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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 12-03-2012, 12:33 PM   #1
memilanuk
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Looking to buy new for a change...


...in the past all my 'Linux' machines have been re-purposed Windows PCs or laptops. Even ones that I bought full well knowing that they'd probably get Linux installed in a dual-boot config sooner or later, they were bought as Windows machines first and foremost, with little or no regard for Linux compatibility.

Long story short: thats always been a major source of pain-in-my-posterior. Freakin' HP desktops and laptops that come 'crippled' so I can't run 64-bit guests in Virtualbox even with a 64-bit host OS, quirky power-off and suspend features, etc. etc. and the list goes on. Nothing new or unheard of, I'm sure. But I'm kind of tired of the whole mess.

And to add some insult to injury, my current laptop, an HP Pavilian DV4 that I 'inherited' from my daughter when she finally ponied up for a Macbook... has a damaged power connector jack that has been getting more and more erratic in behavior... after I've already had to boost the memory and replace the HDD *twice* on this machine. Time for something new...

So... from what I've been looking around at so far, my quandary is two-fold.

One, I'm torn between whether I want to go with an Ultrabook-type machine (sleek and sexy and lightweight and not going to cook me alive holding it on my lap) or something that could easily double as a desktop replacement with an external monitor and wireless keyboard/mouse. My current desktop is getting a few years on it and any new laptop I get would probably smoke it from the get-go - which reduces my enthusiasm for a separate/dedicated desktop machine. Problem is, I like playing some games that require a little bit of cpu/graphics horsepower, and I like playing with other OSes in VMs - which works better with extra horsepower and ram to share with the guest(s).

Two, I don't see myself getting entirely away from Microsoft Windows. As mentioned, I like playing the occasional computer game, and the titles I like generally aren't available on Linux. Plus a few specialty applications that have no OSS/Linux analogues. Windows might be end up being the lesser portion of my usage, but it's still there. Most of the machines I find preloaded with Linux (one would hope a reasonably good indicator that they work 100%) have no option for dual-boot listed. From past experience, Windows doesn't share well, so I'd have to back up the Linux OS, install Windows, then re-install Linux, crossing my fingers as I go... Or I could order a machine with Windows pre-installed and use a regular Linux installer to shove the Windows OS over to one side as per normal, but I'd likely sacrifice any guarantee or warranty from the vendor as to the operation of the Linux OS on their hardware.

And, just to make things more pleasant... its tough to sell this whole thing to my budget when I look at a basic Win8 laptop in Staples/Costco/Walmart for $500 vs. a Dell Ultrabook w/ Linux for closer to $1500... I can justify a small bit of the difference as I tend to max out the RAM when possible - saves me the pain of doing it later, and I also really really really want an SSD for the OS drive - not something that seems to be a 'feature' of those cheaper laptops. Then again, how much space would I need for dual booting comfortably?

As you can probably tell, I'm kind of thinking out loud here, talking myself in circles. Any thoughts, suggestions, guidance, commiseration, etc. would be welcome!

Monte

Last edited by memilanuk; 12-03-2012 at 12:35 PM.
 
Old 12-03-2012, 12:53 PM   #2
sag47
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For space and dual booting it depends on which you're using more but I'd say generally a 256GB SSD would be the most comfortable.

Dell came out with their XPS 13.
http://blog.canonical.com/2012/11/29...aptop-is-here/

That looks pretty sweet and I'll probably get that for my next main driver for games and programming. Dell allows you to replace the HDD and still be under warranty (ask phone support they'll tell you; at least for my alienware system). It's better to just buy your own SSD separate and you'll usually be saving a lot more money. Sites like NewEgg.com are good for that. I usually go with Crucial SSDs as they have been regularly outperforming others in the 2.5" SSD market.
 
Old 12-03-2012, 01:08 PM   #3
memilanuk
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Yeah... that Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook is one of my leading picks.

Going the other way... looking at something like a Lenovo T430/530 from Los Alamos Computers or Emperor Linux.

One of the things that is baffling me is the very *wide* range of costs for upgrading the RAM on the same Lenovo computer from different vendors. LAC charges $120 to go from 4GB to 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 memory... whereas EL charges over $1000?!? Then they make some (comment) about 'full 16GB accessible in Linux? Is that a usual problem these days, not having all the memory available to non-M$ operating systems?
 
Old 12-03-2012, 01:24 PM   #4
sag47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memilanuk View Post
Yeah... that Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook is one of my leading picks.

Going the other way... looking at something like a Lenovo T430/530 from Los Alamos Computers or Emperor Linux.

One of the things that is baffling me is the very *wide* range of costs for upgrading the RAM on the same Lenovo computer from different vendors. LAC charges $120 to go from 4GB to 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 memory... whereas EL charges over $1000?!? Then they make some (comment) about 'full 16GB accessible in Linux? Is that a usual problem these days, not having all the memory available to non-M$ operating systems?
It's all marketing. I always buy the base amount of RAM and then research the laptop make/model to get the motherboard. Once you have the motherboard model you can look up the standard of RAM it supports. Then buy your own RAM and install it yourself. You always save several hundred dollars doing that. The x86_64 Linux Kernel 3.0 and higher supports 64TB of RAM so you won't have to worry about that any time soon.
 
Old 12-03-2012, 02:36 PM   #5
memilanuk
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Normally... I'd agree. But for $120, I can't imagine you're going to find much better of a deal on 2x8GB 1600MHz DDR3 memory

On the other hand... $1060... holy freakin' shades of Apple!

I found a place in town that says they should be able to fix the power jack on my existing laptop for ~$150. So now its a question of do I pay to have yet *another* thing fixed on the current laptop, which is several years old already, or fork over the $$$ for a new machine of better quality all around.
 
Old 12-03-2012, 04:57 PM   #6
sag47
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I just did a quick search and found some (DDR3 1600 2x8GB SODIMM) for less than $60 at NewEgg (link to the search). In that list I would go with Patriot (G.Skill is better for RAM but it's a little extra). They're very reliable in my experiences.

Last edited by sag47; 12-03-2012 at 05:00 PM.
 
Old 12-03-2012, 07:25 PM   #7
memilanuk
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Nifty... I tried contacting LAC, but never heard back from them. I need a laptop sooner rather than later, so I have a Lenovo Thinkpad T530 2392-45U (i5-3320M, 4GB RAM, 500GB 7200RPM HDD, DVDRW, 1600x900 15.6" HD, Win7Pro) on the way. From what I can find, pretty much everything short of the fingerprint reader should work 'as is'... keepin' my fingers crossed!

After I see if everything works as planned, I'll have to order some extra memory to max this puppy out
 
Old 12-03-2012, 07:52 PM   #8
ar2deetu
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Just watch out for the machines with Windows 8. I have an ASUS, and even though their is a Disable Secure Boot on it, I am still unable to boot into Linux. I've tried some shims, but come to find out, the two linux versions I have, one on USB and one on CD don't have the EMI folder that is required to modify. Check that, the one on CD has it but can't re-write to CD so doesn't matter.

Anyways, having the damndest time. Thinking of returning, but still chucking away to see if I can get it to work before giving up.
 
Old 12-03-2012, 10:15 PM   #9
memilanuk
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Yeah... that was the one 'good' thing about the old laptop giving up when it did. There are still plenty of 'business-class' machines out there with Win7Pro available on them (with an 'upgrade' coupon for Win8, of course).

Given that there are several Linux machine vendors out there re-branding these machines, I feel confident (or at least really hopeful?) that I should be able to get past the UEFI stumbling blocks.

Knock on wood...
 
Old 12-13-2012, 01:53 AM   #10
memilanuk
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Well, got the ThinkPad T530... so far everything seems to be working pretty well. Dual-boot with Win7Pro and Mint 14, no problem. Next to work on is quad-boot Battery life in Linux still sucks compared to Win7, though.

Question: I'm not familiar with 'hibernate' mode; I've been seeing hints that in order for hibernate to work properly would require a swap space at least as big if not bigger than the amount of physical RAM. i.e. if I upgrade this laptop to 16GB of RAM, I'd need at least 16 GB of swap... which would otherwise be considered a ridiculous waste of space.

Yes/no/maybe?
 
  


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