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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 11-25-2006, 11:53 PM   #1
paulsiu
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Help me pick a linux compatible laptop


Hi, recently my laptop bite the dust, so I was thinking of getting another laptop. The possible models I can get at a good prices are:

Dell 1501
Dell e1405
Dell e1505
Compaq v3000t / HP dv2000t
Compaq v3000z / HP dv2000z
Compaq v6000t / HP dv6000t
Compaq v6000z / HP dv6000z

What I really want is a relatively smooth install. Video should work at the maximum size, sound, network, and wireless should work.

Secondly, I would also like to have as little proprietary drivers as possible. 3D on the video card would be nice, but not entirely necessary.

From what I can determined, the Dell 1501 employs a ATI Xpress 1150 chip. In the past, ATI has always been the bane of Linux, but I am sure if the drivers are better these days.

From what I can determine, I may be better off going with an Intel instead of AMD. This is mainly because the Intel platform machine seems to use the 945 chipset which seems to work pretty well with Linux (more so than Nvidia 6150 or ATI Xpress 1150). The Intel platform seems to come with Intel wireless cards which have linux drivers. In contrast, virtually all of the AMD platform uses Broadcom which uses a NDIS wrapper driver.

Too bad, I would like to save a bit of money by going with the AMD. What do you folks think?

Paul
 
Old 11-26-2006, 12:38 AM   #2
GrueMaster
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I can't say anything on the Dell's without looking into their specifications, but the HP/Compaq series use a conexant audio chip that isn't fully supported, yet. I say "yet", because I am currently working on a driver for the Conexant audio and I have a large group of users that have been helping me with the testing. For the most part, audio out works (some of the above systems have reported that headphones don't mute the speakers).

Other than that, most everything else should work with the latest distributions available.
 
Old 11-26-2006, 12:42 AM   #3
rbolt168
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Registered: Jan 2006
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hi there .. i suggest dell products. i got 3 linux boxes which are laptops all dell. no problems encountered, it was all working after the distro was installed.

i dont think AMD will be a problem. my sony vaio was AMD and i didnt get problems, except for the pcmcia d-link wireless which is not part of the laptop initially.

try looking for the laptop compatibility site for laptops on linux. i forgot where it was.. ill post it if i can remember the link..good luck

Last edited by rbolt168; 11-26-2006 at 12:44 AM.
 
Old 11-26-2006, 07:10 AM   #4
aeruzcar
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I have tried linux on many laptops such as compaq, dell, toshiba and sony vaio. Ussually I have no problem installing linux, specially with ubuntu or kubuntu which have always recognized everything at once, including wireless and special screens.
So I think that besides the computer you must choose a distro which can make you easier to configure
Hope this helps
 
Old 11-26-2006, 07:53 AM   #5
paulsiu
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Thanks

GrueMaster, thanks for the tip about the sound driver.

rbolt168, I did look at the laptop compatibility sites, but I find that info are mostly for older machines. The problem with getting one of the newer laptops is that Linux is always a little behind until new hardware become supported.

Ubuntu worked pretty well on my old Compaq Presario 906us, which was really linux unfriendly. However it failed to work with the wireless so it took some tweaking. The problems with AMD is not the cpu itself but the chipset. It just seems that most of the Intel components seems to have better native linux support. May be Intel have better relationship with the opensource community?

I am edging toward a Dell e1405. With the corporate discount and free shipping, they have better prices than anyone else.

Paul
 
Old 11-26-2006, 11:00 AM   #6
lbertini
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LJ Editor's choice

Have you heard about the Linux Journal Editor's choice? I didn't try myself, but seems that it is a good option. Look what LJ published:

"The Lenovo ThinkPad models from the T series are relatively inexpensive, durably built, and the driver support in Linux is very good. Wireless and wired network support, video and sound work well with most recent distributions out there. These laptops run solidly for years and perform very well"
 
Old 11-26-2006, 11:25 AM   #7
mldqj
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Try this site http://www.linux-laptop.net/. They have a comprehensive compatibility list.
 
Old 11-26-2006, 07:24 PM   #8
operator10001
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dell is junk. I recommend hp or compaq. look at this:
http://www.debian.org/distrib/pre-installed
hope this helps.
 
Old 11-28-2006, 08:59 AM   #9
coldhandshake
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Location: Upstate NY
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IBM Thinkpads are known to be Linux friendly, and I'm sure Lenovo Thinkpads are just as friendly. I have a T22 and only have one thing I need adjust in the config files usually, that's just making the mouse button 3 scroll. And I love the Thinkpad, very high quality, nice construction....
 
Old 11-28-2006, 01:26 PM   #10
meldroc
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I was sorely tempted by the Lenovo ThinkPad T60, but unfortunately, you get either ATI Mobility Radeon X1300 or X1400 (with the sucky ATI drivers, problems with suspend/hibernate and switching virtual terminals) or the Intel 950, which at least has open-source drivers, but is horribly slow (no T&L, has no video RAM.)

Any recommendations for a laptop with NVidia graphics?

Shopping for laptops is frustrating for a Linux-head like me. It seems that for every 100 laptop models I look at, 99 of them have hardware that has broken or non-existant Linux support, or hardware that doesn't do what I want.

I'm looking for a $1500-$1800 laptop, preferably with a Core Duo or Core 2 Duo chipset, decent 3D accelerated graphics (that means NVidia, accept no substitutes.), working wi-fi (stick with known Linux-compatible chipsets, I'd prefer not to fight with ndiswrapper, as I'm tired of flaky wi-fi.) 1GB RAM (2GB if I can squeeze it into the budget.)

Ideally, I'd take a ThinkPad T60 with an NVidia 6-series or 7-series chip, but Lenovo doesn't sell NVidia chipsets in ThinkPads.
 
Old 11-30-2006, 01:01 PM   #11
meldroc
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I'm drooling over the Asus A8Js right now.

Asus A8Js specifications

Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB RAM, NVidia GeForce Go7700 w/ 512MB video RAM, 100GB hard drive, built in gigabit ethernet, wi-fi, Bluetooth, etc.

Has anyone had experience putting Linux on the Asus A8Js yet?
 
Old 12-01-2006, 12:21 PM   #12
flkeysff
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Registered: Nov 2006
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I just bought a Hp dv9005us and have put on it without major issues SUSE 10.1, 10.2 Xandros 3.0 and 4.0, and Kanotis. SUSE 10.1 No sound and No wifi until ndiswrapper, Suse 10.2 No wifi even after ndiswrapper but had sound, Xandros 3.0 no sound no wifi, Xandros 4.0 has sound but no wifi (due to not having a 32 bit driver for the 43xx I only have 64 bit driver) Out of all these Xandros installed the easiest and if (to me) more visually appealing. Video keyboard touchpad memory sticks dvd-rw all work in all distros I have tried.
 
Old 12-01-2006, 12:22 PM   #13
flkeysff
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I for got to mention FC6 but this had major issues with video sound and wifi, so I took it off after I installed it.
 
Old 12-01-2006, 12:45 PM   #14
GrueMaster
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One of the major issues with laptops is that they usually have a lower end audio solution than desktops with built in audio (makes sense). Some of the vendors, like Realtek and Analog Devices have provided the alsa team with documentation to delevop drivers, Sigmatel usually provides their own drivers. Via and nVidia are now also generating HD audio support.

The one that currently stands out as lacking support is the Conexant audio chips. There is no documentation on these chips, except for very basic info for each laptop (mainly what each jack supports). HP and Toshiba seem to be the biggest users of these chips so far.

I have been working on developing a driver for these chips, but it has been slow going. Basic support now exists in alsa source repository (snapshots are here: ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/projects/alsa/snapshot/driver/). One problem is that the HD audio spec allows for reconfigurable ports. So, on one laptop, there might be a headphone/spdif jack and a microphone jack, on another, it will have a headphone jack, a mic jack, a line in jack, and a spdif jack, but they both use the same chip. Makes developing a driver a bit of a challenge.

But, at least there is growing support in this area. As to wireless, stick with Intel. At least they provide Linux support.
 
Old 12-01-2006, 12:51 PM   #15
derxob
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My Dell Inispiron 6000 works just fine with 2.6.18 - no gripes at all.
 
  


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