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Old 04-12-2009, 09:04 AM   #1
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Registered: Apr 2009
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Abject newbie needs advice on first install

Hello all,

I am an abject newbie at Linux. My objective is to install Linux Ubuntu on a cheap ($350 - 500) laptop specifically for web browsing and surfing. I have a Lenovo laptop in mind at Tigerdirect and I've read the various postings on installation and partitioning if I want to do that rather than a full install.

My question:

How can I make sure that the video card, network card, wireless modem, etc are compatible with Ubuntu? I went to the Linux compatibility database ( but I don't see all the items on the computer on there. I'll post some of the specs below. Anyway I am looking for any advice on the first build. I am willing to fiddle with this of course, but basically I don;t want to make a big mistake by getting the wrong laptop for this project.

Thanks a million!!!

Display Type: WXGA TFT LCD

Screen Size: 15.4"

Maximum Resolution: 1280 x 800

Memory Type: DDR2

Memory Size: 2GB

Memory Speed: PC2-5300

Memory Slots (Total): 2

Capacity: 160GB

HDD/SSD Drives Included: 1x 160GB

Drive Types: Hard Drive

Hard Drive Speed: 5400 RPM

Lifestyle: Home & Student

Condition: New

Operating Systems: Windows Vista Home Basic

Startup Operating System: Windows® Vista Home Basic

Optional Operating Systems: Microsoft® Windows® Vista Family (available separately)

Operating System Licenses Included: Windows® Vista Home Basic

Platform: Notebook PC

Expansion Ports: 1 - Express Card Slot

Processor Brand: Intel

Processor Class: Pentium

Processor Type: Dual-Core

Processor Speed: 2.16GHz

Processor Number: T3400

Processor FSB: 667MHz

Processor Cache: 1MB L2 Cache

Graphics Description: Integrated Graphics

GPU/VPU: Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M

Video Interface: VGA

Optical Drive Type: DVD±RW

Supplemental Drive Type: N/A

Audio Description: Integrated Audio

Audio Chipset: Hi-Definition (HD) Audio Support

Audio Input: 1- Microphone input port

Audio Output: 1 - Headphone output port

PS/2 Mouse Connectors: N/A

PS/2 Keyboard Connectors: N/A

Serial Communication Ports: N/A

Parallel Ports: N/A

USB Ports: 4

FireWire Ports: N/A

Fast Infrared Ports (FIR): N/A

LAN Ports: 1

Modem Ports: 1

Audio Out Jacks: 1

Line In Jacks: N/A

Microphone Jacks: 1

VGA Ports: 1

S-Video Connectors: N/A

DVI Video: N/A

HDMI Ports: N/A

Port Replicator/Connector: N/A

eSATA Ports: N/A

Communications Description: Integrated LAN
Integrated Modem
Integrated Wireless LAN

Interface Type: RJ-11 Phone Connector
RJ-45 Ethernet Connector
802.11b/g Wireless Networking

Data Transfer Rate: 56Kbps Modem
54 Mbps
10/100Mbps Network

Protocols: V.92

Width: 14.2"

Height: 1.5"

Depth: 10.1"

Weight: 6 lbs

Mouse Type: Touch Pad

Buttons: 2

Integrated Webcam: Yes

Webcam Resolution: 1.3MP

Specification Notes: [3] To provide the most accurate specifications, the specifications listed are based upon the manufacturer's exact model specification as published on the manufacturer's website.
Old 04-12-2009, 10:40 AM   #2
Registered: Nov 2005
Distribution: CentOS 5, Fedora 23
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Ubuntu has quite good compatability with lots of hardware new and old. We have a hardware compatability list here and a subsection for lenovo laptops at If you can try before you buy Ubuntu actually boots as a live distro which allows you to test all hardware without making any changes to the system. When you are finished just remove the cd and you're back to windows or whatever was on the to start with.
Old 04-12-2009, 11:01 AM   #3
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Registered: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,796

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You can also seek...

Google for the make and model of the laptop and linux or linux installation or linux problem. Look to see if you can get those exact model specifications mentioned at the bottom of your post and google for them the same way. The information you posted is too generic to tell you anything; those particulars could be for any new laptop.

Lenovo machines have a good reputation with linux, but that is no quarantee, and there is no one up to date listing of all the laptops on which linux installs without difficulty.

Hopefully there is someone who has gone on before you with this machine and their experience is posted somewhere to be found.

In case this is of use.

Good Luck

Last edited by thorkelljarl; 04-12-2009 at 11:07 AM.
Old 04-12-2009, 11:22 AM   #4
Registered: Oct 2008
Location: Near Jakarta
Distribution: Slackware, Arch, Slax, Porteus, Tiny Core, Slitaz
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This device
Graphics Description: Integrated Graphics

GPU/VPU: Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M
might need some 'tweaking' to use in Linux.
Old 04-12-2009, 07:20 PM   #5
Registered: Apr 2009
Posts: 108

Rep: Reputation: 24
Copy any Linux distribution of your choice in it's Live CD version onto a rewriteable CD or DVD and try it. If it works, then use it. If not, then rewrite the CD with another system.

The Knoppix Live DVD has very good hardware support.

Last edited by Tinkster; 10-30-2010 at 03:34 PM.


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