Sunday, October 25, 2009

MiniNote 2133: Reloaded

These days virtually every netbook is powered by Atom. However I'm not willing to let go my HP MiniNote 2133 yet. Since I can't swap out its C7M heart, I'm going to beef up other parts. Mine is Model KR922UT, which is the lowest config, so there's plenty of room to go up. First I go max on memory with 2 GB of PC2-5300. Then I put in an OCZ 64 GB SSD (OCZSSD2-1SLD60G) to replace the default 4 GB SSD. The first change was very straight forward, the second was a little more than that. The 4 GB "SSD" from HP really looks more like a piece of circuit board than a drive. As such it's smaller and thinner than a standard SATA 2.5" drive, and was installed within a metal bracket. There's no way for me to fit the OCZ drive into the bracket, so I just ditch the bracket. The OCZ drive fits quite well in the space, but not as snuggly as I'd like. If you shake the netbook, you can feel the drive moving a bit inside. Not that SSD drive would be harmed by that level of looseness, but I prefer things to be a tad tigher than that. My solution? Two pieces of thick double-sided sticky pads. After that, everything is firmly in place.

Once the hardware is refreshed, I proceeded to revamp the system software as well. As much as I was pleasantly surprised how well SUSE worked on the anemic configuration, I'm ready to use my beloved Ubuntu again. I tried to install Xubuntu 8.04.1 first, thinking that might go easy on the little machine, but the GUI installer wouldn't load. Not wanting to tinker with it more, I tried a regular Jaunty installation. It went through flawlessly, and everything I care works fine. It's fast too, taking only 62 seconds to boot to the desktop, and 75 seconds to start using Firefox. Not too shabby for an aging C7M powered machine.

BTW, I added berry4all and used it with my Verizon 8330. That worked fine too. I found out that I shouldn't disable wireless from Network Manager, as that would break how pppd write to resolv.conf, which leads to name resolution problem.

Overall I'm very happy with the results. Armed with this rejuvenated little netbook, I'm ready to roam! Just can't ask for a better outcome for a $160 upgrade.

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