I’m downloading Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix right now for installing on my Acer Aspire One. Normally I would BitTorrent it but with FIOS it’s coming down directly at +2.1 MB/sec.
Ubuntu 9.10 is out, get it at http://www.ubuntu.com/. I’m planning on checking out UNR this weekend.
My Acer Aspire One netbook is good but the 8GB SSD drive that it shipped with is still the biggest drawback. When I want to view HQ or regular YouTube clip (forget about HD), the SSD gets accessed and performance takes a dive. Videos stutter and playback is horrible.
The first tweak is to mount the SSD switching the option from “relatime to “noatime”.
From the article:
Tweak #3: Change the file system mount options on SSDs to “noatime”. On certain Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu, the default is “relatime”. This tells the kernel to write the Last Accessed Time attribute on files. Conversely, “noatime” tells the kernel not to write them, which considerably improves performance. Linus himself suggests using it in circumstances such as this, so therefore, I consider it to be gospel.
The second tweek is on the kernel line in /boot/grub/menu.lst, right after splash, insert the option “elevator=noop”. This will let you use the “noop” I/O scheduler. The SSD is not a hard disk and there is no platter to optimize.
These combined reduces the amount of writes to the SSD and I am now able to view this whole episode of Gundam 00 in HQ. Before these changes I could not have done this.[youtube width="500" height="344"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQuWob7MgvQ[/youtube]
Considering that my main desktop PC is dying and needs to be replaced, having an optimized netbook is not a bad thing at all.
Sometimes I post things to be able to recall 6 months later what I did. This is one of those “I’d better write this down” articles.
After a couple of iterations, my Acer Aspire One Netbook runs well on Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04. Here’s what I did.
I created one root 8 GB filesystem formatted in ext2 with no swap space. I don’t know why but using ext3 (a journaling filesystem) and/or swap meant poor performance. It’s probably due to the SSD not handling the read/writes well.
Following the advice from the Ubuntu AspireOne documentation page, I installed linux-backports-jaunty-modules and ran all the updates. Among other things this gets the wireless LED working. UNR 9.04 is still young yet so it’s not a lot of updates.
In my /boot/grub/menu.lst file I added “enable_mtrr_cleanup pciehp.pciehp_force=1″ to my defoption line and kernel line. The mtrr_cleanup is to allow the X server to take advantage of a performance boost and with the pciehp I can use both SD card readers without any problem.
After using lspci to get the correct values, I added this line to my /etc/rc.local
echo "base=0x40000000 size=0x10000000 type=write-combining" > /proc/mtrr
The mtrr part is for improving video performance, the pciehp portion is to get both SD card readers working.
With these settings, the netbook is working well with only a few caveats. Youtube is still jumpy and slow. But I got this netbook to play with Ubuntu, ssh to my servers, and view web pages so I’m satisfied.