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Old 08-24-2013, 01:49 PM   #1
rshepard
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Lower End Portable Fully Supported by Slackware-14.0


I have a Sony Vaio that does not want to connect wirelessly to networks. An earlier model Vaio had no issues, but this one quits working wirelessly with each distritubion upgrade. The use is almost exclusively facebook, gmail, and other Web sites; now and then some digial photo manipulation with the GIMP but she uses jpilot and jgnash regularly so I'm looking for a notebook/laptop rather than a touch-screen tablet or 'Net book.

What brands/models should I look at to replace the Sony Vaio? It should have a 15.6" screen and regular keyboard.

TIA,

Rich
 
Old 08-24-2013, 03:36 PM   #2
gargamel
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I recently bought a Toshiba Satellite Pro C850-1K0. Good non-glare display, with good brightness, so that it even can be used outdoor on a sunny day, good keyboard, and the IvyBridge i3 is almost as fast as the SandyBridge i5, build quality is quite good, and what I like: No bling bling, no piano like surface. I don't need a shaving mirror, and I don't want to see my fingerprints on the device. What I do need instead is a portable work horse, not to replace, but to complement my desktop system.

If your requirements are similar, I could easily recommend the model. It's by no means fancy in any way, but it does the job, for which I bought it, quite well, and Toshiba laptops usually are well supported by Linux. Also, the price tag was really fair: Less than 400,00 EUR with 4 GB of RAM and a 320 GB hdd with pre-installed Microsoft Window 8, and Bluetooth 4.0, and all this at 2.3 kg (yes, ultrabooks are lighter, but for twice as much of money). Only disadvantage compared to more expensive models was the lack of

A word of caution, though: I've only tested the laptop with a couple of live distros, and they worked perfectly well, after I turned off secure boot in the BIOS. I am waiting for the release of Slackware 14.1, before I install my favourite distro on it, as it supports (hopefully) (U)EFI. So I cannot tell about, how easily Slackware installs on this new device, and how smoothly it will run out-of-the-box.

BTW: I wouldn't recommend to buy a Toshiba Satellite (the consumer line of models, without the "Pro"). They look exactly like the Pros, and seem to have better displays (1600 x 900 compared to the 1366 x 768 of the Pro) with the same price tag. So you won't be able to see any difference from a distance, and in fact, they seem to share the same components, apart from the display. But when you touch both devices and type a little more than just a few words on both of them, you will definitely notice, that the Pro models are assembled much more carefully, and still quite reasonably priced.

Good alternatives (more expansive, but also more capable) are available from Fujitsu (avoid the low-end consumer models, go for the lifebooks --- really good!) and Samsung. Some models from Asus and Acer run well with Linux, too, but it's hard to tell in advance, which ones, and the models I found attractive were either too expensive or too heavy for me, and more suitable as desktop replacements than as really portable computers. Recent Acer models look attractive, however, I have seen too many broken Acer laptops to trust them for mobile use (their professional line-up of models, such as the Travelmate series, may be good, though, but they weren't on stock in the shops where I looked).

gargamel

Last edited by gargamel; 08-24-2013 at 03:44 PM.
 
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Old 08-24-2013, 05:33 PM   #3
rshepard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gargamel View Post
I recently bought a Toshiba Satellite Pro C850-1K0.
If your requirements are similar, I could easily recommend the model. It's by no means fancy in any way, but it does the job, for which I bought it, quite well, and Toshiba laptops usually are well supported by Linux.
gargamel,

Thank you. I happily ran linux on several Toshibas (Libretto through Satellite) and had no issues with them. I did not know there was a 'Pro' line that was more robust and reliable than the consumer grade versions. The Sony Vaio was purchased to replace the Satellite that was pretty well worn out.

I'll be sure to turn off the Microsoft-specific junk in the BIOS since we don't run any of their software, and haven't since mid-1997.

Much appreciated,

Rich
 
Old 08-24-2013, 07:45 PM   #4
gargamel
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You're welcome!
Yes, like other vendors, Toshiba has different model series for different requirements. Qosmio is for gamers, Satellite is for consumers, Satellite Pro is the low-cost series for small businesses, and Tecra is the name of models designed for road-warriors and (top-) managers --- very robust, many interfaces, security features like fingerprint sensors, water-proof keyboards, (I think) better shock-resistance, long battery life and still good to excellent performance, along with extended warranty.

For me, however, the Satellite Pro series, is perfect. Performance and battery life are good enough for my purposes, and for a comparably moderate price the laptops come with good keyboards and displays. But, of course, YMMV.

And BTW, the C850 is going to replace a Toshiba Satellite Pro 4300 --- seven+ years old, I think (I bought it used), very limited by today's standards, with only 384 MB of RAM, but still working faultlessly. I hope in seven years from now I can say the same about the C850.


gargamel
 
Old 08-25-2013, 07:08 AM   #5
onebuck
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Hi,

From quality & cost, I like the Dell XPS L702x laptop that was purchased last year. I purchase all my Dell equipment via Dell refurbished office depot. Fair price and great warranty repair. This XPS had a Wireless issue and Dell replaced MB & Wireless module along with the display case since the antenna is part of that assembly. Keyboard back light was not proper, so they sent a tech with a new keyboard. Turned out the plug was loose from the previous repair & assembly. Replaced the keyboard since the plug was at fault. Been working like a charm since! Knock-knock-knock on wood.

I have purchased the last four laptops from Dell over the last 10 years. Hoping the last will service for a few years. Please note, I am a hardware junkie and purchase a lot of hardware to build my own to stay updated in my LAB. Laptops, I leave to Dell since repair parts are hard to get. Not that profitable to repair laptops anymore.

BTW, all the other Dells that I own are still happily in service running Slackware. Older units have other duties, the XPS is my working unit for LQ and other client needs.
 
Old 08-25-2013, 01:56 PM   #6
Bertman123
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I have a dell 1545 that I love. The only complaint I would have with it is the broadcom wireless card, but I've learned to live with it and am happily running slack on it.
 
Old 08-25-2013, 03:23 PM   #7
ponce
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toshiba satellite L755 running here since some time: i5 quad core, 6 Gb of RAM and nvidia geforce *without* Optimus.
 
  


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