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Cheap UEFI Laptop?

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?


Post by KBD » Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:55 am

Acer gets a bad rap for being 'cheap', but my first real computer was an Acer running windows 98 and it still boots up :-)
I have 2 Acer tablets, 3 Acer netbooks, one Acer Chromebook--all running great :-) Would buy Acer any day of the week.

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?


Post by Jerry3904 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:08 am

I have 2 Acer netbooks and both have run Linux without any problem for a long time. (That's how I got started with the MX project.)

I see some nice ones on the Staples site in the $300 range.
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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?


Post by JimC » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:13 am

KBD wrote:I was looking at one of these: Acer Aspire ES1-511-C59V
It has pretty good reviews on Amazon
https://www.google.com/search?q=Acer+As ... untu+14.04
I'm guessing it has efi.
But our daughter gave us an old Toshiba laptop to use, and I decided I like being Windows free, hate to break an old habit :-)
The CPU in that Acer Aspire ES1-511-C59V model is a slow one.

Many manufacturers are using it now (Intel N2830) with new under $300 laptops. Basically, even though they've got 15.6" screens, the CPU speed is more like you'd expect to find in a netbook used for browsing only. See tests for it here:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu ... 40+2.16GHz

Note that even Microsoft's store has 4 different 15" models for $249 with the Intel N2830 in them, with 4GB of memory, 15.6" 1366x768 displays and 500GB drives (one each from Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Dell).

Sort by lowest price first and you'll see them:

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msu ... D.62685400

For basic internet browsing, creating docs, etc.; it's probably OK. But, for more CPU intensive tasks you may run into, it's a slow CPU. For example, I tend to work with lots of photos and need something faster for raw conversion of images, image management with creation of thumbnails for large numbers of images, etc.

Heck, most of the the Core 2 Duo models you tended to find in laptops like the Dell Inspiron 1720 I bought for my wife in 2007 test slightly faster than the new Intel N2830.

On the plus side, that N2830 doesn't draw much power, meaning that manufacturers can use smaller batteries for typical usage patterns. It's a newer generation CPU that has a max TDP of only 7.5 Watts (as compared to around 15 Watts for the faster models you can find in many laptops that are around twice as fast for very little price difference).

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?


Post by JimC » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:21 am

BitJam wrote:@KDB, I just placed an order for that machine an hour or two ago. There is a very similar model available in Germany that has Linpus Linux pre-installed. I figure Acer is probably making an effort to keep their hardware Linux compatible although it is certainly not a guarantee.
That model has a faster CPU in it compared to the U.S. model just linked to by KDB; as it's using a quad core Intel Celeron N2930; coming in at 1795 for a passmark score (as compared to only 1019 for the dual core N2830). Again, Acer, Asus, Dell and Toshiba have models using that slower N2830 now for approx. $250 with a 15.6" screen, 4GB of memory and a 500GB Drive. But, personally, I'd avoid a model using the slower N2830 like the one KDB linked to.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu ... 40+2.16GHz

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu ... 40+1.83GHz

Interestingly, that N2930 is still a 7.5 Watt TDP model (another newer model just released 2nd Quarter 2014), even though it's quite a bit faster than the N2830 and has 4 versus 2 cores.

So, that's probably a very good choice for a lower priced laptop if you don't need the performance moving up to one of the Core i3 or Core i5 models would give you; as it looks like it offers a really good price/performance ratio without drawing much power. Some of the laptop models introduced late last year (versus the brand new models using those newer 7.5 Watt TDP CPUs) have faster dual core models (that test even faster than that quad core N2930) at a good price point. But, they're using more power (typically 15 or 17.5 Watt TDP CPUs).

So, if you don't need a speed demon for apps needing a lot of CPU resources where moving up to a Core i3 or Core i5 CPU may be better; that N2930 looks like a great choice (with much better performance compared to the N2830 found in the newer U.S. Laptops in that price niche, while still being a lower power draw 7.5 Watt TDP CPU)

Personally, I'd avoid the $250 U.S. Models with the N2830 in them, as that CPU is just too slow for my use (probably slower than the CPU in my wife's 6+ year old laptop). But, for a laptop that may do occasional use for something other than browsing, I could probably live with the the faster quad core N2930 like the model you ordered has in it.

Now, what I did was just go with a refurbished Dell Inspiron 15 using a Core i3 3227U in it recently (that tests at over 2500 on the Passmark test series) for my wife to use, as that's roughly twice as fast as the Core 2 Duo in her 6+ year old Dell Inspiron 1720 (and closer to 2.5 times as fast as the new $250 laptops I see now using the slow N2830).

But, I also found a refurb listing with an optional six cell 65mAh battery in it, since the Core i3 3227U is a higher power draw 17 Watt TDP CPU. I got it for the same price as one of the new models with the much slower N2830 in it, thanks to a coupon code for more off of a good refurbished price I found for a listing.

Again, there are pros and cons to any of them; but that Acer with the quad core Intel Celeron N2930 in it (versus the slower N2830 like most new sub $300 models have anymore) you ordered looks like it's got a really good price/performance ratio. Let us know how it works out for you (and I'd also be curious as to what you think of that Linpus distro installed on it, if you decide to leave it installed in a mutli-boot boot config with other linux distros).

In any event, the brand new 7.5 Watt CPUs released by Intel appear to be an attempt to allow for more tablets and netbooks that are competitive with the latest ARM CPU models, drawing far less power to allow for smaller form factors and battery sizes; while allowing for Intel based Operating Systems and Programs to run (e.g,. Win 8.1).

But, on the down side, their performance tends to lag way behind the lower cost CPUs being used in most lower cost netbooks and laptops from as little as 6 months ago. What a number of manufacturers are doing with them now is releasing lower cost models using 15.6" screens with CPUs like the N2830 model for only $250 including 4GB of RAM, Windows 8.1, 500GB drives, etc.

Just keep in mind that it's a slow CPU (most mainstream laptops using Core 2 Duo CPUs from 6 years ago were as fast or faster). Tradeoffs (cost, power usage, etc.). ;-)

So, if buying a model using one of the latest generation Intel 7.5 Watt TDP CPUs (which tend to be slow compared to the CPUs found in entry level laptop models from the end of last year), at a minimum, I'd go with one using something like the N2930 quad core model like the one BitJam just ordered (versus the much slower dual core N2830 CPU found in a number of newer $250 laptops being offered by major vendors like Dell, Acer, Asus and Toshiba).

Or, just do like I did and look for a good deal on a refurbished laptop instead with a much faster Core i3 CPU in it for around the same price point (as I only spent $227 delivered for the latest one I bought after a coupon code for more off).

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?


Post by BitJam » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:54 pm

JimC wrote:Many manufacturers are using it now (Intel N2830) with new under $300 laptops. Basically, even though they've got 15.6" screens, the CPU speed is more like you'd expect to find in a netbook used for browsing only.
A cheap netbook with a larger screen and keyboard, and good connectivity (and Windows 8.1, ugh) was pretty much what I was looking for. For 90% of my development work I don't even start X on the target, I just boot to the command line. If I can use it for watching movies in my bedroom (with Linux) then I might even keep it after I'm done with my experiments. Although I might get spoiled having a small target system that sits right next to my development system. I also might get spoiled booting live from a usb-3 ssd.

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