netbook v. laptop / remix

Steve Lamb grey at dmiyu.org
Tue Nov 24 11:10:05 UTC 2009


Patton Echols wrote:
> I have available a great deal (it appears) on a compaq netbook (model 
> 110c-1100DX) for $180 us.  It has the Atom N270 processor and 1 GB of 
> ram.  Sine these things usually run over $300, I'm interested.

> My current laptop is a Thinkpad R40.  System monitor reports it as  
> "Mobil Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 2.00GHz" and 756.5 MiB of ram.

    For comparison I have a Dell Mini 10v.  /proc/cpuinfo says it has...
model name	: Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N270   @ 1.60GHz
...and I know it has 1Gb of RAM.

    Work has provided me with a Lenovo T61 which CNet lists as having:
#  Processor   Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 / 2.0 GHz

> Question 1.  I know the netbook would run way longer, cooler and less 
> power and lighter etc.  But in terms of performance, how much of a hit 
> would I take?  The laptop is mostly used for "netbook" type stuff but 
> needs to be able to do some office type stuff and some basic GIMPing 
> while I am on the road.

    From my perspective, not too much.  At least if you're limiting yourself
to web, email, some flash video or flash gaming, and light productivity work.
 I don't use GIMP (I am the very antithesis of artistic) so cannot say how
that would perform.  However I don't regret, for a moment, getting my Mini 10v.

    Since purchase this pretty much has become my sole machine from which I
browse the web and send/receive my personal email/IMs.  Thunderbird, Firefox
and Pidgin are running any time this machine is running and all perform admirably.

    The only two things this machine cannot do is watch Youtube HD videos or
watch Hulu videos.  Of course Youtube's HD videos are 1280x720 and this screen
is 1024x600.  IE, it has no business watching those videos in the first place!
  As for Hulu I'm not sure what is going on there.  It should be able to
handle it but I think their flash player must be abysmally programmed as this
machine stutters on their 360p videos.  *shrug*

    Does my T61 feel snappier?  A tad.  Can it handle Youtube HD and Hulu
videos?  Definitely.  Can it play some 3D games?  Yup!  But I don't expect my
Mini to do any of those things.  For what it does I think it is darn near perfect.

    My only gripe, however, is that I am nominally stuck on Dell's 8.04.

> Question 2. Does anyone have experience with this particular netbook and 
> Ubuntu Netbook remix?  Obviously I won't leave windows on it any longer 
> than absolutely necessary.

    I would avoid UNR like the plague.  Designed with a netbook's smaller
screen size in mind means "foisting a stupid launcher on you and forcing all
your apps to go full screen whether you like it or not."  Seriously.  There's
this application called maximus.  The sole purpose of that app is to force all
your windows full-screen; even if they are not intended to ever be used full
screen (like some configuration dialogs).  There is NO configuring it.  NO
telling it to not run.  NO ability to remove it nicely.  After an hour or two
of frustration I resorted to chmod 000ing it to get it to stop screwing with
my machine.

    Meanwhile the applications themselves are not modified in any way to
accommodate the smaller screen.  They still waste vertical space by having
both GNome bars active.  Stupid enough on a full-size screen, down right
criminal on one as small as a netbook's screen.  Also the number one thing to
do for browsing, if you use Firefox, is to install the Addon "Compact Menu".
Takes the menu bar and makes it a single icon.  Saves vertical space.
Decidedly absent in UNR.  So I see UNR as a whole lot of crap and no real benefit.

    Better to go with the normal distribution and tweak to taste.

-- 
         Steve C. Lamb         | But who decides what they dream?
       PGP Key: 8B6E99C5       |   And dream I do...
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