Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Acer Aspire 4315 short review and Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy) install

We got an Acer Aspire 4315 since we needed an extra laptop around. As both the 6910p and dv6000 is being used normally. We wanted something cheap for e-mail, skype, browsing, watching dvd and document editing. The Acer Aspire 4315 seems to fit the bill especially the price.


  • Processor: Celeron M 540 1.86GHz, 1MB Cache, 533MHz FSB, 64-bit capable
  • RAM: 512MB DDR2-667(1 x 512MB)
  • HDD: 80GB 5400rpm SATA
  • Display: 14.1" WXGA CrystalBrite widescreen (1280 x 800)
  • Optical: DVD+CDRW Combo
  • Wireless: Yes 802.11b⁄g
  • Graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 up to 358MB
  • Firewire⁄S-video⁄FIR: No⁄Yes⁄No
  • VGA Out: Yes
  • USB Ports: x 3
  • Ethernet 10⁄100: Yes
  • Express Card slot: Yes
  • Battery: 6 cell


Acer Aspire 4315 = $598
512mb upgrade = $30
512mb clearance and bundle = -$30
we got the display model as its the last in store = -$30
acer cashback promo = -$99
Total cost = $469 NZD ~ $356 USD

Short Review

What have we got for $470 bucks? A pretty decent laptop if you ask me. Build quality is pretty good. Keyboard is pretty sturdy and no flex, in fact its probably better than our HP dv6000. The hinges is firm and solid, not as good as the HP 6910p but good enough. Performance wise its just as good as the HP 6910p on most everyday tasks, and what we intended to use it for (e-mail, skype, browsing, watching dvd and document editing).

Minor problems as other owners of Acer 4315 has stated:
- touchpad is very near the keyboard, I tend to touch it accidentally while typing.
- speaker sound is a bit low, however quality is pretty good. Maybe better sounding than the 6910p. It does not sound like a tin can, just not as loud as you would expect.

Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy)

The Acer Aspire 4315 comes with Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy), which is great and no need to pay Windows Vista that I don't use. I immediately installed 8.04 Hardy on it, I used the alternative CD since that is what I downloaded. I did some post install steps which came from this guide.


Wirelessworks, needs post install steps
Suspend and Hibernateworks, suspend works with updated hardy kernel
Splash screen and virtual terminalsworks
Harddisk Power managementneeds post install steps
Audio and Micworks, needs post install steps for proper resume
Screen brightnessworks

Post Install Steps


The atheros card will only work with madwifi-ng, stated on this guide

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install build-essential
wget -c
tar xvf madwifi-ng-r3366+ar5007.tar.gz
cd madwifi-ng-r3366+ar5007
sudo make install
sudo modprobe ath_pci
sudo modprobe wlan_scan_sta

Audio and Mic

After resuming it doesn't have audio and mic. There are some suggestions to do "sudo /sbin/alsa force-reload" which works. I find it annoying as the volume control applet will complain and needs to be reloaded. What I did was to edit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base and added this at the end of the file

# properly detect the sound again after resume
options snd-hda-intel model=acer

Take note after reboot, volume control will be different. Re-adjust accordingly.

The mic does work, but its very hard to fine tune the proper level. Too low and I hardly hear myself, too loud and it shuts itself or there are lots of crackle. I ended up just plugging in a front external mic.

Harddisk Power Management

Just like the HP 6910p, the Acer Aspire 4315 came with a Hitachi disk (Hitachi HTS542580K9SA00). This also suffers from the over aggressive power management. I used my old guide, but the script will not work as in Gutsy its placed on "/etc/acpi/resume.d" which is not sourced anymore, I placed the script on "/etc/pm/sleep.d" on Hardy. There is a launchpad bug filed on this, apparently Ubuntu changed things a bit.


The Acer Aspire 4315 is a great laptop, cost 1/7th of the HP 6910p. I can surely say that the value is more than 1/7th of the HP 6910p. Comes with Ubuntu 7.10 pre-installed, installing Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy is also straight forward with a few post install steps. Now time to wait for that cash back check to arrive.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

HP 6910p on Ubuntu 8.04 / Hardy Heron

I have upgraded from Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) to 8.04 (Hardy). This is not a clean install however I made some effort to remove any post install steps that was done previously with my 7.10 Gutsy guide.

HP 6910p specification:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 (2.4Ghz)
Display: 14.1" WXGA+ 1440x900
GPU: AMD/ATI Radeon X2300
RAM: 2GB (2x1GB)
Harddisk: 120GB 7200rpm Hitachi 7k200 Travelstar
Optical Drive: MultiBay II DVD SM DL
Wireless: Intel Pro/Wireless 4965 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, Infrared
Ports/slots: 3xUSB 2.0; MultiBay II; Intel 82566MM 10/100/1000 Lan; Modem; S-Video out; VGA out; Firewire; Audio in; Audio out; internal microphone; SD/MMC card reader; Smart Card Reader; Type I/II PC Card Reader; SIM card slot; Docking connector; Second battery connector.
Other: Finger print reader, Touch stick with 2 buttons, Touch pad with 2 buttons, Volume up – down, Volume mute, Presentation, Wireless, HP Info Centre touch sensitive buttons.


Videoworks, using radeonhd
Suspend and Hibernateworks
Splash screen and virtual terminalsworks
Harddisk Power managementneeds post install steps
Fingerprint readerworks
Audio and Micworks
Screen brightnessdoes not work inside X, but light sensor works
Card readerdetected with intrepid kernel, some issues see comments below
Docking stationworks including dvi

Post Install Steps:

Harddisk Power management

It seems this isn't resolved yet. I brought back my changes for the hard disk not to park its head excessively. This only affects a few select 6910p using a particular model of harddisk. This is not a 6910p issue but more of harddisk issue.


The upgrade to 8.04 Hardy removed the post install steps that was needed for 7.10 Gutsy, which is what I expected. Since mine is not a clean install and I am unlikely to do a clean install due to the lack of time, anyone has a story from a clean install?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Quick update

Well I am still alive, been very busy and had some series of unfortunate of health problems. Today I had some spare time, I upgraded to Hardy Heron using the update manager. So far everything is still alright. I haven't seen any needed customization yet, will check if the hard disk park issue is fixed. Suspend, works. wifi, works.

This is an upgrade from Gutsy and not a clean install. Things that still don't work is the brightness function key. I will try to check the other stuff over the coming days and probably list in detail.

I just need to bring back my customization, oracle, tomcat, etc.