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Thread: Help me find an (ultra) portable gaming laptop

  1. #1
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    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Help me find an (ultra) portable gaming laptop

    Hi,
    I am looking for a laptop that I could use as a Linux gaming laptop.
    It needs to be able to run Spring / Zero-K, Achron, and everything in the Humble Bundles so far.
    My current laptop is an Asus UL30VT which gives me 8 hours of battery life with discrete graphics off, and lets me play most of the games I want to play. However, it gets slow with Zero-K and Dungeon Defenders (Humble Bundle 7).

    My best choice right now seems to be Asus UX32VD-DH71.
    However, This review says that the battery life sucks.

    My preferred specs:
    Weight: 1.5 KG / 3 LB
    Size: 13-14 inch
    Screen: 1920x1080 (Not going to buy a smaller one)
    Battery: 8 hours with discrete graphics disabled (Probably going for an Optimus laptop)
    Graphics: nVidia
    CPU: Core i7 preferred (Spring/Zero-K is CPU intensive), others ok too
    Price: prefer under 1000 EUR / 1300 USD
    For a really good one willing to go up to 1200 EUR / 1500 USD

    I will upgrade memory and disk if they are not adequate.

    Obviously it's better if someone has tested that Ubuntu or another Linux works on it .

    Any ideas?
    Last edited by Vermind; March 6th, 2013 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Mentioned my current laptop
    Vermind

  2. #2
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    Kubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Help me find an (ultra) portable gaming laptop

    What desktop are you using? I am having great success with razor-qt, a sort-of KDE Lite which uses as few resources as LXDE, but appears to be much more powerful, on a single-core 1.6 MHz Asus Aspire 5516. To install:

    sudo apt-add-repository ppa:razor-qt/ppa && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install razor-qt

    Then log out and log back in, selecting Razor Desktop. Use htop or top or something to see how low the CPU usage is; I think you'll be impressed, especially if you first check the CPU load on your current desktop.

    I drink my Ubuntu black, no sugar.
    Ubuntu user 28819

  3. #3
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    Xubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Help me find an (ultra) portable gaming laptop

    Fair warning, optimus is more than a bit fidgety with the new kernel and doesn't work with hdmi out.

    I would wait a few months if not a year to see how support for optimus shapes up.

  4. #4
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    Re: Help me find an (ultra) portable gaming laptop

    Hi guys, thanks for the replies. I have been using powertop to optimize the battery, and I am happy with my desktop's energy usage with the laptops I have tried.
    As for Optimus, I am having success with my pre-optimus laptop, the UL30VT, with bumblebee and bbswitch. Since it is PRE-Optimus, I can actually run pure nVidia and that gives me the HDMI out. This will not be possible for Optimus laptops, which I am aware of.

    When Ubuntu changes to MIR and everyone else changes off of X, we will probably see something different happen with optimus/bumblebee. The PRIME framework that was the "right" way to do it for X will probably not be used on very many modern machines.

    However, I am looking for a better laptop; please suggest some. Let's talk about Optimus and power optimization / light desktops in another thread .
    Vermind

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Kubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Help me find an (ultra) portable gaming laptop

    it's difficult to find a new laptop that works with linux. unless someone already bought it and tried to stick linux on it. there is ubuntu certified website but those models are outdated. it didn't help me at least.

    anyway some hybrid Intel/AMD and AMD/AMD combos also work ok with proprietary drivers installed.

    as for battery i found it best if you can find a model that works well in linux to then search if stronger battery is available.sometimes they sell it as accessories, sometimes you can get "unnoficial one" (from other manufacturers)
    Easy to understand Ubuntu manual with lots of pics: http://ubuntu-manual.org/
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  6. #6
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    Re: Help me find an (ultra) portable gaming laptop

    What about any solid Ultrabook with a good display and a HD4000? Or maybe wait for HD5000 to be launched. That one should handle all HiB Games including Dungeon Defenders.

    I personally would not go for any switchable solution, no matter if Optimus or AMD switchable.

  7. #7
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    Re: Help me find an (ultra) portable gaming laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by cRaZyBisCuiT View Post
    What about any solid Ultrabook with a good display and a HD4000? Or maybe wait for HD5000 to be launched. That one should handle all HiB Games including Dungeon Defenders.

    I personally would not go for any switchable solution, no matter if Optimus or AMD switchable.
    That sounds like a good idea. My previous laptop's GMA X4500MHD and the work laptop's Core i7 integrated thing "Intel(R) Sandybridge Mobile (GT2)" according to Xorg log both don't handle Spring well.
    Does anyone have experience of running Spring or HiB games on HD4000? My issues are mostly with drivers for Intel, not so much the performance side. The drivers are known to have issues with games that nVidia or ATI drivers don't have.
    Vermind

  8. #8
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    Re: Help me find an (ultra) portable gaming laptop

    ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates

    Try that at your own risk! External PPAs may brake your system!

    I'm using this ppa which has some recent drivers in in it. It's quite more stable then ppa: org-edgers/ppa (I recommend not to use that one). It runs quite well on the notebok of my girlfriend. The only thing you still need to do then is to activate texture compression and you're done.
    Of course high demanding games like Oil Rush and Trine 2 WON'T RUN ON MAX SETTINGS with a HD4000! Please keep that in mind. HiB Games that are released until now should be running quite fine.

  9. #9
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    Re: Help me find an (ultra) portable gaming laptop

    Edit: Hi, I just checked, and the work laptop is an Asus UX31, with Integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000: http://www.asus.com/Notebooks_Ultrab...specifications

    Quote Originally Posted by cRaZyBisCuiT View Post
    ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates

    Try that at your own risk! External PPAs may brake your system!

    I'm using this ppa which has some recent drivers in in it. It's quite more stable then ppa: org-edgers/ppa (I recommend not to use that one). It runs quite well on the notebok of my girlfriend. The only thing you still need to do then is to activate texture compression and you're done.
    Of course high demanding games like Oil Rush and Trine 2 WON'T RUN ON MAX SETTINGS with a HD4000! Please keep that in mind. HiB Games that are released until now should be running quite fine.
    I use libtxc-dxtn (S3TC compression) and recently the libtxc-s2tc for the compression. Nowadays, that's not needed so much as it was before.
    I have been hopping between xorg-edgers and glasenhardt's PPA: https://launchpad.net/~glasen/+archive/intel-driver . On debian, I take Intel drivers directly from experimental.
    Those PPAs have fixed some visual issues I have with Spring on the work laptop to the point that it is playable but gives lots of errors and makes units invisible on certain zoom levels.

    What I talk about when I want games to work with an Intel card, I mean that they don't crash with missing openGL extensions or just segfault when I run them, like Shank 2 and Dungeon Defenders on the GMA X4500MHD. When I run those through optirun, everything is fine.

    Edit: I just took drivers for the work laptop from https://launchpad.net/~oibaf/+archive/graphics-drivers/ and they are super snappy.
    Achron is better than previous driver (messy random colour lines on terrain), with now just black lines on terrain: http://imgur.com/xmSKo59
    Still, I would prefer no lines on terrain as I get with nVidia...
    Dungeon defenders is a black screen with a menu: http://i.imgur.com/lT0rK47.png

    Edit: This highlights the issue. Intel: One game, nVidia: all of them. https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=1209102
    Last edited by Vermind; March 8th, 2013 at 01:28 AM. Reason: Link to some HiB HD 3000 experiences
    Vermind

  10. #10
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    Re: Help me find an (ultra) portable gaming laptop

    To be honest, the GMA4500MHD is a pretty crappy chipset. I also got that one in my office notebook. I wouldn't wonder if there are some more Open GL Libs provided for HD4000. But I don't have one to try that out. But still, the Intel drivers are getting better and better, though the nVidia and especially AMD drivers, too. In the end I would avoid to use a switchable system. Optirun is not optimal and AMD solutions often suck. So unless you know they work pretty well for a specific mashine (some does!) I would not get them.

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