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ibm versus dell...recommendations, comparisons?

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October 27, 2004 11:10:12 PM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

I am looking at getting a laptop for multiple OSs, linux (probably RedHat)
and Windows XP.

I like the eraser pointing device, and would probably prefer a 15" display
and ability to play DVD movies.
I don't play games on computers. I think I would prefer
a large disk-- I see that some high-end Dells offer 100Gb, not sure about
high-end IBMs (?).

Dells: Inspiron 5160 (80 Gb hard disk max), 8600, XPS (no Centrino == bad?).
[=> 8600 is best?] (What are
the equivalent IBM notebooks?)

I gather that IBMs are more expensive than Dells,
and that is one consideration.

I would also consider Toshiba. I'm not sure that HP
offers the eraser pointing device (guess: probably not).
Perhaps there is some offset which would change my mind
about that...

In the future I might be working in an environment in which
Dells are very popular (although Linux is very rare).

I'm open to other than RedHat, although I am familiar
only with the RedHat version of Linux (plus various
other Un*x variants, eg freeBSD). I would also
enjoy running freeBSD in a partition.

Any recommendations?
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
October 27, 2004 11:10:13 PM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

z wrote:

> Any recommendations?

IBM ThinkPads tend to work well with Linux.

--

(This space intentionally left blank)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
October 28, 2004 12:05:15 AM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

["Followup-To:" header set to comp.os.linux.portable.]
On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 19:10:12 GMT, z staggered into the Black Sun and said:
> I am looking at getting a laptop for multiple OSs, linux (probably
> RedHat) and Windows XP.
>
> I like the eraser pointing device, and would probably prefer a 15"
> display and ability to play DVD movies. I don't play games on
> computers. I think I would prefer a large disk-- I see that some
> high-end Dells offer 100Gb, not sure about high-end IBMs (?).

Check IBM's website. The 2.5" form factor is standard for laptop hard
disks, so you could always get an aftermarket 2.5" disk that's as large
as you want and plonk it in. This takes about 2 minutes on most
Thinkpads; Dells may vary.

> Dells: Inspiron 5160 (80 Gb hard disk max), 8600, XPS (no Centrino ==
> bad?). [=> 8600 is best?] (What are the equivalent IBM notebooks?)

What are your requirements? So far, I think you want "Trackpoint, 15"
screen, DVD-ROM, large disk", but what else do you want? Built-in
802.11b? TV-out? High battery life? Low weight? Specifics would help
us make recommendations.

> I gather that IBMs are more expensive than Dells,

I've owned 3 refurbished (cheaper than new!) IBM laptops since 2000, and
had only 2 mechanical problems (dead CD-ROM drive, dead fan) with them.
All these laptops were sturdily built and had decent components under
the hood. I don't know whether the same holds true for Dell since I've
never taken apart a Dell laptop.

IBM also has fairly detailed FRU-replacement manuals for all current and
former Thinkpads available on their website. You can find IBM spare
parts at http://ibm-spare-parts.com/ among other places. I don't know
whether Dell offers the same deal.

> In the future I might be working in an environment in which Dells are
> very popular (although Linux is very rare).

? An x86 is an x86 as long as the hardware doesn't fail and you don't
have to take it apart to replace something.

> Any recommendations?

Check the "not exactly new" laptop section of http://pricewatch.com/ and
IBM's Ebay store at http://stores.ebay.com/IBM-Global-Financing . You
can get a lot more for your money if you buy refurbished.

If you don't mind having a touchpad, check http://www.sagernotebook.com/
.. They make laptops that are often sold to "name-brand" manufacturers
like Dell and HPCompaq, who slap a nameplate on them and raise the price
by $300. I also hear you can order a Sager laptop without an OS on it
if you call them up and speak to an actual human--no Windows Tax!

--
Matt G|There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see
Brainbench MVP for Linux Admin / mail: TRAP + SPAN don't belong
http://www.brainbench.com / Hire me!
-----------------------------/ http://crow202.dyndns.org/~mhgraham/resume
Related resources
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
October 28, 2004 8:45:12 AM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

> IBM ThinkPads tend to work well with Linux.

I think a big reason for this is that IBM still develops most or all
of their BIOS code in-house, and they have test protocols in place
that verify that the BIOS actually meets standards instead of merely
working with Windows.

Whereas most generic vendors (if not all) use commercially available
BIOSes, and don't fully test things like ACPI. If it passes the
Windows logo tests, it's good enough.
October 28, 2004 10:25:55 AM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

So IBM laptops work better with Linux than Dell laptops?

I'm looking at the IBM T42p laptop (1 year warranty):
$2999 - IBM "family discount" (apparently not much).

This has an 80 GB disk drive.

Dunno if these are hanging around the refurbished places...

The Dell Inspiron 8200 seemed to be coming in at $3049
or so, with a smattering of the options that I tried specifying (incl. the
100 GB disk drive).

Here's a site which verifies Red Hat for the T42P:

http://www.linuxtested.com/results/ibm_thinkpad_t42p_23...

So far, IBM is winning my heart and my mind...

"James Knott" <james.knott@rogers.com> wrote in message
news:-sednbYFTNEjvR3cRVn-iQ@rogers.com...
> z wrote:
>
> > Any recommendations?
>
> IBM ThinkPads tend to work well with Linux.

....
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
October 28, 2004 8:18:34 PM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

>
> So far, IBM is winning my heart and my mind...
>

If you really want linux compatibility and also want the manufacturer to
support you for it, go for IBM. That being said IBM does make better
notebooks than Dell anytime, but thats a personal opinion.

--
Sharninder
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
October 28, 2004 10:23:00 PM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

z wrote:

> Any recommendations?

I'd say both Dell and IBM are good choices when it comes to linux support.

Myself, I've just settled on a Thinkpad T42p, for Debian GNU/Linux.
(Running Win2k under QEMU <www.qemu.org&gt; for proprietary applications)

The reason I chose it over the Dell alternatives, Precision M60 or Inspiron
8600c, was mainly because of the [supposedly brilliant] Flexview *non-wide*
screen, also the thinkpad looked a bit sturdier and had a more
work/office-friendly approach.
And I didn't have to pay for it myself... :p 

Thinkpad has an active Linux phpBB forum, which certainly is a plus:
http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewforum.php?f=9

But all the Dells and IBMs I've looked at have HOWTOs on the internet for
how to run GNU/linux on them, so I guess you can't go very wrong either
way.

The Dells in general seems to be a little more multimedia-friendly, AFAIK
the thinkpad I'm getting doesn't even have firewire, which might be a minus
for home use...

OTOH, it seems almost every Dell nowadays has a wide screen, which I
personally don't want (I Don't Care if my eyes once were "naturally
calibrated" for a wide aspect ratio, now they are strictly 4:3... :p ), but
it might be a plus if you want to watch dvd's.

IBM is the King of the trackpoint device, I don't even know if Dell has it
on any of their models.

The Precision M60 I looked at had a NVidia graphics card, I've heard
somewhere that their (proprietary & closed) drivers are just a tad more
supported on linux 3d-wise than the ATI equivalent, which is found in
almost every other Dell and IBM. (I've never been able to get my old I7500
with ATI Rage Mobility working with DRI or TV-out for instance, but then
again it hasn't really mattered much either)

This review & howto did very much to convince me to go for the Thinkpad:
http://pmw.org/~gardnerj/Thinkpad/
(He even got wireless to work!)

I'm writing this on my current laptop, a 5yr old Dell Inspiron 7500 which
has happily run Redhat, Xandros, Gentoo and Debian for years. But it *was*
bought back in the days when Dell was all "in love with linux". Much might
have happened in between...

Regards,
Kristian
--
Remove you-know-who to get proper email address...
October 29, 2004 2:58:48 AM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"z" <z@x.y.invalid> writes:

> Any recommendations?

I like that the integrated pointing device on my Thinkpad has
three buttons, which makes X11 much nicer.

tim
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
October 29, 2004 5:40:56 PM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Le Thu, 28 Oct 2004 06:25:55 GMT, z a écrit :

> So IBM laptops work better with Linux than Dell laptops?
>
> I'm looking at the IBM T42p laptop (1 year warranty):
> $2999 - IBM "family discount" (apparently not much).
>
> This has an 80 GB disk drive.

hi !
I have a T42P but my hd is "only" 60Gb
but you have to know that the 80Gb HD is a 5400 rpm istead of 7200 rpm for
the 60.

To have space I choose external HD on usb. This is cheaper and bigger than
inside disk.

otherwise the T42P is perfect :)  I am very happy with it !
November 3, 2004 7:40:56 AM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

OK, how much difference might this make to someone?
(I'm just wondering... maybe it hits just loading time and
stuff that really could be better done on servers, or not?)

<Pano> wrote in message news:czbl7fwipm8h.rzkt70l9hf4k$.dlg@40tude.net...
> Le Thu, 28 Oct 2004 06:25:55 GMT, z a écrit :
>
> > So IBM laptops work better with Linux than Dell laptops?
> >
> > I'm looking at the IBM T42p laptop (1 year warranty):
> > $2999 - IBM "family discount" (apparently not much).
> >
> > This has an 80 GB disk drive.
>
> hi !
> I have a T42P but my hd is "only" 60Gb
> but you have to know that the 80Gb HD is a 5400 rpm istead of 7200 rpm for
> the 60.
>
> To have space I choose external HD on usb. This is cheaper and bigger than
> inside disk.
>
> otherwise the T42P is perfect :)  I am very happy with it !
>
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 5, 2004 3:18:42 PM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Kristian Berge Nessa wrote
> it seems almost every Dell nowadays has a wide screen

Short screen.
November 8, 2004 8:45:12 AM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

In article <608b6569.0410280345.5bec2089@posting.google.com>,
Lewin A.R.W. Edwards <larwe@larwe.com> wrote:
> > IBM ThinkPads tend to work well with Linux.
>
> I think a big reason for this is that IBM still develops most or all
> of their BIOS code in-house, and they have test protocols in place
> that verify that the BIOS actually meets standards instead of merely
> working with Windows.

AFAIK, Linux only uses the BIOS for booting.

--
-eben ebQenW1@EtaRmpTabYayU.rIr.OcoPm home.tampabay.rr.com/hactar

Two atoms are walking along. Suddenly, one stops. The other says,
"What's wrong?" "I've lost an electron." "Are you sure?" "I'm positive!"
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 8, 2004 5:04:11 PM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"Hactar" typed:
> Lewin A.R.W. Edwards <larwe@larwe.com> wrote:
>>> IBM ThinkPads tend to work well with Linux.
>>
>> I think a big reason for this is that IBM still develops most or all
>> of their BIOS code in-house, and they have test protocols in place
>> that verify that the BIOS actually meets standards instead of merely
>> working with Windows.
>
> AFAIK, Linux only uses the BIOS for booting.

In fact, it uses BIOS calls to load the kernel off of the disk.

--
Ayaz Ahmed Khan, <http://fast-ce.org/linux&gt;
``Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to using Windows
NT for mission-critical applications.'' -- What Yoda *meant* to say.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 8, 2004 5:04:12 PM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

> >>> IBM ThinkPads tend to work well with Linux.
> >>
> >> I think a big reason for this is that IBM still develops most or all
> >> of their BIOS code in-house, and they have test protocols in place
> >
> > AFAIK, Linux only uses the BIOS for booting.
>
> In fact, it uses BIOS calls to load the kernel off of the disk.

In FACT, ACPI makes more or less constant use of the BIOS. Depending
on what you're doing, you might also tangle with the VBE.

Having a properly-implemented BIOS is the difference between having a
laptop that works with Linux vs. a laptop that can merely accept a
Linux installation.
November 8, 2004 8:02:35 PM

Archived from groups: comp.os.linux.portable,comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

In article <2v9cmqF19c6seU1@uni-berlin.de>,
Ayaz Ahmed Khan <resilient@myrealbox.com {prefix "!=spam" in subject}> wrote:
> "Hactar" typed:
> > Lewin A.R.W. Edwards <larwe@larwe.com> wrote:
> >>> IBM ThinkPads tend to work well with Linux.
> >>
> >> I think a big reason for this is that IBM still develops most or all
> >> of their BIOS code in-house, and they have test protocols in place
> >> that verify that the BIOS actually meets standards instead of merely
> >> working with Windows.
> >
> > AFAIK, Linux only uses the BIOS for booting.
>
> In fact, it uses BIOS calls to load the kernel off of the disk.

Sure, everything up until the kernel's loaded, decompressed and executing I
consider "booting".

--
-eben ebQenW1@EtaRmpTabYayU.rIr.OcoPm home.tampabay.rr.com/hactar
SCORPIO: Get ready for an unexpected trip when you fall screaming
from an open window. Work a little harder on improving your low self
esteem, you stupid freak. -- Weird Al, _Your Horoscope for Today_
!