Which laptop should I buy?

Hey, OpenSUSE users! I’m buying a laptop soon, but I can only afford about $650. I have 3 laptops in mind right now - A Dell Inspiron 15, a Toshiba Satellite L650-BT2N23 and a Dell Inspiron M101z. I like the Dell Inspiron 15, because it’s cheap and Dell has always been reliable in the past. I also like the Dell M101z, because it’s the cheapest I can find, and it has a better hard drive, but I’m not sure about AMD. I’m leaning towards the Toshiba, partly because it’s got an i3 CPU, and also because the laptop itself looks stronger and looks nicer(I know, pathetic), however, I have heard many complaints from the Linux community about various issues with Toshiba laptops. Please help me decide, or if you know a better deal, post it! Specs for all 3 are below -

Dell Inspiron 15 $793.99 -$219.00 instant savings = $574.99 (custom specs at online store)

Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
Jet Black
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T6600 (2.20GHz/800Mhz FSB/2MB cache)
1 Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis
Microsoft® Office Starter 2010
McAfee SecurityCenter, 15-Months
Bright, glossy widescreen 15.6 WLED display (1366x768)
4GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 800MHz
Size: 500GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
8X CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD
Dell 1397 Wireless-G
High Definition Audio 2.0
No Webcam Option
6-cell battery
My Services & Warranties
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 9.0
No ISP requested
Integrated 10/100 Network Card

Toshiba Satellite L650-BT2N23 $814.00 -$95.00 component rebate -$100.00 instant savings = $619.00 (custom specs at online store)

Intel® Core™ i3-370M Processor 2.40 GHz, 3MB Cache
Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit
4GB DDR3 1066MHz SDRAM (2048MBx2)
500GB HDD (5400rpm, Serial ATA)
DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive
Fusion® Finish in Helios Black with Standard Black keyboard
Lithium-Ion Battery (6-cell, 48Wh)
Realtek® Wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n) OR Broadcom Wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth® Version 2.1 +EDR
No Modem
Microsoft® Office 2010 Starter
Norton Internet Security Suite (NIS) 2011 (30-day trial)
1 Year Standard Limited Warranty

Dell Inspiron M101z $559.99 (custom specs at online store)

Microsoft® Office Starter 2010
1 Yr Ltd Warranty, 1 Yr Mail-in Service, and 1 Yr Tech Support
McAfee SecurityCenter, 30-Day Trial
Clear Black
Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium
AMD Athlon™ II Neo K325 (Dual Core,1.3GHz,2MB Cache)
Inspiron M101z
11.6’’ High Definition Truelife™ WLED (1366x786)
4GB DDR3 SoDIMM at 800MHz, 2x2GB DIMM
320GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
AMD RS880 Integrated Graphics
56WHr Lithium-Ion Battery (6-cell)
Combo 802.11n 1x1 with Bluetooth 3.0 HMC
Integrated 1.3M Pixel Webcam
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 9.0

Thanks in advance, guys.

Have a look here
And don’t let price be the deciding factor
HCL:Laptops - openSUSE

Take a look at linlap for this laptop: Dell Inspiron 15 [LinLap - Linux Laptop Wiki] On that site it notes they could not get wired Ethernet working (read the various comments) ! I suspect if you surf on this, you may be able to find a fix (no guarantees … likely a very new kernel is needed). For the “Dell wireless” they note: “If you have the Dell card, which is just a re-badged Broadcom card, then you’ll need to manually install these drivers” . I think the Graphics (Intel® Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD) should be able to get functioning especially well BUT initially there could be hiccups with the graphics.

Conclusion re : Dell Inspiron 15: You may be able to get it functioning, but you will have a rough ride in spots and average to above Linux knowledge likely needed.

This is difficult to guess. No information on graphics nor specific information as to what Realtek nor what Broadcom wireless. That makes it very difficult to confirm wireless functionality. You should research this! Note there is NO entry in any of the laptop sites for Linux (linlap, Linux Laptop, nor Linux Laptop tux) for this laptop. When I search google on this laptop I note Ubuntu users had problems with the wired which suggests to me you may have similar hiccups. It appears solveable with an update on Ubuntu - there may be something similar for openSUSE (you need to check).

If it were me, I would research to see EXACTLY what Realtek and what Broadcom wireless is being offered? I’ve read the Realtek® Wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n) had problems with Linux in the past, but I also read a recent thread where a version of the Realtek wiress (possibly the same, possibly not) was made to work with openSUSE. Many (not all) of the Broadcom work with openSUSE. I note some Ubuntu users got “a” wireless to work on this laptop, but in classic Ubuntu fashion its not clear what wireless they are talking about.

I can’t tell which graphics. One site suggests it might have Intel® integrated graphics (which may work under Linux although there will likely be some minor hiccups initially as it is fairly new - you need to check).

Conclusion re:Toshiba Satellite L650: You may be able to get it functioning, but you will have a rough ride in spots and average to above Linux knowledge likely needed.

The ATI RS880 should work with the ATI proprietary Catalyst graphic driver. I don’t know if the opensource “radeon” driver works with it because when I type “man radeon” it does NOT mention the RS880. So you may be forced to use either the VESA driver or the proprietary ATI Catalyst graphic driver.

What wireless? Is there none ? The Dell web site suggests there are wireless options, such as (1) Standard Dell Wireless 1501 802.11 g/n, (2) Optional Dell Wireless 1520 802.11a/g/n , (3) Optional Sprint Internal Mobile Broadband Card w/GPS (Gobi 5620) (4) Optional Verizon Internal Mobile Broadband with GPS (Gobi 5620) (5) Optional ATT Internal Mobile Broadband with GPS (5540) (6) Optional Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250 802.11 a/g/n. Frankly, I do not know if any of those work in Linux. You could call Dell, but you may get no answer.

Conclusion re: Dell M101Z: There are still too many unknowns. You may be able to get it functioning, but you will have a rough ride in spots and average to above Linux knowledge likely needed.


I think the Toshiba Satellite L650 is the most likely to work. Still, while I use Linux extensively (since 1998) I hate fiddling. Hence I would not buy any of those for use under Linux.

caf4926 wrote:

> And don’t let price be the deciding factor

that is a VERY important point i hope the OP doesn’t overlook…

because my experience is the least (initial) cost laptop is, in the
long run, the most frustrating of all those offered (and,
unfortunately the one which is most likely to work well poorly, if at
all, with open source systems…

When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
CAVEAT: http://is.gd/bpoMD [posted via NNTP w/openSUSE 10.3]

Welcome here !!!

I would not go for either of the three mentioned. They all have their issues, the market serves enough brands and models that come with 100% supported hardware.

Personally (also see my signature ), I don’t believe in fat CPU’s in laptops. Unless you’re going to do some serious number crunching (like in video conversion, an audio workstation). Most people look at the CPU and RAM as qualifiers for speed/performance. Even these days you can still find expensive laptops with multi-core CPU’s, loads of RAM, and a … 5400 rpm harddisk. Recently I had a friend over with a Dell with an i7, 4 GB DDR3, 500 GB HDD on 7200 rpm, openSUSE 11.3+Win7 ( price around $ 1500. We both converted the same avi file (stored on the harddisks, my specs below) to DVD using devede, both took around 8 minutes for the process to finish. Total price of my laptop + SSD (original HDD is a portable now): $700.
Also, I don’t agree on the statement on cheaper laptops. Not for here at least. The cheaplaps most of the time do not have the most recent hardware, equally most of the time they’re not realy bad, and in the hardware market things change that fast, that an expensive super laptop is ancient in three years as much as a cheap one is. I’m not talking about the $150 kiddy laptops.

I’ve done quite some installs on laptops this year, on cheap and more expensive laptops, different brands, mostly used openSUSE 11.2 and 11.3, but also Ubuntu 10, latest Mint. The trouble, if arising, usually comes down to configuring video cards, wireless. Some manufacturors are known to cripple BIOSes, that can be a problem. And some manufacturors sell laptops with pre-installed linuces. The least you could say about those laptops is that they will work.

My suggestion: buy a $500 reasonable laptop, spend the extra $150 on an SSD, put openSUSE 11.3 on it. If you like desktop effects, go for one with an ATI or NVIDIA (safest choice) GPU. All this IMHO.

Make sure it has a dedicated graphics card. Like Nvidia or ATi. If its generic it it will use memory and also generally be useless at games and other stuff. ok for surfing the web but thats about it. so good graphics card is a must. Amd processor tends to be cheaper as well.

I don’t totally agree with this statement, except for games use. It’s well known that “dedicated” graphics cards generate more heat than integrated chips, that’s not helpful on a laptop. Today’s laptops/notebooks often come with 3/4GB to start with, so the integrated chip’s memory use isn’t an issue. Make sure it’s a good integrated chipset (e.g. intel), with good open driver support for linux. You can do much more with it than just surf the web. Desktop effects are fine, and so is video and DVD playback, along with basic 3D apps/games and all the usual office type apps.

In my opinion no one of these. I prefer an hp pavilion.

Look out for i3 CPU if it has got graphics integrated. AFAIK there is no linux driver that nicely supports this GPU merged with CPU. Check out this thread :
Best driver for Intel Core i3 integrated graphics?

Best regards,

Avoid Toshiba. Make sure the machine will work standard Nvidia, Intel, etc windows drivers and does not require modified drivers from the manufacturer. Modified drivers often mean problems with Linux and often problems with new versions of Windows.

Hi guys…

For me… IBM still the best…

The first laptop I had … was Asus Pallete…Gone already… coz somebody smash my car and took it away…
Then I bought a Dell Precision (2nd hand) … got no problem… but I sell to somebody else… coz to heavy…
After that, my 3rd laptop was IBM T41… has no issue with OpenSuSE at all… then I upgrade to T43…
and currently I’m using IBM T60… and planning to have T401s in future… :wink:

Conclusion… IBM got no problem at all when handling the beast - The Geeko … ahakss!!!

This thread is getting old, and darkrubysage never replied to any of the posts. Makes me think they weren’t serious or were diappointed so much by the answers that they decided not to go with Linux.