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Thread: Which laptop to buy?

  1. #1
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    Which laptop to buy?

    I'm looking to buy a new laptop on which I can have a dual boot of Windows and Ubuntu. I need something with good graphics, fast processor, more RAM and hard drive space. HP looks good for all these purposes but I don't know if it's compatible with Ubuntu. Which one should I buy?
    Last edited by davy jones; June 14th, 2013 at 02:48 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Which laptop to buy?

    Thats not the way I would tackle the problem. You can't say that, for example, HP is more Linux-compatible that Dell. This is a matter of individual models. So I would suggest to create your personal picklist of laptop models and then try to find out about their compatibility, for example by entering the model in Google. A good way to check compatibility, however not possible for each and every model, is to visit a dealer and ask if you are permitted to run a liveCD/liveUSB on some models.

  3. #3
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    Re: Which laptop to buy?

    I don't have a brand or model recommendation. If I were in the market, I'd avoid the Windows 8/Secure Boot/UEFI mess. It's still possible to buy new machines with Windows 7 though maybe not at the big box stores. People have Windows 8/Ubuntu dual booting but for me it'd be a needless complication unless I needed to understand the process.

  4. #4
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    Re: Which laptop to buy?

    Look at Lenovo. They have a good track record with being Linux compatible. I had the ThinkPad Edge E430 and everything worked great.

  5. #5
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    Re: Which laptop to buy?

    I am currently on the Dell XPS 14 Ultrabook and everything is working as well though the touch-pad is a little sensitive. You can disable all of the UEFI crap in the bios easily and they have all of the Windows 7 drivers on the dell site.

  6. #6
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    Re: Which laptop to buy?

    OK so I believe the consensus is that Windows 7 is better than 8? (I haven't used Windows in seven years so I don't know anything about it) Right now I'm looking at Ideapads and HP Pavilion. Haven't narrowed it down further but I just wanted to know if there are some brands that are more Linux compatible in general.

  7. #7
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    Re: Which laptop to buy?

    Another option might be to get a dedicated Linux laptop, like from System76, and run Windows in a VM with KVM. No issues with compatibility that way, and you can still have your Ubuntu running when you need Windows for a specific task.

  8. #8
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    Re: Which laptop to buy?

    I'm not really tech savvy so most of that just went right over my head

  9. #9
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    Re: Which laptop to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by davy jones View Post
    OK so I believe the consensus is that Windows 7 is better than 8? (I haven't used Windows in seven years so I don't know anything about it) Right now I'm looking at Ideapads and HP Pavilion. Haven't narrowed it down further but I just wanted to know if there are some brands that are more Linux compatible in general.
    I don't think you can still get Windows 7 licensed laptops unless they're part of a business line. Windows 8 kind of blows right now but you don't have much of a choice.

    Personally, I'd recommend HP/Compaq or Dell. Spare parts are easy to obtain for these brands (Whether Genuine or knock-offs).

    It's going to be very difficult to establish if a laptop will work with Ubuntu, your best bet is to use a Live CD on a showroom model or look up the series on the web to see if other people have written anything about it. My biggest concern would be power consumption under Linux, you'll have to look into the type of videochip or card present in the laptop and then see if the drivers that are currently available properly support power management ...

  10. #10
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    Re: Which laptop to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by UbuntuRaptor View Post
    I don't think you can still get Windows 7 licensed laptops unless they're part of a business line. Windows 8 kind of blows right now but you don't have much of a choice.

    Personally, I'd recommend HP/Compaq or Dell. Spare parts are easy to obtain for these brands (Whether Genuine or knock-offs).

    It's going to be very difficult to establish if a laptop will work with Ubuntu, your best bet is to use a Live CD on a showroom model or look up the series on the web to see if other people have written anything about it. My biggest concern would be power consumption under Linux, you'll have to look into the type of videochip or card present in the laptop and then see if the drivers that are currently available properly support power management ...
    Very true. I believe most new Windows 7 laptops are 'business' grade machines. They cost more but also tend to use higher quality components so are likely to last longer. I have no first-hand experience with various brands but gather that some are easier/better about allowing disabling of Secure Boot & UEFI. There were also some Windows 7 machines produced with UEFI but not Secure Boot. I certainly agree with booting a live CD/DVD/USB before buying if possible. I've never tried it but suspect that the default answer at a U.S. 'Big Box' store would be no. Of course there's always the chance that you can find a sales person or supervisor who's curious as well.

    True about graphics and power management as well. It seems that 'hybrid' graphics support is improving at least for Nvidia. Intel graphics seem to have always been relatively trouble free. Knowing which WiFi chip is installed is useful as well. You need only spend a few minutes in the networking & wireless forum to see what's good and what's more challenging.

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