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Old 12-28-2010, 01:32 PM   #1
Rio
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Newb Considering Buying a Laptop Preloaded - Please Weigh In


Hey,

I'm in need of a new laptop and am considering becoming a windows refugee. I used a unix system years ago, very briefly, before moving to windows. I have NO computer science background but am a good problem solver and willing to dive in. Even with windows, I have very little experience with hardware selection and installation (and don't enjoy it mainly because I never seem to have the time).

This means, I think, that I should buy a system that is preloaded with a Linux OS.

What I will use the laptop for:
web development (gimp, htmlkit, php, mysql, a server of some kind)
watching movies and listening to cds
wireless internet access
potentially 10-12 hours at a time of operation (don't know if that's relevant or not)

This laptop appears to have what I need: http://www.eightvirtues.com/ev1681a.html Please note the dropdown of available OS's. Any thoughts on OS selection? Do I need one of the server versions? Can apache, for example, be installed on most Linux OS's?

Is this a reasonable price (I've looked around and it seems in the ballpark)? Should I just stick to windows? (please say no!)

TIA

Last edited by Rio; 12-28-2010 at 02:14 PM.
 
Old 12-28-2010, 02:03 PM   #2
camorri
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Quote:
Any thoughts on OS selection?
If stability is an issue, go with Debain stable. I would stay away from Ubuntu, and Mint if your are a serious user that doesn't mind learning when you need to.

Quote:
Do I need one of the server versions?
You can install any server code you need on any of the distros they show there.

Quote:
Can apache, for example, be installed on most Linux OS's?
Yes.

Price? For a system with the hardware this company is selling, it's not bad. I suspect you could do a little better if you are willing to install a linux system on a windbloze pre-loaded system. Basically you partition the disk ( windoze is gone ) format and install. The installers today for linux are much easier to use that they were years ago. Hardware detection is much better today than it was. You would find lots of help here if your had problems.

The nice thing about the company you are looking at is the support. You would not get that if you bought a laptop at a store and blew away windbloze.

Quote:
Should I just stick to windows? (please say no!)
O.K. NO!

Just kidding, this is a linux forum, so not too much windoze support here...
 
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:10 PM   #3
corbintechboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
Hey,

I'm in need of a new laptop and am considering becoming a windows refugee. I'm used a unix system years ago, very briefly, before moving to windows. I have NO computer science background but am a good problem solver and willing to dive in. Even with windows, I have very little experience with hardware selection and installation (and don't enjoy it mainly because I never seem to have the time).

This means, I think, that I should buy a system that is preloaded with a Linux OS.

What I will use the laptop for:
web development (gimp, htmlkit, php, mysql, a server of some kind)
watching movies and listening to cds
wireless internet access
potentially 10-12 hours at a time of operation (don't know if that's relevant or not)

This laptop appears to have what I need: http://www.eightvirtues.com/ev1681a.html Please note the dropdown of available OS's. Any thoughts on OS selection? Do I need one of the server versions? Can apache, for example, be installed on most Linux OS's?

Is this a reasonable price (I've looked around and it seems in the ballpark)? Should I just stick to windows? (please say no!)

TIA
I applaud what you are doing but that price can be killed!

My laptop I have here is a month old and has:

AMD quad N950
4 gigs of ram
500 gig 7200 RPM drive
DVD/CD burner with lightscribe
Beats audio (sub)
17.3 inch
HDMI
ATI 4250 video (better then Intel current line (wait sandy bridge))
fingerprint reader
webcam
mic

I paid $649 for this machine!

Check out dealnews and those types of sites, you can beat that price to death!
 
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:57 PM   #4
markush
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Hello together,

I don't know about the prices for computers in the USA, but I think for a laptop with only 2GB of RAM and only 160GB of HDspace it is too expensive.
Nowadays in Germany the default is 320 upto 500 GB of Harddisk and 4GB of RAM, such a machine with Windows 7 Home edition preinstalled will be available for at least 500 Euro.

In my experience (also often read here in the forums) preinstalled Linux-distributions are most often not really useable. It makes no sense to pay money for the preinstallation of Linux.

Markus
 
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:48 PM   #5
lazlow
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That price seems pretty steep to me.

Probably the biggest (linux) issue with laptops is going to be support for the wifi chipset(just make sure). Beyond that MOST hardware is well supported.

I would strongly recommend going to 4GB(as a min) on any machine. 64bit is at a stage now that is should also be strongly considered. The 4GB of ram makes it very easy to run a virtaul machine for the times you need to(for testeing or other reasons) run another OS(windoze, other linuxes, etc).

Choice of distros will always be a mostly personal matter. Unless you like doing a clean install every year (Fedora and many others) I would suggest choosing a distro with long term support(Centos, Ubuntu LTS, etc). I would stay away from the customized versions as one always has to guess at what was changed and no one knows what sort of conflicts might occur when the standard versions do an update.

Personally I prefer Centos (it(5.X) will be supported for at least another four years) and it is RHEL(Red Hat Enterprise Linux) with the logos removed. Its advantage over RHEL is that it is free to install and update. Its disadvange is that there is no paid support.
 
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:05 PM   #6
camorri
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You don't need 4 gig of ram to run linux. I have i gig, and almost never does the machine swap. 4 gig's is over kill.
 
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:21 PM   #7
markush
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camorri View Post
You don't need 4 gig of ram to run linux. I have i gig, and almost never does the machine swap. 4 gig's is over kill.
Well, this is true, but don't forget that programs become bigger and one doesn't buy a computer for only the next 3-5 years.
About 5 years ago 512MB was the default, but is barely enough nowadays (for modern fullfeatured distributions and Windows as well).

Markus
 
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:58 PM   #8
frankbell
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You might look at computers from zareason and System 76. They may provide more bang for the buck.

Both companies have good reputations for integrity and support. The owners were recently interviewed on tllts.
 
Old 12-30-2010, 01:49 PM   #9
Rio
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Thanks for the input and thanks for saving me some money! Based on your suggestions and insights, I'm reconsidering:

buying a laptop with windows installed
removing windows
installing debian myself

Laptops I'm looking at. (All are at least 4gb memory and 500 gb hdd)
Gateway NV59C66u Intel® Core™ i3 Processor / 15.6" Display at $549 (BB)
Toshiba L675D-S7052 $549 AMD Phenom™ II Processor 15.6 inch(BB)
HP Pavilion NV204UA dv7-1451nr, AMD Turion X2 Ultra ZM-82 2.2 GHz Processor - 17-inch $549
HP Pavilion NV204UA dv7-1451nr Notebook PC - AMD Turion X2 Ultra ZM-82 2.2 GHz Processor - 4 GB RAM - 500 GB Hard Drive - DVD+/-RW - 17-inch Display $549
M975-170058 ::HP Pavilion dv7-3165dx Refurbished Notebook PC - AMD Turion II Ultra M620 2.5GHz, 4GB DDR2, 500GB HDD, Blu-Ray, 17.3" HD+, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit(7.9 lbs)

Any thoughts on these? How do I compile a list of all the drivers I'll need? Other considerations?
 
Old 12-30-2010, 09:05 PM   #10
frankbell
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Almost any Linux distro should work with most mainstream computers.

The Achilles heel of Linux for a long time has been wireless cards, because some wireless card makers pretty much ignore the FOSS community, although that has improved significantly in the past year because Broadcom has released drivers for Linux (Dell uses Broadcom.)

LQ has a hardware compatibility section, but it is by no means complete, as it depends on volunteer contributions.

http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl/index.php/cat/507

One thing you could do, if the computer vendor would allow it, is to boot the computer you are considering to a live CD. I've never made such a request, but any vendor who let me do that would earn my loyalty for all future purchases.
 
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:24 AM   #11
tommcd
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Here are some other companies that specialize in making linux friendly laptops:
http://www.system76.com/
http://zareason.com/shop/home.php
http://www.linuxcertified.com/linux_laptops.html
I have read good reviews on linux websites about all of those companies and their products.
If I were to buy a laptop now, I would probably go with Zareason. You can get a laptop or netbook from them with your choice of several different distros preinstalled. Or you can get one with no OS, so that you can install whatever you want.
 
  


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