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Krotos
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:21 am    Post subject: Best/worst laptops for Gentoo? Reply with quote

I realize that this question gets posted periodically but I haven't seen it on the forums recently. My old laptop has become largely nonfunctional and I'm looking to buy a new one; of course, I will be putting Gentoo on it. I'll be using it primarily for coding and office work (as opposed to gaming or multimedia). Does anyone have any recommendations for recent-ish models and brands in the sub-$2000 range, and also ones to avoid? (In particular, I've had trouble in the past with wifi.) Even better would be if there's no preinstalled Windows so you don't need to pay the Microsoft tax.

Thanks!
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Hypnos
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any PC with Linux-compatible components will work fine with Gentoo.

One well-known vendor for Linux-compatible laptops without Windows pre-installed is System76.

I myself only buy Thinkpads with all-Intel components, as I need the ergonomics (e.g. a trackpoint) and durability/ruggedness.

HTH
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s_bernstein
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would also recommend looking for a Lenovo ThinkPad. The ThinkPad part is important if you expect to get something reasonable. Also, if you don't need to be cutting edge with the latest hardware, you might consider a refurbished TP with an older model core i and save loads of money or get a better equipped model (like ssd or wwan).
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roarinelk
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Dell M6600, which also works extremely well with Linux. Wireless, even the builtin 3G-Modem, external display connectors, brightness control, hotkeys, etc, all work out of the box.
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Hypnos
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me add Gentoo-specific recommendations for specs:

1) SSD -- super fast Portage tree searches, generally makes life better (not suitable for mail or database servers which have lots of writes)

2) extra RAM -- so you can build most things in tmpfs and minimize swap usage without wearing out your SSD; also useful for having a bazillion browser tabs open

3) faster CPU -- makes compilation go faster

#1, 2 are most important; #3 just comes down to your patience and how heavy of a software setup you like to use. The 1.6GHz ultra-low voltage Core2 Duo in my Thinkpad X301 is more than adequate for maintaining my lean XFCE desktop (I use binary versions of OpenOffice and Firefox). The only time I wish I had more CPU is when playing certain HD vids, e.g. inside Flash.
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gienah
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since I compile lots of stuff, personally my preferences were in this order:

1) faster CPU -- makes compilation go faster

2) extra RAM -- zfs uses it to cache stuff

I don't have an SSD, could not afford it after the CPU and RAM. I need the disk space anyway so run
spinning hard drives, zfs with lz4 compression.
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ppurka
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In terms of hardware, avoid broadcom wifi chipsets - they are a real pain to get working well. Frequent disconnects and unreliable wifi with binary driver (not to mention no guarantee that it will work with the next kernel), and no powermanagement with the in-kernel driver.

Nvidia drivers for nvidia graphics used to be good but they messed up in a major fashion with the move to xrandr. Last time I checked, it wasn't possible to get the resolutions that the laptop graphics supports - one would get only the max resolution. This transformed the simple act of cloning displays from a simple disper command to a hell of an experience. The nouveau driver is ok, again if you don't want powermanagement. End result - avoid nvidia graphics, unless they have fixed this crazy xrandr implementation. Also try to find out the status of support for dual graphics cards (nvidia+intel). I would avoid them.

For now, I see that intel graphics works well - I have cycled my laptop with Intel HD4000 through about 20 suspend-resume cycles and it is (still) working fine. For the record, I also found the binary nvidia drivers to be very stable with respect to suspend-resume cycles - I had gone more than an entire month of suspending and resuming my laptop at least twice every day.

Finally, don't buy one of those ultra cheap machines which are less than $600. They are cheap for a reason. The last one I had (a lenovo) had bad wifi (broadcom), overheating problems, terribly awful and aggressive hard disk powermanagement, and a display that literally had a vertical viewing angle of about 5deg - the colors would change drastically if I wasn't looking right about orthogonal to the display. It is not like nothing works on linux - things do work, but they don't work well. With these cheap laptops the hardware itself is so bad that it doesn't matter whether you run linux or windows; it sucks either way.

EDIT: My current config is a Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook. Everything works, after applying a patch for backlight to the kernel. Typical battery life is around 7 hours with text editing and browsing.
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twwwater
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's what i find . I also want to buy a new laptop for recent days. And want to ask for advices. Thank (all of you ) :D for your suggestions
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glenn_s
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just bought a Lenovo Thinkpad T530, and I can attest that it plays well with Gentoo. This is my first-ever Gentoo installation, and it has gone nearly flawlessly for me.

There's great AHCI support for the hardware, and a lot of the buttons end up working "out of the box".

I got mine with the nvidia card, but right now I'm running everything on the Intel graphics without a problem. Saves on power, too. Hoping to get Bumblebee running soon.

Plus, the hardware itself is great, the price point is reasonable, and my customer service experience so far has been great.
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666threesixes666
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

there needs to be an OS usb stick that audits and rates hardware. like take usb stick pre loaded with it, that says nvidia, junk, ath5k wifi +, seagate, junk. and rate that box an F for linux compatibility...

no linux support? boycott... and get everyone else you know boycotting too... stuff that works in linux generally works PERFECT in doze.
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Princess Nell
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

T530++. I'm very pleased with it. The only thing I haven't got to work yet is the SDHC slot. Even got FreeBSD/gnome to work with Intel ;) On the downside, the overall feel of it is cheaper than older ThinkPads, keyboard etc. Also, it doesn't have a LED for the capslock key which I find rather idiotic. How much can you shave off the price of a USD1k+ laptop by leaving that out?
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defer-
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thinkpad is great choise. I have been using R500 since 2009. Its quite durable laptop and the trackpoint mouse is great. It has core 2 duo, ssd and intel graphics. The intel graphics driver is best i have seen.
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chithanh
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The wiki usually gives you an idea how easy or difficult it is to make a particular laptop work well with Gentoo:
http://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Category:Laptops
http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Category:Laptops
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