Laptop recommendation request n+1
January 27, 2011 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a laptop that will run Linux & Windows 7 without driver hassles. Budget ~$1k and under. Used would be ok. Must be able to install an SSD drive in it. Not a heavy gamer, but if it could run minecraft passably that would be a big bonus. Additional conditions and...

Dell & Sony = DO NOT WANT. Bad experiences with both of those brands in the past.

I'm planning to do a Linux from scratch installation as a learning exercise so linux pre-installed is not a requirement. However, I would really like to avoid a prolonged driver chase on the Linux install, so a "standard" configuration without a bunch of hardware bells and whistles is preferable.

Need a minimum of 2 hours of battery life.

USB 3.0 also desireable, but not a strict requirement.
posted by de void to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thinkpads such as the T510 are well supported with only a few caveats. Build quality is much better than the typical Dell/Sony crap, although once you go to $1k everything starts to improve, even Dell. There is a long history of Linux support with Thinkpads and I think they make fewer of the cost cutting decisions that make finding drivers for off-brand laptops so difficult.
posted by ChrisHartley at 9:02 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Dell Latitude E5*** series are EXCELLENT laptops. Well built, Core i7, and Dell has extensive linux support. Also, they go for around $600-700 when on sale. Check out for coupon codes.

We use them at my work and they're built like tanks. 9-cell option (usually an extra $80) gets you a solid 4-5 hours of uptime per charge.
posted by lattiboy at 9:02 AM on January 27, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the recommendation lattiboy, but...NO DELLS. I carry a massive grudge from an equally massive screwing they gave me on a personal laptop years ago.
posted by de void at 9:21 AM on January 27, 2011

I'd stick to the ThinkPad line. They have a robust support arena as well as ease of swapping out parts should something not meet your fancy.
posted by msbutah at 10:09 AM on January 27, 2011

My Thinkpad T60P works great with Ubuntu on it, is still reasonably fast, and you can find them for less than $500.
In general, most Thinkpad laptops will probably be good, especially if you get one that's been out for a year or two, as linux drivers tend to lag a little behind windows drivers for the same hardware.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:13 AM on January 27, 2011

Thinkpads are the way to go. The Lenovo Outlet has some good deals on refurb T510's.
posted by tmt at 10:22 AM on January 27, 2011

Response by poster: Ok, leaning towards a T510, thanks all.

TMT, Lenovo Outlet may have had refurbt T510's in the past, but I sure can't find any now. Got a direct link?
posted by de void at 11:43 AM on January 27, 2011

i've been having a lot of fun with my new HP tm2t...the build is super-solid, the finish/engraving droolworthy, i picked up a top-of-the-line one on ebay for 600 bucks (they've since upgraded to the i3/i5/i7 chips) after a bit of stalking...oh, and the double-duty touchscreen/pressure sensitive pen tablet screen (from wacom...i use it for a lot of art's like painting on the screen) wipes the smug looks off the faces of ipad owners...the touchscreen features of windows 7 are pretty rad, the handwriting recognition surprisingly good...not sure if the latest ones have usb3, but this one has hdmi...hard drive is 500G/7200rpm...switching for a ssd should be easy...the screws on the bottom are even labelled HD and Mem.
the only drawback is the external cd/dvd drive...
don't know about linux, but hp is common enough, right?
much more info here...
posted by sexyrobot at 12:02 PM on January 27, 2011

Here is one with an i5:
posted by tmt at 6:31 PM on January 27, 2011

Response by poster: As a follow up to this question:

It turns out that a laptop must have either a Nvidia or ATI *dedicated* graphics processor in order to run Minecraft smoothly. If it has some version of "IntelĀ® HD Graphics" *integrated* graphics, then Minecraft will run poorly/at a low frame rate.

The T510 suggested fails on that mark, but is otherwise a good suggestion on the linux front.

I ended up purchasing a Samsung RF510, which has a dedicated Nvidia graphics processor.
posted by de void at 6:46 AM on February 8, 2011

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