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What to look for when buying a new Notebook for linux & KDE?

User avatar fakd
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Hello,
I want to buy a new notebook, where I want to install linux and KDE on it (either Kubuntu or OpenSUSE, not sure yet). I'm not an expert on linux, so I want to have hardware with good linux (and KDE) support, which gives me hopefully a nice out-of-the-box experience. :-)

So what hardware to look for, which to avoid?
Intel vs. AMD ?
Nvidia vs. Radeon vs. Intel graphics ?
Wlan, Touchpad, etc.

The notebooks is not needed for gaming or high performance.

If you have a special offer in mind, you can also post that. But keep in mind I live in germany, so only offers in germany are of interest for me.

TIA
richlion
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fakd wrote:Hello,
I want to buy a new notebook, where I want to install linux and KDE on it (either Kubuntu or OpenSUSE, not sure yet). I'm not an expert on linux, so I want to have hardware with good linux (and KDE) support, which gives me hopefully a nice out-of-the-box experience. :-)

So what hardware to look for, which to avoid?
Intel vs. AMD ?
Nvidia vs. Radeon vs. Intel graphics ?
Wlan, Touchpad, etc.

The notebooks is not needed for gaming or high performance.

If you have a special offer in mind, you can also post that. But keep in mind I live in germany, so only offers in germany are of interest for me.

TIA


Don't know if this much will help, however I've had 3 laptops in my life and at least one PC. As for any graphics cards I don't think any specific hardware will be a problem as Linux in general is used by people who do extensive gaming and any graphics card will do. However one small warning - this has to do with UEFI - this is the "new" BIOS. When you buy a new laptop (which I did too) chances are it will have UEFI and it will be configured to be locked down with Windows. Be sure you understand how to unlock it. I have a new Windows 8 laptop that uses UEFI, the laptop does not have a DVD drive, so I tried to unlock and run a Linux install disk from a USB stick. For some reason I did not succeed, maybe because the USB install disk was not correctly saved.

Apart from that:
On my 17" Acer laptop I have a dedicated Nvidia, Intel processor. Works with Linux
On my PC I have a Radeon graphics card and AMD processor. All work.
See my signature for details.

I use Sabayon Linux as my distro:
http://www.sabayon.org
I think the main issue will be in the distro you will use. To have everything working out of the box Sabayon is my only choice. It's based on Gentoo, rock solid, easy to update, easy to install and has all the drivers built in, and is also crisp and clear with KDE. And most important, all video codecs are installed ready to use out of the box. Not like with some other distros, especially Debian where you will struggle installing all the missing bits and pieces. Mandriva or Ubuntu, SUSE were a very huge disappointment to me.
Ever since 2006 I have never had issues with Sabayon. Make sure your Notebook will have a DVD drive to run an installation disk. Although you can prepare a USB installation disk, I ran into some problems and I could not find a really proper document on how to do it, very often instructions are incomplete in some ways.
Also you can download a Linux .iso, burn it onto a DVD and run Linux without installing. This is what I do, I check whether that Linux distro does some basics:
1) Plays sound
2) Connects to the internet
3) Plays videos - all codecs are installed
etc. etc.

Wlan, Touchpad, etc.
Nothing to worry about, although I would suggest - pick the notebook you wish to buy, check the computer spec thoroughly in detail, what cards it has and use a search engine for "card xxxx linux problems" to find any online posts about any potential problems you may encounter.
You can check the Gentoo forum or https://forum.sabayon.org/
Ask some question on the Distro forums apart from KDE. KDE is just the graphics interface on top of the engine, under the bonnet you will have a Linux kernel from a distro with drivers and that is what in the end counts.



Hope this helps.


*** Sabyon user since 2006 ***
Sabayon Linux amd64 13.03 - x86_64 Pentium(R) Dual-Core CPU T4200 @ 2.00GHz
KDE 4.10.1 - on Acer Aspire 7730 zg 17" with Nvidia Geforce 9300M GS
User avatar bcooksley
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In terms of Wireless cards, those systems with Atheros or Intel chipsets are likely to give you the least problems. Broadcom based systems may require you to extract the firmware.


System Settings and Device Actions KCM maintainer
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lueck
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My simple advice:
Buy a notebook with a pre installed Linux/KDE, that works quite well for me since many years using 3-4 notebooks at work and usually buying one new notebook every one or two years.
User avatar fakd
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lueck wrote:My simple advice:
Buy a notebook with a pre installed Linux/KDE, that works quite well for me since many years using 3-4 notebooks at work and usually buying one new notebook every one or two years.
Where do you purchase your notebooks, can you name a few links? TIA
lueck
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fakd wrote:Where do you purchase your notebooks, can you name a few links? TIA

The last 4 notebooks I bought from http://www.tuxfarm.de, but this shop is apparently no longer available.
User avatar Moult
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I would recommend making sure the hardware is compatible with Linux. Although nowadays this is less of a concern than in the past, it still can be an issue.

Intel and amd isn't really an issue, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

From personal experience (and reading online) nvidia has better Linux support than ATI, although ATI does produce more powerful cards. But then again, what use is a more powerful card if you can't use it? However I'd be wary about nvidia optimus (the ability to switch between discrete and integrated cards) as nvidia has been rather poor in linux support for it in the past. Perhaps in the past three years the open source implementations have improved, but you'll need to do your own research about that.

The next biggest issue for compatibility is usually wireless support. A great resource is the Gentoo wiki. Have a read through and good luck :)


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User avatar fakd
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Moult wrote:I would recommend making sure the hardware is compatible with Linux. Although nowadays this is less of a concern than in the past, it still can be an issue.
Yes, exactly these were my thoughts! :-)

Moult wrote:The next biggest issue for compatibility is usually wireless support. A great resource is the Gentoo wiki. Have a read through and good luck :)
Thanks, I will take a look.

But, I'm also still open for links to shops of linux notebooks.

 
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