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Thread: Ubuntu on a mini PC?

  1. #1
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    Ubuntu on a mini PC?

    So this fall i will go to college, and i need a laptop/netbook for my studies i am mostly going to use it for email, word processing, create presentations etc, it is not going to be used for hard-core virtual machines. Ofcourse i would like to use Ubuntu on it!

    So i have my eyes set on this mini PC.

    HP Mini 210-4120eo
    Price: 445 USD.

    • 10,1" LED-screen
    • Intel Atom N2800
    • 1GB DDR3 RAM
    • 320GB harddrive
    • Intel® Graphics 3650
    • 9 hours of battery
    • Beats Audio
    • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3650

    I don't have much experience with ubuntu on a mini PC, i would like to hear your opinions. Should i buy it? If you have any tips be sure to post.



    If you have further questions about anything just ask.
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    Last edited by sebastian.s; June 2nd, 2012 at 08:40 PM.

  2. #2
    ahallubuntu is offline Chocolate-Covered Ubuntu Beans
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    Re: Ubuntu on a mini PC?

    I would not recommend a netbook (small laptop with Intel Atom CPU) for what you need. Even though you say you need only to do email and web surfing, an Atom is going to be really slow for that. Netbooks are great for short-term vacations and such where you need a light computer with long battery life. I have an Acer netbook I always take with me when I must pack light to travel overseas, and it's great for that, but it's far too slow to use for an every-day computer, even for email and web use.

    I have Ubuntu on my Acer. It works pretty well - since I don't have run an anti-virus program, it's a little faster than using Windows. But it's still really slow. Watching videos (even just YouTube) can be challenging: I can basically do it if NOTHING ELSE is running (not even Gmail in another Chrome Window). I really can't do more than one thing at a time. I can use it but it's quite a challenge.

    This Atom CPU in the HP you list may be a bit faster than mine but it's still not going to be very fast.

    I would suggest looking into an Ultrabook if you can afford it. These are just starting to come out (Intel is pushing them big-time this year). They are PC versions of the thin Macbook Air. They will have long battery life but be much, much faster than a netbook. Or, look for a laptop that has the ability to use a long-life battery. My Dell Inspiron 1545 for example (now a few years old) came with a 6 cell battery, but I bought a 9 cell battery on eBay for $35 and get 4+ hours out of it. Not all laptops can use a long-life battery.

    As for what's compatible with Ubuntu: look at the pinned "Laptop Compatibility" thread at the top of this forum page. Also, some laptops are Ubuntu-certified. For example, here's a list of Dell laptops that are Ubuntu-certified:

    http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/make/Dell/

    If you are buying retail, you may also be able to boot a live CD or a live USB stick on the store model before buying it, to make sure that version of Ubuntu can run and work on the machine you are about to buy.

  3. #3
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    Re: Ubuntu on a mini PC?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahallubuntu View Post
    I would not recommend a netbook (small laptop with Intel Atom CPU) for what you need. Even though you say you need only to do email and web surfing, an Atom is going to be really slow for that. Netbooks are great for short-term vacations and such where you need a light computer with long battery life. I have an Acer netbook I always take with me when I must pack light to travel overseas, and it's great for that, but it's far too slow to use for an every-day computer, even for email and web use.

    I have Ubuntu on my Acer. It works pretty well - since I don't have run an anti-virus program, it's a little faster than using Windows. But it's still really slow. Watching videos (even just YouTube) can be challenging: I can basically do it if NOTHING ELSE is running (not even Gmail in another Chrome Window). I really can't do more than one thing at a time. I can use it but it's quite a challenge.

    This Atom CPU in the HP you list may be a bit faster than mine but it's still not going to be very fast.

    I would suggest looking into an Ultrabook if you can afford it. These are just starting to come out (Intel is pushing them big-time this year). They are PC versions of the thin Macbook Air. They will have long battery life but be much, much faster than a netbook. Or, look for a laptop that has the ability to use a long-life battery. My Dell Inspiron 1545 for example (now a few years old) came with a 6 cell battery, but I bought a 9 cell battery on eBay for $35 and get 4+ hours out of it. Not all laptops can use a long-life battery.

    As for what's compatible with Ubuntu: look at the pinned "Laptop Compatibility" thread at the top of this forum page. Also, some laptops are Ubuntu-certified. For example, here's a list of Dell laptops that are Ubuntu-certified:

    http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/make/Dell/

    If you are buying retail, you may also be able to boot a live CD or a live USB stick on the store model before buying it, to make sure that version of Ubuntu can run and work on the machine you are about to buy.
    Thanks, this just the information that i need well i am going to work all summer so i will be on the lookout for an other laptop. The reason i was thinking about getting a mini PC is beacuse the light weight, at my other shcool we used laptops heavy as tombstones. But if preformance is that bad using this kind of processor i will probably buy something else.

  4. #4
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    Re: Ubuntu on a mini PC?

    I'm not sure that I agree with ahallubuntu about the speed of the machine you showed in your original post, though I would not personally use Ubuntu on it but either Xubuntu or Lubuntu.

    I have Lubuntu running on a similar but now 2yr old netbook, with an Atom N270 processor, 1GB ram and Intel graphics (an MSI U100 re-badged) which works extremely well, and is much faster than my main machine, which I accept is getting on a bit. Both machines are quite fast enough for me to use for what I need, which sounds much like your requirements. I even have Libreoffice on the netbook in place of Abiword and Gnumeric, to allow for easier syncing with my main desktop, and LO runs fine. I think "slow" means different things to different users.

    I agree that the screen may be too small for complete comfort in all your everyday work, and the minimum I would want to use for all general work would be a 14in screen, better still, a 15in.

    Just my opinion, but I thought it worth saying.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Ubuntu on a mini PC?

    I have a netbook with a lubuntu(and a gentoo) installation which I use in college, and I don't find it slow at all. It has 1G RAM and a dual 1.66GHz atom.

    That being said, I do my word processing in vim or use LaTeX where appropriate, so I have no experience with the speed that Abiword or Libreoffice would work at.

    I think if you plan on doing a lot of word processing and making presentations on this machine, a small laptop might be a better idea than a netbook.

  6. #6
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    Re: Ubuntu on a mini PC?

    Ah i see, with the replys so far, i think that the main problem ain't the speed but rather the screen size?

    Still i am not quite sure

    Best deal would be a laptop at 14-15" inch screen with equal preformance?

  7. #7
    ahallubuntu is offline Chocolate-Covered Ubuntu Beans
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    Re: Ubuntu on a mini PC?

    I guess we all have our own idea of what "slow" means. For comparison, my Dell 15" laptop is 3+ years old with a 2.5GHZ Core 2 Duo CPU, hardly the fastest you could buy even then, and it is much faster than my Acer netbook. The Acer is certainly usable just frustrating to use for long periods.

    I strongly suggest you spend some time PLAYING with one of these netbooks before you buy one and see how the speed feels to you. Open a couple of windows; watch a few YouTube videos. Don't expect installing Ubuntu instead Windows to double the speed, either. (If you are in the US and have a Costco membership, note that they give you a 90 day return policy on all computers, so you can try one out and see how fast it is, how Ubuntu works on it, etc. and return it if it's not satisfactory.)

    I don't think you can buy a new 14"-15" laptop with performance nearly as slow as an Atom CPU - you'd have to go back to an old Pentium III or Pentium 4 most likely. I'd get a dual core CPU in any new laptop I'd buy today. What today is called a "Pentium" in a new laptop is actually a dual core version of the i3 without some of the speed improvements. I'd probably not get a Celeron as a laptop CPU unless I was saving a lot of money on it. I prefer Intel CPUs especially in a laptop, though.

  8. #8
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    Re: Ubuntu on a mini PC?

    I used a acer d250, with a atom 1.6, Through the last 2 years of college myself with full installs of many Linux distros including Ubuntu, XP and W7.

    I bumped the ram to 2 gigs though the max it would run, a pretty quick little computer.

    http://www.cnet.com/laptops/acer-asp...-33676723.html
    Last edited by wilee-nilee; June 3rd, 2012 at 08:12 AM.





  9. #9
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    Re: Ubuntu on a mini PC?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahallubuntu View Post
    I guess we all have our own idea of what "slow" means. For comparison, my Dell 15" laptop is 3+ years old with a 2.5GHZ Core 2 Duo CPU, hardly the fastest you could buy even then, and it is much faster than my Acer netbook. The Acer is certainly usable just frustrating to use for long periods.

    I strongly suggest you spend some time PLAYING with one of these netbooks before you buy one and see how the speed feels to you. Open a couple of windows; watch a few YouTube videos. Don't expect installing Ubuntu instead Windows to double the speed, either. (If you are in the US and have a Costco membership, note that they give you a 90 day return policy on all computers, so you can try one out and see how fast it is, how Ubuntu works on it, etc. and return it if it's not satisfactory.)

    I don't think you can buy a new 14"-15" laptop with performance nearly as slow as an Atom CPU - you'd have to go back to an old Pentium III or Pentium 4 most likely. I'd get a dual core CPU in any new laptop I'd buy today. What today is called a "Pentium" in a new laptop is actually a dual core version of the i3 without some of the speed improvements. I'd probably not get a Celeron as a laptop CPU unless I was saving a lot of money on it. I prefer Intel CPUs especially in a laptop, though.
    actually lately you have dual core atoms in these netbooks and they perform reasonably well. well i was checking some reviews and benchmarks.

    might be that your GPu was slowing you down? or you had an older CPU?

    you can get a cheap 15" notebook with low powered CPU these days there are plenty of AMD variants (E-450) and also low powered intel. i think 10" is indeed a great thing if all you need is soemthing portable but for work as student i too would sugest you get a 15" screen. you can check the weight before you buy it and with low powered CPU you will get it for less than this notebook. for example they sell notebooks (15") with AMD fusion (which has CPU comparable to atom but a bit better GPU) for 350 EUR.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Ubuntu on a mini PC?

    I have a Asus eeepc
    Came with win7 starter which I erased

    Bumped the RAM to 2GB

    Ubuntu runs by far the best of a long list I tried (Including X and L ubuntu's)

    They are limited, I would agree. But kinda handy

    My cpu info is
    Code:
    lscpu
    Architecture:          i686
    CPU op-mode(s):        32-bit, 64-bit
    Byte Order:            Little Endian
    CPU(s):                4
    On-line CPU(s) list:   0-3
    Thread(s) per core:    2
    Core(s) per socket:    2
    Socket(s):             1
    Vendor ID:             GenuineIntel
    CPU family:            6
    Model:                 28
    Stepping:              10
    CPU MHz:               1000.000
    BogoMIPS:              2999.73
    L1d cache:             24K
    L1i cache:             32K
    L2 cache:              512K
    I run 32 bit Ubuntu. It seems to run better for some reason
    Ubuntu Member Always something different. Promoting Ubuntu and System 76 at TUXPC

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