Well, Phoronix did a review of a similar machine and apparently it’s far from being a slouch and also has the fastest integrated GPU currently available. More on that GPU later. So no regret when it comes to those performance benchmarks. Actually no regret at all, so far the notebook performs really well.
There are some more things worth mentioning that add up to the positive verdict besides all the pros I already mentioned in my earlier posts. There is the battery life which is still pretty good given the performant and power greedy CPU. It can run for hours when idling. When running Ardour it’s done in about two hours though but then I work with all the sluices wide open. But it charges pretty fast. Another thing that struck me is that the notebook is so much quieter than the old one. And the keyboard is just really nice now that I got a bit more used to it. And I managed to map the last media key, the stop one, to something useful with my old friend
xdotool. Mapped this media key to the “stop/cancel” keycode using udev and added a keyboard shortcut in XFCE that gets triggered by this keycode and that executes a small script that looks like this:
xdotool search --classname ardour_ardour key --delay 100 h space h
Now if Ardour is running and I press the Stop media key,
xdotool sends the key sequence “h space h” to Ardour with a delay of 100ms between the key strokes. “h” sets the playhead to start, “space” stops the transport and another “h” to be sure the playhead is at the start position. Only thing that I’d like to add is some kind of detection if transport is running or not.
Also managed to achieve an even lower latency with my USB interface by adding the option
implicit_fb=1 to the
snd-usb-audio kernel module. This not only gets rid of the kernel ring buffer getting flooded with warnings but it also results in clean audio at 32*3/48, so 2ms of systemic latency. So it’s on par with my old notebook, albeit with some more headroom. Lower doesn’t seem to be possible, it results in slowed down, distorted audio.
So would I advise everyone doing Linux audio to get this notebook or a similar spec’d one? Well, there’s this GPU that still seems to be a bit too new, too shiny and too fast for the kernel I’m currently running (6.7.2) so I’m getting reliable crashes with software like OwlPlug and occasional crashes when connected via HDMI to a second screen. But it’s tolerable and it will probably get sorted out sooner or later. Other than that, this thing flies and hopefully I can do another decade with this machine.
Edit: worked around the GPU crashing by copying
/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-amdgpu.conf and disabling hardware acceleration by adding the line
Option "Accel" "off" to it. Content looks like this:
Option "HotplugDriver" "amdgpu"
Option "Accel" "off"
After restarting Xorg I can now open OwlPlug without issues.