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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 06-03-2006, 02:40 AM   #1
pda_h4x0r
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I was in the market for a new laptop, and...


Hello everyone,

I'm thinking of getting a better laptop, but I plan on customizing some of its aspects. I'm a bit confused--I'm not sure what hardware I should include in the box when it comes to Linux compatibility.

Vendor
I was looking at customizing a Compaq Presario or a HP Pavillion. Has anyone had any really good/bad experiences with this vendor? Or are there better vendors?

CPU
Dual Core or AMD Turion 64? Can Linux use both cores in the Intel Core Duo (I've read the contrary)? Is it worth it to have a 64-bit chip? The hardware I'm looking at doesn't support over 2GB of RAM...

GPU
ATI or NVIDIA? Specifically, assuming that I get a Compaq or HP, ATI Xpress 200M or NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400? Does anyone have any experience with either of these GPUs? Can I get DRI going on the ATI? I've read some conflicting information about both GPUs--does anyone know whether or not either of them (or both) have shared or dedicated VRAM?

Hard Drive
ATA or SATA? I've seen a lot of questions about SATA drives in the forums--are SATA disks supported with Linux?

Sorry for all the (newbie) questions--this is a big investment for college, and I don't want to be ripped. My budget has a max of $1000. Any suggestions or answers would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

Thank you
 
Old 06-03-2006, 03:17 AM   #2
rickh
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Registered: May 2004
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
Distribution: Debian-Lenny/Sid 32/64 Desktop: Generic AMD64-EVGA 680i Laptop: Generic Intel SIS-AC97
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Rather than a Compaq or HP, I would go to a store that sells a 'house brand' generic model. Your $1000 will get you further there, and the PC will last you thru 4 years of college. Replacing hardware (like a CD/DVD RW drive) on proprietary hardware is ridiculous. Nvidia video is better supported by Linux, but it's very likely that you can get a better deal right now on an AMD64 Turion. If gaming is very important, you'd better insist on Nvidia. Sata is new technology for Linux, but I think the major distros have it pretty well worked out. You don't mention wireless. You need it. I would insist on a built-in Realtek 2x00 pci card.

Get the 64-bit machine if the cost is favorable. You'd probably be wiser to install a 32-bit OS on it now, but within a year of so, the 64-bit distros will catch up.

I recently bought my daughter an AMD64 Turion with ATI graphics as a college graduation gift for about $1200. I installed 32-bit Debian Etch and everything worked out-of-the-box. This was a super machine. 19" widescreen, etc. I could have gotten a more basic model easily for about $800. Get an 80 GB hard drive so you have room for a dual boot system. Sad as it is, you'll probably need Windows at some point in a university setting.

Last edited by rickh; 06-03-2006 at 03:20 AM.
 
Old 06-03-2006, 03:34 AM   #3
pda_h4x0r
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I've got the wireless covered--I currently use an Atheros chipset PCMCIA card with madwifi.

I won't be gaming so much as I will be designing games (just as a hobby, really). Sadly, I haven't seen any laptops that have AMD64 + nVidia (usually it's been AMD64 + ATI or Core Duo + nVidia). Does ATI at least offer OpenGL hardware acceleration under Linux, especially for notebook cards? My current laptop uses a SiS M650 (no hardware acceleration exists for it)--ANY hardware acceleration would be an improvement.

Thank you for your recommendations! I'll keep them in mind as I search for an ideal machine.

PS What do you mean by "house brand?"
 
Old 06-03-2006, 03:45 AM   #4
rickh
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Registered: May 2004
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
Distribution: Debian-Lenny/Sid 32/64 Desktop: Generic AMD64-EVGA 680i Laptop: Generic Intel SIS-AC97
Posts: 4,250

Rep: Reputation: 62
Quote:
What do you mean by "house brand?"
Example: I bought my daugter's PC at a national chain called PC Club. The brand name was 'EnPower'. Many such chains exist ... they build their own PCs from generic parts and give them a "house brand."
 
  


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