Joined on 12/23/09
Pros: Short story, it works! Purchased about a year ago. Couple of weeks ago, mains power bounced up and down 4 times in 60 seconds, then went out for good for a few hours. UPS seems to have about 20 minutes of power at a 250 watt draw, or thereabouts. When UPS battery got to 50%, I had it trigger shutdown of the CPU. That all triggered very nicely, got a clean shutdown, everything worked as expected. Yay! BTW -- this is with Linux, Debian Stable, using a USB cable between CPU and computer. On the UPS, I mostly left everything at factory defaults, so my app is simple, undemanding.
Problems within 48 hours of use.
Pros: Seemed to work great for 24 hours. Part of RAID-mirror array. RAID reconstruction ran at about 150MBytes/sec which is more-or-less the spec'ed performance. So that means all 4TBytes of the disk got written to on the first day of install.
Cons: Day two: Symptoms: system randomly freezes for 3-20 seconds at a time, but otherwise normal when not frozen. No tell-tale messages in `syslog`. Looking at `iostat -x` reports that the new disk is taking 1-7 seconds!! to perform a single write! Yow! OK, so that explains the freezes. Removing it from the RAID gets system to behave normally. `smartctl` shows `188 Command_Timeout 65538` which parses out to be two timeouts, one greater than 5 seconds: this is a symptom of impending drive failure. See backblaze report on `SMART 188 Command_Timeout` Just in case: halt system, reset the SATA cable, resent the power connector. Reboot. Works great for 5 minutes, reconstructing the RAID array. Slower than before. At 100MBytes/sec ten minutes later, running at 50MBytes/sec Half-hour later, bouncing between 8MB/sec and 60MB/sec maybe averaging 25. As I write this review: perf dropped to 300KBytes/sec, response times (the `await` column) to 2-3 seconds per write! Yikes! I'm ordering a new hard drive in about 5 minutes. Just a different brand.
Overall Review: Did not survive 48 hours of use.
Hardware: Great! Linux drivers: Bzzt! Ouch!
Pros: * Great Hardware Specs! * Great battery life!
Cons: * Linux drivers in pitiful state. Vendor needs to work with Linux people and fix this!
Overall Review: I wanted a cheap cheap cheap laptop with lots of RAM and a fast CPU and great battery, and this was it! Nothing else came even close! So I ordered this with confidence, and I think I'm happy with it. I guess. ... there are some glitches. About 5 minutes of booting it and using Windows, I was ready to flash Linux on it. (I hate Windows; I know Linux upside-down and inside-out. For my work, Linux is a non-negotiable must-have.) And this is where the problems started. In historic order: * Just sticking in a Linux bootstick is not enough; it boots to Windows. Need to get into BIOS to tell it to boot from USB stick. * The BIOS boot screen is carefully hidden, but half-a-dozen reboots while poking F1, F2, F12 and/or DEL got me into BIOS. * BIOS is ... weird. Like really weird, nothing like anything I'd seen before. * Designating the boot device was .. really weird. Figured it out, but it was ... weird. * Installed. But WIFI doesn't work. Why? Need to have the latest and greatest Linux kernel to get working WIFI (I'm running 5.18.15 right now) Driver is `rtw_8821ce` * The only distro with a Linux kernel that is new enough is Debian Testing. Which is great, but more bleeding-edge than most will tolerate. * With working WIFI, the rest of the install can be completed. Everything works great, except for a few teeny-weeny issues: * Wifi won't resume after being suspended (by closing the lid) Need to reboot to get it to work. I will work with LKML to fix this, but it will take months. * Sound does not work. So no youtube. I don't know why. I assume its a bad device driver. Haven't figured it out yet. Will need quality LKML time, too. Other than that, it works great: * Got 6-8 hours of battery on a very long airplane flight with no electric outlets on the plane. * Camera works great; did multiple multi-hour zoom meetings (using cell phone for audio) * Fanless! I hate fans! I love laptops that don't make noise! * Fast! It's actually slightly faster than a 7-year-old beefy server that I have. * Used it all day, every day, for 6 weeks straight, doing development and also browsing. No issues Annoyance/possible problem(?): * Runs really hot. I'm not used to having laptops run this hot. My last one had a dinky CPU that never got hot (and it was fanless, too). Is this going to be a problem? Will it burn out early? I plan to keep this laptop for 6-8 years; I don't want it to die after only two years. See https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=1016395 for more info
Misleading temperature in BIOS; cannot disable graphics (cannot use as server)
Pros: Great value! It does what I want it to, i.e. runs with the latest fast AMD Ryzen CPU's and fast RAM.
Cons: Two issues: misleading temp reading in BIOS, and no way to run this without a graphics card or APU (can't run it as a headless server, sitting in some closet). First: the BIOS temp issue, since it bites lots of users who then say bad things about AMD CPU's. It's not the CPU, its the BIOS! So.. the long story: This motherboard has a bunch of sensors on it: temp, fan speed, voltages, etc. I can see all of them in the OS (Linux) and most but not all of them in BIOS. After a cold boot, BIOS reports an alarmingly high CPU temp of 64 degrees; after a reboot, it rockets up to 73 degrees: surely this is a sign of imminent failure; other people have noticed and are complaining. ... well, its not true. The OS shows that there are several sensors. After a cold boot, the OS reports a CPU temp of 40 degrees- perfectly normal! It also reports some *other* sensor, called ` k10temp-pci-00c3` which shows that alarmingly high temperature. If I run some heavy compute jobs, the CPU temp rises to 65 degrees (expected and normal) while the mystery temp crawls even higher. I conclude: the BIOS is incorrectly reporting this mystery temp as the CPU temp. Second issue: graphics. The board will not POST unless you have either a GPU w/APU or if you have a graphics card. If you have neither, it will never boot, which makes it 100% useless as a server. This is a serious failing: you have to pop extra $$$ for some nasty used cheap graphics card. Which is going to draw electricity and generate a lot heat even though no monitor is attache to it. All I needed was some dirt-simple 640x480 VGA display. Which would have cost ASrock maybe ten cents to install. But no. Now I have to go shopping for the worlds cheapest graphics card. Which is really annoying cause its just one more thing that can fail.
Overall Review: Failure to POST and boot when the graphics card is missing is unacceptable. Misleading CPU temperatures is causing a lot of people to panic. (Read some of the CPU reviews) I can live with this, now that I know what the problem is, but I had to waste many hours worrying about this. I really really dislike wasting my time because someone else messed up!
CPU Temp is wrong in BIOS(?) but correct in OS(!)
Pros: So this would be a 5 star review, except that perhaps some motherboards show misleading CPU temperatures.
Cons: Plugged into the ASRock B450M-HDV R4.0 motherboard (a minimalist cheap desktop motherboard) the BIOS shows an alarming 64 degrees C immediately after a cold boot. Setting the fan speed to max in BIOS (its loud!) barely cools the thing to 63.5 degrees. This is alarming! But I think it's wrong. Booting into the OS (Linux), the CPU temp is shown as 40 degrees when idle (this is what I would expect! Yay!) Running 24 CPU-crunching jobs, maxing it out, it warms up to 65 degrees .. this is expected. This is typical for everything else I own. So, what's the problem? Well... apparently, there is some *other* temp sensor in there, called `k10temp-pci-00c3` in Linux, which does show same the crazy-high temp that BIOS shows. So .. the motherboard BIOS is reporting the wrong temp. Some of the other reviews here complain about the temperature and the "junky stock cooler". My theory: the stock cooler is fine; the BIOS is confused about the actual temperature. (Wouldn't be the first time. BIOS'es are always buggy, in my experience.)
Overall Review: Five stars really. I set it to 4 to capture your attention about the temp issue.