How great is the Korora?

Discussion in 'Linux Basics' started by DevynCJohnson, May 5, 2014.

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Would you like to buy the Korora

  1. Yes

    40.0%
  2. No

    20.0%
  3. Maybe

    40.0%
  4. Already did

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    I wanted to inform all of my readers that this review really does reflect my own opinions about the reviewed laptop. The company did not bribe me in any way.

    I recently heard of a company called "Think Penguin". I had never heard of such a computer company. I decided I wanted to make a review of one of their products. Thankfully, Think Penguin is very pleased to have me review one of their laptops, an I thank their employee, Christopher Waid, for this opportunity. Think Penguin is a company that sells their own brand of Linux computers (https://www.thinkpenguin.com/). They sent me one of their laptops, the Korora (https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/korora-penguin-gnu-linux-notebook).

    When the Korora arrived, I immediately opened the package and inspected the contents. The laptop came with a power cable, a Ubuntu 14.04 installation disc, and some various papers. The install disc is only needed if I need to reinstall Ubuntu. The disc sleeve had the official Ubuntu sticker, which was a nice surprise. The papers included some advertisements and information about the default username and password. (Keep the password paper until you change the password and username.)

    NOTE: My camera is low quality, so the images may not be too great.

    contents.jpg

    disc.jpg

    laptop.jpg

    laptop_0.jpg

    The laptop was well secured in the packaging and no shipping damage was apparent (or any kind of damage). The laptop's battery was already charged so I turned on the system. The BIOS loaded quickly and then I saw Ubuntu load up. I then logged into the system with the given username an password. The system loaded quickly without errors.

    boot0.jpg

    View attachment 1105

    Once logged in, I inspected the system's hardware. The Korora uses the i7 quad-core Intel processor (64-bit). The laptop has 3.8GB of memory (the other two tenths is owned by the video card). The laptop itself is very lightweight, but it does not have that "cheap" feeling that some lightweight devices possess. The casing is a hard plastic with a beautiful metal-looking texture. The keyboard's design has been thought out well. The keys are spaced out to help avoid the common issue of users hitting multiple buttons at once when typing. The keys feel firm and sturdy. The laptop closes and opens smoothly and feels steady. The lid remains in place and the hinges are also firm. The 14.1-inch LED screen is clean and clear. The 1366x768 resolution looks sharp and clear even without anti-aliasing (which I latter enabled for even sharper clarity). The screen uses the Intel HD Graphics 4400 which has no issues with Linux. All of the hardware in the laptop has no conflicts with Linux either.

    The screenshots below display various system stats and info -

    sysstat.png

    sysstat1.png

    After inspecting the hardware, I decided to see how well the system works. The 802.11N Atheros Wifi device works well with my high-speed Internet and my router with mac-address filtering capabilities. I surfed the Internet with ease and even watched some Youtube videos. Now, I decided to push the hardware more. I played Minetest with many resource-consuming options enabled while viewing a document in LibreOffice, surfing the web, and more, all at the same time. Still, everything ran well and the game had no lag. In fact, I was quit pleased with the smooth movement of the game. Even though this was Minetest, the graphics looked great on the screen. On top of all of that, the CPU activity was low. I then played 0AD (and I won by the way). There was never any lag. The graphics were so smooth with great clarity even during moments of intense gaming activity. The CPU did not get too hot either. The fan just blew subtly. Other games tested well with the same results - great graphics, no lag, and wonderful performance. Think Penguin does not advertise this as a gaming laptop, but I think they should.

    Here are some screenshots from my experience with Minetest -

    minetest_0.png

    The "/clearobjects" command normally requires a lot of time, but on this hardware, the execution was fast.

    minetest_1.png

    View attachment 1094

    minetest_CPU.png

    minetest_process.png

    Here is a screenshot of the system monitor while I am trying to make the system work hard with these many applications -

    syspush.png

    I decided to see if I can still have the same performance after reinstalling Ubuntu. I reinstalled Ubuntu an still got the same great performance, so clearly, the OS that came with the Korora was not rigged to work well. The great performance was all natural. I then decided to try various LiveCDs of the different Linux distros. Again, the performance was wonderful, so if Ubuntu is not your preferred distro, you can install something else and still love this laptop.

    I blanked and wrote/burned many DVDs with the CD/DVD reader+writer with success. The disc drive makes as much noise as other laptops and seems just as fast, but the disc tray seems to be more stable/firm than most (which is good). By that, I mean, most laptops have trays that can wiggle around when the tray is sticking out (open). This one does not seems as fragile like most laptop trays. I also like the fact that when the tray is opened through the software (ejected), the tray does not shoot open. Rather, the tray comes open a little, but does not fly out.

    dvd_tray.jpg

    While I was burning these DVDs, I was transferring data from a 500GB USBv3.0 external hard-drive to a 500GB USBv2.0 external hard-drive. This laptop has one USBv3.0 port and two USBv2.0 ports. The ports were still able to perform well with DVDs being burnt. I am amazed with the USB and bus system. Usually, such data transfers slow down the disc burning process, but I did not notice such a lag.

    The internal hard-drive is fast and responsive despite its large size of 320GB which partitions well. The hard-drive uses MBR, but I replaced MBR with GPT and the system still works well.

    fs.png

    I installed HardInfo, which is a system profiler for Linux. The results of the test are exported to an HTML file which I have uploaded to this review. The report can be downloaded below under attached files as a zip file. Users may be able to get an additional performance boost if they uninstall the unused languages and kernel modules. However, the system is already fast, so there is no actual need to enhance performance more than what it is.

    The speaks, microphone, and webcam were also wonderful. I was surprised that the built-in speaks lacked the low-quality digital sound. Instead, the speakers were high quality.

    I found it odd (but interesting) that my AMD64 Debian files could be installed on an Intel system. I think this is due to the Linux software.

    amd.png


    I decided to execute the AI chatbot that I have developed in Python3 code. To my amazement, my chatbot ran very well and swiftly on this hardware. Below is a screenshot of the system monitor while my chatbot (named Neo) is running thinking.

    beta.png

    neo.png



    Conclusion

    After my review was over, I love Think Penguin's Korora so much that gave away my former Compaq laptop, and I now use the Korora as my primary (and only) computer. After using the Korora, there was no way I could get the same enjoyment out of my name-brand laptop. I thank Think Penguin and their employee (Christopher Waid) for this opportunity to review their product and have something far better than my Compaq laptop. I also was a big fan of AMD processors, but I have learned that Intel can be just as good. True, many of you have never heard of a company called Think Penguin, but that does not mean they have poor products. Rather, I found a great treasure that I hope you all find as well.

    https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/korora-penguin-gnu-linux-notebook

    Ubuntu_0.png

    Attached Files:

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  2. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Many of you probably see that my signature box still says "Ubuntu 13.10 (AMD64)". That is because only the server admin can change signatures. He must be busy.
  3. Darren Hale

    Darren Hale Active Member

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    Seriously sexy desktop really awesome, nice[​IMG]
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  4. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Thank you. Now, I need to get Wallch to work on my system. There is some package dependency error with Wallch on Ubuntu 14.04. I can help fix that.
  5. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    How does this system compare to a system76?
  6. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Good question. Unfortunately, no one from that company will send me one of their laptops for review. I guess they know the Korora can beat their system with two cores unplugged behind its back.:p
  7. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    :confused:

    I think from a pricing-per-performance standpoint I still would go with a system76. But that customized Intel NUC system would be awesome. :)
  8. Robert Brookes

    Robert Brookes New Member

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    Awesome review! Although the actual name kind of confused me a bit, thinking that it would be pre-installed, or dedicated to the distro of the same name as in the forked Fedora project, Korora.

    Think Penguin ship Down Under too, so I'd certainly take a look at them when I'm in the market next time round.
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  9. ironstone

    ironstone New Member

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    I am planning to get this product. I was wondering if you can capture a short video of how device looks. There is no review other than yours online. Thanks in advance.
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  10. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    I will see what I can do. I cannot make any guarantees, but if I do video-record the laptop, I will post it on Youtube and provide the link here next week. My camera is low-quality, so do not expect anything fancy.
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  11. ironstone

    ironstone New Member

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    Thanks for quick reply. Me, as a hardcore developer, I want to learn how satisfied you are with it. My main aim to get this is to install multiple linux distros alongside and experiment on each. What are your observations about the hardware-software compatability and what do you suggest? Thanks in advance.
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  12. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    I love the Korora very much. It is the primary computer I use. Most or all distros should support the hardware since the hardware was designed to work with an open-source driver. I currently have no proprietary drivers installed. I have not found any hardware issues or flaws. I keep this machine on for days and weeks. The shutdown and boot-up is still fast (for what few times I reboot). I do not feel any over-heating. I have run various LiveCDs and virtual-machines with success. I converted the MBR partitioning table to GPT (personal preference and better perceived performance and ease of use). I still use Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty) with Unity and two monitors plugged in. The HDMI monitor is an HP and the VGA monitor is a Sony.

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