[clug] Advice about buying a new laptop

jhock at iinet.net.au jhock at iinet.net.au
Tue Sep 22 02:15:11 UTC 2015

Hi Rod, 

Thanks for that info. The HP was recently updated from Windows 7 to Windows 8. Maybe I'll give dual boot another go or just stick to my EeePC with UbuntuMate and let the rest of the family suffer with Micro$ost. ;--)


---- Rodney Peters wrote ----

>I doubt this will be an issue with contempory laptops.  These are likely to be running Win 8.x *64 
>bit* and if not then I suggest that a buyer move on to the next item in the shop - because 64 bit 
>is where the action is - indeed, many distro are no longer producing a 32 bit desktop-oriented 
>AFAIK, all Win 8 implementations need UEFI and practically all UEFI machines come partitioned 
>with GPT, which allows 128 primary partitions.  Mine came with 6 primary partitions already - 
>openSUSE installer elected to shrink the main one and create 3 addtional.   I later shrunk further 
>and now have 11 primaries, enabling me to triple-boot ROSA as well as openSUSE & Win 8.1.
>Your HP desktop might have been an earlier model that came with obsolescent MS DOS disk 
>label (partition table).  These were problematic, althought not impossible to dual-boot.  In the 
>case of a desktop simply install a second HDD for Linux only (and GPT it to boot - no pun 
>On Tue, 22 Sep 2015 11:22:44 jhock at iinet.net.au wrote:
>> I have had two Asus EeePCs and they were both very easy to convert to Ubuntu
>> (they came with Windows OS). I just had to answer seven easy questions to
>> fully install Ubuntu. I did not bother with dual boot.
>> We bought an HP desktop for our son. I tried to load dual boot with Ubuntu
>> but the way Windows was configured in multiple partitions it didn't work.
>> I'm not patient enough to try and solve the problem so I uninstalled Ubuntu
>> and left the HP to its own fate without my intervention.
>> I would suggest asking how the operating system is partitioned onto the hard
>> drive as it may be very difficult to install another OS if it's all over
>> the place.
>> John.
>> ---- Rodney Peters wrote ----
>> >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 requirement.
>> >
>> >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.
>> >
>> >HTH,
>> >
>> >Rod
>> >
>> >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
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