The DistRogue

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hardware review: Dell Inspiron E1505N with Ubuntu Feisty

By now, you should certainly know that Dell's offering computers with Ubuntu installed. After just getting one, here are some points about the entry-level Inspiron E1505N laptop:
-Hardware detection: With an Intel PRO/Wireless card included, wireless Internet access was out-of-the-box. It also came with an Intel GMA950 for graphics acceleration, which also works out of the box. W00t.
-CPUs: The 1505N comes with an Intel Centrino Duo (which is dual-core) as well, even with an entry-level config. It's detected out of the box- Ubuntu Feisty's kernel comes with i686 and SMP optimizations. Double w00t.
-Graphics acceleration: On the other hand, the GMA950 is pretty slow for gaming. GLXGears reported 740FPS, and ThinkTanks ran at a piddling 24FPS- just barely playable.
-Screen res: The default screen resolution (nothing extra) is 1280x800. Sweet. However, Ubuntu thinks it's 1024x768, which can be fixed by using the command "sudo apt-get install 915resolution". Easy fix.
-CD booting: After "fixing" the BIOS (just hit F2 during the boot) to boot from the CD drive first, the laptop recognized my PCLinuxOS and Xubuntu CDs with no issues. I didn't try DVDs yet.
-Other problems: My biggest pet peeve is that the screen kept switching itself off- and there's no way to turn it back on short of rebooting. It was fixed with the XFCE screensaver prefs; however, the same problem (only worse- it shut off whenever I closed the lid) happened on PCLinuxOS. I don't have a fix for that at the time. So beware.
Other than that, the new Inspiron E1505N is worth a look if you want a cheap, usable Linux system.
From Xubuntu 7.04,
The DistRogue.


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