September 22, 2013

New little cuteness

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I took the little Acer Aspire One D150 to gaming on Saturday night. I had spent hours on Friday night trying to figure out what was wrong with the computer and concluded that it wasn’t able to charge any more from the power cord. So. Several of the guys at the gaming group are sys admins, so I let them look at the D150 too. They concluded that it was dead as well.

The netbook was my only personal portable and I used it every day for writing emails, blog posts, and general web type stuff. The netbook was three years old and for a cheap little portable, that is a pretty good life. I’ve been mostly pleased with Acer’s quality of stuff. The netbook felt pretty solid. I am still not sure what caused the power to fail on it, but other people had had similar issues (although I don’t remember reading anyone else hearing a popping noise before the charger cut out).

I searched online to see what might be available locally at the stores. Best Buy and Tiger Direct are the better options for finding a small portable at reasonable prices (especially in the open box areas). My criteria for a new system was cheap, reliable, good battery life, small, light, and expandable. I wanted something with more than last year’s specs. The D150 had a whopping 2 GB of RAM (maxed out) and a 180 GB hard drive. I wanted something faster but it didn’t necessarily have to have a huge hard drive. That didn’t matter (although I wanted more than 16 GB flash like most of the Chromebooks have).

I ended up with an Acer Aspire V5-122P-0679, which Tiger Direct had on sale for $150 off. Not too bad. It isn’t a power house system, but it’s one of the first with the quad-core AMD A6-1450 low voltage chips. The cores run only at 1.0 Ghz (1.4 in overclocked mode), so they aren’t powerhouse, but it should be better at running the multiple applications I tend to have open. I switch between a word processor, browser with about 10 tabs open, and usually a photo editor or screen shot application. The V5 has 4 GB of RAM, 3 ccell battery, and a 320 GB hard drive. The 11.6 inch screen is an LED screen with amazing clarity at almost any viewing angle. This is the first touch-screen laptop I’ve had.

This Acer has Windows 8 installed. I HATES Windows 8 precious, hates it! Wow it looks like a Windows smart phone on a lap top. Fugly. Luckily Windows 8.1 will be out October 17 with the capability to run the desktop in a regular mode instead of the Win Phone-esque abomination. I had forgotten how annoying trying to do Windows Update was.

So. I’m going to partition the hard drive and dual boot Windows 8 and Mint Linux. If you are considering the same kind of endeavor, it looks like people have had mixed results. One person had great results out of the box without any issues (touch screen worked too!). Others on the Ubuntu forums have reported some issues with the V5. Here are the sites I’ve found with information:

This will be my project for the next few days. I’m going to give Win 8 a few days and see if it annoys me as much as I think it will.

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