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i92guboj
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:59 am    Post subject: I want YOU('r Gentoo laptop)!! Reply with quote

Or rather, I want you to tell me what's your Gentoo laptop.

Hello!

I am in look of a (probably second hand) laptop. I plan to use no other thing than Gentoo, I wouldn't dare otherwise!

Currectly, I own a Thinkpad T420, and I am quite happy with it, except for one little thing that lately is bothering me quite a bit: the screen is the worst you could imagine. For the rest, the laptop is just as good as it could be. I love it, but the panel has a very bad contrast, and there's no single angle where you can see the whole screen correctly, so I am always moving my head around like I am mad or something. As bad as it can get.

Also, I do lots of gimp editing these days. Photo stuff for an online shop. And after editing each photo I have to review it on my phone because on this screen is impossible to get a hint on how the photo will look on the real work. I know each screen is different, but, believe me, this one is truly distinct from the rest of them :lol: :lol:

So, I am particularly interested on the opinion of Thinkpad lovers which are using something else and are happy with it.

I care about linux compatibility, battery life (so power saving support is important), construction, and screen resolution and quality. I don't want anything with a height below 900 pixels, and the screen size I prefer nowadays is 14", but I'd consider 15-15.6 if it's for a good reason. I don't particularly need horsepower, currently I am running with this T420 which is an i5/4gb/120gb ssd laptop, though I upgraded the ram to 8gb. I have had good experiences with second hand laptops so that's what I am looking for. Having HDMI or one of those video ports the Thinkpads have would be nice as well.

About GPUs, I am not particularly fanatic of anything, but I remember having to wait months to upgrade my kernel because of nVidia policies, so I prefer something I can use with open source drivers. I don't know what the current situation is in that regard so I'll take your advice on that as well ;)

Remember, I don't want a better machine, what I probably just want is a T420 alike with a better screen :lol: :lol: :lol:

But I don't have the time to do the surgery myself these days, and, anyway, I don't want to risk buying a $200 bucks panel which I never saw working with my own eyes before. My second hand T420 costed my less than that. ;)

So, I am all ears!

Thanks for any suggestion you can lend me.
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charles17
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine is https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Dell_Latitude_E6430_%28CYRTRY1%29.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moved from Other Things Gentoo to Gentoo Chat.
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i92guboj
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

charles17 wrote:
Mine is https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Dell_Latitude_E6430_%28CYRTRY1%29.


Interesting, I am reviewing many Dell's, these amongst them. What's your opinion on battery life and screen quality, in your concrete experience with it?
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charles17
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Screen quality is perfect for me and battery life is just sufficient for compiling libreoffice from battery.
Code:
$ genlop -t libreoffice
 * app-office/libreoffice

     Fri Oct  6 18:31:21 2017 >>> app-office/libreoffice-5.2.7.2
       merge time: 1 hour, 3 minutes and 26 seconds.

With a slightly different hardware configuration:
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Dell-Latitude-E6430-Notebook.81780.0.html
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i92guboj
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for all the insight. It helps a lot. I am assuming then that you haven't found any hardware issues with linux, have you?

On another order of things, I have no idea how the dual gpu thing works nowadays if at all. Is your model an intel+nvidia combo or just intel? I for sure don't need a dedicated gpu for what I do. It would only serve the purpose of wasting cpu. Just curious...
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's almost all mentioned in the wiki article.
Sometimes it has topic 1067038, and hibernation seems not working (not even with Windows 10 creators update).
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i92guboj
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

charles17 wrote:
It's almost all mentioned in the wiki article.
Sometimes it has topic 1067038, and hibernation seems not working (not even with Windows 10 creators update).


Ugh, that's a feature I used like 20 times a day. I carry my laptop in a backpack all around. I hope there's a workaround for that.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lenovo G780. Battery died due to my stupidity, but that is my only gripe. Nice big screen with good standard hardware.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I've been using Dells for a few years. 1 year old lattitude I have right now is pretty sturdy and works well with linux. Price range at that time was around 1000$, came with HD display, I think 17"
I can't say much about previous one, though it clearly was much cheaper (painfully slow hard drive and window on it made a perfect excuse for 15 minutes of coffee break after pushing power button, plastic was much softer)

Battery life is very good in both cases, at low (but usable) brightness I could squish like 6 hours from them. Got close to 10 with new one (SSD instead of HDD and with external display instead of builtin - saved my day when I forgot to take the charger with me)
Trackpoints on the other hand completely suck. They are so bad you can't use them. Also, touch pads are too sensitive (particularly old one tended to detect my arm and randomly click over the screen when I was typing, so I was forced to disable it). Some very old lattitudes had usable trackpoints, though still not as good as thinkpads.
Displays are... Well, they are clear and readable, angle of view is wide enough (even for dark areas). Still, colours presented by the builtin display are not very vivid. Basically any external monitor looks way better. If you want to use that photo in an on-line shop, it's gonna be good enough. For editing good quality printable photo you'd likely need something better.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm currently rocking a system76 gazelle (i7 770hq, 8gb memory, 256gb nvme, 1080p display). I'm liking it, although currency exchange ripped me a new one.

My last laptop was a Latitude E6510. I guess it was a decent machine, but mobile quadro graphics suck really bad. IGPU is pretty bad too I guess, but I have a desktop with a GTX980 in it. :lol:
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lock after a number of HP, Toshiba, Acer and Dell laptops. The best quality displays are the with the Toshiba laptops.The worst are the HP's.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a T420 and it moves on along with its 2.8GHz i7. I don't care about the gaming-style graphics--I'm perfectly content with Intel graphics. I never got hibernation to work, but the suspend-to-RAM state works great for me--I use that all the time.

I don't have a problem with the viewing angle of the display; I don't have to move my head at all, just my eyes :)

What I do wish, though, was for a form factor like the two-digit T series: 4/3 aspect ratio and a keyboard where the Escape and Delete keys are normal height. Oh, and a DVD drive that won't pop open when I sneeze.

When I got the T420, I also got an old T60 with a high-resolution screen. My idea was somehow to put the guts of the T420 into the T60 case using the latter's screen, keyboard and I/O connectors, but I never got around to that surgery.

The thing is that I love Thinkpads. That's the only brand of laptop I've bought for 20 years now. I hated it when IBM sold the line to Lenovo, especially because Lenovo has been doing a great job of screwing things up. I was thinking a bit about the Dell's, but to hear that their Trackpoint doesn't work so well is really off-putting.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lenovo finally produced a real Thinkpad again. The Thinkpad 25. But it is $1,900.

I also have a T420, but haven't tried OSS yet.

Unless they keep the retro style around, this is all but certain to be my last Lenovo. I've also started experiencing some weird video artifacts and "soft failure" of the display (my current guess is that it is heat related).
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright, I'll bite...

Asus eeePC 1000H, with expanded battery, added SSD, 2GB RAM (max).
It's an old netbook and still gets used as such, IM clients, ssh sessions and Chromium. I can't use Chrome on it because google stopped updating it for 32-bit. I can compile the browser on that hardware alone (it just takes an exponentially growing amount of time every update...) so they don't have an excuse.

Can't say much about the CPU, it's a first-gen Atom. The graphics is a joke, naturally. The wifi is rt2800pci, which didn't even have a driver when I first bought it, but it works fine now for the most part. It has a bluetooth thing that I've managed to get network tethering to work over in the past, but wasn't worth the hassle to keep using. I hear your screen complaints, the screen on this one is a nasty 6-bit TN panel with a cold blue tint. I can use x11-misc/sct to work around that slightly but it's still not great.

One important thing I've learned is that Asus couldn't write a decent firmware if their life depended on it. The laptop uses the eeepc-laptop driver but I have to boot it with acpi_osi=Linux for that to work at all (this isn't documented anywhere), and I also have to patch the kernel for it to recognise all the Fn-x shortcuts. The hardware is all SATA but due to the BIOS is stuck in emulated IDE mode; I tried using a hacked BIOS from a dodgy-looking website that claimed to force-enable SATA, but it doesn't keep the setting across a suspend making it useless.

Even if the CPUs these days are much faster, the build quality of Asus stuff (physical and firmware) is enough to make me steer well clear of their brand in future. This isn't the only one of their things I've used and I've had all kinds of subtle headaches with each of them. Really shoddy craftsmanship.


I've heard a lot of good things about Thinkpads, even though I've never actually seen one in person. I wish they made one more this size...
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:58 am    Post subject: Re: I want YOU('r Gentoo laptop)!! Reply with quote

Hello

ASUS g75VW

Pro, +:

*) INTEL GPU is not hardwired to the outputs and LVDS, means no annoying GPU switching, full HDMI 2.0 on the outputs, no crappy INTEL GPU,no intel gpu driver woes
*) Battery life = 3 hours with 68% battery capacity. Assuming you use the powersave governour. e.g. I wrote a libreoffice document for 3 hours in my car a year ago. (also wifi off)
*) everything is socketed, this has ended with ivybridge on the intel side. Means cpu is socketed, power socket (DC in), harddrives, wlan combo card, gpu is socketed, RAM is socketed => especially when you consider that a mainboard is usually the most expensive part to replace, i saw yesterday a new mobo for 70 euros on ebay.
*) one of the few notebooks which has 4 memory banks which supports up to 4x8GB modules = 32GB. Sadly the overclocker RAM from kingston hardly give a benefit in comparison with the cheap ones preinstalled. gentoo always needs big RAM later
*) decent cooling design. cons is a bit you need to repaste the thermal paste every 8 months. I used noctua thermal paste, but still
*) optical drive => cons blueray playback, i have never tried it and it sounds very complicated on linux
*) 2 harddrive SATA 2.5" bays.
*) 4x USB 3.0
*) gbit LAN (some laptops come without these days)
*) VGA (yes I have 3 vga screens, and yes i use these regularly) works with nvidia-settings flawless + i3wm
*) HDMI => I had issues with HDMI with two new televisons which were less than 2 years old. I think HDMI is worse than VGA regarding does it work or not regardless of screen connected
*) display port
*) SD card reader (no idea what else fits and works)
*) 3.5mm Headset connectors for speakers and microphone
*) white backlight keyboard, with 3 modes, I use the middle intensity at nights.
*) I have choosen this notebook because notebookcheck claimed it has one of the best screens, and htis is the fact in my opinion, when i look at pictures made from a very expensive DSLR from nikon. Gras green is like grass. red roof tiles are like roof tiles and such. I hardly ever saw such in any other hardware so far.
*) some fan grills which keep of some dust from the fans, can be easily accessed and cleaned. This extends the time to clean the fans a bit.
*) 2GB of GPU RAM. => steam: star conflict; urbanterror


CONS:
*) For some reasons, sometimes in the past, the UEFI forgot about the mapping grub2 from linux mint to the UEFI. Workaround => sysrescue-cd + manual written instruction to fix that
*) some uefi bugs, acpi warnings, maybe errors, these are quite common
**) keyboard backlight can be changed via
Code:
bindsym XF86KbdBrightnessUp exec "echo 2 > /sys/class/leds/asus\:\:kbd_backlight/brightness"
bindsym XF86KbdBrightnessDown exec "echo 0 > /sys/class/leds/asus\:\:kbd_backlight/brightness"

**) broken brightness keys regarding uefi. too lazy to understand the docs, hardly documented. workaround is using xrandr
Code:
bindsym $mod+F1 exec "xrandr --output LVDS-0 --set Backlight 1"

**) Screen backlight stays on when I call xscreensaver. i need to tell the hardware to switch off the backlight separately. This is also an uefi flaw
Code:
#set modifier and l button as locking the screensaver and turn down the backlight of the screen
bindsym $mod+l exec "xscreensaver-command --lock; sleep 1 && xset dpms force off"

**) touchpad needs hack to toggle it on or off
Code:
#toggle the touchpad
bindsym XF86TouchpadToggle exec " if [ $(synclient -l | grep TouchpadOff | awk '{print $3}') == 1 ] ; then synclient touchpadoff=0; else  synclient touchpadoff=1; fi "

**) volume keys are working
Code:
#toggle master mute of the pulsaudio master: amixer set Master toggle
bindsym XF86AudioMute exec "amixer set Master toggle"

#rise master volume of pulseaudio master
bindsym XF86AudioRaiseVolume exec "amixer set Master unmute; amixer -c 0 set Master 1dB+"

#lower master volume of pulseaudio master
bindsym XF86AudioLowerVolume exec "amixer set Master unmute; amixer -c 0 set Master 1dB-"

*) nvidia binary driver. Sometimes i wait 2-3 weeks to update to a newer kernel branch. Else it usually works
*) status leds for caps lock, harddrive and such are in a bad position
*) reapply the thermal paste needs to dismantle the hole notebook. also newer MSI notebooks are the same in this regard.
*) bigger design. I see it positive, some dislike the weight
*) no WLAN AC card available, because they changed it to M2 card size. Repharse no 10-20 Euro wlan AC card available. only Wlan class N

--

I have read many bug reports about UEFI
It seems it is common place these days that UEFI barely works with special keys and such, or some feature is broken like toggle wifi keys and such. toggle wifi keys worked after a few months and some random luck.

--

When you care about repair costs, screen, and no intel gpu switching you may choose this notebook ASUS g75V. the ivybridge i7 with 4 cores, 8 thread + max 32GB of RAM, 2x 2.5" SATA bays are future proof.

I also bought that notebook second hand, because of the screen quality (see notebookcheck), last product where everything can be replaced, cheap mainboard in comparison with everything soldered to the main logic board.

I order my parts from finland, decent source for asus parts, you will find the company instantly on google.

--

regarding all the praise for lenovo in this article

I wanted to fix a college lenovo notebook. had an intel 4xxx cpu, i3 one. guess what, mainboard cpu and anythign else soldered. only 4gb of ram in a socket. new mainboard from medion germany was as much as a new product. Build quality, hmm, I was not amused.
Dead Mainboard, no output with fresh HDMI cable out of the box from amazon, on two new television sets, where the hdmi connector were never used before. My notebook of course worked on these televisions. In my point of view, lenovo does not deserve praise for its build quality for that price point and the hardware delivered, age of product.

I never had a broken ASUS here, and I had several. Also msi seems to be decent brand when you look at using something over 6 years and such!
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bunder
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
Lenovo finally produced a real Thinkpad again. The Thinkpad 25. But it is $1,900.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxQGhqF60zE&t=25s

yeah no thanks :lol:
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had my doubts. Unfortunately there are few real alternatives. I think I only found Dell, HP & Toshiba having trackpoints, and when avoiding glossy screens, that limits even more.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Currently on an older MSI GE70 2PE Apache Pro model. This has Nvidia GTX860M, but I use nouveau drivers.
Battery life is approx. 1.5 hours
HDMI 1920x1080
12GB RAM DDR4 (expandable to 32GB)
SSD + 2.5 Sata HDD capacity (1TB)
Intel Core i7 4th Gen

Will run you approx. $300-500 used nowadays.

Pros: great screen; runs fast; fan control; RGB backlit; love the monitor; the latest version of Gimp runs like a dream on this system (also an extensive Gimp user like the OP)
Cons: battery life sucks, heavy beast, no HDMI sound output to my TV monitor with Gentoo (works fine when running in Windows)

My travel laptop has 14+ hours of battery life.
Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series (hybrid)
Touchscreen 1366x768 (with HDMI port)
2.5 SATA HDD capacity (500GB)
4GB RAM (not sure what type)
Intel Atom
It's wireless only at 2.5GHz range (painful if your wifi doesn't run smoothly at install time, but I had no issues)

Pros: the battery life is awesome and the laptop is super thin and I take it every where I travel
Cons: the touchscreen and trackpad seem to be in competition for who sucks the most and require a frustrating combination of both for basic mouse functionality

Wouldn't recommend a hybrid or a Dell computer in general, so I didn't look up the price.

My HP Mini 110 netbook, is almost a decade old now, but it's smaller than my tablet and still runs like a dream with Gentoo even though it's an early gen Atom with 1GB of memory. I also still get comments from people who think my computer is a new model. Runs around $85 used if you can find one. I think the later models have better hardware, but I like my mini because it's Studio Tord Boontje and the design is gorgeous. Battery life is approx. 2.5-6 hours depending on the battery (3 vs 6 cell). Specs provided: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QolOal5sjWk

Pros: size, life span, keyboard, trackpad, design; for portable basic use (viz., email, net surf, playing media, scripting) everything works flawlessly with Gentoo; legacy BIOS
Cons: new installs of Gentoo are reminiscent of stage 1 installations... Xorg and KDE compiles will take as long as they took 7 years ago; it's hard to find models with a WXGA 1366x768 display or replacement monitors for this display. Had to downgrade to a 1024x600 screen when I got a prominent dead pixel line down my old screen. The 1024x600 is too small; no HDMI port
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