Laptop for UbuntuStudio

Gustin Johnson gustin at echostar.ca
Mon Jul 27 23:49:13 BST 2009


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Daniel Caleb wrote:
> On Monday 27 July 2009 10:42:54 Mike Berry wrote:
>>> Hiya everyone!
>>>
>>> I'm thinkin' on buying a new laptop. It'll be only for UbuntuStudio. I
>>> want to ask you which specs I've to take special atention to. I want an
>>> all-life laptop: not a heavy laptop (19-inches-screen) neither a
>>> notebook. I'm looking for a 14-15 inches. But the other thinks I don't
>>> know what are the best choice. I will use it a lot for music and video
>>> suite. Which specs are the more importants? Which computer brands do you
>>> recommedn me? Lenovo computers will fit me?
>>>
>>> Can you help me?
>> Don't go with Lenovo, or anything with a built in Intel Graphics card
>> because the drivers are hard to find. I tried to get UbuntuStudio on my
>> Lenovo R61 and it was a Fail Whale. I still haven't found graphics or
>> wireless drivers. The sound is terrible. I'm going to try get a new laptop
>> with an Nvidia card in it.
>>
> 
> I'd have to second that... I've had the best experiences with Nvidia cards as 
> well. I just bought a new laptop recently, did alot of digging around... I 
> came across several places that had good systems:
> 
> System 76
> AVA Direct
> PC Torque 
> 
> Most of them were reselling Sager laptops or MSI. I settled with a Sager from 
> PC Torque, they were the only ones that offered an accidental protection 
> plan... 
> 
> Daniel
> 
My experiences lead me to disagree with you both with respect to GPU
choice.  nVidia is the last choice for graphics IMO.  Intel graphics and
wireless drivers are open source and the required kernel modules are
built into the default kernel and X.  No need to mess around with the
restricted drivers or manually installing the nVidia driver.

Also, the nVidia binary driver has misbehaved under RT kernels.

Recent ATI graphics adaptors are supported by the radeonhd driver, which
is open source and packaged in Ubuntu.  This would probably be my first
choice, with Intel second.  nVidia is a distant last place (I have
wrestled with nVidia devices on my last two laptops and a lot longer on
the desktop).

I just bought a laptop, a Dell Latitude E6400 (core 2 duo T9550, 4 GiB
RAM), and everything worked out of the box (GPU, wifi, ethernet etc.)
including all the fancy compiz effects.  I also got the accidental
damage plan from Dell.

I also have a serious hate on for firewire, so I will never buy a
firewire device (I have lots of reasons for this, but that is a
discussion for another time).  I will say that I would be careful about
investing in firewire, since I have seen a couple of laptops recently
that did not have a firewire port.

As for specs, look for a T9xxx processor (faster more cache) and all the
RAM you can afford and stuff into the machine.  If battery life is
important you may want to consider a P8xxx processor, less cache but 10
watt less power consumption.  I just bought a 9 cell battery and opted
for the faster processor.

Read the fine print, specifically what the CPU and bus speed are.  I
would also keep a copy of this Intel CPU chart handy when laptop
shopping.  For web browsing, email and so on none of this matters, but
if you plan to run effects, plugins, on multiple tracks, the different
CPUs can make a difference.
http://processorfinder.intel.com/List.aspx?ParentRadio=All&ProcFam=2643&SearchKey=

I would look at the processors with a bus speed of 1066.

I am also a big fan of the LED backlighting on some of the newer LCD
panels.  It is very usable outdoors and in places with a lot of ambient
light.  If you can, I would get an LCD panel of 1440x900.  Even on my
14" laptop it is not too small to read and it gives you a more
comfortable work area, especially with ardour and rosegarden.

One more thing, while I would not consider it a deal breaker, I quite
like having an eSata port.
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