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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 09-26-2004, 07:06 AM   #1
slackist
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Need a hand choosing a laptop from these three


Greetings friends,

I have narrowed my search down to 3 models, I would be very grateful if for any positives or negatives regarding Linux (especially Slackware 9.1 ) compatibility with the brands in general or with any of the components.

I have looked at the HCL, and googled for two days on and off but I am having a problem because I think that the model numbers may be specific to Asia and/or Europe because very few of the sites I find are in English. And at Linux-laptop I can't find any reviews with matching model numbers, one was close for an Asus but his hardware is a little different but in significant ways.


One laptop, the Acer actually has Linux pre-installed (Linpus Linux 9.2 -I think yet another deritive of RH9) BUT the shop assistant didn't know the root password so the on the demo machine I can't read the system logs to try and see if wireless, IR etc are already working, also Linpus has the GUI in Thai so that pretty much threw me too

I should add that all three are the exact same price.

OK, here are the specs of my choices:

Asus A2000D (AD25D28CM)
Athlon 2800 XP-M 2800+
SiS 746FX chipset <-----------------this is the bit that worries me the most
256 mB
Mobility Radeon 9200 32 mB
15" screen
40 gB HDD


Asus L4000R (L4R-1C4B/24B/CM1.4)
Celeron 1.4 gHz
Ati RS300MB chipset
256 mB
Mobility Radeon 9100 (not sure how much memory, just listed as "up to 120mB")
14.1" screen
40 gB HDD


Acer TravelMate 2302 WNLCi
Celeron M procesor 330 (1.4gHz)
Intel 852 GM chipset 3D AGP DVMT up to 64 mB
Acer Invilink (?)
15.4" screen
256 mB
40 gB HDD


All three have DVD/CD-RW drives, all the usual ports but the first has 5 USB ports and a 3-in-1 card reader which I'd quite like to have. I think the Acer doesn't have a parallel port but that is no problem.

Thanks for reading this far, which one seems the best bet given the identical pricing?

Mark
 
Old 09-26-2004, 07:22 PM   #2
robert644
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i would go with one of the ati chipset models as a guess. my reasoning is that it might be easier to find support for something as generic as an ati chipset. not sure about the intel chipset, for all i know perhaps it is better supported !

as an aside, the new xorg6.8.1 is working great with my ati9200 !, previously xorg6.7 and xfree4.3 weren't working to well with it
 
Old 09-28-2004, 04:49 AM   #3
slackist
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Thanks robert644;

I have been searching some more and found this on a machine similar to the A2000D

"SD/MMC Card Reader

Doesn't work with Linux yet. "

at http://tuxmobil.org/asus_a2500dc.html

so it looks like I might have to scratch that one. I really wish they gave a little more info on why it doesn't work though, that machine was sort of my favourite as I've never had an AMD powered machine before, and it would be cool to be able to save on buying a card reader later on.

mark
 
Old 09-28-2004, 05:12 AM   #4
Aussie
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I have an Aopen laptop running slackware-current with a 2.6 kernel, it has an ati chipset and works great. I'd give the SiS chipset machine a wide berth, SiS are not known for their linux support, especially with latest chips, out of the three you've listed I think the Acer looks the best- and if it has an Intel wireless chip then there is an Intel sponsored project for that here.
 
Old 09-28-2004, 09:33 AM   #5
slackist
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*sigh* Thanks Aussie, I appreciate the reply.

It is infuriating about this SIS M746FX + 963L chipset (I just found out about the +963L bit) and Linux. It is like a black hole of information. Seems every search ends up blank or with pages in Russian or Czech languages.

I am on a poxy dial-up and have been at this for 9 straight hours. Some pages look tantalisingly close, and then don't quite go "all the way".

I'm going to take Knoppix down to the shop and see if they'll let me try it, otherwise Acer it is.

Thanks again,

Mark

ps this page : http://www.sis.com/support/faq/linux.htm seems to show that the 963L portion refers to audio/LAN/IDE/USB and is supported as of kernel 2.4.20, does that mean that the M746FX part just refers to the graphics and is this important if the machine also has a Radeon card?
 
Old 09-28-2004, 02:33 PM   #6
robert644
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you may that that although a live cd does not support the hardware, once a distro is installed you may be able to get it to work properly. I say this in regards to my pcmcia network cards, none of which worked immediatly on a slackware10 installation, however with a some configuration of the pcmcia config files i was able to get them going fairly easily. Of course all my laptops are ancient hardware so that may have something to do with it.

An on board sd card reader ? sounds like it may be either cutting edge or proprietary technology. My impression of linux hardware support is that for there to be a driver for it, a linux hardware developer had to have taken interest in writing one (a driver).

My personal opinion would be to get the most generic machine you can. The more proprietary / oddball/ cutting-edge the hardware in the laptop, the less likely / more difficult it will be to find support. Just my opinion.
 
Old 09-28-2004, 02:48 PM   #7
Aussie
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I took a Slackware live CD along to test the hardware in my laptop before I parted with the cash for it - but one of the reasons why I bought was because I could get it without any OS pre-installed, thus saving several hundred AU$.
 
Old 09-28-2004, 09:04 PM   #8
slackist
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Thanks again guys;

I read somewhere that the card reader is "via PCMCIA" (?)
Both the Asus machines have no OS installed , I thought I'd try a live distro to a) see what happens at boot and b) I will be able to poke around a bit and try to see what is what.

I'll post back in a few days time after I've been down to the shop just for closure.

Thanks again for the replies,

Mark
 
Old 10-02-2004, 10:19 AM   #9
slackist
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OK, the results are in, I'll post for anyone else who may be looking at these machines.

I went to the shops with a knoppix cd, and the two Slackware 9.1 install cds. (second disk is a live one)

Asus A2000D:
Did not want to even begin to boot any of the disks, just burped gave error messages about "please insert a bootable disk" or something like that.

Asus L4000R:
Same result with Knoppix disk, but did boot the Slackware disks. I didn't take it much further than that.

Acer TravelMate 2302:
This actually has a version of Linux installed (a derivative of Mandrake, not RH9 as I previously stated), but I just couldn't bring myself to part with my hard earned cash for it. It just felt too bulky and fragile, and didn't "do it" for me.


The result?

I upped my budget by about 200 U$ and bought an IBM ThinkPad R51.
In the IBM shop they were more than happy to let me test all my cds out on the machine and it was the only one which really flew with Knoppix and both Slack cds. They also threw in a wireless optical mouse, a USB drive and it came with no OS as well, so I feel good about having a compatible laptop and also giving my money to a company that is supporting Linux too.

It is now running Slackware 9.1, but needs a bit of tweaking so I'm off to read Shilo's great howto again.

Thanks for all the help,

Mark
 
  


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