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View Full Version : [ubuntu] Laptop buying advice - integrated graphics vs. Nvidia



Mikeb85
May 29th, 2012, 06:17 AM
Hey, just would like to know people's opinions here. I've never bought a laptop before, or a pre-built computer (only ever built my own towers), so I have a few questions.

1) Is it worthwhile to mess with Nvidia graphics drivers and graphic card switching, etc..., on a Linux laptop? Is the performance increase huge, hows the battery life, etc... Obviously things are much simpler with Intel only graphics, so this is a pretty broad question and I'd like opinions. I don't need discrete graphics per se (but if I could get them to work I wouldn't mind them).

2) How reliable are mobile graphics cards? I've heard of many Macbook pros, and other brand laptops failing because of faulty graphics cards. I've already swapped out a cheap Nvidia card on my tower, so I'm curious about the reliability of discrete cards, particularly the Nvidia Quadro mobile chips...

3) High res screens, how high to go? I have 1440x900 on my desktop, it's ok but I'd like sharper, is 1600x900 on a 14" sufficient, or is 1080p or higher the way to go?

4) Which option allows me to hook up the most external displays? I trade stocks, do analysis, etc..., so more screens = better. I've heard of issues with running external displays on Linux with switchable graphics?

Anyhow, any experience and opinions are appreciated, the laptops I'm looking at are the upcoming Lenovo Thinkpads (constantly debating between the X1 Carbon, W530, T430/530 - odds are I won't be able to touch any of them before I buy). But I'm also open to anything, would just like to hear what people think, I'm also going to be running Ubuntu exclusively, and virtualize Windows, other distros, etc...

carl4926
May 29th, 2012, 06:53 AM
Don't get hybrid graphics!

All my Laptops/Netbook are Intel and work flawlessly.
I have no experience with nvidia in mobile devices but know people who have them and mostly they are OK (nvidia) tends to be less trouble.

Intel gets my vote, but then I don't have high demands - most of my work is writing, some photo editing, browsing.

mastablasta
May 29th, 2012, 07:05 AM
some AMD cards with intel CPU &GPU (on notebooks) work nicely with proprietary drivers.

also some nvidia combos work reasonably well using the bumblebee. though the battery life might suffer and switching could be manual. not sure. i only read about these things...

not sure about monitor support. but usually at least dual monitors is supported with proprietary drivers.

the most displays as i know AMD (porbably nvidial also has this) have 6 displays in windows but on towers, not notebooks. notebooks usually have one additionally output. maybe some have 2.

Lindsey334
May 29th, 2012, 02:21 PM
I would buy INTEGRATED.

Just wait a month and buy an Ivy Bridge with Integrated. If I'm going to be running Ubuntu, I always buy integrated because of less hassle. Plus with Ivy Bridge the graphics are totally competent for everything except for the very high-end gaming.


1) Is it worthwhile to mess with Nvidia graphics drivers and graphic card switching, etc..., on a Linux laptop?
No, not IMHO.

2) How reliable are mobile graphics cards?
not sure what you mean "mobile graphics cards." do you mean graphics in a laptop?

3) High res screens, how high to go?
Ivy Bridge can support 4K res
http://www.macrumors.com/2011/09/20/ivy-bridge-to-support-ultra-high-resolution-4096x4096-screens/
https://www.zdnet.com/blog/computers/intels-ivy-bridge-integrated-gpu-will-support-4k-resolution/6761

4) Which option allows me to hook up the most external displays?
Ivy Bridge can power multiple displays

kurt18947
May 29th, 2012, 02:52 PM
On a laptop, it seems like physical connections would be the limiting factor. Integral screen +1?