Monday, July 29, 2013

Dell Vostro 2420 upgrades

Last Fall I picked up a Dell Vostro 2420 as my Linux testing platform. I'm pleased to say that the machine performed admirably, supplementing my build infrastructure and providing a great sandbox environment for my Linux adventures.

A year later however I've began to find that the pre-installed Ubuntu and hardware were getting long in the tooth,  so I recently decided to take the plunge and update the machine. I went online and found some guaranteed compatible Ram and SSD from Crucial (2x4GB DDR3 12800 + 120GB SSD), then downloaded Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Desktop.

Of course having the opportunity to pop open the lid of the laptop to change it's hardware I thought I'd be best off to share some photos, and run a couple of quick benchmarks.

Under the hood:

To gain access to the laptop's internal components I removed all of the screws from the back of the machine, then pried off the keyboard. I unplugged the keyboard cable, and the power lines to the mouse, and power button. Three more screws had to be removed from the exposed interior before I could pry off the palm rest (see Dell manuals for more details in disassembling the laptop).

Seating the new Ram and SSD was straight forward, then I reassembled the machine. I will note that Crucial included with the SSD a spacer that made fitting the new drive snugly into the drive bay quick and easy.


After install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS I decided that I should run a few benchmarks to see how much improvement had been made.

Test building Apache Karaf 2.2.x branch took 3 minutes, 58.9 seconds -- the original gear took 6 minutes 7 seconds (latest branch code, Maven 3.1.0, Java 1.7).

ActiveMQ KahaDB Disk Benchmark produced a Sync Write score of 101.3 writes / second -- the original gear scored 18.6 writes / second (Java 1.7, AMQ 5.8.0 release kit).

Final thoughts:

Now that the machine has its memory fully populated, and disk speed bumped up to SSD class I'm finding the machine a joy to use. It would have been nice if I could have ordered the 2420 with these specs right from the factory... that being said, Dell has since made the XPS 13 available as an Ubuntu developer edition which has an i3, 8GB ram, and SSD as standard. It would be interesting to compare my upgraded Vostro 2420 to the XPS 13 offering - if someone out there has a XPS 13 developer edition could you please try out the above two benchmarks and comment below with their stats?


Christian Mueller said...

Hi Jamie!

However, you should consider to switch to a Mac ;-)

For my Mac Book Pro (2,7 GHz Intel Core i7, 2 x 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, 500 GB SSD), I got the following numbers:

cmueller$ java -classpath activemq-kahadb-store-5.8.0.jar
Benchmarking: /Users/cmueller/workspaceApache/activemq/activemq-kahadb-store/target/disk-benchmark.dat
1029881 writes of size 4096 written in 10.025 seconds.
102731.27 writes/second.
401.29404 megs/second.

Sync Writes:
84182 writes of size 4096 written in 10.001 seconds.
8417.358 writes/second.
32.880306 megs/second.

5723048 reads of size 4096 read in 10.001 seconds.
572247.56 writes/second.
2235.342 megs/second.

How did you build Karaf 2.2.x?
mvn clean install?

Have a nice time,

Jamie Goodyear said...

The Karaf 2.2.x build was with mvn install after doing an initial mvn install to download all dependencies and a mvn clean afterwards to just have the compile and tests run.

My primary machine is a Macbook (2.4Ghz, 16GB ram, 256GB SSD) - I'm seeing similar numbers to yours :)

My Dell Vostros are just for having separate hosts for building local environments.