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Acer Aspire E15 E5-521-G

Purchase Info

Purchased in Germany, Saturn franchise, 499 EUR in February 2015

General Impression

The build is of a rather low quality: If you hammer away on the keyboard, you will notice noises that make you realise how light and cheep the plastic case is. The area under the right palm, right from the touchpad tends to get a bit hot, especially if the dedicated video card is used. The touchpad is a bit wonky, too. It's one of those “the whole touchpad is one button” things, and it's also very smooth, so not really great for sweaty palms. Battery life seems decent, especially with kernel 3.19+.

Rather get any Thinkpad for the same money, even if it's lower powered.

Linux Impressions

Kernel 3.16 should be the oldest one for this device as the touchpand won't work with earlier versions. The HDD won't listen to your hdparm settings and spin up/down quite frequently. From kernel 3.19 things seem to work better and the CPU also gives less heat.
The integrated video card works great on the open source drivers (be sure to have Mesa 10.5 for a speed-up). For the dedicated video card, install AMD's proprietary driver, but be aware that the driver sucks for 2D, video acceleration, suspend/resume and multi-monitor support.
I've only tested HDMI once while on Arch Linux (kernel 3.19) and it had issues (videos changing gamma value, portions of the Gnome 3 desktop visible in full screen).
Below are the specs with smilies indicating how well things work.

Suggested distros: Ubuntu 14.04
Ubuntu 15.04 (faster 3D, works better with HDD)
Debian 8.1 Jessie


CPU: AMD A8-6410 APU 4 cores with integrated AMD Radeon R5 Graphics (Mullins) :-D

RAM: 4 GB, 768 MB reserved for integrated Mullins GPU :-D

Video: Integrated AMD Radeon R5 Graphics (Mullins); takes 768 MB of main RAM :-D
Dedicated AMD Radeon R5 M240 with 2 GB VRAM (Hainan; Jet XT) :-/

Screen: 1366×768; mat display :-D

Ethernet: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller :-D

Wireless: Qualcomm Atheros QCA9565 / AR9565 :-D

Drives: HD Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB :-/
Matshita DVD-RAM UJ8HC :-D

Webcam: Chicony Electronics 1 MP :-D


Video acceleration

Best on open source video drivers by installing the mesa vdpau driver. Most modern video players will detect it automatically, but some will need setting VDPAU explicitly.

Mesa VDPAU installation on Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install mesa-vdpau-drivers
Using the dedicated video card

The open source drivers allegedly should be using Prime in order to harness the power of the dedicated card when needed. Rerouting the output to the dedicated card only for e.g. video games didn't work for me. Can anyone explain how this works exactly? FIXME

I will post instructions for the proprietary Catalyst driver soon… FIXME

Hard disk spin down fix

I will post instructions soon… FIXME

acer_aspire_e_15_-_e5-521g.txt · Last modified: 2017/09/19 20:53 by don