Pondering a new Ultrabook purchase

I decided to put this post in Chit Chat as I am not looking for help, but rather just sharing some thinking that I have about a new computer related purchase.

I am thinking of purchasing a new Ultrabook computer if I pass through Canada this summer. My research has indicated, as opposed to purchasing an Ultrabook here in Western Europe, I can get a cheaper price by buying an Ultrabook in Canada and then pay the 19% VAT at the Airport in Germany when I return (keeping everything legal) and I still pay less, and I obtain a keyboard and Microsoft OS (if forced to buy such as OEM) in my native English language. Of course its ONLY less expensive because the airfare (to/from Canada) is not part of the purchase price comparison.

I’m currently thinking of the Toshiba Z930 Ultra. There are two main reasons for this particular selection:

  • Its very light, one of the lightest Ultra books at ~1.1 kg (where light weight is VERY important to me)
  • It has a full set of interfaces, where interfaces are VERY important to me: 2xUSB-2.0 and 1xUSB-3.0, HDMI, VGA connector (for external screens), wired Ethernet port, where most other Ultrabooks are missing one or more of those ports, OR if they have the same # of ports the competition Ultrabooks are heavier.

It’s main disadvantage is its screen is rather flexible, so care is needed not to flex it too much and crack it (where I have read of users doing such). Also the screen does not have the same resolution as most of the competition, but that having played with an identical screen on the older Z830, a higher resolution is not important to me. I also examined the screen flexibility and obtained a good sense of what care is needed there. The Toshiba Z930 also does NOT have a touch screen, where I believe Touchscreens ARE the way of the future for computers. But my research suggested all Ultrabooks with Touchscreens are either significantly heavier or they compromise on the Interface ports, where those two factors are much more important to me at present time.

I am NOT at present time willing to compromise on weight nor interface considerations.

I played with the older Toshiba Z830 Ultra (which is almost the same Ultrabook) last year (in June-2012) for almost an entire day, so I have a good feel for the Toshiba Ultrabook.

The Toshiba Z930 I am considering would be a Core-i7-3667u, with 6GB RAM, and a 256 GB SD drive. An example shop with this available is Future shop in Canada although there are other places in Canada where I may be able to obtain the same.

I am NOT keen on Windows-8 but typically one has no choice in most Ultrabook selections. I’ll disable the secure boot in the BIOS and install GNU/Linux in a dual boot.

I checked GNU/Linux compatibility, and while not perfect it does seem to function ok in the areas important to me: Toshiba Portege Z930/935 [Linux Laptop Wiki] Suspend/resume appears to be the biggest heart burn with this Ultrabook with GNU/Linux and I note both my wife and I rarely use this Ultrabook/Netbook/Notebook/Laptop functionality on our current Notebooks (my old Dell Studio 1537 laptop and my wife’s Lenov X220 notebook).

I don’t plan to purchase anything until the May 2013 timeframe (as my Canada visit may be in the June-2013 timeframe), so I will be watching the market between now and then to see if my requirements change, or if the market changes.

My being a bit of a ‘techie’, it is typically a little bit of fun examining the considerations for a new computer.

What about dock compatibility for that book ?

Other things to consider would be: how long do you plan to keep this computer in service and what is the serviceability of this particular machine. I have a 6 year old Dell Laptop that I am not ready to part with at all and one of the main considerations was docking ability and serviceability of the machine. I’ve had to replace several parts on it do to either accident or it wearing out.

I agree on not compromising in ports. Some of the things I wish I had on this machine would be HDMI and USB 3. I would compromise a little in weight if that extra weight would mean a more ridged screen and a longer service life but again, I don’t know what your service life requirements are.

I don’t have any Suspend to RAM issues on my laptop, other than the very rare occasions that something goes wrong and it hangs but that is really rare and only when I run multiple X sessions it seems.

Do you have any need for docking ability?

Good luck and it is fun to consider purchasing new hardware, when you are ready. Don’t force me to buy anything new or I’ll go kicking and screaming! :slight_smile:

At the office I have a very small and light HP laptop (almost netbook size with a 12" screen) with a docking station, and I use a very large external monitor connected via the docking station when at my desk at the office. And when in conference rooms at work, or when on business trips I can (if I wish) take the small office laptop quickly/at-the-spur of the moment with no preparation needed. So I am a bit familiar with a docking station use.

Thats ok for the office, but I would not nominally want such to replace my home desktop pc. The office machine is a low power consumption Core-i7 with an SD drive, and while by office standards it is new, it is also almost 1/2 of the processing power of my home desktop Core-i7-920 (where that Core-i7-920 at home is old by my standards (~3-years old)).

In addition, the office machine runs winXP and also has its software completely locked by the IT department at the office, and I am not allowed to install GNU/Linux on it, nor am I allowed to install any other MS-Windows programs other than what the office has installed. Ergo on business, I would rather take my own private ultrabook PC, with my privately installed free open source software, than an office locked down netbook PC. I simply need to be VERY careful wrt commercial file/program compatibility standards.

The office docking station also does not appeal to me. It implies one would use their relatively slow ultrabook/netbook/notebook to replace one’s very fast CPU desktop. Ergo typically for me that means one needs to compromise on one’s ‘desktop’ CPU processing power. On my home desktop PC I do a LOT of video encoding with batch files (PC running for days at time) hence for home desktop use I want a fast desktop PC/CPU and not an ultrabook where the CPU speed was compromised for power management and physical size issues.

Thus I separate my desktop requirements from my mobile computer (ultrabook) requirements. I don’t try to combine them.

Still, I note my views/needs are very oldcpu specific, and I can easily see why others enjoy/truely appreciate a good docking station.

Toshiba’s are typically well supported around the world. Years ago (from 1997 to 2002) I used an old Compaq LTE-5250. It had parts fail a number of times, but because it was well supported world wide, I was able to have repairs done in Hong Kong China, Bangkok Thailand, and also Ottawa Canada. So I agree wrt picking a well supported brand, especially if one travels a fair amount world wide.

Typically in the 3rd year of ownership of a portable device (netbook or notebook or laptop) I start thinking of replacing, and in between the 3rd and 4th year of ownership I replace the device. Then my wife and I either give the machine away to friends who have young children, or I keep the old machine and use it for openSUSE testing only.

Wrt the Toshiba, the Internet comments about the lack of rigidity and flexibility initially scared me. But then I had a chance to examine the ultrabook in a PC shop, and later purchased a Toshiba Z830 ultrabook for my niece (as a ‘starting university present’) and I spent a day setting it up. That gave me some experience with the flexible display, and I can see with reasonable care (the sort that I nominally do with my PC equipment) that for me such a flexible display would not be an issue.

Thanks - the looking at the various brands is part of the fun of a new purchase.

What about dock compatibility for that book ?

cara membuat email

Are you closer to finding your new traveling companion? I have been curious and also have been looking at systems out there too but I just don’t want to drop that kind of coin yet.

I think if I were going to buy something today it would be this guy:
The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

Not exactly what you are looking for but I just thought I would throw it in there.

I’m still waiting until May. But thus far because of the light weight and the multitude of interfaces, the Toshiba Z930 is still my top choice.

I like Lenovo’s but I rejected the VERY NICE Lenovo X1 Carbon. Reason it is heavier (@ 1.4 kg) and has less interfaces (but it IS a very nice notebook and for those who like docking stations, it has one).

The Google Ultrabook is now being talked about, but again it is heavier and less interfaces.

I like the result and Z930 product after the tradeoffs that Toshiba had to make for the Z930. But I can fully undersand why others would see this differently, as they have a different assignment emphasis to their priorities.

I like Dells. My current laptop is a Dell Studio 1537 and it has served me well. It is solid and well built, albeit heavy. The Dell Precision M4700 you link to is a nice ultrabook. But at 2.8 kg it is > 2.5x heavier than the Z930. Even the Lenovo Carbon X1 at 1.4 kg is too heavy for my requirements. Hence I think the M4700 will make someone a wonderful laptop - but not me. :slight_smile:

I was looking at the specs of the Z930, not bad at all. I do like the fact that it has a magnesium case gives it high marks in my book. I’d be interested in knowing how openSUSE performs on it. I hope to read of a report of how the install goes on it. I have personally found that the more resent builds have shown considerable improvements in battery consumption.

I have read articles and seen videos of the Toshiba Ultrabook Z830/Z835 running openSUSE … For example:

Now from what I have read, the Z930 is identical to the Z830, with the exception of HD 4000 graphics instead of HD 3000 graphics, and with the Z930 one can purchase variants with a larger capacity SDcard than with the Z830.

Having typed that, I note Linlap raises the possibility that the Z930 Keyboard backlight adjustments won’t work with GNU/Linux distros with SystemD

… also having typed the above, when I read the posts of some of those on Linlap, I can’t help but think that (1) most are using GNU/Linux variants with older kernels (that don’t support the newer Toshiba hardware as well) and (2) the GNU/Linux knowledge of some (not all) of the users posting is not too strong.

I note Linuxnow sell the Toshiba Z930 with openSUSE installed (but they want IMHO too much money for it: https://www.linuxnow.com.au/nstoshibaPT235A-04D04X.html ). One should be able to purchase the same for $500 cheaper (and I have read FutureShop adverts for such).

I’ll keep watching both the websites of the Canadian web sites that sell the Z930 and also watch the web for reports of the Z930 running GNU/Linux, but overall I am pretty upbeat about this.


frankly, a core i7 is complete overkill unless you have apps needing so many cores. On my desktop, I went back from an i7 to an i5 and do not notice any speed difference. The i7 is now an ESXi host with 6 Linux servers on it and still idles a lot.


Saw this ,the other day. Is ultra cool with two screens
Two screens, four modes, one odd Ultrabook: The Asus Taichi 21 review | Ars Technica

Often when on vacation (with my portable computer - soon to be an ultrabook) I get ‘railroaded’ by friends into doing some custom video work for them. This can entail encoding for hours and hence a Core-i7 is superior to a Core i5. Of course there are slow Core-i7s and fast Core-i5s, so the degree of speed improvement of a Core-i7 over an i5 can vary.

That Asus Taichi 21 is a neat laptop. Clearly the emphasis here is on the dual screens and its capability to act as a heavy tablet. But its 2.76 pounds (1.25 kg) makes it a reasonably light ultrabook, albeit the Toshiba’s 1.12 kg is 10% lighter. The Asus interfaces are not bad with Wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB 3.0, micro-HDMI, mini-VGA, and headphone jack. From what I read it has no wired ethernet but rather relies on an USB to Ethernet dongle that one must carry around. Having light weight AND lots of interfaces is where the Toshiba Z930 really shines, as it has the 3 X USB (one of which is USB-3.0) and it also has an Ethernet port with no need to cart round a dongle.

Another very light weight ultrabook is the NEC LaVie Z with a 13.3" display, and a weight of 1.9 pounds(0.86kg). Thats amazingly light and not far from the weight of a dedicated Tablet. But it appears to me to acheive this light weight there were interface compromises as it has only two USB ports (one of which is USB 3.0) and one full-size HDMI port, and a head phone port, but no wired Ethernet nor a VGA port (and it is one USB port less than the quantity 3 that I like to have).

Got to play on a 13.3" Zenbook. Very nice. It has 2 USB 3.0 ports, but it also has a cardreader, which in my case would make a third USB port nice, but not necessary. Plus, it had an ethernet port. No VGA though. The machine ran Ubuntu, bleeding fast. Funny thing was that I didn’t the screen was too small at all.

I think I changed my mind as to what I would want for my next machine. If I had to buy a new machine today it would be this guy:
Latitude E6430 details — 14” premier professional laptop | Dell

I still want to wait until USB 3 is standard on all ports. That would be my only criticism. But again, I’m not ready for a new machine. This one has to die first.

The Asus Zenbook 13.3" does appear to be very nice. They have this at our local PC show and I got to briefly check it out there , running an MS-Windows OS (in German language). The specifications I read on it thou from the Asus web site stated only 1xUSB-3.0 and 1xUSB-2.0. It has a mini-VGA and it also did not have an Ethernet port in those specs - so I am wondering if there is a different Zenbook model that you were looking at ?? Weight of 1.3 kg is ok, but I would really like to get lighter, if possible. I do note that there were many good reviews of the Zenbook, where the reviewers did not have the same emphasis on interfaces and light weight that I have (hence Zenbook having less interfaces matters not to them), and the reviewers place heavy emphasis on the screen. They all liked the Zenbook speed.

I have owned Asus motherboards on desktop PCs and I am quite happy with them. I 've never owned an Asus laptop and the very limited sample of a few people with Asus laptops that I know has not very positive as they were all unhappy with issues such as over heating, and intermittent crashes / windows screens of death. Two of them returned their Asus due to quality issues. But I also have not surfed the web to get a wider statistic sample to turn that definitely limited exposure to be more positive - which it very well could be. I note my Tablet is an Asus Transformer TF101 and I am happy with that device.

The E6430 is a nice notebook. On the plus side the E6430 has all the interfaces that I would want - albeit at a weight cost. It has a weight of 4.4 pounds (2 kg) and I would be hard pressed to call it an ultra-book, as while it may be slim, it is also relatively heavy. My wife’s Lenovo X220 notebook, which is not an Ultrabook, only 1.43 kg in comparison. Hence the E6430 is heavier than a number of notebooks and for me, not what I would look for in an Ultrabook. If I was looking for a notebook, then it would be different and it could be a top contender.

  • oldcpu wrote, On 02/23/2013 03:26 PM:
    > Often when on vacation (with my portable computer - soon to be an
    > ultrabook) I get ‘railroaded’ by friends into doing some custom video
    > work for them.

Okay, that is probably the exception to the rule then :slight_smile:


I’ve been watching this for a while and I am now very close to ‘pulling the trigger’ and purchasing this Toshiba Z930. I’ve been following the linlap discussion on this ultrabook: Toshiba Portege Z930/935 [Linux Laptop Wiki] . There is a caution wrt screen back light after resume:

**Arch, OpenSUSE, Fedora, and any other SystemD controlled distro screen fix**:

Many Ideas are getting tested, but right now you are kinda outa luck. There is a problem somewhere between Toshiba acpi, systemd, and pm-utils. If you find a working solution please post it here.

… and there are other bug threads about a freeze after a resume … but it is so rare that I suspend a laptop such that even if I could not get that to function, I do not see it as a big issue for me (it might be, thou, for others).

I’m more concerned about my ability to backup and defrag Windows8 before I install GNU/Linux … (as I am pathetic in that OS).

I may have this ordered and shipped to my sister’s place now (in Canada) and I will pick it up in a couple of months when I arrive to visit.

I note there is a bit of an unusual docking station for the Toshiba Z930 Ultrabook : the Toshiba dynadock® V USB Docking Station.

I have not read any reviews as to how compatible that Docking Station is with GNU/Linux. I do note that the MS-windows user reviews of this docking station are in the majority less than stellar. I’m not a docking station user for home notebooks/laptops so I do not plan to purchase said docking station (if I were to proceed and purchase the Z930).

I note that the suspend/resume problems I referred to in my previous post is purportedly associated with all kernels >= v.3.4 (or so) : reference: Toshiba Portege Z930/935 [Linux Laptop Wiki] . I don’t use the suspend/resume functionality in a laptop/notebook, so I do not believe this is important to me.

With respect to the Suspend/Resume Problems that I expect on the Toshiba Z930 ultrabook, I read some comments speculating that they were possibly related to UEFI (TBC).

One interesting thing, when looking at the selection of EFI boot vs a non-EFI (ie CSM) boot on this Toshiba Z930, I noted it impacted the suspend/resume functionality for an Ubuntu- user (with a 3.2 kernel version). That user noted with EFI boot enabled, their Toshiba Z935-P390 (very similar to a Toshiba Z930) running an installed 64-bit Ubuntu-12.04 suspends once, resumes fine, but appears to fail on the second suspend and cannot be resumed (if it even suspended at all). But if they selected a non-EFI (presumeably CSM) boot, they can suspend and resume multiple times without problem (testing this with a 32-bit Ubuntu-12.04 on a USB stick).

An Arch Linux user noted they have a very similar suspend/resume problem (to the above Ubuntu user) with both EFI and non EFI modes, but given they did not post their kernel version and hence that was not a very helpful post.

I have read comments that the suspend/resume behaviour may be kernel version specific, impacting kernels >= 3.4. I note a Fedora-18 user (3.6.10 kernel) also reported the inability to suspend and then resume problem.

It does have me thinking thou, that the kernels >= 3.4 may have problems with suspend/resume functionality because of some UEFI firmware compatibility issues. The bright side is I note in upstream bug report post#19 of a work around that worked for Fedora 17 with a linux-3.4 kernel and also worked for Arch linux-3.7.4-1 x86_64 kernel.