A Complete Guide For Choosing A Distro For Your Computer’s Specs..!!

If you are a beginner to the world of Linux and you wish to try out some distro’s but you are not sure which one is best suited for the specs of your computer then this article is for you.

In this article, I have divided the most popular Distros into several “weight categories” So that you can choose the ones that are best suited for the hardware specs that you are running so that you can try them out on your computer.

The word specs of a computer usually refer to the following components

  • CPU
  • RAM
  • Disk (either hard disk or SSD)
  • Graphics card etc.

In this article we will skip Disk as all of the below-mentioned ones can run just fine with a 64GB disk space and Graphics card will also be skipped as onboard graphics that come with the processor and motherboard is usually enough to run Linux Desktop environments.

If you came to this article to make sure all the hardware you have like network adapters, USB devices, etc. have driver support available in Linux then I suggest you read this other article

Best Distro For Software And Hardware Support: An Analysis.!!

In the above article, I have analyzed several Linux distributions for their Hardware support.

In this article, our “List of Interest” will only consist of the below 2 items

  • CPU
  • RAM

You can jump to your particular specs using the table of content below. If you are just interested in the results, skip to the “Conclusion” portion of the article.

The Categories

I have followed the list into the following categories

  • Category#1: up to 1GHz dual-core processor and up to 512Mb of RAM
  • Category#2: up to 1GHz dual-core processor and up to 1GB RAM
  • Category#3: greater than 1GHz dual-core processor and up to 4 GB RAM
  • Category#4: greater than 4GB RAM and quad-core processors
  • Category#5: Distros that can be installed in any hardware.

Let’s look at each one of these categories in more detail and get a list of distros for you to try out on your computer!

Category#1: Up to 1GHz dual-core processor and up to 512Mb of RAM

If your computer falls into this category then what you need is a Lightweight distro.

What are Lightweight Distros? Lightweight distros are Linux distributions specially made keeping old and resource constraint hardware in mind so that the user can have a responsive and lag-free computing experience even on your old hardware that has low specs in terms of processing power, disk space, and RAM.

If you wish to know the difference between Lightweight and Heavyweight Distros have a look at the article I have written about it below.

Lightweight vs Heavyweight Distros: A Comparison!

Next, let’s have a look at some lightweight Distros that can work great under such hardware constraints.

DistroRAM Requirements Processor Requirements
Tiny Core128MBPentium 2 or equivalent
Puppy Linux256MBPentium 2 or equivalent
Linux Lite512MBPentium 2 or equivalent
Lubuntu512MBCeleron or equivalent

Of the above mentioned Linux Lite and Lubuntu are based on Ubuntu and as such it gets the stability of Ubuntu! I suggest you start experimenting with these Distros starting at the bottom of the table and work your way up till you get one that’s fast enough for you! (read this article for more details)

Category#2: Up to 1GHz dual-core processor and up to 1GB RAM

If your computer belongs to this category then you can install heavier distros than the ones seen above and enjoy a better desktop environment with more latest features!

Next, let’s have a look at some Distros that can work great on this category of hardware.

DistroRAM Requirements Processor Requirements
Bodhi Linux512MB1GHz processor
Manjaro1GB1GHz processor
Linux Mint1 GBx86_64 or amd64 compatible processor

These are all great distros and you should be able to run any of these smoothly on your computer!

Category#3: greater than 1GHz dual-core processor and up to 4 GB RAM

If your computer belongs to this category then you can install almost any popular distro!

The list for this one can go on and on so I am just mentioning some famous ones here.

DistroRAM Requirements Processor Requirements
Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu4GB2GHz dual-core processor
Fedora4GB2GHz dual-core processor
Mageia2GBx86_64 or amd64 compatible processor
Peppermint OS2 GBx86_64 or amd64 compatible processor

Any of the above should run just fine on your computer. If you are new to the Linux world check out this other article I wrote

Reasons Behind The Existence of SO MANY Linux Distros: An Analysis!

to understand the Linux distro world better before making your pick!

Category#4: RAM greater than 4GB RAM and a quad-core processor

If your computer belongs to this category then you can install absolutely any Distro and may even run some virtual machines on your computer!

So I suggest going straight for the big guys like

  • CentOS
  • Debian or
  • OpenSUSE

These distros come loaded with software and have plenty more available in their repos. This can make your life easier as you don’t need to spend much time in installing packages after the initial operating system installation process.

Any of the above should run just fine on your computer. If you are new to the Linux world check out this other article I wrote

Best Distro For Software And Hardware Support: An Analysis.!!

In that article I have analyzed the best Distros based on software support, I suggest giving it a read before picking one from the above table.

Category#5: Distros for advanced users

With all the above being said, if you are an advanced user, I suggest going for the below-mentioned options.

  • making your own custom installation using Arch Linux
  • make your own custom installation using Gentoo Linux
  • installing the latest server version of your favorite distro and using a Window manager to use GUI apps or
  • build your own distro using Linux From Scratch (LFS) !!

These are some ways you can install Linux in any hardware. Be it a laptop, desktop, even a router or a Raspberry Pi!

Conclusion

I hope I have covered some distros for your particular PC’s specs and you got some idea of what will work and what won’t.

If you have the wish to learn Linux seriously, then I may have just the plan you are looking for to get you started! Checkout out the link below for a complete plan and recommended study materials for starting your journey to learn Linux!

Linux Study Materials

Alright guys, I will stop here.

I hope you guys enjoyed this article and learned something useful.

Feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues!

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EI

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