Do netbooks have two processors?

I was investigating two 10.1 inch nebooks for purchase: an old Acer and Toshiba NB255. As the running live opensuse or installed Windows shows, these laptops have two 32 bit Intel Atom processors. Each processor has single core.

I was surprised to see that nebooks use two processors. Is this correct and common?

Did anybody have success with installing opensuse on Toshiba NB255?

I am sometimes curious what people expect in terms of help if they ask a question like this. Of course I want not be “harsh” but think about what you ask here.
First: you want to know what processor has your notebook. If you go to the Toshiba website you find the support website link and there you type in the notebook version.
This is what I did and what I found out: there a about 10 Toshiba NB255 mini-notebooks. :open_mouth: You did therefore not specify what notebook what notebook you actually have. But it was straightforward and easy for you to find out. You turn around your notebook and you write the exact and complete notebook designation. Then you open the website of the producer, you go to the product search and you type in (or use drop-down lists) to locate the specs of your machine. For Toshiba this page would be:
Toshiba Support - Homepage.
For Acer it would be of course the respective one. (And you did not even mention the type of machine).
You should also search for the exact type of notebook if you desire to buy it on the Internet. If not you will simply do not know what exact machine will ship and the apparently attractive price may be very expensive, depending on the version and what it offers.

So I cannot tell you if you have a dual-core cpu, if you have a 64 bit intel-cpu with hyper-threading that may be recognized by OpenSUSE as two independent 32 bit cpu’s or a dual core. The question as is, is simply a “non go”. The only way to have reliable information is to go to the website of the producer and download the specs.

For what is the use of the life CD: Substantially, if it boots, have sound and graphics and if you can use wireless and/or Ethernet in principle this will say it is compatible and installable. This is why it is called a life-CD, isn’t it. The only problem for you is therefore to find a dealer who let you try it. But please watch out for the model differences. Every subversion may be compatible or incompatible depending on the hardware used. And this hardware is, as mentioned above, in the specs of the machine.

A site that may help you in your endeavor may be the following:
Linux on Laptops
And Google a bit more. A lot of info is simply readily available.

Now I hope that was not too much of a “head wash”.
Good luck.

I think you are bit confused here. The Toshiba NB255-N450 does not have dual core it has got a two thread single core which is very different. The NB255 is the Toshiba model series which may have an Atom N450, N350, N250 processor all of which are single core processors. It has only one processor as with all current Atom class NetBooks. Yes, I have installed openSUSE 11.2 on an aspire one that used a N250 intel Atom processor. The small screen dimensions does require some fiddling to view correctly, but it works quite well. When I installed, I used an external DVD-USB drive to simplify the task.

My ASUS 1000HE has the N280 which a single core two thread 1.66GHz but
shows up as two cores…just like the older P4’s with hyperthreading…

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.3 (x86_64) Kernel
up 12:34, 3 users, load average: 0.03, 0.06, 0.01
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - Driver Version: 256.53

Thanks for the answers. I didn’t know that a two-threaded processor shows up in opensuse and in Windows as two processors with two different IDs in /proc/cpuinfo

What a lie! Is it impossible for the OS to differentiate between two separate processors and one multi-threaded processor, and report correspondingly?

I was surprised since in no ad there is a mention of two processors or a dual-core CPU in a netbook.

But I have encountered a similar situation on a desktop with Pentium 4. So, is there some way to find out whether there is one multi-threaded CPU or two CPUs on a motherboard (besides opening the box, which cannot be done in the shop or online)?

Yes you can tell without opening the case. It’s an Intel Atom processor, so you just goto the Intel site and look up the specs.

@ZStefan This is going to be lengthy but as I am reading your replies I have the idea that you have not clear a few facts about 10.1 netbooks.
Therefore: you can also go at the website of the producer of the net-book before (procedure as mentioned above) and look at the specs of that precise machine.

If I well understand your problem:

  • you want to make sure your new machine is linux compatible
  • you want to make sure you have a performant processor

Let us look at the first point: all x86 compatible processors today are to my knowledge Linux compatible. There is no need for a compatibility check. You should absolutely check instead the compatibility of these features (by the chipset given and yes…the chipset are again listed in the specs of the producers of the notebook - as mentioned in the first reply):

  1. bluetooth chipset
  2. wireless LAN chipset
  3. videocard chipset
  4. soundcard chipset
  5. cardreaderchipset
  6. usb-chipset

point 1) blue-tooth chip-sets have become much more compatible than ever before. You will encounter doubtlessly troubles if you take the bleeding edge (a chip-set for USB3 i.e). In these cases it is still advisable to “Google” for the chip-set name with “XXX-set problem Linux” or “XXX-set trouble not recognized Linux”. This often shows up a number of threads of support forums (like this) and their respective dates. Again that is a work that has to be done by you. The more you search for this points the bigger your satisfaction will be.

point 2) wireless LAN chip-sets have been a problem and are still. There are a bunch of recent chip-sets that are presenting problems due to “stage” drivers or non available drivers. The situation is to tell the truth ever improving but to my knowledge it is saver to stick to a Intel driver chip-set. Notorious for making driver problems are Broadcom and Ralink drivers, and Atheros driver where up to 2007 at least usable only with the ndiswrapper (a workaround to use windows drivers) which is a bad idea since the ndiswrapper is poorly maintained nowadays. The best solution here is again to look at the notebook specs on the producer site and to Google very carefully for the chip-set support. BT and WLAN are in the most cases of uttermost importance in terms of usability to netbook user (what netbook is it without access to the net??) so again, be patient and accurate, you will be happier afterwards.

point 3) this is a very tricky one. Generally netbooks come with the intel graphics chip-set that…in its newer versions should be compatible with the KMS setting in recent kernels. You have then subnotebooks that come with a separate graphics chip-set (I belief you are able to guess on which website you will know the specs of the graphics-card for your chosen notebook :slight_smile: ) mainly ATI and Nvidea. Although ATI has done a step versus opensource drivers, their collaboration was late and inefficient and as a result, if you want to have a good linux experience you should IMHO absolutely avoid a notebook with ATI video chipset. In case of separate graphics card I would definitely recommend to choose Nvidea (just for the drivers). Hold in mind that the feature of “switching off” the supplemental graphics is supported only in the latest kernel and requires still to log out and in again to achieve the switch. If this seems tedious for you, you might choose to skip this feature and to elect a cheaper model that does not offer a feature that maybe you will not use.

point 4: has gotten much better today, still, a control is obligatory since the producers change the chip-set of audio a lot. If you can, avoid usb-based audio chip-sets. In my experience they do not provide good compatibility and are inferior in performance to other solution (we recall here the sadly famous “Asrock Dual Vsta 939 chipset” that does not work well even today (after 5 years! being on the market). So have a short websearch just with the chip-set name and Linux…and you already know in most cases.

  1. last two points 5 and 6: to my knowledge nearly all / all card readers are called through the USB bus and the absolute majority is compatible since Kernel 2.6. Some models are slower then others but overall you should not encounter bigger problems. Support to USB3 chip-sets is however another story. If a USB3 set is offered be prepared to use a plugin usb-card for a while up to the moment the kernel will catch up with the “latest and greatest”. Al USB2 chip-sets should be compatible (as far as I have heard off).

Now to your doubts about the processor:
Software is recognizing only what the producer communicates to the interface. Hyper threading processors where thought to enhanced performance on XP systems by “faking” to the OS the presence of two processors in order to enhance performance and to allow for a better and more efficient multi-threading. So in a certain sense the problem encountered by you is a feature…

If you want “just to surf” with your machine, email, Internet, some writing while on the run…then an Atom processor will do. Atom processors are very inferior processors in terms of cpu power and where build to allow for low battery consumption, cheap net-books with less reckoning power for a restricted set of application. Especially the TDP (termal design power) was the target. They are all (but the very last generations) single core CPU. Therefore if you need to do more then the aforementioned tasks and want a “snappy” powerful CPU neither single nor dual core Atom is an option.

If you want to do some complex texting, computations and or compilation, and to use the machine as a real desktop replacement you should have a look at the

  • core due duo
  • core i3 (dual core)
  • core i5 (dual core)
  • core i7

and choose a 12.1 inch sub-notebook.
The maximum that you can get there is the i7 that has however the disadvantage to be very expensive and to use more energy. The vast majority of these processors are dueal core but offer much more second level cache (which explains a lot of the huge performance difference respect to the Atom). You are of course with these processors not any more in the league of net-books but of the expensive and fancy sub-notebooks. But I can assure you, as a desktop replacement they are a better choice (if one can afford them).

If you want to run also some game and movies and 3d graphics, you need a separate graphics chip-set (as mentioned above, better Nvidia).

All of these processors are shipping AFAIK with hyper threading and will therefore be subject to the same problem as the one with which I began this reply.
As you see, Google, Google, Google. But do not look only for the processor and the chip-set in your choice. Think about what you want to do with your new machine. With other words what is important is your future user-profile.
Good luck.