Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Nice Little Laptop

I recently acquired an Acer TravelMate 260 (really a 261xc) laptop. It's a Pentium III, came with 256 MB ram, and a 30 GB 4200rpm hard drive. The battery was shot. It didn't work at all. As I usually do when I acquire a piece of equipment, I did a few searches on it to find out what the perks and quirks were. There was some good news - it was reported to have a 4 hour battery life.

I installed Xubuntu on it. It worked okay, but not to the level of what I thought Xubuntu should give me. Speed wasn't very good at all. I wiped Xubuntu, and installed stock Ubuntu, just to see what would happen. Weirdly enough, stock Ubuntu ran faster. Much faster. I'm not sure what didn't work with Xubuntu, but I'm glad Ubuntu worked well. I'm now encouraged to make stock Ubuntu the regular Free Geek Central Florida install, no matter what the machine (except a Pentium II -those get UbuntuLite).

Battery life has always been more important that speed for me. I'm not a gamer, and if I was I'd use a desktop for my gaming. I use my laptop for internet, writing, and various wireless security practices. This laptop actually matched my needs better than my current laptop.

I purchased a faster 80 GB 5400 RPM, added 512 MB ram to it, and reinstalled Ubuntu. Processor throttling is there, not heavy command line work to get that going. Suspend and Hybernate just work. And, the battery life is crazy good. I've been on it for 3 hours, and yet to have it drop below 60%.

The computer has only two issues:
  1. Occasionally, I have to eject and push the battery back in for the computer to start -without being plugged in. Not a big issue at all.
  2. Full screen Youtube videos are choppy and jitter. Regular boxsize work fine. DVD's play good too. Just large screen Flash isn't that good. Might be because of the 8 MB video ram.

1 comment:

dadgadjohn said...

I recently refurbished my old Dell 3500 so that my Sister-In-Law could get some use out of it.

I came with 6 GB HDD, 16 MB RAM, 333 MHz. I upgraded it to 60 GB HDD, 256 MB.

I tried both Ubuntu and Xubuntu (8.10). The fan would never shut off with Ubuntu and Xubuntu runs at about the same speed as Win98, which is what it came with. It's not a speedy computer.

Xfce is definitely lighter, but the form of Xubuntu, it carries too much baggage.