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Old 2012-08-04, 03:11   Link #1
iKumdo
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Ubuntu Laptop

Hey everyone,

I'm planning on switching from OSX to either Windows 7 or Ubuntu. I'm leaning mostly to Ubuntu because I'm hearing bad things about Windows 8 set to release in Oct.

My question is, what laptop is a good choice for Ubuntu 12.04?

I was eyeing the latest HP Envy 15, but my research tells me that there are a lot of issues with Ubuntu.

I'm looking for a laptop with similar specs as the Envy 15 or a 15 inch Macbook Pro for around $1300. I would like it if it had the full 1080 resolution that the Envy does. A discrete graphics card is a must. Light and good battery is a plus.

Thanks.
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Old 2012-08-04, 03:57   Link #2
aeriolewinters
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Get the Windows 8 laptop. The criticisms are just annoyances and butthurt people who can't use the windows key.
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Old 2012-08-04, 04:53   Link #3
Random32
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-System76 makes Ubuntu laptops.
-Dell's XPS13 ultrabook has official Ubuntu support from Dell as part of Project Sputnik.
-ThinkWiki has a lot of help running Linux on Thinkpads. Lenovo doesn't officially support Linux (unlike IBM did for some models), but there is a strong user community.

That said. There isn't really anything bad about Windows 8, just that Metro is a major change and a combination of "they changed it now it sucks" and the fact that Metro is designed for touch first and kb/mouse second. The regular desktop has received a lot of enhancements and is even better than in 7. The only part of Metro you are forced to use is the Start Screen, which is nearly a straight upgrade over the Start Menu imho.

Also, on the topic of Gabe Newell hating on Win8. Do note that Windows App Store will compete with Steam. He definitely benefits if Windows 8, specifically Metro and the App Store, crash and burn.
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Old 2012-08-04, 09:48   Link #4
SeijiSensei
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There are a variety of threads on Ubuntu laptops at Ubuntuforums. Here's the main thread: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1543006. This forum focuses on hardware and laptop issues. If you find a model you think you might want to buy, and you can't find any good information about Linux compatibility, I suggest posting a question to this forum.

Most people have good success with machines from Lenovo, Acer and ASUS.

I installed Kubuntu on my daughter's HP dv6t laptop, and it was a pain in the neck if you wanted to preserve dual boot. HP's come with all four primary disk partitions in use so there is no easy way to create a dual-boot arrangement. I documented the steps involved here.

Things to be aware of include:

1) Wifi adapters - Some have better support than others. I avoid Broadcom hardware if possible and prefer devices that use either the Atheros or Intel chipsets. It's always possible to cobble together a solution using "ndiswrapper" and the appropriate Windows driver, but it's a lot easier to pick a machine with a well-supported adapter. For a good list, see this site.

2) "Hybrid" graphics - Many new laptops come with two graphics cards, an Intel-based chip that uses less power but has limited features, and an NVIDIA or ATI adapter that eats more battery but has support for 3D and other more advanced features. These machines have posed problems for Linux developers as the specs for these hybrid designs are proprietary, and companies like NVIDIA have chosen not to invest in building good Linux drivers for these machines. Luckily the open-source community has been working hard on this problem. For NVIDIA hybrids, there's the "Bumblebee" project. For ATI devices, see this thread.

3) Suspend/resume - Works with some machines but not others. Lenovos apparently suspend correctly. My little ASUS 1201n netbook does not.

4) Fingerprint readers - Generally aren't very well-supported in Linux.

If you have the oppotunity to try out the machine in a store, bring along an Ubuntu CD and see if they will let you boot from it in the "Try Ubuntu" mode.
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Old 2012-08-04, 11:38   Link #5
iKumdo
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Thanks for the quick responses!

@Random:
Admittedly, the reason why Windows 8 sounds bad to me right now has a lot to do with Newell's comments. Considering how Steam is trying to get a port working on Ubuntu, it would suck to get Win 8 and not get good Steam support. I imagine that won't be the case though, since they'd lose 90% of their demographic if they did that.

So the negative comments on Win 8 really has to do with just the new start menu stuff? I don't want another OS trying to be a mobile phone though like the OSX is becoming.

@Seiji
I'm considering the Thinkpads. They're a bit more expensive than the HP and Dell counterparts though.

I also like the Envy because it reminds me of the Macbook Pro, and I like familiarity.

@Windows 8 people

I'm considering Ubuntu over Windows also because it's more efficient, open source, and, from experience, a lot of fun to use.
I do play games though, so...........yeah.



Again thanks for the response, guys.
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Old 2012-08-04, 22:02   Link #6
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iKumdo View Post
I don't want another OS trying to be a mobile phone though like the OSX is becoming.
OS X ported back a few features and programs that were featured in iOS first, but that doesn't mean that Apple is turning OS X into a "mobile phone OS." They're going extremely touch-heavy, which you may not be able to appreciate if you don't use their trackpad. If you have an older Macbook or Macbook Pro, you're still missing out: my wife's Macbook doesn't support the gestures or "interial scroll" features, and my 2008 Macbook Pro doesn't support a number of the gestures. I use the "Magic Trackpad" (silly name, never was a fan of that) and it's really wonderful. It's been about four or five months, and now it feels awkward to return to using a mouse.

The only thing I worry about with OS X is the direction that Apple is going with the "Mac App Store" and Gatekeeper. It's convenient, secure, and makes a lot of sense, but I'm worried that they're going to lock things down a bit too tight, and will kill a lot of programs in the process.

Windows 7 is a pretty nice OS. Windows 8 pushes the touch interface a bit too far. I haven't used Ubuntu or any other Linux flavor in about five years, but things didn't come easy to me with them... best of luck whichever way you go.
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Old 2012-08-05, 01:31   Link #7
Random32
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Most people's complaints about Win8 are about the Start Screen and Metro. Gabe Newell's complaints are about everything in general, but what he doesn't like about 8 is the App Store because Steam might receive competition from it.

As for not supporting Windows 8. Most gamers still use Windows, most companies still build engines with DirectX, and games for Windows on top of them. Steam on Windows still has a lot of life left.

About Thinkpads. They are business laptops, not normal consumer stuff. Business laptops are more reliable and more durable and consumer/prosumer laptops, they also tend to be easier to repair and upgrade, come with better warranties, and have longer support for driver updates/etc., because of this they tend to be more expensive. Comparable laptops from Dell and HP are Latitudes, Precisions, and EliteBooks, both of which actually tend to be more expensive than Thinkpads.

15 inch Business Laptops:
Lenovo Thinkpad T530, W530
HP EliteBook 8570p, 8570w
Dell Latitude E6530, Precision M4700
If you are willing to import:
Panasonic ToughBook/LetsNote CF-B11

On the topic of laptop recommendations
forum.notebookreview.com
http://www.reddit.com/r/SuggestALaptop/
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Old 2012-08-05, 02:59   Link #8
-KarumA-
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What things will you mostly be doing on the laptop? What programs are you expecting to run most of the times.
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Old 2012-08-05, 03:32   Link #9
iKumdo
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Thanks again for the responses.

@Ledgem
Yes, but I still don't like the general direction Mac is going in. I've also been let down by their reliability, which was supposed to be much better than what I've gotten. Also they're so damn expensive.

@Random
I read a lot of the reviews for the ThinkPads and I'm liking what I see so far. My only gripe is that their screens are considered bad. I couldn't find ThinkPads at the local store so I don't know how true their claims are.

Still, after getting your input and looking at the research, I am really liking the ThinkPads. Especially because of the ease of upgrading. I actually like the T430s, T530, and, just for fun, the yet-to-be-released X-1 Carbon. The W series looks too big and heavy.

@Karuma
I'll mostly use it for writing, general net use, and movies. I also do play games a bit, but I only really play Team Fortress these days, and I'm told the game will run fine on Intel graphics.

I have another question about graphics, actually. I heard from some people that the integrated Intel 4000 with an i7 processor and large RAM will be a better investment than the NVIDIA/ATI mobile graphic cards that are at 1024 mb VRAM. (Unless one is planning on running multiple monitors). Is this true?

Finally, are the mini-display ports and the thunderbolts better for hooking up to an HD TV (to watch movies)? Would I get a converter to HDMI from one of those ports?
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Old 2012-08-05, 06:07   Link #10
Random32
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If you have a university bookstore or something, they might stock Thinkpads.

On the topic of screen quality. The base 1366x768 panel sucks, this is universal.
X230 - 1366x7678 IPS panel "Premium" option is one of the best quality screens you can get on a sub $1000 laptop.
T430/s - 1600x900 panel is decent. Not bad not good.
T530/W530 - 1920x1080 panel is good. Not as good the DreamColor panels on HP workstations, but its a much cheaper upgrade and is a very nice TN panel.
X1C - The 1600x900 panel is a high quality TN panel from previews. A lot better than the T430/s panels. Hope that stays true for production.

If all you are playing is TF2, the HD4000 graphics on an 35watt Corei is good enough, no need to go to the i7. Also, if you ever intend to run Linux, switchable graphics have pretty sketchy support.

You will need to buy an mDP to HDMI cable to hook up to most HDTV's. You can buy them here http://www.monoprice.com/products/su...=10246#1024603
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Old 2012-08-06, 15:59   Link #11
iKumdo
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Thanks, Random. You're a big help.

I think I'm leaning towards the T430s or the X1 Carbon because I like shiny things.
I'll probably go with the T430s if the X1 is too expensive or does not have the same upgradeability as the T430s.

You know around when they refresh their models?
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Old 2012-08-06, 23:01   Link #12
Random32
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Most Thinkpads were updated to Ivy Bridge a few months ago. X1 Carbon is coming out late August.
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