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Hi, I am wondering what brands and lines/series' of laptops are supported well by linux, including the extra media buttons, web cam, audio/video drivers, and such. There are a few ...
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  1. #1
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    Question laptops supported by linux?


    Hi, I am wondering what brands and lines/series' of laptops are supported well by linux, including the extra media buttons, web cam, audio/video drivers, and such.

    There are a few different laptops I have been looking at recently, including Acer and HP.

    I'm in a dilemma.
    Though I'm hopefully to be purchasing a laptop soon, I'm not sure what I should get.
    I have the option to get:
    A) small, light-weight tablet laptop (flip it & write on it, yay)
    B) kinda bulky but pretty good spec'd laptop with a decent video card
    C) same as B, but for $100 more, I get 2" more screen, & 128MB more vid memory
    D) kinda "different" looking laptop with 3GB of RAM, and low price


    $850 - HP Pavilion tx1308nr Tablet PC
    HP - Pavilion Tablet PC with AMD Turion™ 64 X2 - tx1308nr

    $750 - Acer Aspire AS5520-5716 Notebook
    Newegg.com - Acer Aspire AS5520-5716 NoteBook AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-58(1.90GHz) 15.4" Wide XGA 2GB DDR2 667 160GB DVD Super Multi NVIDIA GeForce 8400M G - Retail

    $850 - Acer Aspire AS7520-5311 Notebook
    This adds 2" to the screen & 128MB extra video memory; worth the extra $100?
    Newegg.com - Acer Aspire AS7520-5311 NoteBook AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-58(1.90GHz) 17.0" Wide XGA+ 2GB DDR2 667 160GB DVD Super Multi NVIDIA GeForce 8400M G - Retail

    $700 - Acer Aspire 5920-686 (3GB of RAM)
    saw it at Sam's Club today, it looks kinda different and nifty.


    That HP has a touch screen ... how well are touch screens supported in linux?
    How well are the media buttons for HP, as well as Acer, supported?


    I'd most likely be using Fedora, though if there's another distro with better hardware support, I'd be open to it.

    Thanks for your time!
    -Chris

  2. #2
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    You might be interested in a Dell Inspiron 1420 N. It comes pre-installed with Ubuntu, and is decently priced.

    The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Dell in general has a pretty good track record with Linux distributions, particularly their newer 1420/1520 lines (since they also sell them with Linux pre-installed). Pay attention to the hardware specs and any laptop brand should work. Some things to look for:

    Video:
    There are official Linux drivers for both ATI and Nvidia cards. However, Nvidia cards generally work better (in my experience) than ATI ones. Integrated Intel video works very well in Linux, but doesn't do 3D.

    Wireless:
    Generally any Intel-based wireless chipset will work. I've had good luck with the 3945 chipset, but others have reported success with newer ones as well. Intel is pretty good about releasing Linux drivers for their wireless (and video) cards.

    Broadcom and Atheros cards *may* still work using a program called NDISWrapper, which basically takes your MS Windows drivers and translates them.

    Pretty much all the other hardware should be standard and not give you any trouble.
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    I've done some system building at Dell's site, and it seems that the systems I build that are comparable go over the cost of the Acers and the HP.

    This is difficult; my main dilema is whether to get
    A) a smaller & lighter laptop with touch screen or
    B) get a cheaper laptop with better specs (but bigger)

    I'm a student, so the first would be practical for carrying & note-taking, but the latter would be "funner," and easier on the wallet. The latter would also potentially last longer due to its better specs.

    I'm thinking maybe the $750 Acer is the best bet here, but I'll let you all know my final decision. If you still have some advise you'd like to share, go ahead, I'd be glad to consider it, as I'm still deciding.

  5. #5
    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    I'd go for the Acer ... but dual boot the Windows it will be shipped with and the Linux you add. You should be able to get most of the features working with Linux but you always have the Windows to fall back on short term if some piece of hardware refuses to play ball. Hardware support improves all the time so you probably won't need to wait long anyway.

    The larger screen will help reduce eye strain and the additional size just means you need a slightly bigger bag to carry it.

    Spend a bit of the money you save on a usb mouse and keyboard.

  6. #6
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ck_asdf View Post
    I've done some system building at Dell's site, and it seems that the systems I build that are comparable go over the cost of the Acers and the HP.

    This is difficult; my main dilema is whether to get
    A) a smaller & lighter laptop with touch screen or
    B) get a cheaper laptop with better specs (but bigger)
    This is just me personally, but I'd go with option B. Touch screens are a gimmick, and unless you're absolutely sure you'll use it every day, it's just a waste of money. Not to mention I'm not sure how well touchscreen laptops work in Linux (having never owned one). If they're anything like tablet PCs, you're in for a rough ride. Go with the better specs for cheaper. You can put up with a slightly bigger laptop. Build up those shoulder muscles.
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