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Author Topic: Dell's affordable Ubuntu-powered Inspiron laptops take aim at Chromebooks  (Read 16100 times)

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Offline AndyInMokum

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You have to fish around here.  I noticed that the UK is really expensive for second hand Netbooks.  You can easily find some great deals here though.  Peppermint is basically tailor made for Netbooks.  As I mentioned in my previous post.  I have Peppermint Six 32-bit on my Acer Aspire One ZG5 A110.  It just works and never complains.  This is with a funky custom installation too because the machine only has an 8GB fixed SSD.  This I use as the /ROOT partition and I have a 32GB micro SD card formated to ext4 as my /home partition.  I have another 32GB micro SD card formatted to FAT32, that's auto-mounting in fstab as extra storage.  It gives me no problems at all  ;).
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 05:31:37 am by AndyInMokum »
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Online perknh

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Good morning, folks,

If you looked the Acer Aspire V5-131 with Peppermint 6 installed, your jaws would drop.  The color of the notebook, the angle on which it sits on a table, and entire look, is nothing less the professional.  Sound quality, and Wi-Fi connectivity, however, are other stories entirely.  On these two fundamental issues, the Acer Aspire V5-131 doesn't even come close to cutting the mustard.

Don't get me wrong, the Acer Aspire V5-131 is not junk at all, but it doesn't come close to the functionality of Chromebook regarding Wi-Fi connectivity and sound quality.  Is Peppermint 3, 5, or 6 better than the limited Chrome OS --from a company which has put limitations on its hardware?  You bet it is.  But, boy, besides the durability, the Ethernet port, the looks, and replaceable battery of this little laptop, there isn't anything going on here.  In today's world Wi-Fi is a must, and sound quality is very important to many too.  It's important to me anyway!

But will I be able to make a seven-year-old kid's eyes light up when I give him this as his first little computer?  You bet I will.  The trick here will be having an Ethernet port, and a stable ISP.  We take these two things for granted now in the West, but, believe me,  these two things are not to be had so readily available in all parts of the world, and I'm thinking of Central America in this particular case.

perknh

P.S.

mattosensei, to keep on the safe side of things, check with PCNetSpec before you make a move with that Samsung for your mom.  We want things to go right for you here.

AndyInMokum, keep up the good work.  You're on a roll here.  You gave you sister a terrific present, and I assure you, the UK is now a better place because of this.

Today, I'll be putting Peppermint 6 on an old HP (I believe) desktop that is still running Windows XP --should be an adventure!  ;D

Peppermint fever --for all and forever!  ;)
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 07:32:34 am by perknh »
We're all Peppermint users and that's what matters  ;).  -- AndyInMokum

Offline mattosensei

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You have to fish around here.  I noticed that the UK is really expensive for second hand Netbooks.  You can easily find some great deals here though.  Peppermint is basically tailor made for Netbooks.  As I mentioned in my previous post.  I have Peppermint Six 32-bit on my Acer Aspire One ZG5 A110.  It just works and never complains.  This is with a funky custom installation too because the machine only has an 8GB fixed SSD.  This I use as the /ROOT partition and I have a 32GB micro SD card formated to ext4 as my /home partition.  I have another 32GB micro SD card formatted to FAT32, that's auto-mounting in fstab as extra storage.  It gives me no problems at all  ;).

Oh that's a good setup.

My Samsung NC10 does not have an SSD, it has a 160GB HD. On wiki it says that:

Quote
The standard internal hard drive size is 160 GB on a SATA 1.5 Gbit/s interface. It also includes an SD card slot, supporting MMC, SD and SDHC cards for additional storage. The standard internal hard drive can be replaced with a Solid State Drive (SSD), although there is no operational speed increase due to the SATA 1.5 Gbit/s bottleneck.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_NC10

I'm assuming it would still be useful for me to upgrade to SSD if I can?

Online perknh

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mattosensei,

We'll let AndyInMokum answer for himself, of course, but I think SSDs are better --now that I've seen, and played with both, on the same size notebooks.  That said, the hard dive, at least for me, is not the deal breaker.  Wi-Fi connectivity and sound quality are more important issues for me IMHO.

But we all have to hear what our beloved Mayor of Peppermint (with a unanimous vote count, I might add) has to say about this.  Good question!  ;)

perknh
We're all Peppermint users and that's what matters  ;).  -- AndyInMokum

Offline PCNetSpec

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As far as speed goes .. with your Samsung NC10 netbooks SATA-1 (1.5Gb/s) controller/connection you're not going to notice a massive  performance gains, it's definitely going to be quicker because of the better seek times, but how noticeable this will be is probably pretty negligible.

What you DO get is the benefit of no moving parts .. so
a) your batery may last longer
and
b) you'll be able to chuck your netbook about without worrying it'll damager the HDD.



to notice MASSIVE performance gains an SSD really wants to be attached via SATA-3 (6Gb/s) .. where they absolutely cream an HDD :)
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 10:17:52 am by PCNetSpec »
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Offline AndyInMokum

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mattosensei,

We'll let AndyInMokum answer for himself, of course, but I think SSDs are better --now that I've seen, and played with both, on the same size notebooks.  That said, the hard dive, at least for me, is not the deal breaker.  Wi-Fi connectivity and sound quality are more important issues for me IMHO.

But we all have to hear what our beloved Mayor of Peppermint (with a unanimous vote count, I might add) has to say about this.  Good question!  ;)

perknh

There is no question in my mind.  SSDs are the way to go.  The new ones are fantastic.  Operational speed is not an issue.  They're going to be around the same speed as an HDD.  The big advantage is how they work.   With an HDD, you have a disk spinning like the clappers.  Combining this with a Netbook is pure folly.  Netbooks are treated in the same way as most people treat tablets.  They get abused and used at all kinds of weird angles, bumped and casually shoved around.  This is not good for a spinning disk.  The armature in the mechanism ends up scratching the the highly polished surface of the disk.  When this happens, wear on the disk rises exponentially, ending in premature disk failure.  With an SSD there are no moving parts.  So there is no physical wear.  There's component wear, that cannot be avoided.  However, these new SSDs are built to last.  This is why most of them have a three year warranty.  After some tweaking, you can expect to see no significant slowing down for at least ten years of regular use.  This make your little Netbook a super robust machine.  Check out these two websites: Samsung NC10 : replacing the HDD by a SSD and this excellent site, courtesy of our own illustrious, VinDSL: SSD: how to optimize your Solid State Drive for Linux Mint 17.1, Ubuntu 14.04 and Debian.  I hope this gives you a better idea of SSDs  ;)!!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 10:41:33 am by AndyInMokum »
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Offline mattosensei

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Oh that's music to my ears:

Quote
The results :

    launching time under Ubuntu 11.10 with the HDD :
        from GRUB to Ubuntu users selection screen : 42 seconds
        from Ubuntu users selection screen to the fully operational desktop : 25 seconds
        total : 1 minute 7 seconds

    launching time under Ubuntu 11.10 with the SSD :
        from GRUB to Ubuntu users selection screen : 12 seconds
        from Ubuntu users selection screen to the fully operational desktop : 15 seconds
        total : 27 seconds


So I'm going to:
Take the 160  GB HD out of the Samsung NC10 and put into the Toshiba laptop and eventually part exchange / dispose
Take the 128GB SSD out of this desktop (Win7 currently sits on it) and put it into the Samsung NC10
Take the 240 GB SSD out of my old Toshiba laptop (the SSD itself is newish) and put into this Desktop.

PM6 currently runs on this here desktop on a VERY old HD, 7+ or so years old, I forget. It's not very fast, as you'd expect. So when the 240 GB SSD is in here I'll probably duel boot Win7/PM6 for max speed. Seems crazy as I spend 90% of the time in PM6 to have it on a very old HD when I have SSDs not really being used.  ::)

I'll have quite a lot of work to do!  :D

Offline mattosensei

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Would something like this work in a netbook? It's a cheapy, used 32GB SSD.

 I have  family member's netbook that could do with HD -> SSD upgrade also. Would need minimal space as only used for browsing/skype etc.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LITE-ON-32GB-SSD-LAPTOP-LSS-32L6G-HP-FREE-P-P-Solid-State-Drive-/161735145621



Offline AndyInMokum

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It really depends on the Netbook and if the existing hard drive is changeable and if so.  What SSD is compatible?  For the use you are suggesting that size is more than enough though  ;).
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 04:10:23 pm by AndyInMokum »
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Offline PCNetSpec

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Would something like this work in a netbook? It's a cheapy, used 32GB SSD.

 I have  family member's netbook that could do with HD -> SSD upgrade also. Would need minimal space as only used for browsing/skype etc.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LITE-ON-32GB-SSD-LAPTOP-LSS-32L6G-HP-FREE-P-P-Solid-State-Drive-/161735145621

Highly unlikely
that's an M.2 type SSD

If the netbook has a 2.5" SATA HDD, you want the same form factor SSD, most likely with standard SATA power and data connectors

See here:
http://rog.asus.com/308552014/labels/guides/ssd-guide-pci-express-m-2-msata-and-sata-express-the-differences-explained/

*Nearly* all netbooks with an HDD will have standard SATA connectors, so you're most likely gonna want sommat like this:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SanDisk-64GB-SSD-Internal-2-5-Solid-State-Drive-SATA-6Gb-s-/361157046352?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item5416a33050
bit of advice .. DO NOT buy an SSD or any other type of flash memory (USB sticks/SD cards/etc.) from an unknown source, it's highly likely to be faulty or counterfeit stuff from china, there's a LOT of it about.

Buy from someone with a reputation . Dabs/Ebuyer/etc. .. you can get 32/60/64Gb new at reasonable prices and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble.



If you're unsure but don't wanna strip the netbook before purchasing .. post the netbook make/model ehere and we'll try to figure it out.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 01:55:52 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline scifidude79

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Sound quality and WIFI connectivity are typically going to be issues on smaller computers, especially your lower end laptops.  The speakers are just too small to be any good.  They usually sound really tinny, even on bigger more expensive laptops.  As for WIFI, these things use a card that's usually behind a port on the bottom.  It has one or two wires coming off of it, which are the antenna wires.  This is a horrible way to get WIFI.  Usually, where you are in relation go the WIFI adapter and the exact position of the adapter can make a huge difference.  Sometimes, moving around helps, but you shouldn't have to do that with a laptop or netbook.  In fact, you'd think a netbook would have better WIFI than a cheap laptop, but I guess they don't.

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There's no doubt that the Acer C-720 Chromebook boots up faster, and has better sound quality than the Acer Aspire V5-131 Linux notebook.  The Acer C-720 has the same amount of ram (4 GBs) but has a 16 GB SSD and considerable better audio. 

Google Chrome is doing something right with that little Chromebook!  ;)

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Offline VinDSL

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*Nearly* all netbooks with an HDD will have standard SATA connectors, so you're most likely gonna want sommat like this:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SanDisk-64GB-SSD-Internal-2-5-Solid-State-Drive-SATA-6Gb-s-/361157046352?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item5416a33050

bit of advice .. DO NOT buy an SSD or any other type of flash memory (USB sticks/SD cards/etc.) from an unknown source, it's highly likely to be faulty or counterfeit stuff from china, there's a LOT of it about.

Buy from someone with a reputation . Dabs/Ebuyer/etc. .. you can get 32/60/64Gb new at reasonable prices and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble.

The SDSSDP-064G-G25 (above) is almost identical to the SSD I'm running in my Dell ATG D630 Latitude 'road warrior'.  I have a SDSSDHP-064G-G25.  Looks like the only difference is standard SATA vs. SATA III. 

My Dell Latitude is SATA II, so the SATA III feature isn't being utilitzed, but after doing a little tweaking, this SSD flies like the wind on Peppermint.  9-11 sec boots (as measured via Bootchart) are common, and everything just pops, and shutdown is (almost) instantaneous.

You'd think I would be used to it by now, but this drive constantly amazes me.

Highly recommended !!!   8)

Online perknh

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Would something like this work in a netbook? It's a cheapy, used 32GB SSD.

 I have  family member's netbook that could do with HD -> SSD upgrade also. Would need minimal space as only used for browsing/skype etc.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LITE-ON-32GB-SSD-LAPTOP-LSS-32L6G-HP-FREE-P-P-Solid-State-Drive-/161735145621

You're more than covered.  I've done all of that with a 16 GB SSD.  A SSD of 32 GBs is really living it up!  :)
We're all Peppermint users and that's what matters  ;).  -- AndyInMokum

Offline mattosensei

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Thanks for the info.

Am waiting on final confirmation of the model from family member but 95% sure it's Samsung N110 or NC20. Pretty sure they have the same HDs.

@Mark Thanks, that 60GB version looks good.

I am also checking the RAM on the machine. Stock is 1GB. I upgraded mine ages ago to 2GB, am checking on this one. It's only £11.99 for an upgrade via Crucial to a 2GB chip.