Re: High end laptop recommendations
- From: David Brown <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 15:51:55 +0200
On 28/10/2011 15:30, General Schvantzkoph wrote:
On Fri, 28 Oct 2011 13:31:41 +0200, David Brown wrote:
On 28/10/2011 03:12, General Schvantzkoph wrote:On Fri, 28 Oct 2011 00:23:20 +0000, Use-Author-Supplied-Address-HeaderI would also never recommend buying a laptop off the web, unless you
I am looking for recommendations for a laptop purchase. The
end user needs a not-too-big/heavy machine with a fast processor and
plenty of memory for a scientific number crunching application under
Linux. The distro is not critical but must have good support for the
machine's peripherals. Something along the lines of an Intel i7 CPU,
at least 6GB memory, a 13" or 14" screen and weighing not much more
than around 1.5kG would be ideal. Something like the Toshiba Portege
R830-10Q looks fine for the spec. but the key requirement is good
driver support for the hardware.
Ps. The email address in the header is just a spam-trap.
Take a Fedora Live USB key into the store and boot the laptops that you
are interested in to see of the WiFI works. The WiFI is the only thing
that's problematic. You want something that works out of the box
without having to compile drivers or worse having to use Ndiswrapper.
If Fedora Live finds the WiFI then any modern distro will work because
Fedora only had kernel drivers, they don't include binaries like
Ubuntu. If you want to use SL6 or CentOS6 then you should put SL6.1
Live on a USB and try that also. RHEL 6 uses a older kernel so it won't
have the latest WiFI drivers, however if SL6.1 Live works then you are
golden because it means that the WiFI chips have been supported since
Buying off of the web isn't a good option anymore because manufacturers
don't specify the WiFI chips and they changes them on an hourly basis.
In the past it was possible to order a laptop with Intel WiFI (which
always works) for a few bucks more, I did that with my HP laptop a
couple of years ago. But that option doesn't seem to be available from
anyone these days. If you do find a source that will let you specify
the WiFI then it would be OK to order it off of the web. Intel and
Atheros are safe choices. I think the latest Broadcom chips are OK now
but I won't swear to it.
already know /exactly/ what model you want. That doesn't just apply to
a laptop for Linux (my experience has been that modern distros work fine
with most laptops). Laptops are always a tradeoff - do you want a nice
big screen, or do you want it easily portable? Should it be fast, or
low power? You really need to /see/ the real machine to judge its size
and screen. You need to lift it to feel its weight. You need to try
the keyboard and touchpad - for some machines, you will quickly find
them unusable - others may suite your fingers perfectly.
My advice was strictly because of the current marketing practices on WiFI.
I've bought all of my laptops off of the web and it worked out fine until
I bought a netbook a year ago. When I bought my big HP laptop several
years ago I was able to configure it with Intel WiFI so it's always been
fine, they don't offer that option any more. Last year I bought an Asus
netbook because it was so light and tiny (as it turns out netbooks screens
are too small to be useful, but that's another story). I checked out the
Asus netbooks at Best Buy with a Fedora Live USB stick, they all had
Atheros WiFI chips which worked out of the box. However instead of buying
it at Best Buy I saved myself $50 and bought it from Newegg, that turned
out to be a mistake. The one I received had an off brand WiFI chip with no
kernel driver. There is a Linux driver available which works fine, but I
have to compile it from source every time I do a kernel upgrade which is a
pain in the ass. If I had bought it from Best Buy I would have gotten a
unit that was the same as the one on display and it would have had an
Atheros WiFI chip. Aside from the WiFI everything else on a laptop should
just work so it's possible to order one based on the specs alone. However
if you can't specify the WiFI chip the only recourse is to test before you
I don't normally like to moralise, but I think this serves you right. I really think it is immoral and unethical to use the services of a shop to establish your needs, then buy the item elsewhere to save yourself a few pennies. You are playing your part in destroying essential services, and everyone - including you - will be worse off once even the lowest-end bargain shops are gone and replaced only by online shops.
Online shops have their place - I use them regularly - but if I get help, service, support or advice from a real shop, or from a particular online shop, then I would not consider buying it elsewhere just to save $50. If I can't afford that extra $50 to cover good service, then I can't afford the product.
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