Linux on various devices
My current notebook computer, a five-year-old Gericom with 14''
1024x768 display, shows its age: The CMOS battery has run out,
requiring me to set the date and time every time I boot, and something
in the wires connecting the base unit to the display broke so that
only certain tilt positions of the lid give an undistorted display
with original colours.
I'm now looking for a replacement, with the following considerations:
- The only otherwise reasonable AMD Turion chipset, the ATI Xpress
200M, has an issue with USB 2.0 and Firewire transfers; they attain a
maximum bandwith of only 16 MB/s and 10 MB/s, respectively. Intel
chipsets get >30 MB/s with either.
- A dual-core Intel CPU ("Core Duo") is only about 100 EUR more
expensive than the equivalent single-core Pentium-M.
- A 1.83 GHz Core Duo is only about 50 EUR more expensive than a
1.66 GHz Core Duo.
- I would like to attach my Presonus Firebox (Firewire soundcard),
therefore I'd like to have a Firewire port built-in, preferrably 6-pin
(delivers power, too).
- Hard drive speeds reach >30 MB/s nowadays; 100 Mbps Ethernet is
unable to saturate the disk bandwidth.
- I don't play 3D games, thus the chipset-builtin graphics is fine
and saves some power compared to an add-on graphics card.
- ATI changed the register layout for 2D graphics in their newest
X1400 and X1600 chips and appears to be less than forthcoming with
public documentation. Thus, there are no open-source X.org drivers
for these chips. The ATI closed-source drivers often have issues
with suspend/resume, don't support Xinerama, and I suspect they won't
like an SMP kernel, either.
- I hate the "CrystalBright", "Glare", "ClearView" etc. displays
that serve a dual-use as your bathroom mirror replacement.
- I own an oldish Netgear WLAN Cardbus device (with full
firmware) that works as an access point without any problems. I would
like to be able to continue to use that device.
- Built-in Intel WLAN. Broadcom and other chips give too much
- Since I don't buy a new notebook very often, I would like to have
an ExpressCard slot, too, allowing for future add-on cards.
- An SD (Secure Digital) card reader would save the expense of an
additional USB card reader.
- Selling a notebook without a DVD+/-RW writer is just besides the
- Not paying about 100 EUR for an unused Windows license is desirable.
These considerations culminate into the following requirements:
- CPU: Intel Core Duo >= 1.83 GHz
- RAM: >= 512 MB at 533 MHz, prefer 1 GB at 667 MHz
- hard drive: 80 GB, prefer 100 GB SATA
- 14'' WXGA or 15'' SXGA+ or 15.4'' WSXGA+ display, not "glare"
- no ATI X1x00, prefer built-in graphics
- would like a Cardbus slot
- at least three USB 2.0 ports
- GBit Ethernet
- Intel WLAN 802.11 b/g, prefer a/b/g
- mass: < 3 kg
There are very few notebooks available that fulfill these
requirements. Most have a "glare" display (Samsung, Toshiba, Asus),
some are missing a Firewire port (Lenovo ThinkPad T-series), others
don't have a Core Duo offer with a high-resolution display (Sony),
some only have 100 Mbps Ethernet, and most notebook makers seem to
think that having high-resolution graphics implies a 3D graphics card.
I am considering these notebooks
I'm going to post my experience installing Linux on one of those
machines after I got one. Likely, I'm going to use the
Linux From Scratch
instructions and not a distribution.
Jens Maurer 2006-06-10