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Thread: How to improve performance on the Iconia A500

  1. #1
    Iconia Informant
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    How to improve performance on the Iconia A500

    I have owned an Acer Iconia A 500 for over a year now and I truly like it but I'd like to increase the performance. These last holidays were ok for me so I decided to get another tablet. Finally settled for an iPad mini. My question is related to improving the performance on my Iconia, which really falls behind in all areas in comparison with the mini.

    Websites not only load faster but scrolling is noticeably smoother on the mini, way smoother. I think that every app (same apps) run smoother on the mini. Even 3d games like Beach Buggy Blitz run slower on the Iconia.

    The Iconia has Tegra 2 guts and the iPad mini has the same processor as he iPad 2 which is basically older technology. It baffles me to think that very competent hardware like Nvidia Tegra chipset falls behind the A5.
    This leads me to believe that the major issue lies with Android, which paradoxically, I find more capable than iOS.

    My Acer is running the latest version of ICS (4.03) but would explore rooting options, provided there are tangible results to be had.
    Suggestions anybody?

  2. #2
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    Re: How to improve performance on the Iconia A500

    Comparing Android devices to an Apple device will always be an exercise in frustration. Since Apple makes both the hardware and the software, and spend thousands of hours optimizing one for the other, Apple will always have a noticeable edge in smoothness and performance. Even with older, slower processors and less RAM. The advantages of Android, like you noted, are the vast options in customization, software and innovation.

    Based on what I've gleaned from this forum in my short time here, I'd suggest a custom ROM that will allow you to remove bloatware and overclock your CPU. Following the instructions I found on this forum, I upgraded to a lightweight Jelly Bean ROM with the GM kernel on my A200 and noticed the difference immediately.

    Sent from my A200 using Tapatalk HD
    doublesixes likes this.

  3. #3
    Iconia Informant
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    DFL, thanks for the useful response. I'm really considering rooting the A500 in order to achieve the results you mentioned. A lightweight version of Jelly Bean might be just the ticket if that ROM allows for overclocking. Perhaps 1.5 GHz?

    Another very frustrating issue on my Iconia is the sub-par microphone quality. Skyping or Gtalking is really frustrating on the Acer and the people I chat with invariably tell me that the sound they hear from my tab is basically garbage. The mini has outstanding audio/video when using those apps.

    I will Google that particular ROM you mentioned and determine if it could be used on my A500 but I'm really worried about turning the tab into a brick. How easy/safe was the whole rooting procedure?

  4. #4
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    Honestly can't say how safe it was, since this was my first experience with custom firmware on any tablet. I took my time, read as many "I bricked my tablet" posts so that I learned what not to do, and overall found the process quite simple: Far easier than my first iPhone jailbreak years ago.

    I used the A200 SimpleTool for the unlock and rooting, took a whole 10 seconds after I got my Windows drivers straightened out. Looks like the preferred unlocker/root for the A500 is at Dev-Host - ICS Root 7.1.1.zip - The Ultimate Free File Hosting / File Sharing Service .

    SimpleTool did struggle with loading the recovery image, though, so I downloaded the Acer Recovery tool from the Play Store and used it to install the Thor image. I installed Goo Manager as well to check for the latest gApps image. Either of those works with the A500 as well, should you need them.

    Once I was certain that I had the CM10 ROM, gApps and the kernel ROM I wanted to use on my external SD, I booted into recovery, did all of the suggested wipes, set my overclock and flashed the images (ROM,gApps, then kernel.) The tab came right back up after the reboot, and has been working great so far, just over a week. There are a few issues, all of which were noted by the ROM author, but they are totally worth the performance and freedom gains.

    < ramble >I think I'll do a write-up on my complete process in the intro forum. The Windows drivers were actually kind of a bitch, and by far the trickiest part. Shocking, right? This coming from someone who did Windows desktop support for over a decade. I had to upgrade my Intel Rapid Storage drivers, and disable software signature checks before I could even get the official Acer drivers to install on my Windows 7 x64 laptop. < /ramble>

    Hope this helps!
    DFL

  5. #5
    Iconia Informant
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    I think that I'll wait until you write a tutorial on the whole procedure. Obviously your technical knowledge on this OS far exceeds mine and, I wouldn't be comfortable doing it on my own if not walked through, step by step, by an experienced user such as yourself. No pressure whatsoever, though. Thanks for the help

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by keiraross21 View Post
    To improve performance of any android device you need to install an app killer application and also you need to update your device regularly..
    This appears to be spam because of the advertisement in the signature. I'll respond though to point out that the advice to install an app killer to improve performance is incorrect, or at least incomplete. Automatic app killers actually tend to degrade performance and functionality on most Android devices. There are a few "task managers" though, such as Watchdog Task Manager and OS Monitor, that provide monitoring capability that is effective at identifying misbehaving apps. These performance monitoring tools do not automatically kill apps, and can be used to find apps that use too much CPU in the background. Problem apps should then be removed from the device or manually stopped after each use to prevent performance problems.
    Last edited by Mrhelper; 01-15-2013 at 08:32 PM.

  7. #7
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    This is not a new topic, and there is very little controversy today over the fact that for most Android systems, including the a500, task killers should not be used on a routine basis to automatically kill apps. Most if not all of such apps kill on the basis of arbitrary levels of memory usage, and the need for that has been widely discounted.

    Anyone who really understands how the Android OS manages resources can explain how automatic task killers do more harm than good -- by defeating the performance enhancing features of the operating system.

    Android is not by nature memory bound (especially on larger systems like the a500). Android manages app memory very simply and effectively. Full memory is typically not a problem on Android, and in fact, it is a normal and desired condition that actually enhances performance. It's a fundamental strategy in the Android design -- so more frequently used apps start faster from the perspective of the user. When the OS needs memory for another app, it quickly discards the least used apps from the background to make room.

    Task managers that kill apps on the basis of memory footprint operate on an invalid myth. These tools are merely shooting randomly in the dark in most cases, and in shooting blindly may occasionally hit a valid target. Such a rare accidental hit is not worth all of collateral damage caused though. If someone has a very poorly performing app installed that happens to exceed an arbitrary memory threshold, they may be able to see some improvement, but on the whole, memory based app killers tend to waste CPU and I/O time, and will slow down a healthy system. It's a much better strategy to find an offending app to mitigate the single problem caused by it than to use an automatic task killer to kill many good apps, and so degrade the performance of the entire system indefinitely.

    Android is CPU bound though, and the resource monitoring apps I mentioned in my post above (#7) can help you when there are problems with apps using too much in the background. Such misbehaving apps are rare, but do exist. Typically, the best way to handle such problems is to identify and remove the offending apps, or to at least close them after each use.

    You can also read this very useful post to understand more about how the Android OS really works, and why automatic task killers are typically a bad solution: Task Killers... The Answer from Google & Developers.

  8. #8
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    Well, I have to agree with some points, I used to have a laggy tablet, It had the ICS 4.0.3 stock rom, and I always felt like there was something else beyond. After 1 year of goin' around I decided to root it, I get rid of the bloatware, but it wasnt enough, the next step was to install a custom ROM, I unlocked the bootloader and proceed to install, as my friend DFL3 said, I follow instructions but most of all I "took my time" to know what I wanted (and to get info about roms and about how no to BRICK my tablet) and to see if I could achieve it by the means I had. Im not trying to encourage you to root and install a custom ROM. All I want to say is that in my case, I took my time and get a lot of intel before doing it. In some cases it will improve certain aspects of the performance, but at the end of the day, performance is conditioned for the use of that everyone of us make of our tablets. Let me tell you one more thing, Task Killers are like paliatives, that may free some RAM, but when an apk restarts it will consume more battery, installing apks that boost wifi and ram and other things are placebos. In any case you decide to root and install a custom ROM there is plenty of information around, and the comunity is always willing to help and give orientation.

  9. #9
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    You guys are way more knowledgeable than me and I fear that if something goes wrong (and chances are, it will) in the processes of rooting and installing Jellybean, I would be in a real difficult position.

    In the end what I would like to achieve is a comparable speed to my iPad Mini when manipulating the screen, particularly scrolling the browser and I have tried most on the playstore and a few on the App Store. Anybody that has actually used both devices can understand what I'm saying. Thanks for all the valuable feedback.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by doublesixes View Post
    You guys are way more knowledgeable than me and I fear that if something goes wrong (and chances are, it will) in the processes of rooting and installing Jellybean, I would be in a real difficult position.

    In the end what I would like to achieve is a comparable speed to my iPad Mini when manipulating the screen, particularly scrolling the browser and I have tried most on the playstore and a few on the App Store. Anybody that has actually used both devices can understand what I'm saying. Thanks for all the valuable feedback.
    You dont have to worry about anything if you encounter some problems. that's why we have this forum with good people to help us


 
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