OLPC News Exclusive: XO-1.5 Laptop Debut and Speed Test vs. Overclocked XO-1 Laptop


Tonight we experienced a world premier - the XO-1.5 laptop from OLPC debuted at the OLPC Learning Club DC's and HacDC's XO Lending Library opening - and we broadcast it live via OLPC News on Twitter.

Bernie Innocenti and XO-1.5

This newest laptop from OLPC features the VIA C7-M a 1GHz variable speed processor, which SJ Klein of OLPC says will empower learning in several key ways:

  1. Full screen video playback
  2. Faster eToys and scratch animation
  3. Larger offline library and storage capacity
  4. better image capture and remixing
  5. and a better Java experience, allowing for guilt-free Java programming for Sugar

While that's great for the kids, the geeks at OLPC News wanted to see what the performance difference is between the new XO-1.5 and the original XO-1.0. At the same time, we only had a B-test XO-1.5 and an overclocked XO-1, because that's how we roll.

So here is the boot sequence between the B-Test XO 1.5 and an overclocked XO-1.0 with both launching eToys, one of the more processor-intensive Activities on the XO. The XO-1.5 is on the left, the overclocked XO-1.0 is on the right and Bernie Innocenti and Wayan Vota are the voices of excitement in the background.

Did that speed test surprise you? Especially with an XO overclocked to 500 Mhz? Surprising speed difference with the new XO-1.5, eh? Stay tuned to OLPC News - we'll have more content from the XO-1.5 debut in the coming days. In the mean time, here are photos from the event.

Keep up with the XO-1.5 laptop: subscribe to OLPC News via RSS Feed, Emails or Twitter.

Related Entries


How do you overclock XO-1?

Nice :-)
65 seconds boot time is not bad for an under development machine.
However, boot and activity launching is mostly SSD/RAM performance rather than CPU. Flash video or video/audio encoding are much better indicators.
Regardless, the user experience is clearly way ahead. We'll see if it's good enough when the final thing is out, but is certainly promising.
Hopefully, we'll get more XO-1.5-relevant reporting from the event... ;->

More details from my notes from the HacDC event last night:

The new 1.5 hardware has:

4x RAM (biggest performance helper)
Larger flash disk (size unspecified?)
Faster cpu (1gz VIA? No longer Geode)

More tech specs from the lists: http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2009-April/024127.html:

"In order to maximize compatibility with existing software, this
refresh will continue with an x86 processor, using a [C7-M] chipset from
VIA . The memory will be increased to 1 GB of DDR2 SDRAM, and the
built-in storage will be 4 GB of NAND Flash with an option for 8 GB
(installed at manufacture)."

As @OLPCNews mentioned last night in Twitter, the new boards fit into the old cases. The biggest change to the case is dropping the side touchpads for just one simple/standard touchpad

As for overclocking XO-1s; at your own risk, follow the thread here: http://www.olpcnews.com/forum/index.php?topic=2389.0

I run my XO-1 from the first G1G1 overclocked all the time (mine was the 500mhz machine in the video), and have rarely had any problems, none directly attributable to overclocking. I don't use it in extreme situations/heat very often, so YMMV.

It takes a few tries to get it working, or at least it did for me. I'd recommend first creating a bootable USB or SD card following this thread of instructions: http://www.olpcnews.com/forum/index.php?topic=4053.0 ; just to have a way back in to undo any software damage you might cause.

To clarify: Java will not ship on the new XOs. So, as is the case now, activity developers will have to include a full Java instance within their activity to ensure that a downloader can use it. But it will be easier to install custom heavier-footprint activities on gen 1.5 machines, including existing educational packages that use Java.

The final set of software that will be included by default is still under discussion; tools such as Open Office now work well on a 1.5 and are being considered.

Oddly the on-screen text in the video is incorrect in claiming that the 1.5 is on the right and the 1.0 is on the left.

1GB of RAM, 4 or 8GB of flash? what are they expecting to run on that thing, Windows? My full-up laptop had just over 1GB of RAM and I've got a couple of 5GB partitions for various full-up Linux distros.

It doesn't sound like that's still being targeted as a learning device for children because they don't need any of those memory upgrades to do that.

Do I miss something here? Your laptop has 1+GB RAM and 5GB storage (and an 1.5+GHz CPU?) for one linux distribution.
Why the XO-1.5 should have less to run "one and a half" distributions (Fedora/GNOME, Fedora/Sugar)?
Not to mention that mainstream Linux distributions like Fedora looking for swap with 2GB RAM, and that for an uncompressed file system, as the one XO-1.5 will use, 2+GB is easy with just few Gnome applications.
Do you think that your laptop has too much computing power, or that kids do not need/deserve that much?
It is unfortunate but mainline Linux these days in an effort to become "like windows" (...) requires similar resources.
So it has nothing to do with windows usage on the XO and everything to do with the Linux distro choice and philosophy for the XO.

The Gecko Edubook is due out on Sept 20 with their low power AA battery netbook.

How easy is it to replace the battery in the OLPC XO-1.5? Will batteries be available in years to come (the advantage of the AA battery and the Gecko Edubook design is that batteries and finding them will be no problem at all using the AA standard size)?

Also Gecko Edubook is claiming they will have a 10.1 inch screen device around November sometime. Sure wish they would use the new Pixel Qi power saving tech in their AA battery low power netbook. Could use backlit keyboard keys, and good speakers as their motherboard is all on a chip leaving a lot of room in the case to put other stuff inside.

Too bad that OLPC and Gecko Edubook do not team up to spread the "constructionist" learning theory around with a coordinated effort, meaning that OLPC could have an OLPC approved hardware standard that manufacturer's like NorhTec, for the Gecko Edubook line, where they could subscribe to the OLPC approved spec standard, and then OLPC would be seen less as a competitor of these companies, and still provide the same tech to the kids (the actual goal of OLPC is the kids, not the hardware).

Still too long for distracted kids to wait for.

Now the poorest of the world can too enjoy the problems of the PC-civilized world.

What are you expecting? Instant boot? That doesn't exist, so we're excited that the XO-1.5 is now damn fast.

uh, the little games when you press right rocker button do boot almost instantly. I wonder, how come that works and how can we get the whole caboodle to work instantly (I'm sure it involves Assembler - oh, the memories of those young years...)

I agree, but doesn't stop me from wishing.

The "Rocker" is the large round button to the left of the screen, which can be rocked or tilted in any of four directions (up, down, left, or right).

You haven't been around kids and the XO before, have you?

I had similar thoughts after unboxing my G1G1, but then when I took a bunch over to India and started using them with middle schoolers, the questions were NOT "Why does it take so long to boot?" and
"Why doesn't it play DVD-quality video?" but rather
"Wow, this is so cool, can I take it home to show my family tonight?" and
"Can we use this more often in class?"

YMMV, but I believe kids without computers are a lot more interested in them than you think.


ps. More info on my blog posts: http://whereisholden.blogspot.com/search?q=olpc

I got my XO-1beta2 booting at 20 secs, but it could be optimized further.

I'd love to G1G1 one of these. Here's hoping they become available soon!

How do I upgrade the ram on an XO-1.0, or failing that, will the x0-1.5 motherboards fit in an XO-1.0?


To learn how the XO-1.5 motherboard fits into an XO-1 machine, check out this Xo-1.5 motherboard video.