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Old 08-06-2012, 08:08 AM   #1
coolbeans777
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Looking into purchasing a new Sony VAIO laptop. Questions about compatibility


Hey guys, so here's the story. For awhile now I've had a Macbook Pro, but I'm certainly not the biggest fan of OS X. I have Ubuntu now and everything's fine and dandy, but as Blu-ray media is becoming increasingly more popular, I would like to invest in a Blu-ray drive. I really don't like my Macbook anyway so I'm thinking of selling it and buying a Sony VAIO S Series. I have two questions regarding hardware compatibility. First of all, in general are Sony VAIOs linux-friendly? Second of all, regarding specific hardware, does linux support/are there drivers for Intel HD Graphics 4000? If not, I could alternatively purchase the Geforce 640m and just use nouveau or the proprietary NVIDIA drivers. Also, does linux support Blu-ray players/burners?
 
Old 08-07-2012, 06:39 AM   #2
Sidicas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolbeans777 View Post
First of all, in general are Sony VAIOs linux-friendly?
IMO, I'd say no.. The majority of the Sony VAIO S series has got nVidia Optimus built into the laptop with no way to turn it off.. Which really sucks.. If you want an nvidia chip in a laptop, what you want is to find a laptop that has "switchable graphics" such as the Lenovo T530.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolbeans777 View Post
Second of all, regarding specific hardware, does linux support/are there drivers for Intel HD Graphics 4000?
Of course, yes.

The optimus support is so-so as there is no official support from nvidia. Just like the nouveau driver, the software to run it is pretty much hacked together without support or complete specifications from the hardware vendor.



Quote:
Originally Posted by coolbeans777 View Post
If not, I could alternatively purchase the Geforce 640m and just use nouveau or the proprietary NVIDIA drivers. Also, does linux support Blu-ray players/burners?
Just be careful as you will likely find that the Sony laptops are stuck with optimus on.. Remember, optimus is the reason why Linus Torvalds cussed out nvidia recently because they just don't care to provide a shred of Linux support for this technology. There are workarounds / hackjobs, but nothing beats buying a graphics chip that actually gets full vendor support (ie: Getting a laptop with "switchable" nvidia graphics, a laptop with just an Intel graphics chip, or a laptop with an AMD graphics chip).

I was also looking at the Sony S Series. They're very nice, but all the ones with nvidia graphics chips are designed and built for Windows 7 only, and neither Sony nor nVidia plan to ever change that.

Take a look at the Lenovo Thinkpads (T series) and the HP Envy series. Both are much more linux-friendly than the Sony S Series.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolbeans777 View Post
Also, does linux support Blu-ray players/burners?
For reading and writing regular data, it works just fine.. If you're trying to play Blu-Ray movies you purchase in the stores, then it doesn't work reliably at all and it won't until somebody makes commercial Blu-Ray player software for Linux which will, of course, be very expensive.

Last edited by Sidicas; 08-07-2012 at 06:54 AM.
 
Old 08-07-2012, 11:54 AM   #3
coolbeans777
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Thanks for telling me about that Optimus stuff, I'll check out those laptops you suggested. I have a couple more questions about Blu-ray though. Why is it unreliable? Is it like DVDs where they're encrypted to some degree? In the future, could you see a package being released such as libdvdcss2 that accomplishes the same job for Blu-ray discs?
 
Old 08-07-2012, 11:19 PM   #4
Sidicas
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Originally Posted by coolbeans777 View Post
I have a couple more questions about Blu-ray though. Why is it unreliable? Is it like DVDs where they're encrypted to some degree?
Yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolbeans777 View Post
In the future, could you see a package being released such as libdvdcss2 that accomplishes the same job for Blu-ray discs?
Not really. The problem is that whenever we get our hands on a decryption key, Sony will just "revoke" it which makes it worthless for all Blu-Rays released from that point on.. It's a "feature" of Sony's Blu-Ray encryption. Unless we get our hands on Sony's Master Key, Blu-Rays will continue to be very unreliable (work for some Blu-Ray movies, but not others). Getting Sony's Master key is very, very hard as it can only be brute forced or physically stolen out of Sony's headquarters.

The other solution is to just wait for a commercial Blu-Ray player for Linux that gets Sony's official stamp of approval, and it won't be open source or cheap.
 
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:54 AM   #5
coolbeans777
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Thanks for the info! By the way, I checked out the laptops you suggested. The Thinkpad T series is pretty nice, but they're using this Optimus technology now too. However, the HP ENVY looks pretty sweet, especially the Sleekbook 6z-1000. If I can sell my MBP for over that I'll totally get it because it is the cheapest one yet it still has all the specs I want. Thanks for the recommendation!
 
  


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