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Old 05-06-2004, 11:18 PM   #1
Registered: Oct 2002
Distribution: Debian 6.0.2 (squeeze)
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Question Pentium M, Centrino, and IBM vs. HP


Rather than bury more questions at the bottom of a previous post, I thought I'd start a new one with some more questions that have come up in my search for a laptop that I can use with Linux.

1. I've heard that Pentium M processors take much less battery power to run, are much cooler than Pentium 4's and AMD's in laptops, and generally improve performance. How much truth is there in all these statements? Is there really a big difference between the M's and 4's, and should I make this a big factor in choosing a laptop.

2. I will be taking my laptop to a college campus with a wireless network, so I need some sort of b/g system. I assume from what I've read before that the Centrino and Intel Mobile systems that come built in to many notebooks today aren't that compatible with Linux. Am I better off ordering a non-wireless system and then buying a compatible card, or is it not that difficult to get those Centrino/Intel Mobile versions working?

3. Finally, I've looked around at the different brands and so far I like a few IBM and HP systems the best. I've gone to those web pages and gone through the "customize laptop" process, and I've noticed that the IBM computers seem to cost anywhere from $500 to $1000 more than the HP versions that contain almost the same components. What is there about the IBM laptops that I'm not seeing... or why are they so much more expensive for the same processor, ram, optical drive, etc.?

Old 05-07-2004, 03:08 AM   #2
Registered: Feb 2002
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i am at the moment looking for the same thing. i have been reading review after review after review, for days now. Most of what i have read has supported the claim that the centrino, mobile pentiums do run cooler, and save on the battery. Id say that it's probably true. although you may lose a little processing speed, you get more battery life.

i have a laptop that i can't even take to school. why? cuz the damn thing is over 9 pounds. try lugging that around all day along with a full day of lectures and associated books, all over the campus. no fun at all. so what should you care about?

battery life and weight.
a laptop can be a tool to help you succeed and be more productive. it wont be much of a tool if you find that its a hassle to bring it.

i have read other places and seen people get the integrated wireless working to some extent. me personally? i'd buy a compatable card if i had any trouble. a quick trip to the store and i'd be good. if i read correctly, the IBM worked great with linux, other than that integrated wifi.
i am looking right now at the IBM T41. 4.5 pounds base weight, minus the extended battery i want for it. not too bad at all. the HP systems i looked at were at least 2 pounds heavier, but i did find one that was only 1 pound heavier. it adds up when your lugging it around school, or sitting on the bench using the LAP in laptop. you will care about how hot it runs then! my alienware is a straight up p4 in the 2.8GHz area and it'll burn the hair off my legs lol.

IBM's do cost a bit more, but try going with one of the preconfigured systems. you cut down the cost a whole lot by customizing one of their featured models like here . i looked under Value, and clicked on Customize and Buy.

here is what i'm looking at. IBM ThinkPad T41, add in the extended battery, and more ram, and that's what i'm aiming for so far.

they are still more expensive, but go look at some reviews at cnet and see what you think. your paying for the IBM name too don't forget

for me it comes down to who can offer me the specs i want, at the lowest weight and highest battery length. Your laptop will become a desktop if its a pain to lug around school every day. my $2800 alienware is now a permanant resident in my apt. because it's too big, and too bulky, and too heavy to deal with. plus the battery life is pretty low on my p4. maybe around 2 hours. if you can find a local store that sells IBM's and HP's go check them out. type on them. see how it feels on your hands, where inputs are located, and how well you can navigate the keyboard.

i want to run linux on my upcoming laptop too, but what i want even more than that is to be able to use the thing. So, ill keep looking, find two, maybe three models i really like, and feel right, then see which ones have high compatability with linux. the IBM i found so far looks like it does. it's in the h.c.l. here, listed as a T40, which the two systems are very close. when i find other models with similar weight/battery life i'll look them up too.

hope this long post helped lol.

Last edited by sphynx; 05-07-2004 at 03:17 AM.
Old 05-07-2004, 02:26 PM   #3
Ben Novack
Registered: Jan 2004
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Note that "Centrino" means 'Pentium M processor plus Intel-brand 802.11b wireless card.' In a move that seems specifically designed to be as confusing as possible, the Pentium M is not the same as a Pentium 4M; Pentium M means "Centrino processor," but the actual Centrino label is reserved for systems that have Intel's wireless chipset as well. As a result, a lot of people use "Centrino" to refer to any Pentium M.

Centrino rocks, hugely. A 1.6ghz Centrino chip performs about as well as a Mobile Pentium 4 2.4ghz, which is why the current P4 line is being dropped and Centrino used as the basis of Intel's new chips.

My Dell D600 lasts for about three hours with with the wifi running nonstop, and that's on a thin-and-light laptop.

As for linux drivers - Intel did release Centrino drivers recently. I have no idea how easy they are to set up.
Old 05-07-2004, 02:34 PM   #4
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hehe. thanks for clearing that bit up. posting at 4 am after a long day makes you forget things lol.
to be more precise, i have the standard desktop version Pentium 4 2.8 in my laptop.
i had a dell inspiron 4100 that had a Mobile Pentium processor, and that ran a little warm as well, which i noticed when my hands were on the keyboard, or if it was on my lap. It wasnt terrible, but you could definately notice the heat.
i have not owned one with a centrino chip yet. but thats what i'm looking for.

by the way, i just found a great link to how other people got linux working on their laptops. i found the T40, where people have gotten, redhat, suse, mandrake, debian, fedora, ect to work, and my T41 where people have gotten debian, and fedora to work well on it. After you choose your laptop, check out it's compatability and a review of how well installation worked for others


Last edited by sphynx; 05-07-2004 at 02:54 PM.
Old 05-07-2004, 06:22 PM   #5
LQ Newbie
Registered: May 2004
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Dell D600

Hi all

Ben. I read that you have a Dell 600?

I have recently purchased a Dell Latitude 600, centrino etc. I am having problems with Mandrake 10 installation. I was wondering what distro you are running on your laptop?

Everytime Mandrake boots up I get a loud feed back type sound comming from my laptop. Not nice. And tends to scare the cat also.

Hope someone can help, as I have a laptop thats about as usefull as a ashtray on a motorbike at the moment

Old 05-07-2004, 07:52 PM   #6
Registered: Oct 2002
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Thanks all for your comments. I liked this T41 at first but was scared away by the price... now I've taken another look at changing around it's options at the link sphynx passed along (thanks!), and it looks like that might be the best choice for me now. I have a couple other assorted questions about it now:

1. I see that those Thinkpads have a special pointing system with different settings for both devices. I know from reviews that Linux will work with these devices, but does anyone know if the other features are supported (I read something about the touchpads and the buttons near it being assigned different functions)?

2. I did my best to look around at the product pages on IBM's site, and it looks like the T41 doesn't have an internal floppy or DVD-burner option. I've never had a DVD burner and it's something I probably wouldn't be using too frequently, I just noticed other brands do have that option. Also, I guess I can get by without an internal floppy but that just seems like something that should be standard. If someone hands me a floppy with a document on it I'll have to plug in a USB drive just to read it... that's the only thing so far that would make me a little bit hesistant about going out and buying this. I guess most notebooks today don't have that option anyway, but it seems like something that should be available.

Old 05-08-2004, 12:55 PM   #7
Registered: Feb 2002
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if you want to see how other people got thier models working you can check out: tuxmobile. they may have stuff on how their touchpad and pointer stick work under linux. i haven't heard that it does anything unusual.

the ibms do have a DVD writer option. personally, i'd forget about it. i think it runs an additinal $400. If you have a desktop, your money would be better spent on one for that. you can find one of the top pioneer or sony's that read and write all formats for under $200. watching a dvd, you may want to do between classes. its harder on the battery when you do that though.

as far as floppys go, i see fewer and fewer laptops including them. I only used it on my previous laptops once in a while, and now that i think about it, i haven't used a floppy disc in like 2 years. in the beginning teachers wanted me to turn in some of my programs on floppy, but that was a long time ago. lately i have been submitting all my work online. If you find you really need one, you could get an addon one. it'll add a few ounces to what you carry around, but i found that the best kind of laptop bags make it a cinch to carry some additional laptop stuff, like a power cord, and that stupid floppy drive. check these out: backpacks. somethign like this will carry your laptop, and your books. you could also check out jump drives, instead of a floppy. those little things can hold a great deal more than 1.44 mb.


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