I recently was given a nice gift of a new desktop computer and Netgear wifi adapter. It’s not brand-new, but it did come with Windows 8, so it isn’t as old as the Gateway M460 laptop I have. It is a Gateway SX2110G-UW318 desktop, and I was able to get a surplus flat screen monitor for it. It has a 500 GB hard drive, 4 GB of RAM, and an integrated AMD HD 7100 graphics chip.
HOWEVER, it only has an AMD E1-1200 chip, which from my initial research seems to be not quite up to an Intel i3. To add insult to injury, the chip is soldered to the motherboard, so I cannot even pull it out and buy a faster one to replace it.
It might be possible to get a whole new motherboard, but I don’t know for sure. I’ll have to do more research on that. But it does explain why, when I upgraded it from Windows 8 to Win 10, it seemed to run slower than I had expected. At the moment it is dual-booting Win 10 with Linux Mint 18 Xfce. I had to disable Secure Boot in order to get my Netgear adapter to work right with it – and that was after using this page to get the driver!
On the positive side, however, this is a second computer and it is a 64-bit desktop. The laptop I use at home has too many documents and games for me to be comfortable changing anything on it simply to review other distributions. It is running Linux Mint KDE 17.3, and I am planning to wait for LM 18 KDE edition to come out in a couple of months before considering whether to back everything up and perform a clean install at that time. (The changeover from KDE 4.13 to KDE Plasma 5 is drastic enough that Clem, the leader of Linux Mint’s developers, has said that it is not possible to upgrade in place for KDE, in the way that they have recently made it possible to do with the Cinnamon and MATE editions.)
But with this computer, I can install and review many more distributions than on my much older 32-bit laptop. Also, since it is a desktop, I might try one of the BSDs. There is also the possibility of trying to do an Arch install, using my main laptop for wiki access and file copying.
I think I will start off by re-installing Mint 18 Xfce edition on the entire drive, and reviewing that one first.