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oldcpu's meandering thoughts on Computers, GNU/Linux and openSUSE

Purchase considerations for a new netbook

Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.
My wife is looking at purchasing a new netbook, and we have spent the past couple of days looking at new netbooks. Her selecting the model of netbooks she wants to examine, and me checking for GNU/Linux compatibility BEFORE the purchase. She still has not purchased one, but its possible she will do so before end of this weekend (23/24-July)

GNU/Linux compatibility references:

For GNU/Linux compatibility I normally check here:


Netbook requirements

Her Netbook requirements evolved as we looked at Netbooks, but in essence they are:
  • light weight – it needs to be 1.5 kg or less
  • very high quality small screen – 11” to 14” , but this is typically driven by the weight
  • standard interface options such as USB port (USB-2.0 minimum), wireless, RJ45 for LAN, headphone/headset jack, power adapter connection,
  • good keyboard
  • reasonably fast processor ( ~ twice the speed of the Intel Core2 duo P8400 CPU on our much larger Dell Studio 1537 laptop).
  • 4 GB of RAM minimum
  • Moderate hard drive size of 320GB (she prefers 7200rpm but 5400 rpm is acceptable). She does NOT want a SSD drive (as an SSD is too expensive).
  • Integrated webcam (only after my urging her to include)
  • either no operating system, or an English language Microsoft Windows operating system [this was a late coming requirement]


sdcard, USB-3.0, hdmi, esata, SD-card-reader are all nice to haves for her, but not essential. Having a CD/DVD read/write device is not essential as we can purchase an expensive slim portable external CD/DVD read/writer from a local PC shop. My wife did not want a Finger print reader.

Processor speed comparisons

To compare CPU speeds, we have been looking at this site: PassMark - CPU Benchmarks - List of Benchmarked CPUs

She has looked at a number of Netbooks with Core i3 and Core i7 processors, some of which were :
  • CPU, Passmark CPU benchmark (larger is better), Rank on benchmark list (smaller is better)
  • My wife's current desktop (core i7 860), 5564, 70
  • My current desktop (core i7 920), 5564, 71
  • Core i7 2620M, 3927, 140
  • Core i5 2540M, 3758, 156
  • Core i5 2520M 2.5 Ghz, 3600, 172
  • Core i5 2410M, 3331, 197
  • Core i5 480M, 2731, 248
  • Core i5 560M, 2693, 251
  • Core i5 460M, 2606, 264
  • Core i3 2310M, 2543, 271
  • Core i3 370M, 2220, 370
  • My dell studio 1537 laptop (Core2 duo P8400), 1550, 461
  • my wife's old Fujitsu-Simens Amilo 7400M is too slow to even be on the list

the above constantly changes as that page/list is updated and benchmarks rerun.

The plan is to replace my wife's old Fujitsu-Simens Amilo 7400M with a much newer and smaller netbook.

Initial plan – a Toshiba R700 or R630

My wife had wanted to purchase from a local notebook store, and so she initially narrowed down her selection to two Toshiba netbooks:
  • Toshiba R700, w/ core i3-370M or or Core i5-460M, or core i5-560M, Intel GMA HD graphics, various WLAN hardware offerings
  • Toshiba R630, mostly identical specs




When we checked these two laptops out in the store they looked identical, except the R700 had a PCMIA/Express Card slot card on the bottom (and the R630 did not) and the R700 had an integrated 3G/UTMS-Modem and as near as we could determine the R630 did not, and finally the R700 had a finger print reader and the R630 did not. While the laptop housing looked identical, the more expensive R700 did feel a bit more sturdy. My wife noted the fan noise a bit louder than she expected (which amazed me as the computer shop was NOT quiet and I could not hear the fan, although I could feel it when my wife had me put my hand on the laptop's exterior body). The tab key was not great when touch typing, and my wife had picked that up in various reviews as a down side.

Still we both REALLY liked both the R700 and the R630, with us preferring the cheaper price of the R630. When I checked for GNU/Linux compatibility it looked promising with Linlap having this section with both R700 and R630 in one compatibility guide page. There were some areas that I could see would not be straightforward, but I was confident I could work around them.

snag with Windows7

But then we ran into a snag with the operating system. The offerings came with either Deutsch Windows7 Home or Deutsch Windows 7 professional. My wife wanted English language. Our being expatriates working in Germany in an EU government organization meant we had an uncounted for expense here, that of obtaining English language Windows7 at no additional cost. My wife had read that with Windows7 Ultimate, one could get a language pack to change the language from Deutsch to English. But the notebook store wanted 220 euros to upgrade to Windows7 which was very high (and we noted another store sold Windows 7 ultimate German (with SP1) for 160 euros).

But the Notebook store would NOT sell the notebook with NO operating system. They noted the Toshiba's had Windows7 Deutsch installed in the factory, and they HAD to sell the Notebooks that way. Which mean my wife had to purchase 2 versions of Windows7 to obtain English language.

That was a deal breaker for my wife. She was very annoyed at being forced to pay Microsoft twice if she wanted the Toshiba.

Next plan – a Lenovo X220

So we left the Notebook shop and looked for other Notebooks. Then my wife discovered from the Lenovo Deutchland web site that she could order a Lenovo with a choice of English Language or German Language Windows7 for the same price. It was even possible to mail order a Lenovo from that site.

Now in my view, Lenovo's are expensive, but the policy of Toshiba had made my wife stubborn, and experience has taught me to be careful around her when she is in that mood. My wife will at times buy something else out of spite. Toshiba has likely permanently lost a possible customer.

Since we were looking at Lenovo's, that added another website for me to look at for GNU/Linux compatibility, that being ThinkWiki (which is dedicated to IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad users with GNU/Linux:

Lenovo X220 characterstics

So we narrowed the Lenovo's down to a single model that we liked: the Lenovo X220. Some features:
  • Core i3-2310M or Core i5-2410M (I prefer the faster CPU despite extra cost). There is also a Core-i7 version available but that's outside our budget
  • English Windows7 Professional possible, and with Windows7 XP Modules available for another 10 euros (my wife is looking in to that to see what it means, because I don't know)
  • nice 12.5” IPS LED backlit display (with super viewing angles) 1366x768 resolution
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • 4 GB RAM
  • weight of 1.37 kg (which is very nice an lightweight)
  • English language international keyboard (which does not matter as my wife will likely place Thai/English language stickers on the keys)
  • integrated 720p High Definition webcam
  • 320GB 7200rpm external Hard drive
  • Thinkpad b/g/n wireless




Wireless on X220

I looked carefully at the wireless, as for wireless, there is a selection of either any of the following. But research suggested all could work with GNU/Linux , with problems in some cases but nothing completely blocking (To Be Confirmed) :



( ... to be continued in next comment ... )

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Updated 26-Jul-2011 at 02:39 by oldcpu

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  1. oldcpu's Avatar
    ... continued from above post ...

    Webcam on Lenovo X220

    I noted that the webcam may be a UVC webcam which would be good news (but I need to confirm this).

    Graphics on Lenovo X220

    The Integrated Intel HD Graphics according to the ThinkWiki are an Arrandale (GMCH Ironlake) PCI ID: 8086:0046. This is purported to work with recent GNU/Linux versions.

    other links on Lenovo X220

    I also found an openSUSE thread on the X220 and a Ubuntu thead on the Lenovo X220 and here on ThinkWiki


    more Windows7 problems with local shop and Lenovo X220

    So then we proceeded to the local PC shop, to see if we could give them our business for this Lenovo, but again, we ran up against the Windows7 English language issue. The notebook shop noted their policy is to
    • offer the Lenovo X220 for students ONLY with no OS, or Windows7 Deutsch or Windows7 English
    • offer the Lenovo X220 for all other users with ONLY Windows7 Home Deutsch or Professional Deutsch. One must pay an extra 220 euros for Windows7 Ultimate (which provides an English OS).

    ie for non-students, they have extended the same policy they had in place for Toshiba to Lenovo where one is forced to purchase a Deutsch version of MS-Windows7. But in this case it is the local shop and not the Lenovo factory that is making this difficult/expensive for my wife.


    Final comments (for now – more to hopefully follow)

    My wife left the shop NOT in a good mood. She appeared to have made up her mind to order a Lenovo X220 from the Lenovo Germany website.

    I pointed out a very nice thin sexy Samsung Netbook to my wife on the way out, but she noted the weight of 1.3 kg was not much better than the Lenovo's 1.37kg. Plus no RJ45 connector and some other compromises to make this Netbook thin, yet not achieve a much better weight.

    So that’s how it stands. My wife has not 'pulled the trigger' yet on ordering a Netbook, but when she went to bed last night, it looked like she would be ordering a Lenovo X220 via mail order. I need to stay on top of this to ensure she gets: (1) better IPS display, (2) integrated webcam (3) GNU/Linux compatible wireless

    Image of the Lenovo X220:
    Updated 24-Jul-2011 at 11:07 by oldcpu
  2. oldcpu's Avatar
    My wife has ordered the Lenovo X220, but NOT the way in which I noted in my previous post. ... I'm not 100% convinced the way she has ordered it will work, so I will wait until her credit card is 'billed' before I post all the details as to how she went about ordering this netbook. In the mean time, I note the following specifications for her 'on-order' Lenovo X220 netbook:

    SPECIFICATONS

    • Processor : Core i5-2410M 2.30GHz
    • Operating System : Windows7 Professional 64 English [but one can be assured openSUSE-11.4 will be quickly installed by me]
    • Display type : 12.5" Premium HD (1366x768) LED backlit display (which includes a 2x2 broadband wan antenna built in).
    • Graphics : Intel HD Graphics 3000
    • RAM : 4 GB RAM (1 DIMM)
    • Keyboard : US English
    • Webcam : integrated 720p HD Camera (UVC compatible) - by ordering this we could not go for the 3x3 broadband wan antenna option in the display
    • Hard disk : 320GB (7200rpm)
    • Battery : 6 cell (in fact the 9 cell was on promotion at no extra cost, but its 0.2kg heavier than the 6-cell, and my wife wants a very light netbook)
    • WAN : Intel Centrino Advanced N-6205 AGN
    • Estimated weight: 1.37 kg
    • Power cord : 65W AC Adapter - North America, Latin America [we will need to use a small connector adapter with this]

    plus the bundle she ordered is supposed to also come with these options (as part of the package):
    • IBM optical wheel mouse
    • IBM Track Point Cap collection (I have no idea as to what this may be)
    • Thinkpad 12W Case Sleeve (this could be very nice, as I read it is made of neoprene, which is the material wet suits (for diving) are made of, and it should provide some cushioning).
    • Thinkpad in-ear headphones (I read this is a very basic 'in-ear' headphone, where purportedly there is a mic on the cable ... ergo it can be used for voice recording/voice chat in addition to listening).


    Note the 'premium' in the 12.5" LED display. This is an IPS technology display, with superb brightness and viewing angles. It costs a bit extra, but IMHO it is well worth the additional expense (I think it was an extra ~ $50 US).

    In the mean time, I've been brushing up on the various reviews of the X220 and how it works with GNU/Linux. I believe the Intel HD Graphics 3000 is Intel Sandybridge graphics. I think the Intel Sandybridge graphic architecture could be the area where we could end up with either very poor functionally under GNU/Linux, or something very good (as there is a lot of bug fixing and development going in the Intel driver community for the Sandybridge).

    Her purchase considerations (in terms of where to order the netbook and her calculations for the cost) were fascinating to me, as she tried very hard to look for the best price (with us living here in Europe). Since she plans to use this netbook a bit for business, everything must be perfectly legal so that she can use the expense as a business expense for income tax purposes. Once I confirm her technique has worked, I'll post the details.
  3. oldcpu's Avatar
    The order for the Lenovo did not work out - at least not immediately.

    Lenovo USA rejects the order

    My wife ordered from Lenovo USA mail order whose sales accepted the order, but two days later whose finance section rejected the order. When we called Lenovo sales asking for a status, we were told by the Lenovo US sales the order was canceled because their finance section noted (1) it was not a US credit card nor an American Express Credit card, and (2) because the billing address was different from the shipping address. This cancellation was a surprise to the Lenovo Sales rep but they noted their Finance section make the decision here.

    Lenovo Canada can't process the order due to Credit Card problems (unintentionally caused by Lenovo USA)

    So since Lenovo USA sales told us our US Lenovo purchase was canceled we checked Lenovo Canada, saw they had a sale on this Netbook and there was a 'coupon' for an 18% discount. My wife ordered from Lenovo Canada, but the we immediately received an email that the Lenovo Canada sale stalled, because my wife's credit card was over her limit. But my wife had made no purchases on her card, so should not be over the limit !!

    Contact Credit Card/Lenovo USA to cancel Lenovo USA purchase

    When she checked with the credit card company she discovered her card had recorded a 'pre-authorization to pay Lenovo US' for the X220 (even though Lenovo US had refused to accept the order). My wife's credit limit was too small, and the amount still 'frozen' for the refused Lenovo USA purchase, was enough such she had insufficient limit remaining for the Lenovo Canada X220 purchase. Hence the Lenovo Canada X220 order could not be accepted.

    It appeared to us that word had not made it back to the Credit card company of the Lenovo USA refusal for her Lenovo X220 order from the USA. So my wife called Lenovo USA, and they noted they had not yet processed the cancellation, although they had frozen the purchase of the X220 due to (1) foreign credit card, and (2) different shipping/billing address. They noted they 'might' be able to process this thou, if we wished. But this was getting too complex for my wife, and she had Lenovo USA cancel the purchase of the Lenovo X220 Netbook, so that the order from Lenovo Canada of the same X220 could be processed. She also called the credit card company and had them increase her credit limit.

    Put alternative shipping addresses in your credit card

    We also learned (from Lenovo Canada) that if one wishes to order goods via credit card with a different shipping address from the billing address, one should call their credit card company in advance, and register the 'alternative shipping address' with the credit card company. If one does NOT do that, then sometimes a credit card purchase will be rejected because the shipping address and credit card billing address are different. So my wife and I eventually did that, adding a relative's address to our 'alternative shipping address'.

    Plan change

    So our plan changed from
    • the old plan of having Netbook ordered from Lenovo USA and shipped to friends in USA who would then ship it to us in Germany, to
    • the new plan of having Netbook ordered from Lenovo Canada and shipped to a relative in Canada from whom we would pickup the Netbook in 4 weeks when we were in Canada.

    In both cases we will stay pay 19% German VAT on this Netbook when we bring it into Germany. We need to keep this legal for a number of good reasons.

    Price comparisons

    So why order from North American when we live in Europe ?

    Reference our price comparisons, we noted if one considers 100% the price of the Netbook at our local PC shop, then
    • 100% - cost of Netbook had we ordered at local Netbook shop, which includes English language Windows7 and 19% German VAT
    • 79% - cost of Netbook had we ordered from Lenovo Germany, which includes English language Windows7 and 19% German VAT (ie 21% discount)
    • 53% - cost of Netbook which we ordered from Lenovo Canada, which includes English language Windows7, 5% Canadian GST, 5% Canadian province PST, and 19% German VAT (ie 47% discount). Method here is to ship Netbook to relative in Canada and we pickup in 4 weeks when we visit Canada. We will pay 19% VAT at Airport when we return to Germany
    • 49% - cost of Netbook had we ordered from Lenovo USA, which includes English language Windows7, US sales tax, $120 US for friends to ship to Germany, and 19% German VAT. (ie 51% discount). Method here is to ship Netbook to friends in USA who in turn ship to Germany.


    ... ie order from the USA would still be cheaper (although in the end we are not going that route) ...

    On-going Risks

    Now while it appears we may have a savings, there are risks still.
    1. Netbook may show up late, and not be at our relatives at end August when it needs to be there for us to pickup the Netbook (in which case there will be EXTRA shipping charges), and
    2. Netbook could be broken when we pick it up, complicating the return or the repair


    Summary thus far

    Time will tell if this effort at saving money for the purchase was worth it - but I do note it was all driven by my wife's frustration of the MS-Windows operating system language available at a local PC shop, and the premium price the local PC shop wanted for the English language. I can't blame the local PC shop myself for wanting more money here, ... and I do note GNU/Linux has no such charges.

    My main hope is that in the end the GNU/Linux Intel Graphic driver for SandyBridge graphic hardware improves, as this laptop does use such hardware and reports on SandyBridge are a bit spotty.
    Updated 03-Aug-2011 at 07:09 by oldcpu (Fixed typo)
  4. oldcpu's Avatar
    My wife ended up shipping the Lenovo X220 Netbook to my sister's in Regina Canada, and we will be meeting my sister in Vancouver in a few day. My sister will bring the Netbook with her and pass it to us in Vancouver.

    When we bring the Netbook back to Europe we will pay 19% VAT at the airport. We also need the receipt from that for tax purposes.

    My sister, to be safe, powered the Netbook on a couple of times. The 1st time to ensure it worked, and as soon as it came 'up' the Win7 asked for the language. My sister switched it OFF. Then my sister thought, what if after that it does not work at Airport Security when she is asked to power it. So she switched it on again, and this time it came up with the classic Windows bad boot menu, with failsafe and some other options. My sister switched it OFF again there. So we will find out in Vancouver the impact of those ON/OFF cycles on the capability of my wife to continue with the Windows7 install. I'm not particularly worried as I know openSUSE GNU/Linux is a good alternative for an OS

    The shipping information via UPS was interesting as the Netbook was clearly assembled in China. :
    Code:
    Location 	Date 	Local Time 	Activity
    Regina, SK, Canada 	08/25/2011 	4:34 P.M. 	Delivered
    	08/25/2011 	6:18 A.M. 	Out For Delivery
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada 	08/24/2011 	9:35 P.M. 	Departure Scan
    	08/24/2011 	4:17 P.M. 	Shipment pending release from clearance agency. / Released by Clearing Agency. Now in-transit for delivery.
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada 	08/18/2011 	2:06 P.M. 	Shipment pending release from clearance agency.
    	08/18/2011 	8:18 A.M. 	Import Scan
    	08/18/2011 	7:11 A.M. 	Arrival Scan
    Minneapolis, MN, United States 	08/18/2011 	5:55 A.M. 	Departure Scan
    	08/18/2011 	5:55 A.M. 	Departure Scan
    	08/18/2011 	4:06 A.M. 	Arrival Scan
    Rockford, IL, United States 	08/18/2011 	3:11 A.M. 	Departure Scan
    	08/18/2011 	1:50 A.M. 	Arrival Scan
    Louisville, KY, United States 	08/18/2011 	1:50 A.M. 	Departure Scan
    Louisville, KY, United States 	08/17/2011 	8:51 A.M. 	Arrival Scan
    Anchorage, AK, United States 	08/16/2011 	11:05 P.M. 	Departure Scan
    	08/16/2011 	1:30 P.M. 	Arrival Scan
    Shanghai, China 	08/16/2011 	8:56 P.M. 	Departure Scan
    Shanghai, China 	08/15/2011 	8:19 P.M. 	Export Scan
    	08/15/2011 	8:10 P.M. 	Hub Scan
    China 	08/15/2011 	6:07 P.M. 	Order Processed: Ready for UPS
    My wife ordered the Netbook around ~ 30-July, and it took a couple of weeks for the Netbook to be assembled (?) prior to shipping by Lenovo.
    Updated 29-Aug-2011 at 23:09 by oldcpu
  5. oldcpu's Avatar
    We picked up the Lenovo X220 netbook from my sister in early September, and brought it back to Europe. We stopped at German customs in the Frankfurt Airport (just after the immigration clearance) and paid the VAT on the netbook. There was no duty.

    I hope later this month or next to install openSUSE GNU/Linux on it. Currently it is running Windows7, albeit not without my wife having some difficulty in getting that up and running correctly (but that's a different story not for a GNU/Linux blog).
  6. oldcpu's Avatar
    Today for the 1st time she let me play with her new Lenovo X220 laptop.

    So naturally I inserted the 64-bit openSUSE-12.1 Milestone-5 KDE liveCD and booted to an external (Samsung) USB DVD/CD drive.

    Given this Lenovo X220 has Sandybridge Graphics, and I had read bad stories, I was expecting the worst. I did not encounter that, and the graphics booted fine, albeit I did not get to check the performance.

    Sound worked immediately upon boot. The KDE desktop came up at 1366x768 with the Intel i915 graphic driver. As I have discovered before this 12.1 M5 KDE desktop version is buggy, as there are no folders on the desktop upon boot, and the pager is missing from the lower panel (and can't be added). But thats not an issue with this Lenovo X220 but rather its a global 12.1 M5 issue.

    Wireless did NOT initially work when I tried to configure it. I tried using the Network Manager and tried using disabling the Network Manager and using the 'traditional method' via YaST which failed. So I moved the netbook to a room in our house where we have a wired Internet cable available, and rebooted with the Internet cable plugged in. That gave me good Internet via our wired home LAN. Then after playing with the netbook for a while (in 12.1 M5) I configured the Wireless while the wired was connected, and this seemed to work. So I unplugged the wired, and low and behold the wireless worked fine with 12.1 M5 KDE ! Go figure ! Was it finger trouble on my part before ? I don't know.

    From the dmesg (when configuring the wireless this final time):
    Code:
    [ 2203.545424] wlan0: authenticate with bc:05:43:5f:0e:cd (try 1)
    [ 2203.548508] wlan0: authenticated
    [ 2203.549468] wlan0: associate with bc:05:43:5f:0e:cd (try 1)
    [ 2203.553123] wlan0: RX AssocResp from bc:05:43:5f:0e:cd (capab=0x431 status=0 aid=3)
    [ 2203.553132] wlan0: associated
    [ 2203.557815] ADDRCONF(NETDEV_CHANGE): wlan0: link becomes ready
    [ 2213.626830] wlan0: no IPv6 routers present
    [ 2219.490557] e1000e: eth0 NIC Link is Down
    [ 2233.728928] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: iwlagn_tx_agg_start on ra = bc:05:43:5f:0e:cd tid = 0
    one can see me unplug the wired cable eth0 there !

    The wireless on this Lenovo X220 is:
    Code:
    03:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Intel Corporation Centrino Advanced-N 6205 [8086:0085] (rev 34)
    	Subsystem: Intel Corporation Centrino Advanced-N 6205 AGN [8086:1311]
    	Kernel driver in use: iwlagn
    and the wired on this Lenovo X220 is:
    Code:
    00:19.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Intel Corporation 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection [8086:1502] (rev 04)
    	Subsystem: Lenovo Device [17aa:21ce]
    	Kernel driver in use: e1000e
    I was a bit (pleasantly) surprised to see the Sandybridge graphics work. The graphics are:
    Code:
    00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:0116] (rev 09)
    	Subsystem: Lenovo Device [17aa:21da]
    	Kernel driver in use: i915
    xrandr indicated:
    Code:
    Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1366 x 768, maximum 8192 x 8192
    LVDS1 connected 1366x768+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 277mm x 156mm
       1366x768       60.0*+
       1024x768       60.0  
       800x600        60.3     56.2  
       640x480        59.9  
    VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    HDMI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    DP1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    HDMI2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    HDMI3 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    DP2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    DP3 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    I was a bit surprised by all these graphics options ! I have not seen a "DPx" entry before. I did not expect to see 3xHDMI's. Clearly there is a LOT about this laptop that I know nothing about.

    It appears KDE will provide various options to tune the graphics:

    [click on above image for larger resolution version]

    Before connecting to the wireless, I custom built inxi and ran it:
    Code:
    linux@linux:~> inxi -F
    System:    Host: linux.site Kernel: 3.0.0-4-desktop x86_64 (64 bit) 
               Desktop KDE 4.7.1 Distro: openSUSE 12.1 Milestone 5 (x86_64) VERSION = 12.1 CODENAME = Asparagus
    Machine:   System: LENOVO (portable) product: 4286CTO version: ThinkPad X220
               Mobo: LENOVO model: 4286CTO Bios: LENOVO version: 8DET50WW (1.20 ) date: 07/07/2011
    CPU:       Dual core Intel Core i5-2410M CPU (-HT-MCP-) cache: 3072 KB flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx) 
               Clock Speeds: 1: 2301.00 MHz 2: 800.00 MHz 3: 800.00 MHz 4: 800.00 MHz
    Graphics:  Card: Intel 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller 
               X.Org: 1.9.3 drivers: intel (unloaded: vesa,fbdev) Resolution: 1366x768@60.0hz 
               GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Sandybridge Mobile GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 7.10.3
    Audio:     Card: Intel 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller driver: HDA Intel
               Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture ver: 1.0.24
    Network:   Card-1: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 driver: iwlagn 
               IF: wlan0 state: down mac: a0:88:b4:d3:3f:38
               Card-2: Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection driver: e1000e 
               IF: eth0 state: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full mac: f0:de:f1:7e:f4:97
    Drives:    HDD Total Size: 250.1GB (-) 1: /dev/sda HITACHI_HTS54322 250.1GB 
    Partition: ID: / size: 4.9G used: 2.6G (54%) fs: rootfs ID: / size: 4.9G used: 2.6G (54%) fs: ext4 
    Sensors:   Error: You do not have the sensors app installed.
    Info:      Processes: 149 Uptime: 0:12 Memory: 793.6/3847.2MB Client: Shell inxi: 1.7.23
    And I launched konqueror and entered 'sysinfo:' to get this image:

    [click on above image for larger resolution version]

    This looks reasonably promising, and assuming no regressions, I may install 12.1 GM version (once it comes out) on this Lenovo if my wife lets me. I asked her if she could give me a 40 GByte extended partition from the hard drive (for openSUSE) and she may do that.
    Updated 20-Sep-2011 at 15:03 by oldcpu
  7. oldcpu's Avatar
    I booted my wife's Lenovo X220 with the 64-bit openSUSE-12.1 RC1 KDE liveCD. It booted ok with the startup sound playing playing ok. Graphics was ok with the i915 intel driver and I note 3D/special desktop effects worked ...
    Code:
    00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:0116] (rev 09)
    	Subsystem: Lenovo Device [17aa:21da]
    	Kernel driver in use: i915
    The resolution was what was expected at 1366 x 768 (from xrandr) :
    Code:
    linux@linux:~/Documents> xrandr
    Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1366 x 768, maximum 8192 x 8192
    LVDS1 connected 1366x768+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 277mm x 156mm
       1366x768       60.0*+
       1024x768       60.0  
       800x600        60.3     56.2  
       640x480        59.9  
    VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    HDMI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    DP1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    HDMI2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    HDMI3 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    DP2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    DP3 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    and I note the following from the /var/log/Xorg.0.log (for the EDID) :
    Code:
    [    70.274] (II) intel(0): EDID vendor "LGD", prod id 728
    [    70.274] (II) intel(0): Printing DDC gathered Modelines:
    [    70.274] (II) intel(0): Modeline "1366x768"x0.0   75.20  1366 1414 1478 1582  768 772 779 792 +hsync -vsync (47.5 kHz)
    This netbook has the following netbook hardware :
    Code:
    03:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Intel Corporation Centrino Advanced-N 6205 [8086:0085] (rev 34)
    	Subsystem: Intel Corporation Centrino Advanced-N 6205 AGN [8086:1311]
    	Kernel driver in use: iwlagn
    The knetworkmanager in the right hand corner indicated no network connection.


    So I clicked on it and saw the networks in the area.


    I then configured to our WLAN


    and I did not fight kwallet asking for a new password managed by it, but I simply gave it a password (obviously I don't show the password here):


    and the network connection worked.


    IMHO this was very nice. Its also been a very long time for KDE to have a nice looking and easy to manage network manager. I suspect this does not yet work for everyone, but for me, on my wife's Lenovo X220 netbook, it worked well.

    I could access the Internet with Firefox, and I played the Firefox welcome video with no problem.

    Running the alsa diagnostic script provides this information:
    http://www.alsa-project.org/db/?f=b4...49dc6230b26a58

    I don't see the internal microphone being detected, so I suspect there may be some effort required to configure it. I note:
    Code:
    ARECORD
    
    **** List of CAPTURE Hardware Devices ****
    card 0: PCH [HDA Intel PCH], device 0: CONEXANT Analog [CONEXANT Analog]
      Subdevices: 1/1
      Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
    which is not the internal mic best I can determine. But this could simply be a liveCD limitation with the appropriate driver missing from the liveCD.

    I did not test the webcam, but I did not this for the hardware:
    Code:
    Bus 001 Device 004: ID 04f2:b217 Chicony Electronics Co., Ltd
    and the UVC video driver is clearly loaded:
    Code:
    linux@linux:~> lsmod | grep video
    uvcvideo               76804  0 
    videodev              102250  1 uvcvideo
    v4l2_compat_ioctl32    17083  1 videodev
    video                  19653  1 i915
    thermal_sys            25017  3 processor,thermal,video
    so I suspect the webcam works.

    And finally some details (again) on this netbooks' hardware:
    Code:
    linux@linux:~/Downloads> inxi -F
    System:    Host: linux.site Kernel: 3.1.0-rc9-1-desktop x86_64 (64 bit) 
               Desktop KDE 4.7.2 Distro: openSUSE 12.1 RC 1 (x86_64) VERSION = 12.1 CODENAME = Asparagus
    Machine:   System: LENOVO (portable) product: 4286CTO version: ThinkPad X220
               Mobo: LENOVO model: 4286CTO Bios: LENOVO version: 8DET50WW (1.20 ) date: 07/07/2011
    CPU:       Dual core Intel Core i5-2410M CPU (-HT-MCP-) cache: 3072 KB flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx) 
               Clock Speeds: 1: 800.00 MHz 2: 800.00 MHz 3: 800.00 MHz 4: 800.00 MHz
    Graphics:  Card: Intel 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller 
               X.Org: 1.10.4 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: 1366x768@60.0hz 
               GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Sandybridge Mobile GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 7.11
    Audio:     Card: Intel 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller driver: snd_hda_intel
               Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture ver: 1.0.24
    Network:   Card-1: Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection driver: e1000e 
               IF: eth0 state: down speed: 4294967295 Mbps duplex: full mac: f0:de:f1:7e:f4:97
               Card-2: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 driver: iwlagn 
               IF: wlan0 state: up mac: a0:88:b4:d3:3f:38
    Drives:    HDD Total Size: 250.1GB (-) 1: /dev/sda HITACHI_HTS54322 250.1GB 
    Partition: ID: / size: 4.9G used: 2.8G (57%) fs: rootfs ID: / size: 4.9G used: 2.8G (57%) fs: ext4 
    Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 52.0C mobo: N/A 
               Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: 2911 
    Info:      Processes: 154 Uptime: 0:57 Memory: 1220.3/3847.0MB Client: Shell inxi: 1.7.23 
    linux@linux:~/Downloads>
    So openSUSE-12.1 RC1 'looks' promising. I have quotes around the 'looks' because I know from testing experience that the DVD installer on 12.1 RC1 is still rough around the edges in spots, and needs more work. Hopefully that will be resolved by the 12.1 GM version, else I could be installing 12.1 from a live-CD instead of from a DVD.
  8. oldcpu's Avatar
    I installed openSUSE-12.1 on my wife's Lenovo X220 laptop earlier today. The installation was mostly smooth, although I do note that the wired Network was not recognized by the openSUSE installer, but after installation was complete the wired Network was working fine. Total time from start of install, to completion of installation, including installing all applications (including those from Packman packagers), setting up network printing to HP C309a (photosmart premium printer) , setting up network scanning to same device, setting up integrated webcam with Skype (with both video and integrated mic working), was less than 90 minutes.

    Before installing I backed up the MBR from a liveCD and put the pre-openSUSE GNU/Linux install MBR record on a USB stick. During the install I deselected the option to install a generic MBR.

    After the install I adjusted the fstab configuration so my wife could write to her Windows7 NTFS partition, and I removed the mount points to the Windows7 boot partition and to the Lenovo recovery partition, so that my wife did not write to those by mistake.

    I may blog on this quick and painless Lenovo X220 install later - right now my wife and I are going to go out to a movie.