Upping the RAM on the Mini-Note; Still Not Giving Up on Vista

Lots of my fellow Mini-Note troopers, including JKOnTheRun and Brad Linder, have found installing Windows XP on the Mini-Note to solve lots of the speed and performance issues. But as my colleagues know, I am a believer in Vista. So as a last chance for Vista on the Mini-Note, I decided to increase the preloaded 1GB of RAM with a 2GB stick. Unfortunately, the Mini-Note has only one DIMM slot so if your system comes with less than 2GB and you want to upgrade, you’ll need to throw out the factory-installed RAM. You can check out the video below for the full process of changing the RAM. It was pretty simple and only cost me $52 for a stick of Corsair branded DDR2 SO-DIMM Memory. [flv:/flvs/hp-mini-note-ram.flv 320 240] One odd thing, however, is that when I increased the RAM to 2GB, it only registered as 1790MB (1.74 GB). I am not sure why the system isn’t utilizing the full 2048MB. So, what has the 2GB increase done? Well, to be honest not much. Boot time has stayed the same at 1 minute 30 seconds, give or take. Skype performance isn’t drastically different; video is still really pixelated and it can’t run when you have other applications on in the background. And lastly, I am still having a seriously hard time running Second Life, even with a bunch of OS tweaks. I do, however, notice a difference in multitasking. With 1GB, the system was slow to launch programs, like GIMP for photo editing. Now GIMP launches in under 20 seconds. I also see the system is less sluggish; watching a downloaded episode of Heroes in DivX Player, writing this blog post in WordPress (in FireFox), running Skype and editing a photo in GIMP isn’t crashing any of the programs. Before it would have taken a good 10 seconds to switch between all of the tasks and caused a Not Responding window. Unfortunately, the 2GB of RAM and Vista still aren’t cutting it for me. I am yearning to make a decent Skype video call and get some decent graphics performance. The answer, I am afraid is a new OS. That is where you all come in. We have seen XP in action, is there any other OS you would like to see me try on the Mini-Note?

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  1. Josh Says:

    “One odd thing, however, is that when I increased the RAM to 2GB, it only registered as 1790MB (1.74 GB). I am not sure why the system isn’t utilizing the full 2048MB.”

    Depending on how much ram you have, the system fluctuates how much is allocated for video memory:

    2GB = 256MB
    1GB = 128MB
    512 MB = 64MB

    Confused one of the users on my forums as well. There doesn’t seem to be a way to change it manually either :(

  2. Gian Says:

    Windows Vista is too much of an OS for the sub-par CPU that the MiniNote comes with. I suggest you downgrade to Windows XP or try some sort of *Buntu flavor (There is a guide on how to install Ubuntu Hardy Heron on your mininote @ http://mininoteuser.com).

  3. cunni Says:

    I’d love to see if downgrading to XP will help to make a decent skype video call… I’m skeptic, but give it a try!

  4. Steve 'Chippy' Paine Says:

    I doubt XP will help much.
    I’m running XP on my 1.2Ghz, 1GB WiBrain (Very much the same platform as the HP 2133) and in my review tests I got:
    Skype 3.2.0.244 – Works with video at about 5 FPS.

    Review is here and shows some other interesting performance test results that would apply to the HP 2133.
    http://www.umpcportal.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1254

    Keep up the good work!
    Chippy.

  5. Mike Cane Says:

    Do XP anyway. How can you be in love with Vista?

  6. Melay Says:

    Do OS X, like they did on the OQO2, that would make a dream come true

  7. James Kendrick Says:

    Upgrading to XP allows video Skype calls to work acceptably, a far improvement over Vista.

  8. Mike Cane Says:

    >>>Do OS X, like they did on the OQO2, that would make a dream come true

    Well of course OS X has to be next!

  9. ryan Says:

    put some power-demanding games such as HL 2 or cs:s, that would be great
    Thanks!

  10. ryan Says:

    It would really help if you could install some graphically demanding games such as Half-Life 2 or Counter Strike:Source

    Thanks a lot

  11. H4MM3R Says:

    Keep Vista. Install the new VIA chip “Isiah”.

  12. Ron Says:

    Wait for the tech refresh. There are indications on the web that this may happen within the next few months . Don’t know what HP were thinking when they paired this otherwise excellent machine with a weak and slow chip and Vista????????????

  13. Andrew Says:

    In response to the origional reply, “One odd thing, however, is that when I increased the RAM to 2GB, it only registered as 1790MB (1.74 GB). I am not sure why the system isn’t utilizing the full 2048MB.”

    Is the rest being used by the embedded video card?

  14. Jack Says:

    Adding RAM won’t reduce boot time. The Via C7-M (1.2 GHz) is just too slow for Vista. If you can figure out how to replace the processor, that will reduce boot time. Or you could try overclocking, but I’m not sure the BIOS allows it.

  15. Ismail Says:

    Can someone tell me, how easy is it to downgrade from Vista to XP Prof and from Linux to XP Prof (I’m looking at buying the VIA 1.2 Ghz). My main concern is the performance, will this be a lot better/quicker than Vista? I have quite a few DivX movies on my usb drive & tend to watch them frequently. Will the XP 2133 play the movies smoothly and on full screen? I have used the Eee 701 with XP Prof and the movies play flawlessly on full screen. Thanks

  16. Ashok Says:

    After 2 weeks of efforts finally managed to put XP Pro on mininote (1.2Ghz, 2GB, 160GB hdd).
    I used BartPE, PE2USB and XP Pro cd dump (copy using explorer) to USB disk.

    1. create bootable environment using BartPE (PE publisher).
    2. move BartPE to usb using PE2USB.
    3. copy entire i386 directory from XP cd to usb.
    4. Boot from usb.
    5. goto CMD (command prompt) inside BartPE.
    6. on cammand prompt goto i386 folder (copied from XP cd)
    7. run command ‘winnt32 /syspart:C /tempfolder:C /makelocalcopy’
    now boot from hdd and XP installation starts.

  17. Scott Says:

    Ashok, the mininote I just ordered came with an XP SP2 install and drivers disk. The “upgrade” to XP from Vista and the install of all the drivers I would say took less than an hour and was seamless. The driver install in particular was the best example I have seen, just stick in the disk and let the install run after which the machine had every driver running perfectly.

  18. Marco Says:

    I downgrade to XP, with 1 g on ram and have no problems, i just noticed that it heats very fast, but nothing else.

    No problems downgrading, and all drivers are hp website.

  19. Dianne Says:

    I have similar experience with my HP mini 2GB on Vista in terms of performance. It took about 3 mins. 30 secs to boot up. Also, it auto shutdown when opening some applications like Google earth and will show error ‘Blue screen..’

    I sent it to HP service center and they had it replaced with a new unit. However, just after 2 days, it had to be returned again since it still auto shutdowns. Also, this time the RAM only shows 1.74 GB. The first unit that I got shows 2GB and it was even shown to me by the retail shop before I bought it.

    Went again to HP service center and they claim that there’s no problem with the unit. Did a couple of opening of web sites then infront of them it auto shutdowns. Such a waste of time so that I demanded for my money to be refunded.

  20. Charlie Says:

    It would be interesting to see if using ReadyBoost flash memory made a difference when combined with your new 2GB, or even the old 1 GB.

  21. Paul Says:

    My question is: If you downgrade to XP, can one upgrade back to Vista for whatever reason they need or want to?

  22. Lawrence Says:

    For those of you who may still want to run Windows Vista on your mini-note I found it very usefull to disable all the services that I don’t use. See this site for what’s safe to disable http://www.blackviper.com/WinVista/servicecfg.htm .
    Another helpful thing is to run msconfig and then disable the startup programs that you don’t use straight away..

    By doing this I was able to reduce my startup time of windows vista to about 1 minute.

    Another really simple thing to do is disable the windows vista sidebar as that takes up a lot of system resources. You can also disable windows aero which will give you even better performance.

    Ok hope these suggestions helped someone.

  23. Les Says:

    Have mininote (1.2Ghz,2GB, 160GB Hdd), dumped Vista and installed Ubuntu, mininote now runs like a dream.

  24. Chronoscon Says:

    I dont see why you guys hate vista so much. I really like it and despised XP. This was why i was really looking forward to vistas release last year. Yes i know to run vista well you need at least core 2 and 2 gigs of ram, but i have a lot of faith in the mininote and have well tested it at a technical shop.

    I think the problem is that you guys just have extremely high expectations – come on! Its a very small device. You guys just expect it to be amazing.

  25. mark Says:

    Great post, I’m considering an HP mini because of the excellent keyboard, it’s superior to any other netbook keyboard I’ve seen. If I get an HP I think I’ll wait until they get the Intel Atom processor, the Via is so underpowered. One option would be to install a Vista “light” version. I already use Vlite to customize my Vista installs, you could build a Vista install to suit the netbook and it might help a little.
    I’m also playing with the Window 7 pre-beta and it seems pretty fast. I haven’t installed Skype on it or much else at this point but supposedly Steve Sinofski the guy in charge of Windows is using a netbook for his everyday machine, so it sounds very promising. I agree with your overall point of sticking with Vista over XP or Linux. XP just seems so old, and I seem to install each new version of Linux as it come around only to lose interest and uninstall it.

  26. Todd Says:

    Mark, you posted your comment on Nov 9th 2008, I believe new HP mini 1000 comes with Intel Atom already avaiable from HP site.

  27. Fred Says:

    Skype – and HP Mini Note 2133. 2GB Terrible reliability issues with Mini Note: Was on Vista, purchased new machine, installed XP – but Skype crashes after a few seconds. Sometimes movies crash with ‘Flash’ 10 issues. Performance seems to be very unstable – any ideas? especially with Skype?

  28. fahad Says:

    Haev you tried Windows 7 Beta?

    Thx…Fahad

  29. Stewart Says:

    I have the HP Mini Note 2133 working with XP 1GB of RAM. It initially came with Linux installed and a 4 gig flash drive. We swapped out the HD for 200 gig and put XP on. XP SP1 fit on the 4gig flash but when we let it auto-update the service packs filled the 4 gig and needed more. The 4 gig flash had to go. Swapping the HD was easy except that the mount had to be modified to hold the HD. The Mini Note works great with XP. The only thing that doesn’t work well is the microphone. We now use a headset with integrated mic since the old mic sounded garbled.

    We have 2 other laptops running Vista since HP doesn’t provide drivers for XP and the guess work isn’t worth the hassle (Core 2 Duo 2, 3GB RAM). We have gotten the Vista computers to run reliably by removing all the extra junk (unneeded programs) and shut down everything we don’t use in MSCONFIG. There is still a great lag / delay on Vista computer when compared to the XP computers. We don’t run anything overly intense either. Mainly Office 2007, PDF’s & Outlook. I don’t see any advantages on Vista. It seems to be tailored for children and older users who don’t know anything about computers.

  30. ben Says:

    try windows 7, there is a netbook version out there that would be pretty cool to see in action

  31. Bob Says:

    Well, vista will run for sure for mininote,but the modified one. just like the tiny xp and tiny vista..or you can nlite it. i had eee 701 4g on tiny vista with 1 gb and same with my HP mini note.

  32. Mikes09123 Says:

    I installed windows 7 on my mini note and it was running perfect sure the boot up screen was longer but still was not as long as a minute or minute 30 i started installing some heavy programs of which you would think would become sluggish and i must admit i have faced these problems but not as much as expected i installed adobe photoshop cs3 works fine boots quite fast i have also got cubase and many more other programs still have quite alot of memory left over but would still like to upgrade the ram just to have that extra speed which i can see making a difference will probably make a video of it

  33. Matt Says:

    Hey,

    I’m considering buying a hp mini 5101 2gb ram. I’m sick of windows and all of it’s errors, and too cheep to buy a mac; so I was wondering if I buy the netbook with windows (for school) can I still install umbuntu, or any other type of Linux software?

  34. daxelinxe Says:

    I changed Suse Linux O.S.(preinstalled) for Ubuntu 9.04- it works well but never , after trying hard, succeeded with 9.10, llast release …! The gnome display is great
    The graphic card and sound card is not working fine.Be carefull or be a pro…
    Wifi works fine.
    Disk is slow but might be upgraded as well.

  35. Bryan Says:

    I have a HP Mini Note, got the Asian Market version with 2GB Ram 1.2GHz factory installed running vista basic. It still takes me over 2 mins to boot up the system. Its very laggy and slow, the programs all freeze and stop responding very easily.

    Is there anyway to change the processor to Atom?

  36. Gordon Says:

    I have 2133 uk spec with 1gb ram 1.2 processor running win 7 home. runs better than it ever did wiht xp. I chose this device purely on price as all i do with it is run office and web browsing with email thrown in. for what I want it for it is perfect. I don’t shut it down so start up from sleep is almost instant. and win 7 added 15 minutes to battery life I get about 2.20 hours. and my mobile broadband installed much easier than on xp or vista tat my other machines have got. I hardly ever get lock ups. and the keyboard is just the best of any of the other netbooks

  37. Pierpaolo Says:

    Hi! I have an hp 2133 with 512 Mb ram 1.6 ghz and my SO is Windows 7 home. I installed Windoews Office 2007 too and they work good. I admitt pc works hard and ram often is over 85%. I bought a 2gb ram hoping it works more lightly than now.
    Does 2ghz works better than 1.6? Atom 1.6 can substitute via c7-m?

  38. kurt Says:

    I have this laptop somewhere…probably in the corner under some cob webs. But the problem os that it’s not booting. The blue power light comes on & the fan spins but that’s it.
    Apparently after doing extensive reading it was found that these laptops have a manufacturers flaw which will render the HP 2133 useless. I had to return it to HP for repair but it had came down with same problem. Now the warranty is up & I want to know if anyone..anyone have any remedies (besides buying a different laptop) to revive the trash.

    Please I don’t wanna waste anymore money on HP products

  39. little old me Says:

    The reason it only read 1.74 bytes is that it is a 32 bytes op system that you have to get the full read of mem it must be the 64 bytes system!

  40. radical r Says:

    You should try windows 7 on it. its very light compared to vista, and it has a lot of the functionality vista has and more.

  41. Jon Says:

    I ‘downgraded’ to XP a few days after I got my mininote. Vista made the machine unusable. (factory install was 2 gb ram)

  42. Darell Hoefdraad Says:

    You can also install Windows 8 on the Mini-Note, however due to the resolution, you can’t use the metro apps, but you can use the desktop GUI like any other computer. But what I am seeing is that XP is the best OS when it comes down to performance. Give it a try.

  43. Bubba Says:

    My niece’s US spec HP2133 has VIA 1.2GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, 120GB HDD and Vista Basic Home OS. It’s terribly slow – she gave it to me since I tinker a lot. I used Terabyte Unlimited’s Boot It Bare Metal to shrink Vista partition, then added an Extended partition containing 4 ext4 Linux volumes within. Next I downloaded PCLinuxOS 32-bit full KDE iso on a separate PC, then used PCLinuxOS’s “LiveUSB” tool to make a bootable USB stick. Booted from USB stick (hit F9 to select the USB stick), booted the Live PCLOS, chose Install PCLOS, and voila the HP2133 runs PCLinuxOS very well even with 1GB RAM. In PCLOS, I also installed Open Office (MS Office under Vista is dreadful). I may spend $35USD to replace the supplied 1GB with 2GB RAM, fortunately the HP2133 uses conventional 200-pin PC2-5300 S0DIMM (NOT proprietary design), so inexpensive RAM is cake.

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