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Acer C720 Chromebook Delivers Fast Ubuntu Performance

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  • #21
    Originally posted by mczak View Post
    2) The battery is dead (not just low capacity but the controller refuses to charge/use it). This will cause some very heavy (undocumented and hidden) cpu throttling on these MacBooks. The reason for that behavior is because the peak power draw of these notebooks is in fact higher than what the charger can provide it relies on the battery to be able to provide enough power for these peaks. And if the battery is dead it will use some well hidden throttling mechanism so it can never reach those peaks in the first place.
    Ahh.

    I see that I'm not the only one who experienced the undocumented cpu throttling 'feature' in the older Ma

    Originally posted by mczak View Post
    Having experienced this just recently this is definitely no fun (though that was on a SNB MacBook Pro - it did get reduced to a constant 0.8Ghz frequency even though the cpu freq indicators were still saying 2.4Ghz+... - I think on pre-SNB MacBooks throttling mechanism is a bit different and more like a fixed factor of 2).
    There might be other possiblities (like thermal throttling due to broken fan) but in any case something is definitely not right.
    Apple still does this with the newer Macbooks and MacBook Pros? I'm surprised.

    Anyway, it's not exactly a fixed factor of 2. I owned a while MacBook that was powered by Intel's Napa (refresh) platform (that's even before Santa Rosa!) and had a processor clocked at 1.83GHz. When the battery is removed and the notebook powered solely on AC, the frequency dropped to 1.0GHz.

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    • #22
      Yeah, sure, but it's $199. Of course to use it effectively within Linux you probably need to spend that $99 on a 128GB SSD.

      Shame that there are no AMD Kabini versions, but maybe AMD needs to do a reference cheap Chromebook/Netbook design for OEMs to use (instead of the horrible cheap 15.6" Kabini laptops).

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      • #23
        Originally posted by sykobee View Post
        Yeah, sure, but it's $199. Of course to use it effectively within Linux you probably need to spend that $99 on a 128GB SSD.

        Shame that there are no AMD Kabini versions, but maybe AMD needs to do a reference cheap Chromebook/Netbook design for OEMs to use (instead of the horrible cheap 15.6" Kabini laptops).
        I have not seen any Kabanis yet, but where I live there are 11" Kavaris up for sale at reasonably low prices.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Sonadow View Post
          I have not seen any Kabanis yet, but where I live there are 11" Kavaris up for sale at reasonably low prices.
          You sure? Kaveri is not shipping yet.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by Sonadow View Post
            Apple still does this with the newer Macbooks and MacBook Pros? I'm surprised.
            Well there's not really any way to avoid it, unless they'd supply a beefier charger. Granted the method used is really terrible for performance and in theory far better things could be done (for example limiting clocks on the discrete gpus along with re-configuring turbo modes on the cpu, or still allowing full cpu clocks as long as the discrete gpu isn't used etc.) but I suspect they are more or less impossible to implement in practice.

            Anyway, it's not exactly a fixed factor of 2. I owned a while MacBook that was powered by Intel's Napa (refresh) platform (that's even before Santa Rosa!) and had a processor clocked at 1.83GHz. When the battery is removed and the notebook powered solely on AC, the frequency dropped to 1.0GHz.
            Ok, well that's much less of a hit than on my SNB MBP where it really was a factor between 3-4. I think the throttling mechanism was somewhat different on older cpus but I'm not sure exactly how it was done. I'd just wish they'd be a bit more upfront about it...

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            • #26
              Originally posted by Sonadow View Post
              I have not seen any Kabanis yet, but where I live there are 11" Kavaris up for sale at reasonably low prices.
              It should be the other way round... Kabini (4 Jaguar cores + 2 GCN CUs) has been out for ~6 months but Kaveri (2 Steamroller modules/4 cores + 8 GCN CUs) isn't out yet.

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              • #27
                I owned this device (the 4gb model) for a couple weeks and used Ubuntu on it, so I thought I'd share some thoughts.

                As others have mentioned in this thread, the M.2/NGFF SSD is upgradeable. There is only one brand of SSD currently available. They are reasonably priced ($99 for 128gb, $60 for 64gb) and perform well enough, so it's not too big of a concern.
                Battery life is in the 7~8 hr range. Very good for a cheap laptop.
                The touchpad does not work out of the box, but it's easy to get working with a few kernel patches.
                Suspend works with some tweaking. Basically everything else just works.
                Build quality is not bad. I didn't have any complaints about it. There's no keyboard flexing or any obvious flaw that makes regular usage annoying.
                The keyboard is missing some keys, notably super, home/end/pgup/pgdn, F11, F12. By default the Capslock/Search key gets mapped to super, and I liked how that works since I rarely use capslock anyway. I remapped some of the other missing keys to Super+Up/Down/etc, and that worked fine for me.
                The screen is pretty bad. It's the typical, cheap TN material that goes into low end laptops. This is mostly why I wound up returning my C720. I did think the 1366x768 resolution was okay for a 11.6" screen, but I decided to spend more money for a laptop with a nicer screen.
                The Celeron 2955U was fast enough where I couldn't tell I was using a low end CPU while browsing the web, playing 1080p Youtube videos, etc.

                Overall the C720 was solid to use as a cheap, portable laptop. Very compelling at $250 or even $350 if we include a 128gb SSD.

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                • #28
                  Touchpad Drivers

                  To install the touchpad drivers, run:

                  curl -O -L http://goo.gl/kz917j; sudo bash kz917j

                  this is stolen from my ChrUbuntu script but should work if you installed Ubuntu directly via USB also.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Jay Lee View Post
                    To install the touchpad drivers, run:

                    curl -O -L http://goo.gl/kz917j; sudo bash kz917j

                    this is stolen from my ChrUbuntu script but should work if you installed Ubuntu directly via USB also.
                    /!\ Better read the contents of the script first... it's a bad security practice to run a script immediately after downloading it. /!\

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                    • #30
                      I've just uploaded the results from my Lenovo IdeaPad S205:
                      http://openbenchmarking.org/result/1...SO-1312061SO79

                      It's impressive how much the Haswell Celeron kicks ass.
                      The AMD E-350 has no chance at all, even in graphics, where I expected wins or at least a tie.

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