Wednesday, May 7, 2014

PC or PoC: Asus Laptop

When people see this laptop they are amazed at the size and capability of this tablet sized PC. It has an Intel atom processor a touchscreen and 2 GB of memory. Its main hard drive is 16 GB with an expansion slot for an additional 16 GB. I've tried using 32 GB in the expansion slot however it does not recognize anything above 16.

This originally came with windows XP home and of course the touchscreen and all of the special features worked. With the Windows video driver this tiny 10.1 inch screen could do 1024x768. However, in Linux, the best the screen will do is 800x600 resolution. This required me to get creative with the configuration in the Gigastrand OS. The first thing I had to do was reduce the font size for the operating system. Then I had to install QT style for GTK. This allowed font resizing for most of my installed programs.

One of the really neat things about this laptop is that it is powered off of 12V rather than the usual 19 V of most laptops. This allowed me to go down to my local RadioShack and pick up a simple car charger for it. So rather than having to run the inverter I can simply plug it into a cigarette lighter outlet in my car.

The laptop's hard drive is solid-state which gives us laptop a slight performance boost. Despite its diminutive size I find that it works well for most things.

This laptop has been perfect for field work because of its size and voltage requirements. Once I ditched Windows in favor of the Gigastrand OS, despite one or two shortcomings, this laptop works nearly as well or better than when it was running Windows.

There isn't much in the way of upgrades that can be done to this computer. At 2 GB the memory is maxed out, I am not entirely sure if the hard drive can be upgraded all, and I have purchased a Samsung external DVD burner with light scribe so that I have a way to load software and burn discs. The DVD player could not be USB powered as it would've required using both USB ports in order to fully power an external player. So the DVD burner comes with its own transformer and plugs into the wall. Additionally, if the DVD burner develops a fault, the drive itself can be replaced without replacing the entire unit.

However, when I recently tried to upgrade the laptop to a 64Gb SSD, there was a problem. The laptop just decided to not power up any more. Now, it is being repurposed as a non-working concept machine.


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