Report on a new Gateway nv79 laptop: i5-430, 4GB Ram, 500 GB hdd, i915 VGA, 17" 1600x900 LCD.
Very nice machine, at a great price. Hardware compatibility not so great. I first tried loading the latest Archlinux on it...no go due to the i915 driver being absolutely crappy with Xorg 1.8 and any kernel...it would just black screen at the start of module load.
So I tried the 10.4 Ubuntu i386; the live cd mostly worked, so it got installed. All's good bar the sound...you will need a kernel 126.96.36.1999 from here :https://wiki.ubuntu.com/KernelMainlineBuilds
Another note: DON'T use Compiz and attempt to do a screenshot using the gnome default key press PRTSC or ALT+PRTSC... the machine flips out , dumping cryptic kernel messages, dropping out of gnome.
With Compiz on, PRTSC will work ONCE, then subsequently result in general weirdness. Compiz OFF= working PRTSC. Being that this is the wifey's laptop, she couldn't care less for graphical bling...