[SLE] Laptop choice - REPORT

From: Johan Sch (johansche_at_absamail.co.za)
Date: 06/05/04

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    Date: Sat, 5 Jun 2004 20:11:47 +0200
    To: [SLE] <suse-linux-e@suse.com>

    Here are some snippets from various mail lists that I asked for a laptop choice. I had good responses. Trust this may be of help to some..

    I'm dual-booting win XP and various Linux distros using FAT32, getting online and burning CDs on a Dell Inspiron 8500 and am very happy with it.
    My DELL Latitude C840 installed Mdk10 without any problems. Runs great.
    Yes, I have a T41 that works great with 10.0.
    If I was realistic I would use a Dell Inspiron 9100.. I have always bought dell laptops and never had any problems with running *nix on them. If I was dreaming then
    Would win hands down ;-)
    I would also go for the Dell option. VERY linux friendly.
    I love my IBM Thinkpad X31. It does very well with SuSE 9.1 on it.
    I got my laptop from http://www.powernotebooks.com/ and have been
    pleased with it. I'm running SuSE 9.0 Professional.
    These websites should give you a better approach:
    Have a look on www.linux-on-laptops.com
    My elcheapo Dell 1100 works fine on 10.0.
    I have a Compaq Presario that works like a champ with ML10.
    As everyone knows, all decent laptops are made by Tadpole...
    http://www.tadpolecomputer.com/html/ (No alphabook anymore though :-( )
    Here are some sites that might help:
    I love the IBM T41 to death. I'm so happy with it that I'd buy another
    10 if I had the money. You can see more info at
    Of course you can avoid the whole ACPI mess if you can find a laptop with a working Linux APM implementation. The Toshiba laptops are always a good start (just make sure your laptop works with the toshiba utilities).
    Some of my Toshiba links:
    I'd say the two most important things to watch out for on a laptop:
     (a) Power Management
        Check ACPI or APM support, Suspend to disk, support for the fans /
        battery monitoring. Check whether the motherboard chipset has I2C and/or
        SMBus support. Watch out for IBM Thinkpads and I2C problems.
     (b) Display Card
        Avoid Trident like the plague. Also avoid SiS, etc. Make sure your
        display card works with Linux and that it has X support with
        an accelerated driver. Be wary of the latest display chipsets (e.g.
        Intel 8xx chipsets, etc). Watch out for cards without onboard display
        memory, e.g. Intel's chipsets. If the cards memory is shared with the
        system memory, make sure that the BIOS supports a mode where you can
        select at least as much display memory as you require to display an
        entire framebuffer + maintain some page tables. 1MB is not enough!
        If you can choose a decent display card. That means one of two:
           - ATI Radeon series
           - NVidia (anything)
        With the ATI cards, check if Tungsten Graphics supports the drivers.
        They wrote the whole Radeon driver + support code. If they don't support it and/or the display chipset haven't been around for 12 months or so, you're in for a nasty surprise or two.
    Make sure that the one you chose has ACPI working. ACPI is a total mess
    - every laptop bios has a different implementation, and it's almost
    impossible to fix it yourself. Check here:
    If your laptop has ACPI broken, you fix it by linking a custom DSDT
    table into your kernel. If there is a fixed one available for your model
    it's great, but if there isn't you're on your own.
    If you have no idea what I'm talking about, ACPI is the interface to
    battery status, fan status, temperature, lid switch, power switch, etc.
    I'm ready to give rave notices to the mdk crew for 10.0 on a Dell
    1100. Have no idea where yours compares, but I have all good to
    report on this one.
    Thanks to every one involved.

    Registered Linux User #330034
    May this be a good day for learning
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