My ARM laptop

August 19, 2019 - 2 minutes

Finally!

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.

Features

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:

screenshot

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.