Lenovo IdeaPad Dual Boot -- nVidia GPU, Windows 8 == Problems?


Having run openSUSE 11.4 on my 2005 Compaq for about two years now, I’m about ready to move up to 12.2 and a new Lenovo IdeaPad U410. Despite a bit of experience with linux, though, the thought of dual-booting a new computer does bring up a few questions with which I would bother you:

1: An nVidia GeForce 610M GPU: I’ve heard mixed words about nVidia, from Torvalds chewing them out to common users saying that their experiences have been everywhere from “eh” to “good”. Is this GPU a major deal breaker, or is there anything else I should know?

2: Windows 8: Not a hardware question, I understand, but I figured it could slip in here. Obviously, there’s not too too much out there right now on dual-booting windows 8 and openSuse. Is this ground on which I should not try to trod, or is the BIOS stuff all similar enough to be interchangeable?

On my Compaq, the Windows install had kicked the bucket permanently before I switched to Linux, so my openSUSE install was alone on the hard disk- hence the questions.

Thank you very much,

So to the nVIDIA part. nVIDIA works best for me and is recommended but nVIDIA and in particular its Optimus Dual graphic tech is a problem for Linux and much more for Linus and the Linux Kernel. As for Windows 8, if it comes with UEFI BIOS. which is likely, dual booting can be a problem. Likewise, you simply don’t want an Optimus dual graphic Laptop. So, what might you do? First off, making a dual boot setup with Windows 8 does work. I have such a setup on my PVR PC at home. So, consider buying a Dell business Laptop loaded with Windows 7. You should be able to load Windows 8 and openSUSE both on the same unit. You can buy an upgrade version of Windows 8 for $70 US plus Tax right now. With Dell, you should be able to determine your graphics setup. The negative is a potential higher cost as Windows 8 Laptops right now will likely have a better price, just to move the new OS. All things considered, it might be the ideal time to follow my advice and be assured of your OS choice in the near future.

Thank You,

A google on specs I found, didn’t indicate Optimus to me.
The UEFI BIOS should be manageable but you never know.

Thank you both very much- further research into the U410 has revealed a serious design flaw leading to horrendously low wifi speeds, so that’s off of my list. If you’ve the time, a short explanation on why the new BIOS will be trouble would be great. Google searching has told me everything from ‘no problem’ to ‘abandon all hope, ye who try to put linux on a UFEI-enabled device’. Why would upgrading from Win 7 be superior to buying Win8?

Thanks again.

  1. If you’ve the time, a short explanation on why the new BIOS will be trouble would be great.

Microsoft requires new WIn8 machines to boot only signed copies of Windows 8. The UEFI BIOS can support this feature and it may or may not be something you can disable if it comes with Win8 pre-installed.

  1. Why would upgrading from Win 7 be superior to buying Win8?

Upgrading to Win 8 from Win7 should always work. Buying a Win8 Laptop can be a problem if the UEFI boot is setup to ONLY boot Win8. Buying a Win7 Laptop, you know you will not have such a problem with the BIOS and you can always upgrade to Win8 and install openSUSE to. A UEFI BIOS can be setup to work in standard BIOS mode if it did not come with Windows 8 pre-installed.

Solutions are being worked on for Linux to boot on a Win8 machine with the UEFI signed OS feature enabled, but I am not ready to give them a try myself right now.

Thank You,

Further to James’ advice

I can tell you IMO at least, that win8 is not worth the bother.

A couple of articles have been written on UEFI here:

These may help you understand some principles involved.

Thank you again, that’s all very helpful- I’m picking a win 7 machine. Your advice is much appreciated!