Saturday, November 15



So, setting up Chika today, my new LG 13Z940 UltraPC.  Not an Ultrabook, because this model doesn't have a touch screen, a feature I'd just as soon avoid anyway.

I got the entry-level Core i5 model, because it cost $929 vs. $1599 for the Core i7.  That means I've only got 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD to work with.

Of the 4GB of memory, 1.4GB is used by the time you boot into Windows 8.1, and of the 128GB of disk, 85GB is available.  That's after about 9GB for the decimal to binary conversion (128GB ~ 119GiB), 12GB for the system recovery volume, 15GB for Windows, and 3GB each for the pagefile and hibernation file.

The more expensive model has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD, making those issues much less of an...  Issue...  But it costs nearly twice as much.

So the question is, is 4GB of RAM and 85GB of SSD enough?



I deliberately used up all the memory by loading up multiple tabs with my anime category page, which has about fifty Youtube videos on it and uses about 500MB of RAM in Chrome on this notebook.*  I opened another tab, and Chika took a couple of seconds to respond and load the page, but after that the new tab ran quite smoothly.

That's a completely different story to doing the same thing on a disk-based system, where you'd likely be waiting a couple of minutes for the browser to respond again.


I installed Virtualbox and a CentOS 7 virtual machine, and that ran smoothly as well, and it's only using about 70MB of memory following the install process.  Admittedly it's not actually doing anything right now. but that at least means that the baseline requirements are low enough that I won't have any problems from Linux itself.

Also installed Firefox and Firefox's new Developer Edition, PyCharm and RubyMine (and Python and Ruby), Notepad++, MySQL and MongoDB.  Oh, and Start8 / ModernMix of course, banishing the Start Screen and its crapware minions back to where they belong.

I would have installed Office 365 too, except that Microsoft don't want to sell it to me. I enter all the payment details, tick the yes-I-have-read-the-fine-print box, click Confirm, and it goes bloop and sends me back to try again. Just hope I don't end up with three subscriptions.

I installed the 128GB microSD card to give me some extra room, and that works fine too, though much slower than the SSD.  I get about 12MB/s on writes and 25MB/s on reads on the SD card, and about 100MB/s on file copies on the SSD.  (I haven't done a full test yet.)

The 1920x1080 13" IPS screen is very good; bright, sharp, and clear, with good but not over-saturated colour.  It's not-quite-retina, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, because Windows 8.1 is not-quite-retina-ready.  Also, I've discovered that Chrome's memory use is proportional to the display resolution, so you wouldn't really want a higher resolution unless you also had more memory.

CPU is positively zippy (helped by the SSD, since my old notebook had a disk drive and I'm used to waiting for things to happen).  Build quality seems solid, despite the fact that it weighs only a little more than my 3rd-gen iPad.


I think there's a fan in there somewhere; there are a couple of small openings that might be vents.  As far as I can tell, it's not making any sound at all.

So all in all a purchase I'm pretty happy with.  I'd have willingly spent a couple of hundred dollars more for a little more memory and disk space, but it looks like Chika can handle most tasks I'm likely to throw at her.

* About 1GB on my desktop, due to the higher-resolution display.  It looks like Chrome's memory use is largely dependent on display resolution.

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