Maybe your are allowed to test a notebook with a live CD/live DVD/live USB stick in the shop or if you buy it via www etc. to test it and send it back if it works not (ask your maybe-seller)? In my knowledge some shops in Germany and Switzerland are special labeled to support linux/to sell linux supported hardware.
Often it may not concern only the brand but on the the special model. Slightly different configurations may make a great difference if it comes to linux support. HCL/Laptops - openSUSE
The problems are mostly related to built in hardware with closed special software (driver, firmware etc.):
I recommend you take your requirements quoted, and give some thought as to how that equates to physical hardware.
ie … Do you want an 17" laptop screen? Is a 12" screen sufficient? Or do you need something in between like a 14.5" or so ?
Video decoding … what sort of videos ? High Definition ? You need to be careful here if picking up an older model laptop. The 1920x1080 @ 25MB/sec that some of the modern video cameras produce, can be very challenging for laptops.
It is VERY difficult to find a small netbook/12" screen laptop that has the processing power that is likely desired for High Definition video decoding and also encoding. There are Intel Core i7 laptops available, but last I read many (all ? ) of them had thermal problems, making them less than ideal in a laptop. There are also Intel Core i3 and i5 laptops available, but they tend to come with state of the art Intel graphics hardware, where the Linux driver maturity is lacking. There are MANY horror stories here. Going with Intel graphics has (IMHO) exciting possibilities IN THE FUTURE, but not now. The latest Intel graphics support the off loading of the decoding from the CPU to the GPU, which is pretty neat. Unfortunately, the drivers are not there yet. … And there has been a case where Intel never did provide a good linux driver for one Intel graphic chipset, so there is a gamble if one purchases BEFORE a good driver is confirmed to be available.
nVidia provide timely proprietary graphic drivers for Linux, and hence many Linux users tend to like nVidia. However that has been counter-balanced in the past by very poor quality in hardware, where there have been massive hardware problems/failures with nVidia in laptops. One advantage of nVidia in Linux is vdpau support (Linux equivalent of Pure Video) which allows the offloading of the High Definition Video decoding from the CPU to the GPU. And as noted, Linux users tend to prefer nVidia because of their timely graphic driver delivery.
ATI tend to be much MUCH slower than nVidia in producing proprietary Linux graphic drivers for their hardware. However ATI Linux graphic drivers which are in use now tend to have better xrandr support (for driving a projector from the laptop) than nVidia. ATI hardware also has a superior reputation for quality over nVidia. BUT the slowness in there being Linux drivers tends to push MANY Linux users away from ATI graphics. The ATI “AVIVO” for MS-Windows (which allowed video decoding offloading from CPU to GPU) never did make it into the Linux drivers. The newer UVD2 technology purportedly has some Linux support XvBA for the latest ATI hardware in the proprietary Linux video driver, but I have not read any success story posts about Linux users being thrilled with this. Hence it is possible this is still very immature.
Thus with a laptop for decoding and encoding, with a reasonably fast speed, you may need to do some decent research.
Further to that, also take a HARD LOOK at the wireless available in the laptop. Do NOT “just assume” it will work. Sometimes one is given a choice of 2 or 3 different wireless for a laptop, and IMHO one should careful compare the options for Linux compatibility, to see which one is best.
The same is true for any integrated web cam in a laptop. It may not yet be supported.
X-Video Bit Stream Acceleration for ATI Radeon GPU
… in essence all those show that there has been some progress wrt the latest ATI graphic hardware/drivers supporting off loading of video encoding from CPU to GPU (under Linux), but it is all lagging.
Eventually this could all be a mute subject, if the quirks in implementing Core i3, i5 and i7 technology on laptops running Linux is successfully achieved.
I was actually thinking of real linux laptops.
There are some companies like system76 which make computers for linux.
Well, it does come with ubuntu. Not sure if there are some that offer OpenSuse.
These should be work (in theory) perfectly.
Graphics is a hard one. I am pretty happy with Nvidia on my desktop. But i can’t relate to laptops.
Ati i always read that their drivers are a tuff nut to solve.
Btw. no i was not thinking of making movies on it. Its more for dvd’s i have and to decode them to a harddrive. Thats pretty much what i do. And its the only hardcore thing i really do where cpu power is required.
Not even HD, just DVD quality. I am not sure how to upconvert movies yet.
The reason why this idea of a laptop spins around in my head is space. I only have a limited space available for my computer and since i do not play anymore (besides some small games) i don’t need the big graphics anymore.
So laptops are a natural choice, plus you can take it with you. I might opt for an average screen size since i might hook it up to a bigger monitor.
I take every tip into consideration and if something works good, then that is a choice i consider.
If you want to do video conversion, I suggest you go for 64bit, dual core at least, and 4 GB of RAM, preferably NVIDIA. Check the URL’s for supported models.
Over here it’s not easy to buy a linux laptop. Some netbooks with *buntu. I hear (in the real world) a lot of talk by young people about MeeGo. But a netbook wouldn’t do for your wishes,
I bought my laptops from LinuxCertified.com LC2100SN is the model I chose. Naturally, you might want another model depending on what you intend to use it for. Mine did come with openSUSE 11.2 pre-installed. Just something to consider.
I’m currently typing from OpenSUSE on laptop with amd dual core and crapy ati GPU, and lots of the stuff work as intended. It is even possible to do 2 hours compilation on that machine(same took 10-20 mins on my desktop, but that’s another story), and for sure my next laptop won’t be with amd(in my country there is no such a thing like Athlon CPU, it is called “hot plate” couse the word in Bulgarian is in rhyme with athlon, and that’s the smallest reason for that name). Of course something new may surprise us(so many talks for fusion from amd).
From my experience with ati cards…I bought nvidia for my desktop But more seriously, some people say that new ati GPUs are quite good, just the problem with ati is that their support for old hardware vanish too quickly IMO. That’s all for the proprietary drivers. On the other side I also heard that open source driver for ati is kinda better then open source driver for nvidia, for now, probably ati give more info for specs.