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Old 08-01-2011, 04:56 PM   #1
PClOStinspace
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New lappy coming, what do you think of it? which distro?


I have just ordered a new lappy from pcspecialists.co.uk, spec as follows:-
Code:
Chassis & Display
Optimus II: 17.3" Glossy Full HD LED Widescreen (1920x1080)
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor i7-2630QM (2.00GHz) 6MB Cache
Memory (RAM)
8GB SAMSUNG 1333MHz SODIMM DDR3 MEMORY (2 x 4GB)
Graphics Card
nVIDIA® GeForce® GT 555M - 2GB DDR3 Video RAM - DirectX® 11
Memory - 1st Hard Disk
320GB WD SCORPIO BLACK WD3200BEKT, SATA 3 Gb/s, 16MB CACHE (7200 rpm)
1st DVD/BLU-RAY Drive
8x SATA DVD±R/RW/Dual Layer (+ 24x CD-RW)
Memory Card Reader
Internal 9 in 1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD: Mini, XC & HC/MS: Pro & Duo)
Sound Card
Intel 2 Channel High Definition Audio + MIC/Headphone Jack
Network Facilities
GIGABIT LAN  & KILLER™ 1102 WIRELESS 802.11N -  IDEAL FOR ONLINE GAMING
USB Options
2 x USB 3.0 PORTS + 2 x USB 2.0 PORTS AS STANDARD
Battery
2 x 6 Cell Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, 48.84WH (One Spare) (£39)
Power Lead & Adaptor
2 x UK Power Lead & 120W Adaptor (For Nvidia GT 555M) (£19)
Operating System
NO OPERATING SYSTEM REQUIRED
Office Software
NO OFFICE SOFTWARE
Anti-Virus
NO ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE
Stands & Port Replicators
Logitech® Notebook Kit MK605, inc Wireless Mouse, Keyboard & Stand  (£65)
Mouse
INTEGRATED 2 BUTTON TOUCHPAD MOUSE
Webcam
INTEGRATED 1.3 MEGAPIXEL WEBCAM
Warranty
3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Insurance
1 Month Free Laptop Insurance inc. Accidental Damage & Theft
Delivery
STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)
Build Time
Standard Build - Approximately 5 to 7 working days
Quantity
1

Price: £894.00 including VAT and delivery.
What do you think, does it sound decent enough to be future proof for a while?

I am in a bit of a dilema though, I am a long term Ubuntu user now but I recently installed Debian Squeeze on an old box for my Dad and was very impressed with the speed of it. Which do you think should I go for?
 
Old 08-01-2011, 05:30 PM   #2
TobiSGD
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So you have the integrated Intel graphics and the NVidia graphics. I hope that is not one of those Optimus systems, or you may have difficulties with your graphics.

When it comes up to the distribution: The same answer as every time, go for that you feel comfortable with.
 
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:33 PM   #3
PClOStinspace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
So you have the integrated Intel graphics and the NVidia graphics. I hope that is not one of those Optimus systems, or you may have difficulties with your graphics.
It is an Optimus, is that bad???
 
Old 08-01-2011, 05:42 PM   #4
TobiSGD
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Optimus is currently not supported in Linux, there are experiments in development kernels, but currently it is not working. If you are lucky you can disable one of the video chips in your BIOS.
 
Old 08-01-2011, 07:30 PM   #5
Knightron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PClOStinspace View Post
It is an Optimus, is that bad???

just letting you know, i run gnu linux on an optimus laptop, and it does run. so dont think it wont work full stop. there are limitations some such are, i currently can not enable desktop effects, and one thing that really bothers me. my computer has the capabilitys of producing over 6 hours of battery life. in linux however, i recieve only 4. there is probably more things too, but these are two ive noticed
 
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:49 AM   #6
cascade9
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Some optimus laptops have a BIOS switch to force the nVidia GPU or disable the intel video chip. With some other optimus laptops you can use the nVidia GPU with custom EDID files.

Aside from those fair rare examples, optimus is just a major PITA with linux. You even have to manually disable the nVidia GPU or else it just sits there, creating heat and eating power....

Quote:
Originally Posted by PClOStinspace View Post
I am in a bit of a dilema though, I am a long term Ubuntu user now but I recently installed Debian Squeeze on an old box for my Dad and was very impressed with the speed of it. Which do you think should I go for?
Debian, but I'm biased.
 
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:00 PM   #7
PClOStinspace
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Optimus fix

To anyone with an optimus issue reading this, check out http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/05/b...o-linux-users/ and let the rest of us know if it works!!

My new toy isn't here yet to try it and if someone can confirm it doesn't there is still time to:-
1 cancel my order,
2 re-order a machine with AMD/ATI bits that do work and
3 shout as loud as I can to the entire world "DO NOT BUY NVIDIA PRODUCTS ANYMORE!!!!"

Thanks.
 
Old 08-02-2011, 05:11 PM   #8
TobiSGD
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There is nothing wrong with NVidia hardware, just Optimus is not supported. By the way, AMD supports their switchable graphics currently only with the open source driver, AFAIK, which offers far less performance than the proprietary drivers.
 
Old 08-02-2011, 06:47 PM   #9
PClOStinspace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
AMD supports their switchable graphics currently only with the open source driver, AFAIK, which offers far less performance than the proprietary drivers.
But that is exactly the point, AMD supports (even limited is something) - Nvidia lets you buy a machine that won't work, and then only when you complain tell you "we have no plans to support........"

Merchant bankers if you ask me.

Anyhow, has anyone/will anyone try out Bumblebee and post results??

Last edited by PClOStinspace; 08-02-2011 at 06:49 PM.
 
Old 08-02-2011, 07:00 PM   #10
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PClOStinspace View Post
Nvidia lets you buy a machine that won't work, and then only when you complain tell you "we have no plans to support........"
That is the wrong approach in my eyes. While it is actually sad that there is no support, in Linux I think that it is common knowledge to first check the compatibility and then decide to buy a piece of hardware. But may be that is just me.
 
Old 08-02-2011, 07:31 PM   #11
PClOStinspace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
That is the wrong approach in my eyes. While it is actually sad that there is no support, in Linux I think that it is common knowledge to first check the compatibility and then decide to buy a piece of hardware. But may be that is just me.
I did check the HCL for the card, I'd never heard of 'Optimus' before and assumed it was pcspecialist's name for that model of laptop, but no, that is the unsupported link in the chain.
 
Old 08-03-2011, 03:10 AM   #12
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PClOStinspace View Post
To anyone with an optimus issue reading this, check out http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/05/b...o-linux-users/ and let the rest of us know if it works!!

My new toy isn't here yet to try it and if someone can confirm it doesn't there is still time to:-
1 cancel my order,
2 re-order a machine with AMD/ATI bits that do work and
3 shout as loud as I can to the entire world "DO NOT BUY NVIDIA PRODUCTS ANYMORE!!!!"
Yeah, I'd cancel your order. There is a chance that you will get the nVidia GPU going, either with forcing the GPU in BIOS, an EDID file, or bulbleebee. But I'd honestly rate that chance as 'low to zero'.

AMT/ATI works a bit better, but still switchable graphics isnt exactly wodnerful. As long as you get a laptop without switchable graphics, everything should work smoothly...but its become very hard to find intel CPU laptops without switchable graphics or optimus. I like to blame intel at least in part for that- for 15 years they have wanted a 'bigger slice' of the GPU market (even though intel has never built a GPU worth even looking at). Now, thanks to intel putting a video chip on the CPU, they have found a way to get everybody who buys an intel CPU to buy an intel video chip.

Optimus is very fustrating for linux users, and I'm unimpressed with it. Still, I wouldnt go as far as to say to people 'dont buy nVidia'. But ATI/AMD video drivers are getting better on every release, and they have actually helped the open source driver devs, unlike nVidia.

I honestly think nVidia has serious issues right now, intel is pushig them out of the 'budget' end of the market. ATI/AMD are togther now, leaving nVidia alone as a 'major' GPU manufacturer without a CPU. Even nVidias once mighty chipset business is pretty much dead now.....

BTW, with the price you would have been paying for that laptop, you could probably get a cheap netbook and a desktop with similar or more power than the laptop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
That is the wrong approach in my eyes. While it is actually sad that there is no support, in Linux I think that it is common knowledge to first check the compatibility and then decide to buy a piece of hardware. But may be that is just me.
Unless you actually know what optimus is, its pretty hard to find its not supported.

nVidia have no 'warning- systems using this card might be using optimus' when you check the drivers for the optimus comptibile GPUs.
 
Old 08-03-2011, 07:04 AM   #13
Aeiri
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Quote:
3 shout as loud as I can to the entire world "DO NOT BUY NVIDIA PRODUCTS ANYMORE!!!!"
If you are wanting to use the proprietary drivers, ATI is NOT the way to go. I used their drivers for many years and I basically had to not upgrade anything for 6 months after I got them working, otherwise everything would break. After I switched to NVIDIA, I never had many problems with this.

I think it's pretty clear in this thread that people are only talking about Optimus not being supported.
 
Old 08-03-2011, 02:33 PM   #14
Aeiri
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Originally Posted by Aeiri View Post
If you are wanting to use the proprietary drivers, ATI is NOT the way to go. I used their drivers for many years and I basically had to not upgrade anything for 6 months after I got them working, otherwise everything would break. After I switched to NVIDIA, I never had many problems with this.

I think it's pretty clear in this thread that people are only talking about Optimus not being supported.
*facepalm*

And the minute I say that, I receive my new work laptop (Lenovo). When I ordered it it said nothing about Optimus but guess what, it's Optimus. I'll be putting Arch on it, so I'll let you know how it goes. Mine is a Quadro, though, only major difference.

In my BIOS I have an option to disable Optimus entirely and only use the dedicated video card, I'll see how that works. Hopefully yours will have that too.
 
Old 08-03-2011, 03:26 PM   #15
PClOStinspace
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Good news for me, I checked with pcspecialists today, apparently there is a button on the machines case that will bring me joy!! it is a hardware switch to force the gpu (ie, bypass optimus!!)

I will still be giving BumbleBee a whirl though, I'll post the outcome.

Hopefully won't be too long now, I had an email tonight to say the machine is built and going into testing tomorrow YEY!!

Sorry for the slight over-enthusiasm, every post on every forum I have seen that has Linux and Optimus in the same sentence have a seriously unhappy vibe, I was listening to The Smiths and contemplating self harm after only an hour's trolling last night!!
 
  


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