[PlanetCCRMA] new computer - hp spectre

Fernando Lopez-Lezcano nando at ccrma.Stanford.EDU
Sat May 6 17:35:57 PDT 2017

On 05/05/2017 12:54 PM, Oded Ben-Tal wrote:
> So, I finally got my new computer on Wednesday and I can give some
> preliminary report in case you are interested.


> I got a 15" HP spectre with SSD HD.
> Install Fedora was not a real problem (I made some mistakes along the
> way about partitioning but that is entirly my own fault. No damage just
> lost a few hours trying to sort the mess I created )
> I tried getting the nvidia card to work but I couldn't get the akmod
> kernel to compile.

Any errors you can see?

>I also see some acpi related errors, and yesterday it
> froze when I tried to shut it down. Many restarts were fine. I got the
> rt kernel installed and was able to get the sound interface (rme
> babyface as recommended here) working. It seems to be working better
> then on my older thinkpad. But only tested very briefly.
> So I'm using the integrated graphic for now, not nvidia.

What kind of graphics architecture does it have? Optimus? Or a true dual 
graphic card?

> The screen is
> large and very high resolution and I'm not sure the desktop environment
> (I've been using xfce, maybe I should have chose kde?) is designed for
> that. Still, after tweaking the settings, enlarging the fonts etc. I'm
> getting used to it.

I went through the same when I got the Lenovo a while back (W540 - not 
buying Lenovo again for many reasons). The display is 3K, 2880 x 1620. 
It is great and I would not go back to 1920x1080 :-) I also had to do a 
lot of tweaking to get things to render more or less right.

I'm using the Cinnamon desktop and I kind of like it (old style and look 
- I added the Chrome theme and it looks pretty nice).

Cinnamon detects the display density and tries to correct for that, it 
has a setting you can change but with a 3K display things are wither too 
small or a bit too big (I see you have a 4K display so maybe it will do 
the right thing for you). This is from notes that are old so things 
might have changed:

the current solution is to set "scaling-factor" to "1" in dconf-editor, 
org.cinnamon.desktop.interface; then text-scaling-factor = 1.5 or 1.6. 
This fixes the font size, sort of. Window decorations are a bit too big, 
that apparently is a known problem. Then the panels are too small so 
change the size to a bigger one. Almost usable.


- Firefox and DPI:


Configure the DPI value

Modifying the following value can help improve the way fonts looks in 
Firefox if the system's DPI is below 96. Firefox, by default, uses 96 
and only uses the system's DPI if it is a higher value. To force the 
system's DPI regardless of its value, type about:config into the address 
bar and set layout.css.dpi to 0.

Note that the above method only affects the Firefox user interface's DPI 
settings. Web page contents still use a DPI value of 96, which may look 
ugly or, in the case of high-resolution displays, may be rendered too 
small to read. A solution is to change layout.css.devPixelsPerPx to 
system's DPI divided by 96. For example, if your system's DPI is 144, 
then the value to add is 144/96 = 1.5. Changing 
layout.css.devPixelsPerPx to 1.5 makes web page contents use a DPI of 
144, which looks much better.

layout.css.devPixelsPerPx = 1.7 seems to give a "normal" size to the pages

layout.css.dpi = 0

For Thunderbird:


Same as in Firefox:

layout.css.devPixelsPerPx = 1.7 seems to give a "normal" size to the pages
layout.css.dpi = 0

In Ardour there is a text zoom factor you can use to get things to be 
readable. But, for example, Ambdec and other utilities look small - but 
I got used to them.

There is also an xrandr scaling option but I finally decided to not use 
it. The scaling is not that pretty and I like my very high resolution.

Hope this helps...

> On the plus side - it is very, very quiet which was one of the main
> reasons I opted for this one.

I really really like that! One of the things I hate in my w540 is the 
fan noise. Worse than the previous Thinkpads I had before. The touchpad 
was also atrocious. I finally replaced it with one that has three 
physical buttons. Still the buttons are on top of the touchpad but that 
is better than nothing. Will definitely look for a proper touchpad with 
physical buttons in the right place when I upgrade.

> One other thing, though, it onlyl has one usb port. Which may be a
> limiting factor I have not considered carefully enough.

Ouch. Only one? Hopefully enough...

-- Fernando

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