Thursday, 14 November 2013

Samsung N220 Linux/Steam test

So with the imminent release of the Steam OS (or so I hope) I thought I would jump ahead and try a little low end gaming experiment.

The Tools

One Samsung N220
Kingston 64GB SSD
Ubuntu 13.10 on a bootable USB

Now the idea is to replace the drive (keeping the old one with windows on it incase this doesn't work) with this faster SSD and then do a clean install of Linux before installing Steam and seeing what games this little machine can play.

But first a little clean...

Come on, when's the last time you turned off your laptop and cleaned the keyboard?

Replacing the Hard Drive

This wasn't as hard as I thought. However I did watch a YouTube vid or two to make sure I wasn't going to break the damn thing.

Easy! ... and the hard drive only had two screws holding it to the board.

Once I had fitted the HDD case onto the SSD it was time to put it back together.

Installing Ubuntu 13.10

After downloading from the official site and following their instructions to make a bootable USB copy, I then booted up the laptop, mashing a series of F_ keys to load BIOS (it was F2 that worked by the way).

After making USB HDD the first boot priority, I then got the this screen where I could either RUN or INSTALL Linux:

NB: So much nicer than a Windows install so far.

Running Linux

Ok, so from here I wont bother with screenshots unless asked to put some in later. Installing Steam, hell installing Linux for the first time was easy although I did have one little setback (other than not knowing what the hell I was doing). I rushed ahead and stared installing Steam + Updates + whatever else started popping up on my screen, all at once. This lead to some errors and then ultimately Steam not being able to boot up. I tried reinstalling, but that didn't quite cut it and in the end I just reinstalled the OS from the start and took my sweet time.

Steam Game List

So now down to what the N220 will play:


XBOX controller - Yep, ran fine with Bastion

FTL - Required changing in game settings to full screen, but ran perfectly (I even won during my first hostile encounter!!!)

Space Chem - Could just navigate to OPTIONS and select full screen and keep aspect ratio, then hit ENTER to run it in fullscreen properly.

Bastion - Poor frame rate, but JUST playable


BIG PICTURE: Nope - Just a black screen with a cursor

Rocketbirds - Black screen with audio, couldn't even exit, req logout/restart

Mark of the Ninja - Black screen that exits back to Steam

Left for Dead 2 - Some error about OpenGL (not a big surprise)


So there we have it. A few low end games will run on the Samsung N220, Ubuntu in itself seems to run ok as well, but higher end games are just simply not supported by a lack of hardware. I may or may not trial a few more games before putting Windows back on, but I think we all get the picture.

It'll be interesting to see how it/if it can run Steam OS when it comes out and then in fact stream high end games from my desktop PC... NOW THAT WOULD BE INTERESTING!!!!!