Dell Mini 9 Discussion Discussion on the Dell Inspiron Mini 9.

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drom drom is offline
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Default New mini 9, Xp, Hulu, Drivers, Battery, Some optimization. - 03-26-2010, 06:53 AM

Got mini 9 (used, nine months old, new to me), have read some useful info on this forum and want to share my experience. Hope this helps somebody.

System is Standard mini 9 with N270 Atom, 1Gb ram, 8Gb Stec SSD. It came preloaded with Standard XP Home from Dell's CD. I didn't feel like messing around with nLite because I was too lazy, though I highly recommend nLited version for better performance and SSD space saving.

Well, like many people here I ran into some problems with Hulu (Slow playback on full screen). I knew it can play those videos perfectly, because it did it in Ubuntu (running from CD), but I couldn't get it to work properly in XP and didn't find a solution on the net. Had to go through some trial and error.

Here is what I came up with:


* Flash version 10,0,45,2 (the latest at this moment I believe). Tried one other version. Didn't get much different results. If someone can suggest better version, please do...
* Video Driver version (Date 6/5/2007). Here is where the key was. The latest drivers and the ones supplied on Recovery CD were the problem. Bad flash performance on Hulu etc. After a lot of trial and error, I have downgraded to the version found on the internet and now Hulu works perfectly.
* Wireless Broadcom (1/21/2010). Supplied driver on CD and the one found on Dell's website is not the latest version. Broadcom (1/21/2010) version of wireless driver found on the internet gave me the minimum latency on DPC latency checker. Also supposed to provide a better range.
* Bluetooth Driver. As much as I like Widcomm stack, I have switched to hacked version of MS Bluetooth driver found on this site. Widcomm provides better device support, but MS driver is more lightweight and gives me all I need (cell phone tethering) and serial for BT GPS.

Touchpad. Driver for multitouch found on this forum worked fine. Two finger scrolling etc worked fine. Got rid of it later, because on a small netbook I got used to scrolling with the arrow buttons (easy, precise). Don't use sidescroll, don't use gestures. Miss my UltraNav. Uninstalled driver, because I didn't use it and for startup speed up and memory usage.

The rest of the drivers I didn't pay much attention to. They work good and don't give me any problems.


Don't know 100% if it saves battery and how much, but I usually disable devices that I don't use.

Realtek Ethernet - Disabled in Device Manager. I never use it.
Web Camera - Disabled in Device Manager. I use it extremely rarely. Doubt that this saves any battery life on this Dell, but I still remember some version of EeePC where webcam was draining some battery, so I usually disable it when not in use.
Bluetooth/WiFi - controlled via WLSS - Dell's wireless switch program. Usually Wi-Fi stays ON and Bluetooth stays OFF. I rarely use BT and most of the time stay on Wi-Fi network. Even if I'm not using internet I usually stay connected. Turn everything off if I'm away from my usual WiFi spots.

Some XP optimizations:

Turn off Updates.
Updates take a lot of CPU and Battery. I have latest Service pack, not really paranoid about security patches as I don't run anything important on this netbook, so Updates definitely had to go. I run manual updates rarely.
Program updates (Mozilla, Flash etc). Usually turn them off too. Check manually.
Got rid of some background Services. Too much crap in standard installation. Many Disabled. Not gonna list them here.
Turn OFF Swap file. 1Gb is enough to do this. On such small screen and slow cpu I don't do a lot of multitasking, so 1Gb without swap does great to speed up the system and save some battery.
Ultimate Battery. Found this battery mode script called Ultimate battery on this Forum. Big thanks to the Author. It locks cpu on 800Mhz when on battery power. I rarely need more when I'm browsing and it saves some battery life. Full power is two clicks away if I need it.

Programs (Startup, memory optimization). Turned off a lot of stuff here.
Don't use BTmeter to stop battery charging on AC.
Don't need Webcam Central on startup. Webcam works fine without it.
Also some other program/driver Modules had to go such as audio monitors, control panels etc. Don't need them on startup, rarely use them at all.

Internet: Used Chrome for a while, went back to Firefox with plugins mostly because FF used less memory. Also there are some really nifty FF plugins out there, but Chrome is finally getting there too.

1080p video (local AVI/MKV/WMV files or from desktop server over WiFi): I use 3 players: VLC (almost for everything), Classic Media Player (with added codecs) and KMplayer. VLC plays most videos with least CPU utilization, but when it comes to 1080p (1920 x1080) it gets screwed. Classic MP or KMplayer on the other hand do a good job with 1080p. I believe this is due to built-in codecs and some optimizations. So, a different player was a solution in this case. I hardly ever watch 1080p on a netbook because all this 1920 x 1080 is a waste on 1024 x 600 screen, tough if I ever want to hook my netbook to a projector or big screen TV 1080p is totally doable and works great.


* Boot time is good ... but not as good as my nLited EeePc 701/900 was (it was extremely fast). Maybe some day I will put nLited windows on this Dell.

* Hulu plays standard 360p great in High. 480p plays great in Low, usually good in Medium and even in High flash quality setting. Though in 480p High I can detect some frame loss in fast scenes. In 360p Low I get 45-65% CPU utilization depending on movie and a scene.

* Battery Life is about 4.5 - 5 hours of casual internet browsing over WiFi, screen brightness on low. I get around 3.5 hours watching Hulu.

I wish for (Software):

* Boot from SD card! Come on! What is up with no boot from SD slot. BIOS upgrade please....Sigh... I use SD boot for linux and backups.
* Option for fast boot (like on eeepc 70x, 900 maybe others). Option where BIOS is copied over to the SSD. That was speeding up the boot process a lot on my eeepc.
* Way to slow down Atom to 300Mhz or so. Would be fast enough for reading books etc and provide further battery saving. Need a way to get SetFSB to work.

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