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Installing Linux on Coconics Enabler Laptop

In May and June 2021, I consolidated the data and upgraded the old computers in the household. I also upgraded the computers during this process. This post covers the upgrade to the disk on the Coconics enabler laptop. And the performance checks I conducted using the hdparm command.  The hdparm test is one of the useful tests to check disk speeds and performance.

Background: Installing Linux on Coconics Enabler Laptop

The Coconics Enabler Laptop is an entry level laptop that I picked up for a little over US Dollars 220 or INR 17,000. It came installed with Ubuntu. Over the past few weeks, i tried several different Linux installations.

Below is the list of Linux Distributions I Tried:
-BodhiLinux (really loved it, might get back to it. Such a speedy, low resource usage)
-Manjaro21 (upgrade goof’du the system)
-Linux Mint (current, very high RAM usage for Firefox and Ocenaudio!)
-Ubuntu Mate (still unsure why I installed it)
-Solus(worked well but high RAM usage)
-ElementaryOS – all went well till I bungled up the configuration
-Archbang Linux
-KDE Neon

Using hdparm to measure and tweak disk speeds

In June and July 2021, I had run several tests on the entry level Coconics enabler laptop. My tests included installing various distributions of Linux, and measuring disk speeds and overall performance. In this post, I will post results from hdparm test.


Note: I would encourage you to read up on hdparm at reliable sources such as Stackexchange, How To’s and the man page for hdparm before attempting to repeat the below.

Under the Hood- Checking the disks

The laptop comes with 64 GH of eMMC storage, and I had added a 256 GB M2 SATA driveto it as the primary drive. I had also added a 32 GB of MicroSD Card, as the below table shows.

NAME                        MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE  MOUNTPOINT
sda                           8:0    0 223.6G  0 disk  
├─sda1                        8:1    0   255M  0 part  /media/amar/system-boot
└─sda2                        8:2    0 223.3G  0 part  /media/amar/writable
mmcblk0                     179:0    0  57.6G  0 disk  
├─mmcblk0p1                 179:1    0   512M  0 part  /boot/efi
├─mmcblk0p2                 179:2    0   732M  0 part  /boot
└─mmcblk0p3                 179:3    0  56.4G  0 part  
  └─mmcblk0p3_crypt         253:0    0  56.4G  0 crypt 
    ├─elementary--vg-root   253:1    0  55.4G  0 lvm   /
    └─elementary--vg-swap_1 253:2    0   980M  0 lvm   [SWAP]
mmcblk0boot0                179:8    0     4M  1 disk 
mmcblk0boot1                179:16   0     4M  1 disk 
mmcblk2                     179:24   0  29.7G  0 disk 
└─mmcblk2p1                 179:25   0  29.7G  0 part  /media/amar/SSDBak

Running the hdparm command

[email protected]−nics: [email protected]−nics:  cd /tmp && sudo hdparm -t /dev/sda1

 After entering the password for sudo, we get 

/dev/sda1:
 Timing buffered disk reads: 254 MB in  0.59 seconds = 431.83 MB/sec
[email protected]:/tmp$ sudo hdparm -t /dev/mmcblk0

/dev/mmcblk0:
 Timing buffered disk reads: 682 MB in  3.00 seconds = 227.08 MB/sec
[email protected]:/tmp$ sudo hdparm -t /dev/mmcblk2

/dev/mmcblk2:
 Timing buffered disk reads:  80 MB in  3.03 seconds =  26.39 MB/sec

The disk read and write speeds are displayed. Since we use a SATA SSD and eMMC drive, the disk speeds will be slower than some of the newer drives. Still, the numbers are quite good for an entry level laptop.

Notes:

1. For literally ‘off the shelf” industry standard hardware, everything should work well.
-RAM (since limited to 4 GB of LPDDR4)
-Battery life>5 hours
-Adding a 256 M2 SATA SSD speeded up things a bit.

2. The data (images, Documents, audio and video files…)was spread across devices, external drives, and cloud storage. While the computers could support the native operating system (e.g. Mac OS for MacBook Pro) I decided to zero in on the operating systems that would keep them chugging along. This post covers the operating systems I tested during the process. The data consolidation will be covered in a separate post. You can read this post on my website.

Update: As on October 2021, the laptop is practically dead/ useless, since the Keyboard is not functioning well. Which means I cannot boot the laptop even! Coconics support has been.. useless.