Acer C720 Chromebook Delivers Fast Ubuntu Performance
The Acer C720 was recently released as the latest Google Chromebook selling for just $199 USD. I have been running the Acer C720 Chromebook recently but not with Chrome OS and instead Ubuntu 13.10 Linux. This Chromebook with a Haswell-based dual-core Celeron CPU runs Ubuntu Linux rather nicely. Here are the first thorough benchmarks from this low-cost laptop.
The Acer C720 Chromebook is a rather nice device for $199 USD with an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 anti-glare display, Intel Celeron 2955U dual-core "Haswell" processor clocked at 1.4GHz, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of solid-state storage, and up to an 8.5 hour battery life.
The overall build quality of the Acer C720 is also quite nice, especially considering its low price. Connectivity on the Chrome OS device includes an SD card reader, one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, a Kensington lock slot, HDMI output, and a headphone jack.
While the Acer C720 is meant to be running Chrome OS, other Linux distributions can be installed quite easily to the device with its Intel CPU. To install other operating systems you basically need to boot the Acer C720 in its developer mode, enable SeaBIOS with legacy booting and the ability to boot from USB, and then boot the C720 Chromebook with your favorite Linux distribution installer on a USB flash drive. It's very easy to do. For instructions check out the always detailed Arch Linux Wiki.
Installing Ubuntu 13.10 x86_64 to the Acer C720 was a breeze. The only major compatibility issue is that right now there's no upstream Linux support for the touchpad found on the Acer C720. For now I've been getting by just using a USB mouse but aside from that the device ran without any other major problems on Ubuntu 13.10. Thanks to the C720 using Intel HD Graphics and Qualcomm Atheros AR9462 WiFi, there's also no need for binary drivers on the system.