[clug] Advice about buying a new laptop

Rodney Peters rodneyp at iinet.net.au
Tue Sep 22 00:14:51 UTC 2015

Some other items to add to your decision matrix:

battery life - whilst 8 hr might be achievable, if you really need it, lower priced models tend to 
have lower capacity batteries

OTOH, lower CPU speed lowers power drain, other things being equal, if performance is not a 
major criteria.

hardware virtual machine capability - if you are not majoring in IT then this is probably not a 

I've no doubt that many CLUGgers use Toshibas, however it is a brand that sometimes requires 
work-arounds to get Linux functioning and therefore best avoided by less experienced users.

If buying from a bricks&mortar shop then one thing you should ask the salesperson to 
demonstrate is how to *disable* secure boot - although openSUSE 13.1 does not require that 
some less popular Linux still might.  Similarly, they should be prepared to show you how to 
enable hardware virtual machine support.

I don't use laptops much and my current Acer E522 might be at the lower end of what a student 
requires.  openSUSE 13.1 installed on it besides Win 8, without a hitch.  I've since done online 
upgrades to openSUSE 13.2 and Win 8.1 (the latter from the Acer site).  The upgrades went 
smoothly.  Both the above OS boot whether or not Secure Boot is enabled.

Main downside is that the firmware does not support hardware virtual machine (although the 
CPU would).  The only games I do are card games - the above model has 1.5 GHz CPU and might 
not be much chop for action games. 

Sometimes better deals are available direct online (was my case) and sometimes in eg 
Officeworks.  Depends on how soon you need to purchase.



On Mon, 21 Sep 2015 22:37:03 jm wrote:
> Your biggest problem i
On Mon, 21 Sep 2015 22:37:03 jm wrote:
> Your biggest problem is likely to be drivers and having the laptop
> behave correctly when you close the lid to put it to sleep. I'll leave
> it up to others to comment on specific brands. Just a few questions from
> me that may help shape the discussion.
> I'm guessing the dual boot requirement is either for games or software
> requirement of the degree your doing (eg, you must use M$ Word). Would
> this be correct? Can you elaborate on the application you need to run
> (or are likely to run)?
> Do you mind buying online sight unseen, or would you prefer to shop in
> person?
> How fast do you need it?
> Depending on your answers it may limit the available choices.
> This would go down like a ton of bricks with the sales person, but you
> could create a live USB image to boot off and try on or two laptops in a
> store to see if the obvious things checked out.
> The good news is that things are getting better and Linux support is
> improving al the time.
> Jeff.
> On 21/09/2015 6:06 pm, Sharon Doig wrote:
> > Hi Canberra Linux Group,I am a lurker here and need some advice about
> > buying a new laptop. I am looking at a sub $800 lap top computer to use
> > for university studies. Can anyone tell me what brands and models would
> > allow me to duel boot Open Suse 13.1 and windows? I am hoping to duel
> > boot on a windows 8 or higher OS. Since I am really new at buying a
> > machine to run both windows and linux on. Could you provide a list of
> > questions for the sale person/manufacturer help line.
> > 
> > Thanks in advance.
> > Sharon Doig Sharon Doig in Canberra - Australia
> > E: po_box_304 at yahoo.com.au
> > 
> > Blog:  http://www.rosiesstuffnsew.blogspot.com
> > ********************************************
> > Make your mark and achieve success
> > or, if need be, die in the attempt.
> > Miriam Leslie
> > ********************************************

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