August 19, 2019 - 2 minutes
After about 2 years of experimenting with alternative CPU architectures (primarily ARM), there has never been a very satisfying option for an ARM laptop, this whole time I have been using the Asus c201 with libreboot and a debian image on there called PrawnOS. But it had no hardware acceleration because of the Mali GPU in it.
- 4 gigs of RAM
- quad core armv7l processor
- 128 gigabyte micro sd card that gets mounted as /home
- 16 gigabyte internal memory
Panfrost, hardware acceleration
The biggest thing that was lacking from this laptop was a lack of hardware acceleration. Lack of hardware acceleration limited what I could do with this laptop to basic applications like surfing the web. It has terrific battery life, but about 2 days ago after upgrading my PrawnOS kernel to have Linux kernel 5.2.9 (which incluedes panfrost) I build mesa from source and installed it to get hardware acceleration on this laptop. Now I can do things like emulate nintendo64 games:
This is a huge deal, now there is a decent ARM laptop of all the upcoming option and you can get a good Linux laptop that runs nothing but open source software for less than $150. Others have reported at being able to do as much as run SuperTuxKart at low settings on this laptop.
In summation, I am very happy about this new laptop offering, and that the ARM laptop I have has beat the others to win this race first. Especially because I didn’t have to buy new hardware to get this working, I am also in the process of testing out if I can run Godot on here to develop games on the go with.