN Specifications | Sony AP which 2GB ram is the max it can support.

Difficult to advice.
Need to see.
For example,
I have no printers - disable cups service
no bluetooth - disable bluetooth service
no RAID - disable raid services
don’t use LVM - disable lvm services
no need ssh - disable sshd service
etc.

3 Likes

2GB is going to be tough even with a minimal desktop because modern web browsers and web sites will eat that for breakfast.

One thing that’s coming in Fedora 34 is expected to make this better: we’re increasing the threshold where we compress your RAM on the fly (using a feature called “zram”). This should happen automatically on upgrade if you don’t touch the configuration. (Note that this may not be enabled in all desktop environments, so it’s worth checking!)

Instructions for enabling the new config now can be found in the change proposal at Changes/Scale ZRAM to full memory size - Fedora Project Wiki but note that they’re pretty technical. (Actually, how to do that might be a good new question here.)

3 Likes

Wow that’s great news!

Would love to know if there is any way to check if zram is supported on the desktop environments.

Also in the link Changes/Scale ZRAM to full memory size - Fedora Project Wiki it is stated -

Install the new version of the zram-generator-defaults package, execute sudo systemctl daemon-reload && sudo systemctl restart swap-create@zram0 , use zramctl to check that the device has the expected size. After some use, check that pages are compressed at least with ration 2:1:

Is the above enough to enable zram?

And it is mentioned that - (Note that the device is destroyed and recreated during restart. This means that all pages will be “swapped in”, i.e. decompressed. On machines with low memory, rebooting might be a better option.)

By “device is destroyed and recreated during restart” does this mean it is like a fresh install of the OS and I lose all my data?

Can anyone provide some guidance to enable zram in Fedora 33?(as it was introduced in 33 itself but in a smaller scale it seems)

Edit: I found a link - https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-enable-the-zram-module-for-faster-swapping-on-linux/#ftag=RSS56d97e7 but I don’t know if it works for Fedora or if some commands will have to be modified for Fedora. Need some input from experienced users.

Thanks. Any help is highly appreciated.

1 Like

To my knowledge, the classic GUI is simply GNOME 3 with some extensions. There should be no difference in resource usage.

1 Like

Maybe? :slight_smile: After doing this, what do you see with zramctl?

I honestly have no idea what this means. I’ll ask.

1 Like

Okay so I was a bit tentative because of this line - "Note that the device is destroyed and recreated during restart. " but decided to try it anyways and I think it worked!

With zramctl, I see -

And with htop I see -

I am assuming this means that it has worked but only problem is the Disksize shows 851M which is half of the 1.7Gb RAM I have (I am guessing because in Fedora 33 it was implemented as half and in Fedora 34 we will get the full ram as zram?)

Anyways I would appreciate it if someone confirms if I did it properly and it is working as intended.

Thanks a lot for the help!

1 Like

I read an i3 spin is approved for Fedora 34 which should have less memory usage than Gnome Desktop.

I tried to enable i3 with F33, but it seems a lot of manual configurations are needed before it can be used. This I am eagerly waiting for the i3 spin to give it a try.

1 Like

I confirmed that this is only a problem when changing zram settings. The problem might be that if you are already using a lot of compressed memory, when you change the setting, all of that needs to be put back in uncompressed space, so you might run out, so better to reboot than to use systemctl restart, that’s all.

1 Like

One last question that is very relevant to this topic -

How to reduce the boot time in fedora 33?

This questions has been asked and discussed several times before. Please take a look at

https://ask.fedoraproject.org/search?q=reduce%20the%20boot%20time%20%23english

and figure what is actually slowing down your boot process.

Does the machine already have an SSD?

Went through many of the threads but was unable to find any definitive solution. And no the machine does not have an SSD.

Here is what it shows when I use systemd-analyze commands -

But I am stuck after this as I don’t know what these services mean and which ones can be safely removed.

and

 systemd-analyze critical-chain 
 systemd-analyze blame

?

In general you can disable any service that you are not using. firewall? LVM2-monitor? modemmanager? bluetooth?

Regarding systemd-journal-flush.service, read this: boot - What is the use of systemd-journal-flush.service? - Ask Ubuntu

1 Like

Here is the critical-chain command result(and the other one I had already posted above) -

Got it. Thanks a lot! :slightly_smiling_face: