System Downtime

February 3, 2009

Eee-Control and snd_hda_intel Troubles

Filed under: EeePC, Linux — Tags: , , — Michael Pobega @ 9:03 AM

Ever since I bought my Eee PC 901 I’ve been trying to find a way to manually control the fan; all of the tools that worked on my Celeron-powered 900 don’t work at all on my Atom-powered 901.
After a bit of Googling I found a program called Eee-Control, which claimed that it could control the Atom’s clock and fan speed. After trying and disliking the software I removed it from my system, but then I noticed a weird problem with my speakers — they kept popping every time I initialized the sound! So after recompiling the drivers and my kernel (and completely borking 2.6.28.2) I found that the problem was a silly script that EeeControl put in /etc/modprobe.d/ setting snd_hda_intel’s power_save parameter to 1.
According to modinfo, parm: power_save:Automatic power-saving timeout (in second, 0 = disable). (int), so the script was turning off my speakers after one second of inactivity. I can only assume that the upstream author thought it was a boolean argument.
Anyway, I contacted upstream and hope to have it fixed … Even a value of 30 would be better.

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December 18, 2008

Celeron M vs Atom N270

Filed under: EeePC — Tags: , , , , , — Michael Pobega @ 1:22 AM

Ah, the question everyone asks. Celeron M vs Atom N270 for netbook computers (VIA is ruled out here, as it is outperformed by both in most benchmark tests). A note before I continue writing this article, I don’t actually own a netbook with an N270 processor, so the comparisons are based on my friend Quack’s Acer Aspire One.

Day to Day Usage: In day to day usage, the Intel Atom outperforms the Celeron M in almost every field. Being that the Atom is hyperthreaded it outperforms the Celeron for handling multiple tasks at once as well as completely trumping it on battery consumption (Atom processors get a 30% increase in battery life, on average). Hands down the Intel Atom is the processor to get if you’re not going to use your netbook as your primary computer, but just as a lightweight travel companion.

Gaming: This is the benchmark that surprised me; they were done using Urban Terror, both netbooks utilizing the same configuration file (as described in my other post about Urban Terror on the Eee PC). While on the same map without any players, the Celeron got 30 FPS outdoors and 60 FPS in corridors, while the Atom got only 10 FPS outside and 30 inside, which is nowhere near playable in a real online game (especially considering FPS drops significantly with other players around).

I won’t be divulging further into comparisons, because these two criteria should suffice. So, if you’re planning on playing UrT or other games on your netbook you should probably buy one with a a Celeron M processor (Like the Eee PC 900 or 1000HD), but if you are only going to use it for surfing the web or chatting online then you should buy an Atom based netbook (Eee PC 900HA, Acer Aspire One).

December 15, 2008

Urban Terror, a realistic, modern day FPS on the Eee PC 900

Filed under: EeePC, Games, Linux — Tags: , , , , , — Michael Pobega @ 9:46 PM

Since I’ve owned my Eee PC 900 I’ve been trying to find a good game to play on it. Most games require a real graphics card, or more than 900 MHz of computing power, so getting an Eee PC to comfortably run these games is a chore. Games like Tremulous or Counter Strike: Source (through Wine) run, but only at about 10 FPS maximum. Being frustrated with this, I Googled for a few hours looking for a good Linux native FPS.

I eventually stumbled across Urban Terror, which I initially passed up because it looked too graphically harsh for my little Celeron M chip to handle; But I eventually tried it anyway. After doing a lot of reading I ended up creating my own configuration file (put that text in your autoexec.cfg file, should work for Windows UrT as well). Lo and behold, I ended up getting a very playable frame rate.

Now I just need to stop sucking at the game.

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