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Thread: Which Ubuntu Laptop Should I Get for College?

  1. #1
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    Question Which Ubuntu Laptop Should I Get for College?

    Hello all, and basically I need some help. I'm attending the University of Michigan majoring in computer engineering, and I don't know what Laptop I should get so I can use when not at my desktop. My desktop sadly is my custom built windows 8 machine, but I want an Ubuntu laptop.

    Here are the two choices I have found (around $1600 budget - but money doesn't matter)

    Criteria: No Mobile/Dedicated GPU (I use desktop for gaming), High performance (quad core preferred), at least 8 Gb RAM.

    I plan to wait until haswell is released and these systems have been updated.

    Please Help me decide! -dlambert

    UPDATE: My biggest concern going with the System76 system is the lack of Hard-shell cases available. The dell at least has the option to buy a hard shell case (like the macbook air)


    Dell XPS 13 "Sputnik" Developer Edition:

    13" Inch
    1080p
    i7-3537U
    8GB ram
    256 GB SSD

    http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/xps-13-linux/pd




    System76 Gazelle Professional (configured):
    15.6"
    120GB SSD
    i7-3840QM
    16GB Ram

    https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/gazp8



    Last edited by Dlambert; May 30th, 2013 at 12:10 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Which Ubuntu Laptop Should I Get for College?

    Having bounced around through a few different sized laptops, I can say that bigger is better. At least, for me. At work I had a 13" ultrabook and I thought it was all sleek and super nice, etc. And truth be told, it is a super nice laptop. But with the way I use technology, I needed that thing to be a solid workhorse. A workhorse it was not. The fans were constantly kicking on because of all of the stuff I was doing on it and at the end of the day the 13" screen size just didn't do it for me.

    Right now I'm using a laptop that's not far off from the super comfortable 13" screen... as my work laptop is a 14". It doesn't sound like a big difference, but as a "mobile desktop" I love it so much more. Sure, it's a little chunkier, but at least I have a full size HDD slot to put in my 256GB SSD, unlike the ultrabook. And at least I have a significantly more powerful processor and more USB ports, and even more battery life.

    There's something about the System76 that just screams "this will last you many years." Maybe it's the array of specs on it or the fact that you get a decent size screen with a solid resolution. I would absolutely love to have that machine as my daily work machine, or even my personal machine.

    At this point I can see I'm bouncing over the radar a little bit. So here's a basic synopsis. I prefer a laptop that will not hold me back and will allow me to get all of my work done comfortably and efficiently. Both of those units look really great, but the System76 just seems like something that would fit the bill for intense multitasking and extended longevity in a much nicer fashion.

    Just my 2c.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Which Ubuntu Laptop Should I Get for College?

    Dell dabbles in supporting Linux. System76 has built its business around supporting Linux.

    If I had money to spend I'd spend mine with System76.

    Don't forget:
    Quote Originally Posted by Every single page at dell.com
    Dell recommends Windows™

  4. #4
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    Re: Which Ubuntu Laptop Should I Get for College?

    I would recommend a Thinkpad. They have good Linux support, are very durable, and are priced right.

  5. #5
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    Re: Which Ubuntu Laptop Should I Get for College?

    Thank you for the replies guys. Does anyone know if I can buy a hard shell for the system76 pc? I've sent them an email.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Which Ubuntu Laptop Should I Get for College?

    Quote Originally Posted by montag dp View Post
    I would recommend a Thinkpad. They have good Linux support, are very durable, and are priced right.
    I think the
    ThinkPad Edge E431 looks nice,but I wish I could "customize it"

    Steam: ubuntugamer( Add me ) | Gaming: Left 4 Dead 2, Metro Last Light, Assassin's Creed 4, Forced

  7. #7
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    Re: Which Ubuntu Laptop Should I Get for College?

    Get an Ultrabook. As a college student, I can recommend you no better option. Either the XPS13, or the Lenovo Thinkpad Carbon, The XPS13 has a higher resolution screen but the Carbon has a bigger screen in a smaller form factor and better build quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dlambert View Post
    I think the
    ThinkPad Edge E431 looks nice,but I wish I could "customize it"
    Don't get an edge. They're not real thinkpads. You want something from the T or X series. T series for durability, power, and ports or the X series for form factor.
    That's what she said.

  8. #8
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    Re: Which Ubuntu Laptop Should I Get for College?

    I'd have to throw in what I use, I am a computer engineering major at the University of Oklahoma and primarily run Ubuntu. I have a Thinkpad w520, it's a mobile workstation and performs as such. I LOVE IT! Plus I got money from the university to buy my laptop so I went all out and spent ~2500 and got a BUNCH of student discounts from Lenovo. Great company, great products. My specs are in my sig, but yeah if you want linux, get a System76, if you want linux and a gaming machine/engineering machine, get a thinkpad, as AllRadioisDead said, a T or X or W, the W is more pricey than the T but is also more customizable. I originally was going with a T but I wanted the higher graphics card and got a W series.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Which Ubuntu Laptop Should I Get for College?

    Quote Originally Posted by cbennett926 View Post
    I'd have to throw in what I use, I am a computer engineering major at the University of Oklahoma and primarily run Ubuntu. I have a Thinkpad w520, it's a mobile workstation and performs as such. I LOVE IT! Plus I got money from the university to buy my laptop so I went all out and spent ~2500 and got a BUNCH of student discounts from Lenovo. Great company, great products. My specs are in my sig, but yeah if you want linux, get a System76, if you want linux and a gaming machine/engineering machine, get a thinkpad, as AllRadioisDead said, a T or X or W, the W is more pricey than the T but is also more customizable. I originally was going with a T but I wanted the higher graphics card and got a W series.
    Nice. The only reason I didn't recommend the W series is because they're not quite as portable. That being said, if the W520 is a great option if you need the power.
    That's what she said.

  10. #10
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    Re: Which Ubuntu Laptop Should I Get for College?

    Just finished my freshman year as a computer science major. As people have already said, Thinkpads are a solid choice, I know a lot fo comp sci people using them running plenty of different distros.

    I personally have a Lenovo Ideapad y580, and while yeah, ideapad vs thinkpad, it's been absolutely great so far. Good price for the specs, I needed a laptop capable of gaming, and it maxes most of my collection, but there are definitely higher end games where I have to tone it down. Came with Windows 8 pre-installed (sigh), but Ubuntu installed just fine, and I run a dual-boot with windows for gaming, linux for everything else (although I'm liking that Steam on Ubuntu has some of the games I play). Only problem I have is the poor trackpad, but I always use a mouse, and everything else about it is great.
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