Improve Computer’s Performance in Ubuntu Studio

I am running Ubuntu studio on my Acer AspireOne a751h netbook. have noticed when running other Bristol keyboard emulators, the CPU usage is very high in the Jack audio server – this can cause sound distortion. This is no doubt attributed to the limited power of the arm processor – adding RAM will not have a considerable impact on the quality of multiple Bristol emulators.

There is a method to change your Acer AspireOne (or any computer that has the SpeedStep feature) into performance mode in order to keep CPU Usage within acceptable levels. By default, Ubuntu Studio has set the default CPU frequency (i.e. performance) of newly installed computers to “On Demand”. This is for a number of reasons including not constantly requiring fan to draw down the battery (although I would be plugged in for practice and performance anyways). The Acer Aspireone a751h CPU has the “speedstep” feature, and will now show the step to change it to “performance”.

Steps to Enhance CPU performance (Acer AspireOne a751h):

  1. ATTENTION:.Take time to read these instructions. Flashing BIOS can come with risks and I take no responsibility for any disasters encountered, but this procedure did work for me…
  2. Check BIOS version. I had version 3010, which didn’t support Speedstep feature, but version 3012 does support that feature (which means you need to download version, and flash your BIOS).
  3. I have dual boot, so decided to perform the BIOS flash in my MS WIndows XP portion of notebook:
    1. Boot netbook into MS Windows (not Ubuntu Linux)
    2. Go to following page to download most recent BIOS version from ACER webpage:
    3. Unzip the file folder in c:\windows\system32
    4. Make certain you are logged into MS Windows as ”administrator” (if you have not created password for account, you should do so, or procedure may not work!)
    5. Use Windows Explorer to navigate to the BIOS_Acer_3212 subdirectory you unzipped, and proceed in the subdirectory called Windows.
    6. Right-click on the WinPhlash file and then select Run.
    7. You will be prompted for ”authorization”. Select for account, then enter your administrator account name and password.
    8. Carefully read all instructions before proceeding with flashing your BIOS. Your machine should be plugged in. It would be a bad, bad thing if your machine is powered off in the middle of flashing your BIOS! The decision to flash you BIOS is yours, not mine.
    9. Proceed with the flashing of your BIOS. When completed, the system will reboot.
  4. When your system reboots, select Ubuntu Linux at the Grub boot-loader menu.
  5. There is an applet for the Gnome panel called CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor. Add this applet to your gnome panel by right-clicking on your panel and then selecting “Add to Panel” and select that applet. Note: If you are running another panel system like ”’Avant Window Navigator”’ (like me), you can open a terminal and run the command gnome-panel, and add the ”CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor” applet. Don’t worry, when you reboot your machine the settings you make to the CPU Frequency and Scaling Monitor will remain, although the gnome-panel will not be present.
  6. Click the icon for ”CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor” and select Performance.
  7. Launch your Jack audio system and keyboards, and you should notice a noticeable improvement in the performance and CPU usage.

Murray Saul

~ by Murray Saul on February 12, 2011.

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