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A new laptop/netbook

VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,182
Thanks: 304
Fixes: 11
Registered: ‎01-09-2007

A new laptop/netbook

I'm planning on buying a cheap low-cost Laptop or Netbook soon.
Must run a full-size Linux though - and I'd prefer it if I don't have to subsidize Microsoft.
Cost is the major factor - so a small screen is OK
Must have a method of booting from external media as I want to try Mint 13 on it.
Quote
I've been looking around and compared with a desktop most laptops seem to have:-
50% of the disk space
5200 rpm disks instead of 7200rpm
50% of the CPU speed
50% or less of the screen area
No mouse!
150% of the cost

Can anyone suggest a cheap Linux compatible (Ubuntu 12.04 or Mint 13 ideally) with a working wireless card and a AMD or Intel CPU (not Atom).
Dual core 64 bit would be nice.
2GB would be ample main memory.
I'm prepared to buy a mouse - and probably an external drive.
I don't care if the battery life is measured in minutes.  Smiley
I realise it will be about as powerful as a ZX80.  Roll eyes Roll eyes

12 REPLIES
Waldo
Grafter
Posts: 473
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: A new laptop/netbook


waldo@gouda:~$ inxi -v3
System:    Host: gouda Kernel: 3.4.0-030400-generic x86_64 (64 bit, gcc: 4.4.3)
Desktop:  Gnome Distro: Ubuntu 12.04 precise
Machine:  System: Acer (portable) product: AO722 version: V1.05
          Mobo: Acer model: JE10-BZ Bios: Acer version: V1.05 date: 08/24/2011
CPU:      Dual core AMD C-60 APU with Radeon HD Graphics (-MCP-) cache: 1024 KB
          flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4a ssse3 svm) bmips: 3990.12
          Clock Speeds: 1: 1000.00 MHz 2: 1000.00 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Wrestler [Radeon HD 6290] bus-ID: 00:01.0
          X.Org: 1.11.3 drivers: ati,radeon Resolution: 1366x768@60.0hz
          GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on AMD PALM GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 8.0.4 Direct Rendering: Yes
Network:  Card-1: Atheros AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) driver: ath9k bus-ID: 07:00.0
          IF: wlan0 state: up mac: d0:df:9a:60:10:24
          Card-2: Atheros AR8152 v2.0 Fast Ethernet port: 2000 bus-ID: 06:00.0
          IF: N/A state: N/A speed: N/A duplex: N/A mac: N/A
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 250.1GB (3.8% used) 1: model: WDC_WD2500BPVT
Info:      Processes: 134 Uptime: 1:07 Memory: 714.1/3682.0MB Runlevel: 2 Gcc sys: 4.6.3 Client: Shell inxi: 1.8.4

Came with Windows pre-installed; Ubuntu installed from USB stick.
Has a keyboard (and trackpad), too, haven't found a need for a rodent.
kmilburn
Grafter
Posts: 905
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: A new laptop/netbook

If you want a laptop without an OS,  Novatach do a good range,  and so far,  I've had good service from them.
With regards Linux compatibility,  it depends on what version of Linux you want to use.
VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,182
Thanks: 304
Fixes: 11
Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: A new laptop/netbook

Thanks Waldo - Amazon currently sell very similar models with a 2GB / 320GB option for £249
or a 4GB / 500GB disk combination for £300.
The OS will be virtually an exact match as yours  - except I would use Mint based on Ubuntu 12.04  Grin Grin Grin
Pity about Novatech as they do some quite reasonably priced laptops - but I just want one (a cheap one) to carry around on a part-time basis.
I don't understand the current fashion for laptops which you use on a desk - even less these tablets things.
I suppose I could delete the carp (anagram alert) - such as virus checkers and "free" trials etc that comes with Windows and squeeze the remains into a tiny corner.
My son sometimes wants to run games - he currently uses Xbuntu to run antique style games.
I think I will go for the Acer - recently bought a HD 24" screen from them for half the price of the netbook.
It's a crazy world!  Roll eyes Roll eyes

Waldo
Grafter
Posts: 473
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: A new laptop/netbook

Quote from: Un
The OS will be virtually an exact match as yours  - except I would use Mint based on Ubuntu 12.04  Grin Grin Grin

I installed Ubuntu 11.10 from the net-install iso; subsequently dist-upgraded to 12.04. If I could do that with Mint I might be more inclined to use it more often.
Quote
I don't understand the current fashion for laptops which you use on a desk - even less these tablets things.

'Desktop-replacement' laptops don't do anything for me, either.
Quote
I suppose I could delete the carp (anagram alert) - such as virus checkers and "free" trials etc that comes with Windows and squeeze the remains into a tiny corner.

Maybe you'll qualify for a free upgrade to Windows 8  Grin
VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,182
Thanks: 304
Fixes: 11
Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: A new laptop/netbook

Quote from: Waldo

waldo@gouda:~$ inxi -v3
System:    Host: gouda Kernel: 3.4.0-030400-generic x86_64 (64 bit, gcc: 4.4.3)
Desktop:   Gnome Distro: Ubuntu 12.04 precise
Machine:   System: Acer (portable) product: AO722 version: V1.05
          Mobo: Acer model: JE10-BZ Bios: Acer version: V1.05 date: 08/24/2011
CPU:       Dual core AMD C-60 APU with Radeon HD Graphics (-MCP-) cache: 1024 KB
          flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4a ssse3 svm) bmips: 3990.12
          Clock Speeds: 1: 1000.00 MHz 2: 1000.00 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Wrestler [Radeon HD 6290] bus-ID: 00:01.0
          X.Org: 1.11.3 drivers: ati,radeon Resolution: 1366x768@60.0hz
          GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on AMD PALM GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 8.0.4 Direct Rendering: Yes
Network:   Card-1: Atheros AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) driver: ath9k bus-ID: 07:00.0
          IF: wlan0 state: up mac: d0:df:9a:60:10:24
          Card-2: Atheros AR8152 v2.0 Fast Ethernet port: 2000 bus-ID: 06:00.0
          IF: N/A state: N/A speed: N/A duplex: N/A mac: N/A
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 250.1GB (3.8% used) 1: model: WDC_WD2500BPVT
Info:      Processes: 134 Uptime: 1:07 Memory: 714.1/3682.0MB Runlevel: 2 Gcc sys: 4.6.3 Client: Shell inxi: 1.8.4

Came with Windows pre-installed; Ubuntu installed from USB stick.
Has a keyboard (and trackpad), too, haven't found a need for a rodent.

Quote
inxi -v3
System:    Host: NETBOOK Kernel: 3.2.0-23-generic x86_64 (64 bit, gcc: 4.6.3) Desktop: Gnome Distro: Linux Mint 13 Maya
Machine:   System: Acer (portable) product: AO725 version: V1.00
          Mobo: Acer model: ZA10_BZ Bios: Insyde version: V1.00 date: 04/11/2012
CPU:       Dual core AMD C-60 APU with Radeon HD Graphics (-MCP-) cache: 1024 KB flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4a ssse3 svm) bmips: 3993.12
          Clock Speeds: 1: 800.00 MHz 2: 800.00 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Wrestler [Radeon HD 6290] bus-ID: 00:01.0
          X.Org: 1.11.3 drivers: ati,radeon (unloaded: vesa,fbdev) Resolution: 1366x768@60.0hz
          GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on AMD PALM GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 8.0.4 Direct Rendering: Yes
Network:   Card-1: Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express Fast Ethernet controller
          driver: r8169 ver: 2.3LK-NAPI port: 2000 bus-ID: 01:00.0
          IF: eth0 state: down mac: 04:7d:7b:ce:46:5c
          Card-2: Broadcom BCM4313 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN Controller driver: brcmsmac bus-ID: 02:00.0
          IF: wlan0 state: up mac: 84:4b:f5:43:35:6f
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 500.1GB (2.6% used) 1: ST9500325AS
Info:      Processes: 133 Uptime: 21 min Memory: 484.0/3680.5MB Runlevel: 2 Gcc sys: 4.6.3 Client: Shell inxi: 1.7.33

Came with Windows pre-installed; Mint 13 installed from USB stick.
Has a keyboard (and trackpad), too, have found a need for a rodent.
Hate trackpad (although rather good as they go) - especially  support of "gestures".
I only need one gesture for trackpads.  Smiley
Windows gobbled up 3 partitions, - including about 400GB+ of disk.
Even after multiple de-fragmentation, file deletion, etc, I was only left with 40% of a 500GB disk for Linux.
Windows insisted on keeping several files halfway across the disk.
So a took the sod-it approach and re-partioned with Linux.
I now have about 80% of the disk - and a dual booting system.
It's slow though - even with a 1 GHz dual processor.
Thanks, Waldo - it works!

petertuson
Grafter
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎10-03-2012

Re: A new laptop/netbook

Both myself and my wife use acer aspire one netbooks. These came with cut down windoze and android. The blurb said it would take 1/2 hour to configure windoze and only then could I run up android. So I decided to install linux, which took the 1/2 hour.
We are both using Debian 6.0 with Gnome. My wife uses an external monitor, mouse and keyboard, I use the netbook as it comes. I have also installed Compiz and Cairo Dock.
I got rid of the standard Gnome docks and use Cairo docks (normally hidden) on the bottom and left hand side of the screen. When quiescent there is only a clock on the screen. F9 brings up a widget layer (weather, calculator etc), the bottom dock gives me access to the tools I use and the side dock tells me the state of the network and computer.
I am very pleased with the result. I have a target price for computers of less than £200. My servers are well within that but the netbooks are abit more expensive.
Waldo
Grafter
Posts: 473
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: A new laptop/netbook

Quote from: Un
[...]
Came with Windows pre-installed; Mint 13 installed from USB stick.

How did you get on with the Broadcom WiFI (did it work out-of-the-box or did you have to download firmware)?
Quote
I now have about 80% of the disk - and a dual booting system.
It's slow though - even with a 1 GHz dual processor.

I recently added the latest openSUSE / KDE release to mine; subjectively, openSUSE/KDE feels more responsive than Ubuntu/Cinnamon.
Still slow, but adequate for what I use it for.
VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,182
Thanks: 304
Fixes: 11
Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: A new laptop/netbook

Mint (and presumably Ubuntu) worked out of the box - well even out of the "live" CD [on USB].
I was kind of expecting the Broadcom BCM4313 802.11b/g/n Wireless to have problems... but it didn't.
Apparently there are several different kinds of firmware for the same card.

grimme
Grafter
Posts: 241
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: A new laptop/netbook

IBM X60 or X61 12" screen laptops (no built in DVD though) can be sourced through ebay or Tier1 outlets for upwards of  £100 depending on the configuration. Some come with a small HDD and have no Operating System (ie no Windows) so Mint can be installed via USB stick, or multiboot alongside Windows if desired.
I have an X60 running Mint, Netrunner and Pinguy alongside XP.
HDD is quite easy to replace, Ethernet and WIFI are Intel, so usually picked up quickly by Linux distro's.
Trackpoint rather than a trackpad might be an issue for some people to use, but there are 3 USB ports so a wireless mouse can be utilised.
stealthbanana
Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎13-11-2012

Re: A new laptop/netbook

My personal opinion would be to Avoid ACER like the plague.  In my experience you need to return what you buy at least three times to get one that works correctly.  It is a shame that there build quality is so dire as some of the stuff they make is good.  I love my Aspire one, the original that came with Linpus linux, alas the webcam no lonher works unless I push down hard on the keyboard.  My Iconia Android tab just had the power button refuse to work after the warranty ran out, was not even soldered to the motherboard, just held in place by luck and the guides (need to get a hypodermic in there to apply some conductive silver paint and fix it with some epoxy.
Anyway, I got a new HP laptop, a G6-2022sa as an insurance replacement, and I am very impressed.  I used to have a compaq and that fell apart, but this thing seems solid, and as for Linux (Kubuntu) , works brilliantly, even sleep/hibernate etc which many fall down on (My old Acer 5553 never worked with sleep).  As it is last years model, you can get it for about £390 on amazon, dunno if that is above your price range?
VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,182
Thanks: 304
Fixes: 11
Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: A new laptop/netbook

Too late!
I am now the possessor of an Acer Aspire One netbook - this is not the same as the Linux one you mention as it came with a load of memory - 4GB!! and Windows 7.
After much fighting with the software, I was able to reduce the space occupied by Windows to a mere 50GB Cry
Added a mouse, because I hate trackpads and installed Mint 13.
Only fault (on battery only) is that it switches off the optical (wired) mouse if it's not used for a few seconds, so I have to click to switch it back on!
Build quality appears to be good.
On the subject of build quality, I was throwing out a lot of computer junk the other day and came across a Toshiba recovery CD - dated 2006.
This Toshiba is still being used on a regular basis to run Windows XP.
It has never had any part replaced (with the exception of the mouse) - it's still using it's original battery.
Oh - recently bought a Acer 24" monitor for my desktop...

Waldo
Grafter
Posts: 473
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: A new laptop/netbook

Quote from: stealthbanana
My personal opinion would be to Avoid ACER like the plague.  In my experience you need to return what you buy at least three times to get one that works correctly. 

That hasn´t been my experience (maybe I´m just lucky).
Quote
It is a shame that there build quality is so dire as some of the stuff they make is good.  I love my Aspire one, the original that came with Linpus linux, alas the webcam no lonher works unless I push down hard on the keyboard. 

I have two of these (AOA150); for less than two hundred notes I´ve no complaints over build quality - both work as well now as they did new (I could never say the same for Linpus; it broke with monotonous regularity  Grin)
Quote
Anyway, I got a new HP laptop, a G6-2022sa as an insurance replacement, and I am very impressed.  I used to have a compaq and that fell apart, but this thing seems solid, and as for Linux (Kubuntu) , works brilliantly, even sleep/hibernate etc which many fall down on (My old Acer 5553 never worked with sleep).

Predictably, suspend/resume and hibernate/resume has always worked on the AOA150 whatever distro I´ve installed; with the AO722 I´ve had  to blacklist the ethernet driver to have it successfully resume from hibernate when using WiFi.