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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 08-14-2014, 07:09 AM   #1
Anarchy
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Which laptop should I purchase with these requirements?


I would like the following specs:

* 13.3" display
* At least full HD resolution
* Intel i5 or i7 CPU (preferably i7)
* At least 8 GB RAM
* SSD storage
* Intel graphics (no Nvidia Optimus or similar)
* Decent battery life

I do of course also want Linux (Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Debian, etc) to work well, preferably without too much tinkering. Linux doesn't have to be preinstalled, but I don't want to spend days troubleshooting brightness controls, suspend mode and WiFi.

Got any suggestions?

Last edited by Anarchy; 08-14-2014 at 03:12 PM.
 
Old 08-14-2014, 02:18 PM   #2
notKlaatu
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With the exception of the 13.3" screen, this fits you requirements AND allows for customisation before purchase:

http://zareason.com/shop/UltraLap-440.html

It's got a 14" screen though.

For my money, Zareason and System76 are really the way to go for Linux laptops. They are really well made and the Lisux support is guaranteed.
 
Old 08-14-2014, 04:05 PM   #3
Anarchy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notKlaatu View Post
With the exception of the 13.3" screen, this fits you requirements AND allows for customisation before purchase:

http://zareason.com/shop/UltraLap-440.html

It's got a 14" screen though.

For my money, Zareason and System76 are really the way to go for Linux laptops. They are really well made and the Lisux support is guaranteed.
Thanks for the suggestion, I haven't heard of ZaReason before. Sadly the display's resolution is only 1366x768.

I have looked at System76, and their Galago UltraPro looks fairly nice, even if it's 14.1". However, changing the HDD to an SDD and the 4 GB RAM to 8 GB RAM results in a price tag of $1343, excluding import duty to Sweden.

For the price of the Galago UltraPro I can more or less instead purchase a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition. The Dell computer is also available from Dell's Swedish site, which I feel is more safe and comfortable since I live in Sweden. However, XPS 13 is fairly expensive, 14 000 SEK in Sweden which equals to 2 000 USD (everything is more expensive in Sweden compared to US though, because of higher taxes), so I would rather find something for a little lower price than that. On the other hand, to get a laptop with those specs I asked for one would need to pay at least 10 000 SEK, so XPS 13 isn't that far off. And I think I would rather pay a little more than be unhappy until my next computer purchase in 3 years at least.

Here are a few other computers I have looked at:

* Asus UX31A-R4048H 13,3" Full HD / i7-3517U / 8GB / 128GB SDD / HD4000. Price: 10 000 SEK. Link
* Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro 13,3" Touch QHD+ / i7-4500U / 8GB / 256GB SSD / HD 4400. Price: 13 000 SEK. Link
* Lenovo Thinkpad X240 12.5" Full HD / i5-4200U 1.6 GHz / 8GB / 180GB SSD. Price: 11 250 SEK. Link

What I find most annoying when I research laptops is trying to find out if Linux will run well on them. I don't want to deal with lists of problems like these two horrendous examples:

* https://github.com/leoluk/thinkpad-s...nkPad-problems
* https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AsusZenbookPrime

Furthermore, most reviews of computers from a Linux perspective I find are usually at least half a year old, which means that there have been new distro and kernel releases since then. So I don't know if the problems the reviewers encountered have been fixed since then.

Even Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition seems to have its share of problems judging from the threads in Dell's support forum at http://en.community.dell.com/techcen...ns/f/4613.aspx. But it's at least preinstalled with Ubuntu (12.04 though) and the developers behind it seem inclined to help and fix issues people encounter. However, I haven't really managed to get any sense of how well other distros will run on it.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 05:34 PM   #4
notKlaatu
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I didn't realise you were in Sweden. I'm in New Zealand currently (USA ex-pat) so I sympathise.

I do know that both Canonical and Red Hat have some "certified hardware" lists:
https://hardware.redhat.com/
http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/

And the Thinkpad that you are looking at is on both of those lists. I have a friend with a Thinkpad X-series (not sure if it's x240) and I have heard good things.

The one thing I watch out for lately, even on some certified hardware, are the touchpads; some of the new laptops have stupid integrated "the touchpad IS the button" things, and those drive me nuts.

Other than that, look at the specs of the laptop before you purchase, and google every single one of them. Linuxquestions.org also has a hardware compatibility list.

Another great thing to do is throw a live image of Linux on a USB thumbdrive, go to your local computer shoppe, plug in the thumbdrive and reboot and do some testing. I do this all the time by force of habit, just so I know what laptops I can recommend to friends who ask.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 06:33 PM   #5
Anarchy
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There seem to be a lot of people who like Thinkpad. However, the same people think Thinkpad's computers are getting worse for each iteration. Apparently x220 was the peak and it became worse with x230 and x240. Maybe they overplay it -- I don't know. One change the crowd dislike is that x240 has removed the hardware touchpad buttons, just like you are talking about. But it seems to be fairly common nowadays, so I wonder if it really is that bad of a change.

Another laptop Lenovo has is their Thinkpad X1 Carbon. However, its keyboard looks like a total mess: http://www.lenovo.com/images/gallery...keyboard-3.jpg No caps lock key, the Esc is where tilde used to be, no F1-F12 keys and the power on/off key is placed dangerously close to the delete key.
 
Old 08-15-2014, 10:12 PM   #6
notKlaatu
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What the heck did I just see. Home/End over in place of the Caps Lock??? I map the Caps Lock as a control on mine, so I don't actually care about not having a Caps Lock but putting Home/End there is just an odd choice.

In my experience, the lack of real touchpad buttons IS bad. I had an ASUS that did that, and it was really really inconvenient. But, like most everything else, I got used to it. That said, I much prefer my current laptop, with real touchpad buttons. It obviously depends on the person's tastes.

Let me/us know what you end up getting...
 
Old 08-28-2014, 03:32 PM   #7
jonc83
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I recently bought a Sony Vaio pro. It's 13 inch, core i7, 256 gb SSD, Intel GPU, 8 gb RAM. They are stopping making them so if you can find one in the outlet they are discounted.

Works nicely with Fedora and RHEL7 was pretty slick.

Not cheap though.
 
Old 08-28-2014, 03:33 PM   #8
jonc83
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Also, we bought 5 new thinkpads at work 4 months ago and two are already broken...

I think they are x230i or something. Not impressed at all.
 
Old 08-29-2014, 06:17 AM   #9
Anarchy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonc83 View Post
I recently bought a Sony Vaio pro. It's 13 inch, core i7, 256 gb SSD, Intel GPU, 8 gb RAM. They are stopping making them so if you can find one in the outlet they are discounted.

Works nicely with Fedora and RHEL7 was pretty slick.

Not cheap though.
That laptop doesn't seem to be available in Sweden anymore. :/ Sony hasn't replaced that model with something equivalent?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonc83 View Post
Also, we bought 5 new thinkpads at work 4 months ago and two are already broken...

I think they are x230i or something. Not impressed at all.
Oh, that sounds horrible.
 
Old 08-30-2014, 12:15 AM   #10
jonc83
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I think Sony are stopping selling laptops, so probably no new version. I checked the Sony outlet in Sweden and they don't have any left.

Sorry, that wasn't a very helpful recommendation!
 
  


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