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Author Topic: Dell's affordable Ubuntu-powered Inspiron laptops take aim at Chromebooks  (Read 16582 times)

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Offline mattosensei

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The model I'm going to upgrade is a Samsung N210.

I'm thinking about buying this RAM stick on Ebay.

And as per Mark's suggestion, this 64GB SSD.

Any final thoughts or suggestions before I proceed?

Thanks for help.  ;)

Offline perknh

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PCNetSpec's suggestion that I get Toshiba laptops with Windows 7 installed has paid rich dividends for both my wife and me.  We didn't have to play the wait-and-see guessing game as to what problems our laptops would give us if I purchased laptops with Windows 8 installed.

1) First suggestion --listen to Mark!  As he will tell you honestly are no guarantees with any of this, but Mark's experience will give you a better chance of a positive outcome.  I guarantee you that.  :))

2) Gather information about the devices sound quality.  It is important.

3) Gather information about screen resolution.  That's important too.

4) And, if you intend to take this device here and there, knowing how well its Wi-Fi works is a must.

In a nushell, listen to Mark, and remember that sound quality, screen resolution, and Wi-Fi connectivity are all very important.
Memory, of course, is essential too.  Too little of it, and the device will move like mud --as I'm learning from all the old XP computers I've been working on.

mattosensei, these are the things that come to the top of my mind off the top of my head.  And, I'm sure others here may an idea or two  I haven't even considered.  Wait a while, just to see what other ideas may come your way.

"May the odds be ever on your side."  ;)  --From the Hunger Games
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 02:55:50 pm by perknh »
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Offline mattosensei

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Hi perkinh thanks for the info (and apologies as I essentially hijacked this thread, though my theme is similar!  ::))

Just to clarify though - I'm not buying a new PC.

I have a family member with an old (6-7 year) netbook that is essentially now 'dead' with Windows XP/7 (I forget which) on it. I've been told it's so incredibly slow "it's ready to be scrapped" which I've said is not the case. I want to resurrect wth Linux - because I too own a 7 year old Samsung netbook and it works just fine with Peppermint on.

A major upgrade for the machine would be RAM (taking it from 1GB to 2GB) and perhaps more importantly - putting an SSD drive in there.

Wifi/screen/sound are all 'OK' on it. Not really had any complaints. Have always been pleased how well the machine can stream 720p content with no stutter.

Offline perknh

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Hello mattosensei,

It will be interesting how that 2 GBs of memory will work with the SSD.  I bet you'll get a little more bang for your buck with the SSD.  But, I have to warn you here:  I've heard that keeping multiple browser tabs open when you have only 2 GBs of memory will make even a Chromebook with an SSD move quite slowly.

Last night I wrote about an old XP computer that had only 2.4 GBs of memory --and posting here was a painful experience due to all the lag time between typing the letters and waiting for them to appear.  I'm sure this netbook with an SSD installed will do much better than that, but If you compare Chromebooks, which all have SSDs, the Chromebooks with 4GBs of memory fare much better than exactly the same models of Chromebooks with only 2GBs of memory.  I heard that an owner of a Chromebook with 2 GBs of memory can not afford the luxury of keeping multiple tabs open on his or her browser.

Still, I'm like you, I like to keep these old machines running if I can.  We also have to accept, unfortunately, that there can be some downsides to doing so at times --such as still having to deal with too many open tabs in the browser.  :(

Still, it is good to be mentally prepared for some of the downsides we may continue to experience when upgrading an older machine too.  ;)

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

Offline Slim.Fatz

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(snip)

I heard that an owner of a Chromebook with 2 GBs of memory can not afford the luxury of keeping multiple tabs open on his or her browser.

(snip)


Hi perknh,

It really depends on your definition of multiple -- I have one of the first Acer C720 Chromebooks (bought, as I recall, in early 2012) with a 320 GB HDD and 2 GB of RAM.

I never use the ChromeOS. I immediately used Chrubuntu to install Ubuntu (12.04) on it. It was almost useless with the Unity Desktop (or whatever that piece of fat is called), but with Openbox on it there is great response and speed. And: no trouble with even 5-6 tabs open in Firefox (never used Chrome because it is such a RAM hog).

In the time since, I have upgraded to Ubuntu 14.04 (the Unity Desktop -- though improved -- is still too bizarre and overweight for this little machine) but I still enjoy using it with Openbox.

Now maybe if I tried running it with 10 or more tabs open ... ?  :-X

Regards,

-- Slim
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 09:42:36 am by Slim.Fatz »
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Offline perknh

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Hi Slim.Fatz,

I get what you're saying here --that there are many variables to consider here.  I hope I'm not confusing what I've been learning from different posts I've been reading, but my understanding is that this netbook will be going to mattosensei's mother.  Would she be a good candidate for Openbox?  Although I see its Openbox' virtues, not everybody warms to the DE's interface.

I was trying to use Chromebooks as an example of smaller netbook size computers which have SSDs and 2 GB and 4 GB models on the same make of computer.  I've seen an example on YouTube of where Chrome OS moved like mud with a Chromebook that had only 2 GBs of memory (when there were many tabs open) whereas the 4 GB model of the same make did much better with 4 GBs of memory when multiple tabs where open.

However I'm glad you brought this issue up.  It's a factor for mattosensei to keep in mind.  And, your idea of using Openbox might be just doctor will order for the particular notebook (netbooK) with which mattosensei will be working.

You make an interesting point, and your idea of a possible Openbox workaround is creative idea --in case mattosensei finds he needs to speed things up a little. 

Hopefully everything will work out well for him after he makes a few little upgrades to the particular notebook on which he is hoping to give his mother as a gift.  ;)

Thank you,

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

Offline Slim.Fatz

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(snip)

I hope I'm not confusing what I've been learning from different posts I've been reading, but my understanding is that this netbook will be going to mattosensei's mother.  Would she be a good candidate for Openbox?  Although I see its Openbox' virtues, not everybody warms to the DE's interface.

(snip)

Hi perknh (and mattosensei),

Anyone is a good candidate for Openbox !! It is unfortuante that the default setup of Openbox is really s**t !! It is actually not much work to make it look and behave pretty much just like our standard Peppermint Six installation or Windows XP or (with perhaps a little more work) ChromeOS. The advantages, especially on older machines, are its speed and light resource usage.

However, having said that, I really do not think that a standard Peppermint Six installation would cause any problems because I have been very impressed with its speed. The problems are with Windblows (any version), Unity, KDE and these sorts of bloated setups (although KDE can be trimmed down to probably improve its performance -- if I understand scifidudy79 correctly, but I am sure that it -- compared to Openbox or standard Peppermint Six -- is still a resource hog).

If you are interested in RAM usage, install and run htop (it shows at the top a current RAM usage value that gets constantly updated). Then  open tab after tab in Firefox and then Chrome. You will see that not only the number of tabs is important, but also what is running in them (if anything -- such as youtube videos). Your best RAM usage data for programs are collected when a program is run for the first time after you login, since closing a program does not really erase its RAM usage completely. There is something in the kernel design that prevents this (if I understand that correctly) so that a renewed start of the same program occurs more quickly.

Regards,

-- Slim
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 01:44:34 pm by Slim.Fatz »
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Offline perknh

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Hello mattosensei,

Listen!  Slim.Fatz' post above is the gem we've been looking for!!  If Openbox can be made to pretty look and function like Peppermint 6, your mom should have fewer problems with two GBs of memory than I had mentioned above.

Thank you, Slim.Fatz for this information.  My recollection of Openbox goes back to Crunchbang.  I thought Crunchbang's Openbox interface was pretty darn cool, but I was perhaps Openbox's only advocate in this house.  If I had known how to manipulate Openbox to look and behave more like Peppermint's default interface, things might have gone differently around here.

Thank you, Slim.Fatz,   And, mattosensei, I'd be delighted if you would keep us updated on how things are going with this project, and tech adventure, in which you are pursuing.

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

Offline Slim.Fatz

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Hi perknh,

To be honest with you: I doubt that a standard Peppermint Six installation will be any more of problem for her computer than using Openbox. The difference in RAM usage is pretty minimal -- maybe 50-70 MB.

Regards,

-- Slim
"Life first -- Peppermint a close 2nd!" -- Zeb

Tread lightly: Fluxbox, JWM, i3, Openbox, awesome

Offline PCNetSpec

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Would you feel any happier if I said a big chunk of the development work for Peppermint 6 was done on an an Acer Aspire One netbook with 1.5GB of RAM ;)

2GB is fine for Peppermint 6
WARNING: You are logged into reality as 'root' .. logging in as 'insane' is the only safe option.

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Offline perknh

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Would you feel any happier if I said a big chunk of the development work for Peppermint 6 was done on an an Acer Aspire One netbook with 1.5GB of RAM ;)

2GB is fine for Peppermint 6

Hello PCNetSpec,

Yep, it worked!  I feel considerably happier now.  2 GBs is the RAM acid test number--good to know.  :)

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

Offline mattosensei

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Hello perknh (and Slim and Mark)

OK I'm impressed with how little RAM one needs!

Currently typing this on my Samsung NC10 netbook (now has PM6 on it, but still on the old 160HD rather than SSD as I haven't had time to sort that yet).

I have open:
Firefox with 6 tabs including a live radio broadcast in 1 tab
GIMP with a 3500x pixel wide image having basic edits
LibreOffice open with a 4-page form (document)

And according to htop (readout below) I am only using circa 900MB of RAM! As you'll see, the bottleneck seems more likely to be CPU than RAM.



So I'm pleased with that.

On my mum's (1GB) machine (mine has 2GB as I upgraded it), she won't ever be using Gimp. Firefox with multiple tabs seems to put you in the 300MB - 500MB of RAM territory. She will also probably want Skype and Viber on in the background which may drain some RAM. I need to check. This will be her backup comp for use at her house in France. In the UK she uses Sony Vaio (which, though much more powerful, has also slowed down a lot in recent years due to Windows always slowing down after a while. I should probably get her on to Linux full time, especially as I could put something like TeamViewer on there so I could easily admin in if needed. I haven't used TeamViewer yet but the research I did indicates it's probably the best thing to use to support/manage an external machine).

 :)

Offline perknh

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Hello perknh (and Slim and Mark)

OK I'm impressed with how little RAM one needs!

Currently typing this on my Samsung NC10 netbook (now has PM6 on it, but still on the old 160HD rather than SSD as I haven't had time to sort that yet).

I have open:
Firefox with 6 tabs including a live radio broadcast in 1 tab
GIMP with a 3500x pixel wide image having basic edits
LibreOffice open with a 4-page form (document)

And according to htop (readout below) I am only using circa 900MB of RAM! As you'll see, the bottleneck seems more likely to be CPU than RAM.

I'm impressed too!

And, now to your mum's machine:

Quote
On my mum's (1GB) machine (mine has 2GB as I upgraded it), she won't ever be using Gimp. Firefox with multiple tabs seems to put you in the 300MB - 500MB of RAM territory. She will also probably want Skype and Viber on in the background which may drain some RAM. I need to check.... I should probably get her on to Linux full time... --mattosensei


Are you going to upgrade memory on her machine?  I was shocked yesterday to see that PCNetSpec was working with an Acer notebook with only 2 GBs of memory.  But what a great acid test that is in order to see how well things will work, or are going to work, with a new edition of Peppermint.  (Also, I'm very fond of Acer notebooks.  They are well-built machines.)

Now, I have to say that 1 GB of memory seems a somewhat meager resource to my way of thinking.   Are you planning to both upgrade her machine's RAM, and install an SSD on it too?  If so, why not go all the way, and give this good woman the gift of Peppermint 6 too?  My wife is very happy with her P6 installation, and I know she'll never, never go back to Windows either.  I bet a dollar to a doughnut, your mum would love a Peppermint 6 installation.  (I'm doing this for my grandson right now on his first ever computer -- a new Acer notebook!) 

I consider giving the gift of Peppermint 6 nothing less than an act of true love for the people we care about the most.  :)
We're all Peppermint users and that's what matters  ;).  -- AndyInMokum

Offline mattosensei

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Are you going to upgrade memory on her machine?  I was shocked yesterday to see that PCNetSpec was working with an Acer notebook with only 2 GBs of memory.  But what a great acid test that is in order to see how well things will work, or are going to work, with a new edition of Peppermint.  (Also, I'm very fond of Acer notebooks.  They are well-built machines.)

Now, I have to say that 1 GB of memory seems a somewhat meager resource to my way of thinking.   Are you planning to both upgrade her machine's RAM, and install an SSD on it too?  If so, why not go all the way, and give this good woman the gift of Peppermint 6 too?  My wife is very happy with her P6 installation, and I know she'll never, never go back to Windows either.  I bet a dollar to a doughnut, your mum would love a Peppermint 6 installation.  (I'm doing this for my grandson right now on his first ever computer -- a new Acer notebook!) 

I consider giving the gift of Peppermint 6 nothing less than an act of true love for the people we care about the most.  :)

Yeh I got a 2nd hand ram stick for £10 so have gone with that. Haven't bought the SSD yet. Not being tight but as it's a back-up comp I think it might be a bit overkill, even though it's only £30. I know from having used my Samsung Netbook (that has 2GB RAM but no SSD) that you can get good throughput on websites/Firefox etc without the SSD. I will upgrade my own as I have a spare SSD lying around and I'll use it more than she'll use hers. I think the RAM upgrade + moving to Peppermint should be a good tonic from the glacial speed of a dying Windows installation  ;)

Offline perknh

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Quote
...when I was with family yesterday, installed PM 6 to parent's netbook which was a success. --mattosensei

Was this the notebook you were going to fix up for your mother?  If so, I'm happy to hear that all went well.  :)
We're all Peppermint users and that's what matters  ;).  -- AndyInMokum