Edit Feb 1, 2013: Install the Acer 2..04 Master Installer update release on Jan 30, 2013 and the “limited connect from wake” issue has been fixed.
Having been living with the W510 hard for the last month, I thought I’d give my final thoughts in case anyone was looking at getting one. As I’ve written before, the W510 is a nice machine, but has a few bumps with it. In the last month both Anandtech and Tom’s Hardware had great articles reporting that the Clover Trail CPU in the W510 giving ARM based systems a very credible run on battery life performance. In both articles, they were using the updated drivers and BIOS you can find here.
With the wireless problems I’d been having I applied the driver update, which updated the BIOS to version 1.0c, also. Before I updated I wanted to see what was going to be changed, so I used the excellent Device Manager PowerShell Cmdlets to snap a listing of what all the devices and driver versions were on the machine so I could get the list of important things that changed:
- Broadcom Serial Bus Driver from version 18.104.22.1681 to 22.214.171.1243
- System Firmware from “System” and Microsoft driver version 6.2.9200.16384 went to “Acer Software CloverTrail Firmware 5.0” and Acer driver version 1.8.02.
- Intel Graphics Driver bumped from version 126.96.36.1992 to 188.8.131.523
- The BIOS went from 1.0 to 1.0c
The bad news is that there’s no new wireless driver and the limited connect from wake issue is still there. It feels like a problem in Windows 8, but that’s just a pure guess. I’ve become the ninja master at quickly disconnecting and reconnecting to my wireless network. Other Windows 8 machines I’ve seen don’t have the same issue, but they are not tablets.
In all, I haven’t seen any big changes after installing the updated drivers and BIOS, though I have had a couple of system hangs where it wouldn’t wake from sleep. The good news is that since I’ve now got the full driver package, I might just wipe out the machine and put Windows 8 Pro on it so I can remote desktop into it. That would make it a lot easier to run PowerShell commands.
In the last month I’ve also moved over to Server 2012 Essentials for backup and big data storage. After updating the drivers I added the W510 to the Essentials domain and everything instantly became slower. The Essential’s Launchpad application is written in WPF and it absolutely made the machine unhappy. Windows 8 as a whole is snappy and useful so I was surprised to see something that you would think was trivial kill performance. With the default for Launchpad to start on the screen, I could barely get to the desktop and set the option to start minimized. That was frustrating and I could not see why an application that’s just four buttons would be so cruel.
Overall, I’m still loving doing my email with touch in Outlook and the W510 is the perfect Wordament delivery system. (I hope the folks that came up with Wordament make gazillions. What a great game!) The big question after a month is would I recommend you buy one? It’s so close, but until they kill the crapware, get the wireless connection issues and the hangs worked out, I’d wait. I do like the machine very much, but I did get it for free. It’s at 96% of an iPad and that 4% messed up is all the difference. It’s maddening because the Acer W510 is a tablet I’d love to get for my Mom.