Ubuntu 12.10 64bit on the HP ProBook 4720s

With the trusty HP ProBook 4720s refusing to give up it’s time to give the new Ubuntu 12.10 a spin. After having tried out the 11 and the 12 series with mixed feelings [1], [2].

Installation

Installation of the live CD image on a USB stick was easy and without any problems. The system booted from there again without problems and was able to connect to a WLAN and to the internet.

Impressions

While it generally feels a bit laggy, Canonical improved usability and fixed many of the bugs that plagued us in 12.04.

The first positive impression is that the touchpad works flawlessly – tap to click, long tap for right click, scrolling and even right click. Also the function keys (brightness, volume) work out of the box.

Changes in the keyboard layout seem to work now – I was able to configure all the keyboard shortcuts (maximising windows, show desktop etc) as in Windows. Unfortunately special keys on the numeric keypad (*, +, -, delete etc) don’t work. I’m looking into a workaround.

While restoring backups I noticed a high CPU load when accessing the filesystem which results in an almost constantly rotating CPU fan.

[update 2012-12-15] The standard radeon driver works well, videos don’t tear and vsync works well – however games render slowly and without antialising. The proprietary flgrx driver performs significantly better and enables antialising, but required re-installation with the last kernel update, which was quite a surprise as unity wouldn’t launch any more.

Hardware support is good, with Bluetooth (unfortunately) being the only thing that is not working.

[X] Touchpad
[X] WLAN
[X] Fn keys
[X] Camera[X] Internal sound
[X] Internal microphone
[X] External sound
[X] External microphone
[X] Video (VLC)
[ ] Bluetooth
[ ] Numeric keypad extra keys

[update 2012-12-15] A personal note: while I liked the profound Facebook and Google integration, I’m sceptical because the account credentials leave the PC and are stored on Canonical servers. While their terms and conditions promise that they store credentials only for authentication, should they ever get hacked then the associated accounts are wide open.

Resources

[1] Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on the HP ProBook 4720s 
http://georgovassilis.blogspot.com/2012/04/ubuntu-1204-lts-on-hp-probook-4720s.html
[2] HP Probook 4720s on Ubuntu 11.04 64bit 
http://georgovassilis.blogspot.com/2011/04/hp-probook-4720s-on-ubuntu-1104-64bit.html

4 thoughts on “Ubuntu 12.10 64bit on the HP ProBook 4720s

  1. Hello Georges, i've got exactly the same computer, working on Ubuntu 12.10 too: have you noticed this weird sound if you hibernate or restart the computer ?

    Regards,

    Cyril

    Like

  2. Hello Georges, thanks for you answer, and happy new year! 🙂
    Have you found an issue to the fan speed, i think it's often working loud while computer is not doing a lot of things… For example, when i'm on Firefox, fans are working a lot when i go from website to others etc…

    Thanks in advance

    Cyril

    Like

  3. Hello Cyril,
    The 4720s fans seem to be controlled by some hardwired circuit, software like i.e. fancontrol doesn't seem to affect them. There are some tweaks which reduce power consumption [1], but they are not without side effects (i.e. choppy sound, disabled graphics- and USB ports).

    Since you mention it: Firefox does have a tendency to disrupt CPU idle times when certain plugins are installed or sites with flash are running.

    [1] http://georgovassilis.blogspot.com/search/label/power

    Like

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