Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 5th Nov 2004 01:55 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems San Jose-based LinuxCertified.com sent us one of their best-selling laptops, the LC2430. We've used it for more than a month with four different distributions and here's what we think about it.
Order by: Score:
battery
by atom on Fri 5th Nov 2004 02:26 UTC

(which is actually a good thing, because users should never leave batteries drain below ~20%, as this damages all batteries in general).

are you sure about this? apple even recommends you completely discharge your battery.

http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

RE: battery
by Eugenia on Fri 5th Nov 2004 02:29 UTC

From what I know so far for PC OSes at least (e.g. Windows), batteries used with these laptops are recommended to never go below 20%, or they lose some of their capacity overtime.

Thanks for the review.
by whatever (nice nym, huh?) on Fri 5th Nov 2004 02:38 UTC

I'm in the market for a laptop and may consider this one. Admittedly, I have some concerns about Linux hardware compatability OOTB, but it looks like these guys have that taken care of. If all else fails, one could always fall back on XP, right? ;-P I wonder if they'd install a custom distro for you if asked? Personally, I prefer KDE, and it'd be nice to have Yoper installed with their patches, as that distro is easily the fasted I've ever used.

I have to say that that power cable issue is enough to make me take a pass on this machine. It's *completely unacceptable* and, in my experience, not something that manufacturers are terribly worried about fixing. Given that, and the fact that they'd let such a fundemental design flaw go unremedied, are taken by me as bad signs.

RE: Thanks for the review.
by Eugenia on Fri 5th Nov 2004 02:41 UTC

You might want to have a look at their other model:
http://www.linuxcertified.com/linux-laptop-lc2100.html
It looks pretty good and it's much more portable.

Not impressed.
by Dark_Knight on Fri 5th Nov 2004 02:41 UTC

Nice review but I'm not impressed with what Linux Certified has to offer and this is coming from a Linux user. Consumers would be better off to consider ordering Linux preinstalled on a system from GamePC, IBM, HP or even Dell.

RE: RE: battery
by Bain on Fri 5th Nov 2004 02:48 UTC

That makes no sense, a battery is a battery. If it doesn't lose capacity by letting it drain to ~0% on a Apple laptop, it's not going to lose capacity when drained from a x86 laptop.

By that logic, if I ran Linux on a Powerbook, I'd lose capacity if I let it drain below 20%, but then it'd regain that lost capacity if I boot into Mac OS X.

And, yes, the battery technology is similar in Apple laptops ( http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/718... )
and x86 laptops ( http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?sku=312-3280&... ).

RE: RE: battery
by Eugenia on Fri 5th Nov 2004 02:51 UTC

Lithium ION batteries are programmed to not be able to be recharged to their initial capacity after you use them at a high intensity while below their design voltage.

RE: RE: battery
by Bain on Fri 5th Nov 2004 02:58 UTC

My point is it doesn't matter what OS you run or what hardware architecture the battery is attached to, the treatment of batteries is the same, including Li-Ions.

For a good list of what to do and what not to do with your battery:
http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-21.htm

What's up with the video card?
by Lumbergh on Fri 5th Nov 2004 03:03 UTC

The ATI 9000 (and with 64 Meg) is pretty weak, and maybe they should just go ahead and include Wifi (jack up the price a bit) because wireless is one of the last remaining pain in the asses to get running on linux.

RE: What's up with the video card?
by Eugenia on Fri 5th Nov 2004 03:06 UTC

I don't think that a Radeon 9000 with 64 MB is weak. It's a modern-enough card. It's a laptop anyway, not an Alienware game machine.

Why is there a need for a linux "certified" laptop???
by Anonymous on Fri 5th Nov 2004 03:11 UTC

Especially one that weighs 7 lbs!!!

This is not a troll, I'm just curious. Why can't I just buy a, for example, IBM T42 notebook and install Linux on it?

Thanks in advance for any comments

>Why can't I just buy a, for example, IBM T42 notebook and install Linux on it?

You can always get one. But that doesn't mean that it would even boot Linux. The problem is that hardware manufacturers only test with Windows, and so if something happens to work with Windows, it's good enough for them (even if their BIOS or VIA chipsets might be full of bugs that other OSes happen to stumble upon). So, it's always nice to know that there at least a brand that's more compatible than your average laptops in the market.

@Eugenia
by Lumbergh on Fri 5th Nov 2004 03:53 UTC

You're the one calling this a desktop-replacement. I don't think many desktop-replacements are shipping with something as dated as an ATI 9000. Remember, except for the alienware laptops, you're stuck with the video card.

This is where I got my desktop-replacement. www.pctorque.com.

windows key
by anonymous-mon on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:05 UTC

Why would this thing come with a windows key? Ok, I realize it could be there for dual-boot purposes, but if IBM can ship thinkpads without a windows key then surely these guys can too.

Also, I would love to see that ultraportable get a real graphics chip -- I'd be all over it!

@Lumbergh
by Michael Salivar on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:06 UTC

The desktop replacement classification is based on weight, and this isn't necessarily standard, but I consider anything over 5.5-6lbs to be in this category. And yes, there are plenty of heavy laptops with slow video chips, IBM's R series for example.

batteries for my battery-powered toys
by thomas pynchon on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:12 UTC

are you sure about this? apple even recommends you completely discharge your battery.

it depends on the battery type. NiCads (nickel-cadmium rechargables) of certain types develop a memory. therefore, it's best to fully discharge them. other types may not have this flaw. i'd have to RFTA again to see what type Eugenia was dealing with.

anyway, on the article, nice job Eugenia as always. looks like you gave it thorough workout. i could have sworn i had AC97 in my last laptop; and both FreeBSD and Linux plus ALSA had no issues. on my desktop i just use ALSA, cdcd, and rexima.

i'm suprised they had modem support. most, if not all, laptop-modems have limited or expensive support via 3rd party drivers. i prefer using a USR external plugged into the lappy, although it's not too portable.

i plan to get one of those ECS barebones laptops with as much memory and hard drive as i can possibly afford. the ECS generally have an external battery pack, so you can buy two or three and have super-long-lasting energy. i dunno how linux support is one the ECS though.

skittish
by johnMG on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:15 UTC

I'm skittish about owning another laptop. I'm using a Powerbook G3 now with OS X, but will eventually replace it to probably run GNU/Linux again. The trouble with laptops is, if a part breaks, it's very difficult and expensive for a do-it-yourselfer to repair (and expensive to get parts for).

My next "box" will probably have a fanless one of these in it: http://www.mini-itx.com/ with a standard laptop-sized 2.5'' IDE hard disk in it, and be able to be powered by 12 VDC or conventional AC (just like a laptop, with the right adaptor). Something rugged, modular, & built to last but easy to fix when it breaks.

do your homework next time
by thomas pynchon on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:16 UTC

That makes no sense, a battery is a battery. If it doesn't lose capacity by letting it drain to ~0% on a Apple laptop, it's not going to lose capacity when drained from a x86 laptop.

um, no. take some classes in electrochemistry. marine deep-cycle, NiCad, lithium-ion, and alkaline are terribly different from an electro-chemical standpoint. some develop memory, others can't be deep-cycled, others need full cycling periodically.

please quit spouting off guesswork concerning graduate-level electronics theory. even among laptops, there are varying types of battery technology utilized, esp with external power-packs.

to bain
by thomas pynchon on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:19 UTC

my apologies. your subsequent post addressed those issues. you HAVE done your homework and the attached link appears relatively correct.

RE: 3d card
by Eugenia on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:21 UTC

>as dated as an ATI 9000

The ATi 9000 is a good card already. I still run my MAIN desktop with a Matrox G400 32 MB and it's more than enough for what I need. You need to understand LinuxCertified's market first: 1. they mostly sell on businesses, and 2. there are very few linux games that require anything more powerful than the ATi 9000. With this in mind, the laptop's card is good enough.

>Why would this thing come with a windows key?

Why not? Personally, I would bitch if it wasn't there.

re. batteries for my battery-powered toys
by johnMG on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:28 UTC

NiCads (nickel-cadmium rechargables) of certain types develop a memory. therefore, it's best to fully discharge them.

I've heard a number EE's chime in on the subject of so-called "battery memory" and I think that, in the final analysis, it's just an urban legend that was perpetuated early on by some misguided marketdroids.

Deep discharging a rechargable battery is not good. Also note that some batteries hold their charge while sitting on the shelf better than others. I think NiCd's lose their charge relatively quickly if you don't use 'em.

@Michael Salivar
by Lumbergh on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:31 UTC

You would have to consider the battery-life too, which Eugenia says is only 1.5 hours for this model. Eugenia called it a desktop-replacement, not me. I consider 7 lbs to be somewhat middle of the road, but 1.5 hours battery-life definitely doesn't put it in the ultra-portable category.

Radeon 9000 mobility
by root on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:36 UTC

Either there is something wrong with your configuration, or the 'mobility' versions suck nads.

I say this because 1500 fps on glxgears is less than HALF what I get on an athlon 1.4Ghz w/ Radeon 7500 64MB!!

:P

@Eugenia
by Lumbergh on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:36 UTC

there are very few linux games that require anything more powerful than the ATi 9000.

The biggest linux game out there right now, Doom3, will be almost unplayable on that card. But a 9600 with 128 meg of VRAM will play Doom3 at a reasonable clip, and that's not top of the line anymore in the mobile video market.

If they are just targetting business, I would go ahead and cut the price more by just putting in one of those shared-memory Intel cards.

@Lumbergh
by Michael Salivar on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:41 UTC

What would you call it, then? There are plenty of books out there that weigh 3lbs, and some that last 6 hours on a single charge (or even 10 hours with a 2 battery design). So, this being near the top of the spectrum, and also having limited portability due to battery life, what the heck is it if not a desktop replacement?

In my mind:
ultraportable= 4lbs and less
thin and light= 4-5.5lbs
desktop replacement= 5.5-8lbs
greater than 8lbs, I think, is a marketing mistake, as you'll almost certainly be better off with an SFF.

Or do you just get a kick out of being contrarian?

@Michael Salivar
by Lumbergh on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:50 UTC

Read again. I called the 1.5 hour battery-life a non-portable. So I guess anybody that disagrees with your ad-hoc categorization of laptops is a contrarian?

Greater than 8 lbs a marketing mistake? Better tell that to Dell or pctorque.com. I'm sure they will welcome your marketing advice. My desktop replacement probably weighs at least 10 lbs and I couldn't be happier.

laptop snobbery
by thomas pynchon on Fri 5th Nov 2004 04:57 UTC

Especially one that weighs 7 lbs!!!
This is not a troll, I'm just curious. Why can't I just buy a, for example, IBM T42 notebook and install Linux on it?
Thanks in advance for any comments


it's about compatability. i had success with Slackware on a compaq lappie, including APM, ACPI, and 3rd party video drivers. however, others have fared worse, especially with FreeBSD or Solaris. if you are poor, buy a used/new laptop after googling the model number and utilizing the linux-on-laptops site. if you are rich, have one custom built or buy one that is "linux certified." this stuff is a hidden cost of linux. sure you save on software, but you pay threw the nose for good hardware. $2 nics and $5 modems are almost totally out of the question, without coding custom drivers.

i don't mind heavy. my dream laptop would be one of those exotic widescreen ones or a tricked out Alienware ($10,000 after software). you'd be the sh*t at the local coffeehouse though. ;-)

@Lumbergh
by Michael Salivar on Fri 5th Nov 2004 05:01 UTC

Read again. I called the 1.5 hour battery-life a non-portable.

I know that's what you said, and after your post I have no better understanding of why you think a laptop by all means is nearly non-portable isn't a desktop replacement?

So I guess anybody that disagrees with your ad-hoc categorization of laptops is a contrarian?

No, somebody who seems to take great joy in picking apart everything Eugenia says for a place to disagree is contrarian. But then, I was only asking.

Greater than 8 lbs a marketing mistake? Better tell that to Dell or pctorque.com. I'm sure they will welcome your marketing advice. My desktop replacement probably weighs at least 10 lbs and I couldn't be happier.

Please notice, I said I think it's a marketing mistake. As in, it's my opinion that anyone buying a laptop wants to move it some, and a laptop weighing 10lbs is too heavy to do so much more than a well thought out SFF which is much more upgradable.

if i had a nickel for every time i recharged
by thomas pynchon on Fri 5th Nov 2004 05:15 UTC

the aforementioned links states (for nicads only) "Discharge to 1V/cell every 3 months to prevent memory. Do not discharge before each charge" so there it is folks, NiCads do develop memory, but deep-cycling them over and over is not good. they need periodic moderate-cycling only. but NiCads are going the way of the dodo anyway.

I've heard a number EE's chime in on the subject of so-called "battery memory" and I think that, in the final analysis, it's just an urban legend that was perpetuated early on by some misguided marketdroids.

i'm not an EE, but i've had loads of college physics. i do believe nicads have a memory, since most battery manufacturers tell us this. there are some urban legends in EE. for instance, it's compression not harmonic distortion that blows tweeters when you clip an amp. and maybe magnetic screwdrivers are ok near hard drives, but it's an old-school rule of not using those tools near high-voltage i.e. promotes bad habits. most rules aren't universally applicable, they are situation-dependent. the problem is then -- language is sufficiently bulky that you can't convey every single caveat in a finite set of words.

all your semantics are belong to us
by newbert on Fri 5th Nov 2004 05:26 UTC

No, somebody who seems to take great joy in picking apart everything Eugenia says for a place to disagree is contrarian.

well said. Eugenia takes a lot of flack over semantics and word-games. i think she originally lived in Greece, so cut her some slack. i don't know Greek, and i don't expect everyone in the universe to know all the fine-grained minutae of English and technical jargon.

synopsis: stop playing games 'cause educated persons such as myself only laugh at semantics trolls. create, don't destroy. and realize that some of the best technical books, novels, and news sites are riddled with errors.

@Lumberg
by Eugenia on Fri 5th Nov 2004 05:32 UTC

>Eugenia called it a desktop-replacement, not me.

This is what the LinuxCertified guys told me myself, when he dropped the laptop here in September.

So, stop picking on me. There is NO standard of what to call something "desktop replacement" or not. It depends on whatever an individual CONSIDERS "truly portable" or not. If someone wants to consider the 15" Powerbook a desktop replacement, he can, because that's what his needs would be.

@Michael Salivar
by Lumbergh on Fri 5th Nov 2004 05:34 UTC

I know that's what you said, and after your post I have no better understanding of why you think a laptop by all means is nearly non-portable isn't a desktop replacement?

Let's try again. Whether 6 or 7 lbs makes something a desktop-replacement is very subjective because it's a weight thing. Some people might find 7 lbs "heavy" some people think it's nothing. But battery-life becomes less subjective. 1.5 hours vs. say 6 hours.

No, somebody who seems to take great joy in picking apart everything Eugenia says for a place to disagree is contrarian. But then, I was only asking.

Uhmmm, I didn't even address Eugenia in my original post. I responded to her after she responded to me. Stop being paranoid. Eugenia is a big girl and can handle disagreement.

As in, it's my opinion that anyone buying a laptop wants to move it some, and a laptop weighing 10lbs is too heavy to do so much more than a well thought out SFF which is much more upgradable.

Yes, it is your opinion that 10lbs is too heavy. I have no problem lifting 10 lbs. And to even consider a SFF in the same "portability" league as a laptop is just bizarre. You still have to plug in monitors, keyboards, the actual unit itself. With my desktop replacement I just unplug the power cord, move it upstairs, and plug it in the cord upstairs.

@Eugenia
by Lumbergh on Fri 5th Nov 2004 05:40 UTC

So, stop picking on me. There is NO standard of what to call something "desktop replacement" or not.

First of all, I'm not picking on you. You did call it a desktop-replacement in the review.

The laptop is really a desktop replacement rather than an ultra-portable laptop. Its battery life with a stock kernel is about 1.5 hours.

I actually agree with you that 1.5 hours of battery-life puts it out of the "ultra-portable" category and not necessarily the 7 lbs (which I consider subjective and in between).

Michael Salivar seems to think that he's figured out the categories of laptops based on weight, not me.

Is it only me?
by Anonymous Penguin on Fri 5th Nov 2004 05:52 UTC

Is it only me wondering why a linux certified laptop should have an ATI, with their substandard linux drivers, instead of a Nvidia?

RE: Is it only me?
by Eugenia on Fri 5th Nov 2004 05:54 UTC

I didn't use ATi's drivers. I am using XOrg's drivers, the open source version. I am upgrading my system regularly, so I don't want to think that ATi's binary drivers would break, so I stay with XOrg. I don't run Doom3 anyway.

@Lumbergh
by Michael Salivar on Fri 5th Nov 2004 06:18 UTC

Let's try again. Whether 6 or 7 lbs makes something a desktop-replacement is very subjective because it's a weight thing. Some people might find 7 lbs "heavy" some people think it's nothing. But battery-life becomes less subjective. 1.5 hours vs. say 6 hours.

There are also ultraportables with 2-3 hours of battery life because of physical size constraints. Unless advances in batteries make battery size a non-factor in physical laptop design, battery life can't be the main factor in laptop categorization. Of course, with these advances battery life would almost certainly become a complete non-factor, I suspect.

Uhmmm, I didn't even address Eugenia in my original post. I responded to her after she responded to me. Stop being paranoid. Eugenia is a big girl and can handle disagreement.

You're right, she can, but she gets a lot she shouldn't have to.

Yes, it is your opinion that 10lbs is too heavy. I have no problem lifting 10 lbs. And to even consider a SFF in the same "portability" league as a laptop is just bizarre. You still have to plug in monitors, keyboards, the actual unit itself. With my desktop replacement I just unplug the power cord, move it upstairs, and plug it in the cord upstairs.

I don't think it's that bizarre. Consider that a laptop weighing 10lbs would be a huge liability if you regularly carry it outside of the home. Occassionally sure, but probably not often. With a well built SFF all you would have to do is unplug the LCD and chassis from the wall, lay down the LCD and <a keyboard/mouse combo (http://www.pckeyboard.com/pdf/Mightymouse.pdf) on top of the chassis, carry it upstairs, and plug the LCD and chassis back in.

Considering the price/performance and the upgradability, the relatively small decrease in convenience, I think is worth it. Besides, there's really not anything you can get in a laptop weighing 10lbs that isn't available in a laptop weighing 8lbs. Keep in mind that the 17" Powerbook only weighs 6.9lbs.

http://emperorlinux.com
by tanstaafl on Fri 5th Nov 2004 06:27 UTC

For a wider selection of Linux laptops, check out http://emperorlinux.com . They take stock laptops, work out the kinks, document everything necessary for a Linux install, and give you a well-crafted laptop with a custom disto(or other popular distro, your choice and Windows, too). The prices are a bit higher, but they have a nice selection of models and offer to do custom work.

You'll find "desktop replacement" and "ultra portable" laptops here.

@Lumbergh
by Michael Salivar on Fri 5th Nov 2004 06:34 UTC

Excuse me if I've done a lot of research into laptops and your claim seemed absurd, especially considering that, as you say, categorization is subjective. To suggest someone is wrong because you think they're off by a few ounces, it comes across as elitist. Especially when it's done in an effort to support another subjective view that the video chip isn't powerful enough.

I'm not saying it was intended, but it came across as either arrogant, contrarian, or both.

I'm sorry it became personal, I don't want a flame war. I'll be happy to debate laptop categorization, but only in a civilized fashion. I'm sorry for furthering that sentiment.

@tanstaafl
by Lumbergh on Fri 5th Nov 2004 06:35 UTC

I took a look at the site you linked. I thought the "Rhino" looked pretty nice until I looked at the price tag. $4300!, wow. I could get two tricked out desktop replacements for that price.

@Michael Salivar
by Lumbergh on Fri 5th Nov 2004 06:40 UTC

I just moved my laptop from my office downstairs to the bedroom upstairs, and no matter how you cut it, it's still much less of a pain than a SFF. Besides, I actually have my laptop on my "lap" in bed right now. I don't know how you're going to manage that with a SFF.

@michaelsalivar:
by AdamW on Fri 5th Nov 2004 06:40 UTC

Yup - my oddball laptop manages 1.5hrs battery life on a good day with the wind behind it, but it sure ain't a desktop replacement - it's more-than-ultraportable in that I can stick it in the pocket of some of my coats, and I can certainly stick it in my Converse over-the-shoulder bag along with a couple of chunky hardback books and my lunch. Sony Vaio C1XS. It's odd how different people's requirements are - I'm idly looking for a replacement for that system, though I love it to death, and my absolute weight limit is 3.5lb. And I think the Vaio TR line is possibly a little too big. Hehe...

@Lumbergh
by Michael Salivar on Fri 5th Nov 2004 06:54 UTC

I just moved my laptop from my office downstairs to the bedroom upstairs, and no matter how you cut it, it's still much less of a pain than a SFF. Besides, I actually have my laptop on my "lap" in bed right now. I don't know how you're going to manage that with a SFF.

You're right, I'll concede that there is a gap here. Though I maintain in many situations where someone opts for an 8-10lb laptop they'd be served well by an SFF (and they'll be getting better and better with well integrated bluetooth: the keyboard is the big difficulty imo). And still, when you can fit everything a 10lb laptop has in a 7-8lb package for a good price, you have to wonder...

A PC example, not that I suggest them, is the Inspiron 9200.

@AdamW
by Michael Salivar on Fri 5th Nov 2004 07:10 UTC

You could always get an Oqo ;)

Then there are the Panasonic Toughbook T2 and W2 weighing 2.7 and 2.8lbs respectively, with and without optical. Or their godly 3.4lb, 14.1" SXGA Y2... *sigh*

Personally, I'm looking at the 3.4lb carbon fiber Asus M5Ne (sold as the C3:12 at PowerNotebooks). It looks like it works pretty smoothly in n*x, even the modem with Linuxant drivers. The S5N is only 2.8lbs, sacrificing the internal optical.

Fujitsu and Sharp have me awfully tempted too, and I just might kill for a Sony X505 ;)

So many laptops... so little cash.

Selling a *non* working laptop?
by Lorenzo on Fri 5th Nov 2004 07:24 UTC

I think I missed this one but, how can someone think a laptop is working ok when not performing a basic and fundamental function like suspend resume?

I mean, after switching from Linux to Windows my laptop became so much better that I simply can't go back... and mind, I *was* to get a fairly decent suspend-resume for it, but simply put, results were not worth at all the effort...

Suspending a computer is essential when you're used to it (and anyone who has a laptop doing it knows what I'm talking about), and if you're doing a non cpu-intensive task that requires also some pauses, then definitely it's a killer: have you ever tried to write, suspend the machine, read, check paper articles/books, then resume the machine, write down, and so forth?
My Centrino makes an entire day like this... on battery.
Plus, I *love* getting back home, flipping open the lid and voilą, I'm working again.

Now, windows does suck for many things (bly me, even in PRO there's such a ridiculous multitasking...), but, at least on laptops, it's the best thing I've ever seen after MacOSX...

A laptop like the one reviewd is simply a nonsense as a laptop, it's only valuable if you intend to use it not as mobile workstation, but as a *easily movable* one.

Linux is lagging terribly behind in laptops (and before some fanatic tells me I don't know what I'm talking about, I ask him to try a good windows laptop, or a apple one...), so it's still a no go for people requiring mobility.
My 2c tip matured after over a year compiling kernels, fiddling with the system and bashing google finding all sorts of sparse info about suspend/resume on mine and other machines...

Regarding glxgears
by Eugenia on Fri 5th Nov 2004 07:25 UTC

It's at 1594 fps at 24bit color in X11 and 2212 fps in 16bit.

RE: Selling a *non* working laptop?
by Eugenia on Fri 5th Nov 2004 07:30 UTC

> how can someone think a laptop is working ok when not performing a basic and fundamental function like suspend resume?

The default laptop install does have software suspend to disk through the SoftwareSuspend project (not part of the main kernel tree yet). LinuxCertified sells the laptop with a patched kernel that enables this. But it doesn't have a real "sleep" function through ACPI.

The real trouble only starts if you really need "sleep" or you need the default kernel of your distribution, or if you want to install another distro.

Noise
by Matt on Fri 5th Nov 2004 07:55 UTC


One of the most annoying things with the full P4's (like the 2.8, 3.0 etc) is in my opinion the heat production. So the main issue I have with most of these machines is the NOISE!
I seriously blows! (pun intented)

How is this machine doing? Constantly venting air in a loud manner or wisper silent?

Thanks,

Matt

RE: Noise
by Eugenia on Fri 5th Nov 2004 07:59 UTC

The fan vents air in and out (starting and stopping) every few minutes, yes. It usually starts doing so after about 10 minutes of having the laptop ON.

But so does my 12" Powerbook since OSX 10.3.2 (Apple changed the default settings to start the fan more frequetnly recently).

re:What's up with the video card?
by jophn deo on Fri 5th Nov 2004 08:02 UTC

You could consider the LC2464 Linux Laptop .

AMD Athlon64 Mobile 3200+ with 1MB of L2 Cache
800 MHz FSB
128MB Graphics Memory. ATI Radeon 9700*
AGP 3.0 Compliant, 4X/8X

I think this one is up to the job in most cases.

I own one of these
by actual-user on Fri 5th Nov 2004 10:24 UTC


I was very curious to read your review, as I own a LC2430. It is well written review.

However, I don't have any problem with the AC connector as mentioned in your review. I know this can be a pain, as I have a similar issue with a Dell laptop. You may want to check if your specific AC connector has an issue.

Overall I like the LC2430 system.

I have gone through buying and installing a thinkpad as suggested by another comment. However, the time spent in getting things working is simply not worth it.

dell 8600 works very well
by tech_user on Fri 5th Nov 2004 10:41 UTC

the dell 8600 (nvidia version) is fantastic. it just works very well. using mandrake 10.0 and previous.
touchpad *and* usb mouse works. plug the mouse in/out and its still works. screen is widescreen and very good. dvd and cdrw works in linux. sounds is detected and just works. hard disk is big and fast. i can do about 4 hours of X based typing work ... wiothout a recharge. gkrellm correctly shows the battery/AC status. no magic confiuration required. even the wireless centrino ipw2100 works very well.
i haven't tried tv-out or xinerama with a second display, not have i tried suspend/resume ..
the hardware is solid and well built. and it has takena few knocks and continues to work.
and there is plenty of on-line support and reosurces if you need to get things like the "addiitonal volume" buttons mapped etc etc ..
the only hting i had to configure was the extra-wide dosplay and modelines ... but cutting and pasting from on-line reosurces.
and if you use windows - dell have a very well supported and logical system of online repositories. goopd stuff.
let this be an example to lesser vendors.
sony vaio i hear is very proprietary and a pain to get working.

Batteries
by pj on Fri 5th Nov 2004 14:23 UTC

How much battery-memory are we talking about that gets lost?

If you can only run it down to 20% every time, you've already lost 20% anyway....

battery
by actual-user on Fri 5th Nov 2004 15:33 UTC


I get consistently about 120-130 minutes on battery. Also, I have turned off that 20% thing - that is optional.

Look at the HP ZD7000
by me2 on Fri 5th Nov 2004 15:54 UTC

A bunch of us are using Linux on the HP ZD7000 series laptops. I am writing this email on one (via a wireless internet connection no less) right now.

The AD7000 and Linux are an awesome combination.

The ZD7000s have 3+GHz P4 processors, an excellent 17" LCD, a numeric pad, a DVD burner and 2ish hours of battery life. They weigh just under 10 pounds. Not a "carry in your purse" laptop, but a very good desktop replacement machine. Since purchasing this machine a month ago, I've given up my desktop computer and I have no regrets.

For more info, see www.zd7000forums.com. Be sure to check out the Linux forum. We've got everything working perfectly except the memory card reader and we are working on that.

FC3 and the newest 2.6.9 kernels have everything in them to get ACPI working properly. Actally, better than properly...

One more thing about the ZD7000s
by me2 on Fri 5th Nov 2004 15:58 UTC

They use an NVidia GoForce 5700 video card with 128MB of dedicated RAM While not an all out barn burner, it is a pretty high performance card. It is also a dual head card, allowing the user to run the internal LCD and an external display simultaneously.

Another thing: the ZD7000s will take up to 2GB of RAM. I've got 1GB in mine.

battery time
by hallgreng on Fri 5th Nov 2004 16:06 UTC

remember that to extend battery life you can use the cpu throttling supplied in the vanilla kernel.

my Dell Inspiron 5150 (3.06GHz P4, GeforceFX 5200go) gets about two hours at full speed (surfing the web, irc, etc) and 50mins at full load (gentoo ^_^).
after echoing "powersave" to the sysfs scaling governor, i get four hours (at 1.5GHz surfing the web, irc, etc).
i dont bother compiling at 1.5GHz, i put it into powersave to extend the battery time.

coupling this with a simple lcd-off script to turn off the screen when the lid is down, and i get a good six hours from this beast.

echoing "performance" puts it back to normal.

this does not need ACPI or any kernel patches.

battery time 2
by hallgreng on Fri 5th Nov 2004 16:13 UTC

i forgot, that is with a pcmcia wireless card. battery times are probably even better without wireless (if youre into that kind of thing).
it also cuts down on the cpu heat production and fan frequency/duration/intensity

"linux certified" - yeah, right!
by anon et. al on Fri 5th Nov 2004 16:23 UTC

How can a laptop without proper ACPI support get sold as "Linux certified"?

The main reason someone would buy a laptop from linuxcertified.com is that features that does'nt work elsewere, actually _work_! ACPI-sleep is a great example of such a feature. I run Linux on a compaq EVO - and yes, it's always able to get out off acpi-sleep, however somtimes, the graphics adapter gets confused after waking up. The *big* issue (as documented in recent kernels") is that graphics cards normally require a properitary piece of code to get out of sleep (properly).

I would EXPECT that someone selling "linux-certified" laptops actually dug up the documentation and wrote the necessary pieces of code. I guess these lazy-ass, linux-certified.com guys are only interested in profiting on the linux hype.

Hell, even my old CPQ seems to be more certified than this crap.

BTW, does anyone have any experiences with HP's new Linux laptop?

Similar
by robert on Fri 5th Nov 2004 16:45 UTC

I currently own a Dell Inspiron 5150 it came with a PIV 3.06 HT and 512DDR333 and a 40gig with a DVD-CD RW and a SVG display. The Nvidia GeforceFXGo 5200 w/64meg isn't as powerful as the Radeon 9000 but if in windows the DX9 compatability is nice.
I run SUSE 9.1 as my primary OS, and everything works. I even have wireless running. But I think I paid considerably less.

should have been more focused on...
by Robocoastie on Fri 5th Nov 2004 17:15 UTC

I wish the article would have focused on the distros available with the laptop since that's what LinuxCertified would give support for. Too much time was wasted on distros that it wasn't built for.

@salivar:
by AdamW on Fri 5th Nov 2004 18:30 UTC

Too big, all too big. I don't need a full size screen, that's what my desktop is for. I love the format of the Picturebook, now, it makes so much sense, and it's amazingly more convenient than a standard laptop - you'd be surprised how much easier it is to carry a Picturebook around than even a very small 'square' notebook.

I've pretty much decided on my next model, actually - if I get the money, it'll be a Flybook: http://www.flybook.com/ . It's the same form factor as the Picturebook, with a 1GHz Crusoe CPU, stacks of memory, bluetooth, wi-fi *and* GPRS all built in. I think all three should work with Linux, too. Squee. Either that, or a Fujitsu Lifebook P series, which is the same form factor again.

@lorenzo:
by AdamW on Fri 5th Nov 2004 18:32 UTC

my laptop does everything in Linux that it can do in Windows - literally, everything. Sure, it's four years old, but it could do everything when I bought it, too. (Except possibly CPU throttling).

@tech_user:
by AdamW on Fri 5th Nov 2004 18:34 UTC

there's a fairly long-standing MDK Bugzilla bug for non-standard ratio displays; maybe you could add the information for your laptop to that? Then when I get a free weekend I'll fly to Paris and beat people up till they actually merge all the stuff in. sigh.

Desktop replacement
by Dark_Knight on Fri 5th Nov 2004 19:00 UTC

Some seem to be arguing the meaning behind what a desktop replacement is. A desktop replacement laptop is one that offers similar features as it's desktop counterpart. A workstation replacement is a mobile workstation that offers similar features as a workstation (ie: DCC graphics GPU). Companies that offer such replacements are Liebermann (Go-L.com), Eurocom (eurocom.com), GamePC (GamePC.com), Alienware, etc with their fast large capacity hard drives, dual layer DVD burners, interchangeable PCI-Express GPU, 16-17" high resolution WXGA screens, firewire, support for HDTV, Mobile P4-HT or AMD64 processors, etc. Each distributor offers something a little differant but I think everone understands better what "desktop replacement" truly means.

Dell Inspiron 8600c
by Fooks on Fri 5th Nov 2004 20:45 UTC

Well, just got me a nice Dell 8600c. Linux certified? No, but I got every piece of hardware going just fine. This includes:

- Centrino CPU with automatic CPU frequency scaling (600MHz-2GHz)
- Wifi a/b/g (Truemobile 1450) with ndiswrapper
- NVIDIA 64MB @ 1920x1200 (niiiice!)
- Bluetooth(tm)
- Ethernet/modem
- Firewire / USB 2.0
- Touchpad
- DVD+RW burner
- Sound

Runs like a dream with Ubuntu 4.10, everything but the nvidia card was autodetected. Highly recommended.. ;)

-fooks

@AdamW
by Michael Salivar on Fri 5th Nov 2004 22:53 UTC

Ah, so you're in my patented super-ultra-portable category ;)

I'll have to check out that Flybook link, is it working for you? For some reason it's just loading a blank page with a title, but I also just upgraded some basic graphics libraries so I'm a bit concerned (libpng, libtiff, etc)

I don't doubt it's more convenient, but all I really need is something small enough to carry a few miles to work on my bike so I can search recipes with our wifi. The picturebook format would probably be perfect except I'm hoping to move my desktop more towards a server with my laptop it's remote control. Plus the idea of a carbon fiber lappie... well, you get the point.

With a pentium 4?
by Anonymous on Sat 6th Nov 2004 00:47 UTC

Who would want a laptop with a pentium 4 processor. You don't need that much procession power and it is a big drain on electricty.

@salivar:
by adamw on Sat 6th Nov 2004 00:57 UTC

flybook.com works but is evil and Flashified. http://www.pocketpcreviews.net/reviews/072004/flybook.htm is a good review of it, instead. I already do that kind of thing with my current laptop, sometimes - when I want to run something that requires some CPU beef I just do it on the living room PC, via ssh or something.

@anonymous - if you want a desktop replacement. If you do CPU-intensive stuff and you want a laptop as your *only* system, a heavy, battery-draining P4 laptop makes sense. I love my Vaio and I'd love my Flybook if I bought one, but I sure wouldn't enjoy the prospect of using either to edit video or play Doom 3...

Batteries
by Sinical on Sat 6th Nov 2004 01:30 UTC

The below 20% is a complete load of bollocks. It is actually A Good Thing (tm) to completely discharge your battery every 2 weeks or so and then recharge fully before use to extend the lifespan of the battery.

Additionally, All the major laptop manufacturers that the company I work for service (Toshiba, Compaq, Acer and NEC) require us to recycle the battery 4-5 times before we are able to change the battery due to poor life span as most of the time the battery has been left on trickle charge its entire life not allowing the cells to function properly and the BMU board gets faulty battery information and reports it back to the BIOS that the battery is flat.

In fact, if you have a Sharp laptop you are able to go to www.sharp-service.net and download a battery refreshing program that bypasses all the windows power management. NEC and other manufacturers tend to have a battery refresh program as a BIOS utility.

I have one - not recommended
by bayerwerke on Sat 6th Nov 2004 02:17 UTC

A customer bought one of these for me. I would not recommend it. It is actually a Uniwill 755ia. I received it with SuSE 9.1 preinstalled and dual booting with Windows 2000. The Linux installation was botched and I had many problems with the machine until I performed a reinstallation myself. I am not much into games but Tux Racer was part of the original software installation and it would not run because hardware accelleration was not enabled. Also there would be times when the machine would run like it was a 2.8Mhz cpu and it became unusable. When I reinstalled I disabled ACPI support and it has be fine since then. This machine is less expensive everywhere else you can buy it. It sells under a variety of names.

Why Pentium 4 ? Why not ?
by me2 on Sat 6th Nov 2004 03:32 UTC

I don't understand why you wouldn't want a P4. I don't understand what people do with sub "desktop replacement" laptops. They aren't powerful enough to use "for everything". They don't have a decent screen. They don't have a decent hard drive. No number pad. Processors are slow... what good are they ?

Maybe that is why the ZD7000 is my first laptop.

My ZD7000 does everything. I got it a month ago and I haven't used my desktop since. (AMD2800 BTW) I write code on it, compile kernels, surf the web, answer email, etc. It is always with me and I'm always organized and able to work.

When I get back to the office I don't have to download data to my "real" computer.

The screen is outstanding on these things. A 17" 1280 x 1024 LCD looks poor compared to these things.

@me2
by Michael Salivar on Sat 6th Nov 2004 04:35 UTC

I write code on it, compile kernels, surf the web, answer email, etc.

I'm pretty sure the Pentium M can do all of those things without a stumble or stutter. Remember, because of their shorter pipeline and huge cache a 2Ghz P-M is approximately equivalent to a 3Ghz P4, much like the K7 and K8 and their model numbers. That's in addition to their lower heat dissipation and lower power consumption.

Personally, I don't see the point of a desktop replacement laptop (especially as long as the sound sucks) because they don't perform all that much better than the higher quality thin and lights and weigh a whole lot more, and often sacrifice battery life to an extreme degree. In addition they don't come close to actual desktop performance per price, or at all really. I see why some people opt for them, I just prefer the extra portability.

By the way, plenty of 12" laptop screens look great at 1024x768, you just use them in different ways from a 1600x1200 desktop system. And the Panasonic Y2 I mentioned earlier has an incredible 1400x1050 screen in a 3.4lb package. You don't need to have a big laptop with a high end 3D graphics chip to have a nice screen. Of course, that's not to say a highly scaled down GPU from Nvidia wouldn't be nice.

You can put any 2.5" laptop hdd in (almost) any laptop, try buying from someone who gives you decent options. Honestly, I don't even use the numberpad on my desktop keyboard and I'm looking at a laptop style keyboard from Unicomp.

@me2:
by adamw on Sat 6th Nov 2004 04:37 UTC

well, I used my Picturebook as a portable music player a long time before the iPod came out. I carried to to and from university practically every day I was a student - imagine doing that with a 10lb desktop replacement. I used it to take notes in class, where its small size and lack of noise made it a lot less conspicuous and irritating than the gigantic Dell someone else used in one of the classes I went to. When I had sanely priced GPRS access for a while, I carried it around when I was out and used it together with my Nokia phone to access the internet. When I was on holiday abroad for six weeks I took it with me and carried it to coffee shops with wireless hotspot when I needed to use the internet. I used to live in a fairly large house; when I wanted to go do something in another room and wanted to keep an eye on my email or instant messenger or something, I took the laptop with me. All of these things would have been much harder and more annoying with a big, heavy square laptop.

@salivar:
by adamw on Sat 6th Nov 2004 04:40 UTC

Good point about the hard disks - several manufacturers are now making 7200RPM 2.5" disks with heat production and power consumption specs that make them suitable for almost all laptops.

own it - love it...
by hello on Sat 6th Nov 2004 10:54 UTC


This exact laptop has been my life (yes, I am a nerd) for last few months. I think it is aptly made for a serious coder, who needs 15 windows open at the same time :-P

other Linux compliant laptop
by Mathieu on Sat 6th Nov 2004 17:02 UTC

www.sub300.com

try this one, its great and comes with Linux preinstalled.

Laptop weight, size, etc @adamw
by Dark_Knight on Sat 6th Nov 2004 18:53 UTC

Adam,

Lets clarify that the reality is not all x86 laptops are 10 lbs and not everyone likes to purchase from Dell. Several manufacturers produce Intel P4 and AMD64 laptops that can compare to the size and weight of Apple's 17" Powerbook G4. Some distributors like GamePC ( http://www.gamepc.com/index.asp ), Eurocom ( http://www.eurocom.com/ ) and Liebermann ( http://www.go-l.com/laptops/index.htm ) offer desktop replacements that are not hot and have current technology such as interchangeable PCI-Exress graphics, dual layer DVD burners, etc. Also unlike Apple the consumer choosing x86 has the option of having either Windows or a Linux distribution preinstalled. They also can choose between a 32-bit system or 64-bit as well as having the option of choosing between a game graphics GPU (ie: ATI Radeon, NVIDIA Geforce) or a highend DCC graphics GPU (ie: ATI FireGL, NVIDIA Quadro). With Apple the consumer is stuck with 32-bit on the laptop, game graphics GPU and a platform that causes the consumer to be locked in.

Re: Laptop weight, size, etc
by Dark_Knight on Sat 6th Nov 2004 19:02 UTC

Correction:
When I commented about the OS options for x86 compared to PPC I was not trying to exclude distributions such as Yellow Dog Linux that can run on PPC hardware. The problem that some may not be aware of is that currently commercial software that was ported to Linux was compiled for x86 and not Linux PPC. For example Apple users can use Shake ported to OSX on OSX but cannot use Shake ported to Linux x86 on Yellow Dog Linux that's ported to PPC. Not that one would really need or want to use Shake on a laptop but just using it as an example.

@dark_knight:
by AdamW on Sun 7th Nov 2004 02:10 UTC

My points hold down to a weight of 5lb and a 12" laptop, frankly, since mine weighs 2lb. A laptop the size of a rectangular 8.9" LCD screen that weighs 2lb is way, way, way easier to do a lot of things with than a 14.1" desktop replacement machine, or even a standard "light" 12" one. My post was a response to someone wondering why anyone would want an ultraportable machine and not a chunky desktop replacement notebook.

And I don't know where you get the stuff about Macs. My laptop is x86 (a P2/400, no less...)

my comments
by x2 on Mon 8th Nov 2004 08:35 UTC


I have exact same laptop. My comments:

- Screen is beautiful. The best I have seen.
- Power is good. Graphical power is great
- Quite reliable - 7 months without any downtime
- PCMCIA placement not optimal
- Overall an 8 or 9 (out of 10)

LC2430 from LinuxCertified?
by pjb on Sat 13th Nov 2004 03:42 UTC

I bought my LC2430 about nine months ago. The first machine had to be returned due to video synch problems. The replacement works well, as long as you are logged in as a root user. Non-root loggin results in inability to print, cut and paste between applications, and all sorts of USB-related problems. I have tried everything possible to resolve this, no good. When I contacted LinuxCertified they declined to provide any help, "We do not provide support for problems of this nature", was their response. LinuxCertified loaded the software, performed the setup, and they refuse to support the product??? It is unclear as to what their business strategy may be. Would I recommend LC2430 from LinuxCertified? No! Considerig the fact that there are many Linux-based laptops on the market now, HP's NX5000 being the latest addition, LinuxCertified along with LC2430 will most likely disappear from the market long before your warranty runs out. By the way, after only nine months of use, LC2430 case is braking apart above the right hinge. Can't wait to hear their response regarding this problem.