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My New 10" Bargain Macbook!


Anees
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Hi guys,

Since this forums has a lot of interest at the moment in Macs and I thought I would post about my latest computer. :)

A few months ago I bought an Advent 4211 10" Netbook PC. I decided it would be a handy machine to get for work because I don't really want or need a full sized laptop to carry around and just wanted something really small and portable. I have in the past used a 12.1" apple iBook G4 which I have had for a couple of years -its has been fine, but with it being a G4 model I can not run Windows XP (which would be handy for work) or other operating systems on it. It developed a fault a few months back, where the LCD screen stopped working. I decided to look for alternatives. The amount of money a replacement MacBook (cheapest around £600 mark + Vat) would have cost for the small amount of use I would get out of it I just didn't think was value for money for me. I use my main PC most of the time.

A friend of mine that usually buys a job lot of things to sell on ebay rang me to say he was selling the Advent 4211 Netbook for £250 all in (this was about three months back remember so was a good saving over the retail price) which I thought was really good considering the spec of the machine.

8202-IMG_4904s.jpg

Review here:

http://www.trustedreviews.com/notebooks/re...4211-Netbook/p1

The Netbook arrived and I thought it might be too small for me to use, but I soon got used to the 10" screen I was impressed by both the size, weight and nippy performance. :)

I wanted to triple boot the Netbook with Windows XP, OSX Leopard and Ubuntu (to see what it was like). I did some research and found that OSX suited the Advent Netbook extremely well, with many tech forums (I visit the appropriate forums when I need to discuss or need advice on technical/computer matters) users reporting great success. The only issue with having OSX on the Advent netbook was that the standard wifi card is not compatible with OSX. This issue is now apparently resolved, Realtek (manufacturers of the standard wifi card) have released drivers for the Advent 4211 that are now compatible with Mac OSX, but at the time I needed a wifi card that OSX, Windows XP and Ubuntu would all work with. I opted for a Gigabyte GN-WI01GT Mini PCI card.

I had a spare gig of Ram laying about too and a 320Gb Hard Drive, so upgraded the Advent to 2Gb Ram and replaced the standard 80gb Hard Drive with a 320Gb Western Digital Hard Drive so I would have loads of space and swapped the wifi card with the Gigabyte one I bought!

upgrade.jpg

Once the upgrade was complete I then put the Netbook back together. Here is a pic of it compared to the OSX box, it is really small!

size.jpg

I manged to get Triple boosting sucessfully working and can now boot between Windows XP, OSX and Ubuntu. I have set the default OS to Mac OS X for now, but I have been really impressed by Ubuntu - its great!!

bootmenu.jpg

Windows XP

Obviously runs Windows XP without any issues to report.

winxp.jpg

winxp2.jpg

Mac OS X Leopard

Runs brilliantly! Got to say it is miles faster to boot up then about 90% of "real" Macs I have used especially the MacBook Air.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=qU4AtYOSEFA I have had VERY similar results! :D

I was impressed that the Photo Booth camera software even worked with the internal Web cam! :) It runs much quicker then my old Mac G4 iBook did; I'd say desktop performance is about on par with an entry level MacBook.

The only draw backs I have found are that the audio out and Mic output ports do not work though a set of headphones, but that is easily worked around using USB headphones; but the issue doesn't really bother me because the sound works fine through the netbooks speakers. People on the MSI Wind (same laptop as the Advent 4211) are working on a fix at the moment. Apart from the small headphone/mic sound issue, it runs in my opinion just was well as a proper Mac. Admittedly it does miss some of the ergonomic design features but for the price they do not bother me!

osx1.jpg

osx2.jpg

osx3.jpg

Ubuntu

I had never used linux before, but had heard a great deal about Ubuntu so wanted to try it. I must say I am rather impressed and it close to becoming my new default OS choice. I love the fancy effects and all the free software! :lol:

ubuntu1.jpg

ubuntu2.jpg

ubuntu3.jpg

This again worked straight from the install, the OS even picked up my Gigabyte wifi card which I was anticipating having trouble with.

Overall

I have had this machine and been using it daily for the past three months - it hasn't skipped a beat or crashed once no matter what OS I have been using. Considering the cost of this machine is only £250, I think its amongst the best things I have bought. It is really nippy, runs all three OS's really well and fulfills my needs of something really portable for a good price. Even compared to my old 12.1" iBook G4 is is just so much smaller and lighter:

sizeibook.jpg

I have managed to get a car charger for it and a small travel charger too. The only disapointing thing is the standard Battery life is not that good. If I turn off Bluetooth, web cam, screen brightness etc I can get around 2.15 hours. My iBook G4 gave me an easy 3hours+. Their is a larger 6 cell Battery available for the netbook however, so I might invest in that in the future. I'm sure apple will release their own netbook at some poin with all the bells and whistles, but for the moment this is great. ;)

Bargain 10" PC / Mac :D :D

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Very nice indeed there mate :)

Are you actually running a native mode install of OSX there or is it hacked OSX86?

Tried one of the hacked installs ages ago and it worked fine on my Thinkpad, forgot about that video I did ages ago to prove a point, love the fact there are some comments saying I faked it!

There are some proper weirdos out there!

As for Linux it's quite nice, haven't really used it in anger too much lately, taught myself years ago when SUSE first appeared in PC World, was kernel hacking on the second day! I always like working at the command line so be it Windows, OSX or Linux I'm usually happy there!

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Nice project!

Kudos for achieving it.

Will be interested to see what happens when you try and update OS X to 10.5.6 (the current)...

I suspect you are running OSX86 or whatever it's called that as far as I know only supports up to 10.5.4?

This setup is not easy to achieve for the average user. It is not a viable commercial solution. Also there are MANY issues with the OSX86 project. Yes you CAN get a bastardized version of OS X working but let's not pretend everything works as it should and you can just plug in peripherals and go like on the Mac...

It is in fact breaking the apple EULA and so kind of not actually a legal solution... Hope no one at apple drives a Lexus! ;)

It seems an awful lot of work to achieve what a Mac can do legally and without issues out of the box, but a great way for PC users to experiment with the world's best OS before they get their Mac. ;)

Nice to see that you choose OS X as default though, but I wouldn't rely too heavily on it running under your solution.

I have to agree with your title - it is indeed the best laptop apple never made! :)

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Will be interested to see what happens when you try and update OS X to 10.5.6 (the current)...

I suspect you are running OSX86 or whatever it's called that as far as I know only supports up to 10.5.4?

This setup is not easy to achieve for the average user. It is not a viable commercial solution. Also there are MANY issues with the OSX86 project. Yes you CAN get a bastardized version of OS X working but let's not pretend everything works as it should and you can just plug in peripherals and go like on the Mac...

It is in fact breaking the Apple EULA and so kind of not actually a legal solution... Hope no one at Apple drives a Lexus! ;)

It seems an awful lot of work to achieve what a Mac can do legally and without issues out of the box, but a great way for PC users to experiment with the world's best OS before they get their Mac. ;)

Nice to see that you choose OS X as default though, but I wouldn't rely too heavily on it running under your solution.

The patched 10.5.6 is out there if you know where to look, some pretty impressive reverse engineering to get them out at the speeds they do!

As for installing OSX86, nowadays it is a case of just downloading the latest version of it, sticking the DVD in and installing - not really much more challenging than installing Vista really - hardest bit was picking AMD or Intel and as most PCs have stickers on it's an easy choice!

A lot of the people running it are also from your Linux background and so for them it's an easy install process. The people I know who need handholding through reinstalling Windows should be able to get through this installation just as easily.

I don't know if you've seen this either, but there's a bit of kit out there that you just pop into a free USB port and it fools an OEM copy of OSX into thinking it's booting on a Mac and it'll install and run perfectly - it has an HCL but that's an impressive bit of kit as it allows people who'd normally be afraid of the process to just build a machine to spec, throw in the USB key and boot and install a legal copy of OSX straight from an off the shelf DVD :)

So it's not bastardized and works out of the box - there's no arguing with that! Also seeing as it's running a clean copy any device drivers for that work exactly the same as they do on a Mac - so any USB peripherals will work exactly as they do on a genuine bonafide bit of apple tin. It's all fairly generic nowadays anyway really. KIt's the really low-level stuff that would cause an issue but I've yet to see any USB products that would ever require that sort of coding - it's just all specific to that device which is identical.

As for the EULA - do you really think that anyone who'd be on the torrents sites downloading OSX86 is worried about the EULA? Heck it's bad enough finding a company that has proper documented license control on any platform anyway but these kids trying it at home are of the ilk that just see it, don't even read it for more than a second and just click Next to continue without it even registering in their guilty consience!

I'm assuming you've not tried OSX86 yourself so I would recommend it purely so you can actually see how stable it actually is :)

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Nice setup Anees, i've just brought an Akoya 10" 160gb mini book and love it which strange enough looks exactly the same as yours? same basic specs as yours but has the 160gb hd instead of the 80gb fitted as standard?

Where did you get the ram upgrade mate? mines got the 1gb fitted and wouldnt mind upping it to 2gb ram, and is it a piggyback 1gb chipset or a single 2gb card? :D

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Nice setup Anees, i've just brought an Akoya 10" 160gb mini book and love it which strange enough looks exactly the same as yours? same basic specs as yours but has the 160gb hd instead of the 80gb fitted as standard?

Where did you get the ram upgrade mate? mines got the 1gb fitted and wouldnt mind upping it to 2gb ram, and is it a piggyback 1gb chipset or a single 2gb card? :D

Hi Chris!

The MSI Wind, Advent 4211 and the Akoya are as far I as know exactly the same computer. I think your Akoya maybe a slighter newer version of my machine, hence the standard 160Gb hard drive. Hardware wise they should be the same.

The max ram you can have installed is 2Gb, so I I installed a 1Gb Ram upgrade, which when combined with the standard 1Gb Ram gives you the maximum 2Gb.

You need a DDR2 SODIMM like this:

http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/Search...&CatId=3226

:D

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Nice project!

Kudos for achieving it.

Many thanks mate :)

Will be interested to see what happens when you try and update OS X to 10.5.6 (the current)...

I suspect you are running OSX86 or whatever it's called that as far as I know only supports up to 10.5.4?

You are correct, it is possible to download and run OSX86, in fact their is a version created specifically for this Netbook; but I decided to do it from scratch so I knew exactly what was going into the build. My install uses the vanilla kernal, so its exactly the same as a native Mac.

I can update to 10.5.5 using the normal apple update service and a few people have updated to 10.5.6 but I am waiting to a few weeks to see if they report any problems before doing so.

This setup is not easy to achieve for the average user. It is not a viable commercial solution. Also there are MANY issues with the OSX86 project. Yes you CAN get a bastardized version of OS X working but let's not pretend everything works as it should and you can just plug in peripherals and go like on the Mac...

It is in fact breaking the Apple EULA and so kind of not actually a legal solution... Hope no one at Apple drives a Lexus! ;)

I would agree that when I did it, it wasn't that straight forward having to mess with kexts etc, BUT now on the torrent sites their are downloadable ISO images of the OSX Install DVD with all the configuration needed for it to run great with the specific hardware on this netbook already configured and great to do. As Aido says, shouldn't be much harder then installing the standard OSX or a Windows Vista.

The reason I tried it on the Advent 4211 is because other users on forums that have installed OSX Leopard on it have reported great success so I knew it would do a good job of running the OS.

Your right, it is of course not a viable commercial solution but fine for me to have a play :P

It seems an awful lot of work to achieve what a Mac can do legally and without issues out of the box, but a great way for PC users to experiment with the world's best OS before they get their Mac. ;)

Nice to see that you choose OS X as default though, but I wouldn't rely too heavily on it running under your solution.

If I didn't work in IT I probably wouldn't have tried it, but fancied a go and it only took me half a day at most. Now with the downloadable MSIWind/Advent 4211 machine specific ISO images it it much easier.

I shall repeat again, I have been using this setup for the past three months, with out issue, and it runs extremely stable and all plug and play USB applications work as does all the software I have tried; heck even time machine is functioning properly. At the end of the day a Mac and PC now share very similar internal components so its not that much of difference between them; they are (very simplistically looking at it) a box of very similar components. Ok the Mac i has a more groovy design! :P :lol:

I have to agree with your title - it is indeed the best laptop Apple never made! :)

You think apple will ever release their own netbook or is the current 13" MacBook the smallest they will go?

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I shall repeat again, I have been using this setup for the past three months, with out issue, and it runs extremely stable and all plug and play USB applications work as does all the software I have tried

I've had friends using it as their primary OS since OSX86 first came about and they love it :)

Personally I'd be surprised if apple entered the netbook market as there's not enough profit in that sector - they may bring one out but it would be a rip off for what is basically the same as what you've got there!

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Nice setup Anees, i've just brought an Akoya 10" 160gb mini book and love it which strange enough looks exactly the same as yours? same basic specs as yours but has the 160gb hd instead of the 80gb fitted as standard?

Where did you get the ram upgrade mate? mines got the 1gb fitted and wouldnt mind upping it to 2gb ram, and is it a piggyback 1gb chipset or a single 2gb card? :D

Hi Chris!

The MSI Wind, Advent 4211 and the Akoya are as far I as know exactly the same computer. I think your Akoya maybe a slighter newer version of my machine, hence the standard 160Gb hard drive. Hardware wise they should be the same.

The max ram you can have installed is 2Gb, so I I installed a 1Gb Ram upgrade, which when combined with the standard 1Gb Ram gives you the maximum 2Gb.

You need a DDR2 SODIMM like this:

http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/Search...&CatId=3226

:D

Hello Anees,

Thats great mate, i'll get that ordered then :D Thanks for the info :D

Quite happy with mine so far and got it brand new for £214, so got a bit of a bargain me thinks :)

Edit: just brought 2, 1gb memory cards for a total of £19 with postage and there the same as fitted to both my laptops so got one for each of them :)

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No I have never used OSX86 but I can see it works fine on CERTAIN HARDWARE, I also know that it isn't as simple as just burning an ISO and bunging into any PC hardware and off you go. Handpicked hardware like Anees used maybe, although you miss out on goodies like the multi-touch trackpad, backlit keyboard, display port, 8.0211n, gigabit ethernet etc.

Like Kazi mentioned, it does take some effort and doesn't always work.

I suspect that with Snow Leopard and the OpenCL implementation OSX86 will have some serious issues since I suspect apple will tailor the Open CL to their own graphics cards to some extent and this MAY render PC's with different graphics processors unable to utilise Open CL.

Open CL is the new open standard driven by apple alongside Open GL. It will utlise clock cycles from idling GPUs to take the pressure of the CPU. We should see some serious performance increases on all existing machines. Good stuff.

Still, I agree it is a great solution for experts who wish to tinker and for getting OS X running on non-Apple form factors.

As far as Netbooks and apple are concerned? hmmmmm

I am not convinced about the demand for these yet.

Battery life / performance / size? hmmm

There are mumblings about a Mac netbook in 2009 and it's certainly a possibility however if I had to bet on it I would say "Yes, but not yet!"

Total cop out answer i know! lol

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As far as Netbooks and Apple are concerned? hmmmmm

I am not convinced about the demand for these yet.

Battery life / performance / size? hmmm

I think there's plenty of demand for netbooks, the EeePC has been a good seller and there are plenty of other makes who think they will sell well. Certainly more so than there was for the last 'big next thing' - the Tablet PC. I could never see any demand for large touchscreen devices for a number of reasons, but I can see a demand for what amounts to an ultralight notebook. Especially these days where wifi is becoming available on planes and trains, carrying something very small but still useful could be a hit with business.

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:offtopic:

If you follow the thread carefully you will figure out that the original poster asked me a direct question. My post was relating to that question so in fact my Off Topic indicator wasn't actually required.

In fact your post was MUCH further Off Topic than mine and yet you did not indicate it as such.

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:offtopic:

( I like the way you added the offtopic symbol to your last post after you had posted it, then add a further line too)

I am sorry Tyger I believe you have misunderstood what I have said in my post.

Maybe a re-evaluation is in order, if you re-read post #22 and take special care in the information

contained in the last line & all will become clear. I don't want this to become a Tyger tutorial, if you

still fail to understand the post, maybe someone else will help you.

Like I previously stated above,

lets keep this one on topic shall we ?
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