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su
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I'm in the market for a laptop, and I'm coming to YOU for recommendations!

Basically, I've been kicking some numbers around, and I think I'm looking somewhere around $500-$800. (Yeah, I'm cheap, but I gotta be able to drop the cash on that next device I NEED to have!)

Where I'm really stuck, is what to do as far as a CPU. Right now it's between an i7, and an A8. Obviously at this price my options are limited, but I'm really just aiming for the best bang for my buck.

Now, the reason I come to you.. Simply put, I'd like to compile. I'll be using this as my first real attempt to fully jump into Linux/Android (above copy/paste). I've used Ubuntu and Mint for sometime, but would only swap over from W7 to kill some time. Obviously I'll still be dual-booting with this new laptop, but I'd like to try and focus on learning Linux AND building Android as much as possible.

As a side note, I still want to be able to game. Whenever I get the time (which truthfully is rare), I'd like to be able to hop on WoW or CS:S and at least have a decent experience rather than constant lag and FPS drops.

I know the APU's have better integrated graphics, and I know the i7 is a better processor, but.. is the i7's HD 3000 or even a discrete GPU gonna hold up for any newer games (D3 comes to mind)? In contrast, is the A8 gonna even be enough to try and build/compile?

Regardless of what comes with the PC, I'll be upgrading to 8GB ram, and an SSD of some sort.. so those 2 items I'm not worried about upon purchase. I'm looking at 15.6", and refuse to go any higher as well.

So, from reading this scrambled post, recommendations?

(I wasn't sure if this was something related enough to Linux to post here, or whether I should just drop it in Off Topic. Mods feel free to move if need be.)
 

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Something made by Asus or Sony. Avoid glossy displays and buy one that's matte. It's a stupid design trend by manufacturers copying the worst part of Apple design. Nothing like a monitor doubling as a mirror and light glare all over the place.

Not a laptop person, so can't really get much more specific.

Laptops make crappy development environments in my opinion unless you're willing to spend 2000-3000 dollars and with that, you could buy 2-3 amazingly good desktop PCs. Why?

1) Not enough RAM (I have 24gb on my PC and 8gb on my backup)
2) Weaker CPU and GPU. Have to be in order to keep heat and power drain down.
3) Little control over the parts that go into them so you're at the mercy of the OEM to give you decent parts.
4) Speaking of OEM, you're at their mercy for warranty issues with laptops. Separate computer parts for a PC you build, you generally contact the manufacturer of that part directly and they don't treat you like a complete moron to prove it's really broke. I have had to return RAM to Corsair before, a hard drive to Western Digital and swap out a CPU fan and each time the process was either automated (sometimes free shipping back to the OEM) or the person you talked with figured you knew what you were doing already.
5) Crippled BIOS systems. Usually can't do much in them and can't disable things like hyperthreading (which is mostly worthless) or enable full virtualization for VMs. There are sadly even some that try to keep you from booting into another OS.
6) May have driver issues with Linux (google around for Nvidia Optimus and linux wifi drivers).

If you have your heart set on a laptop for reasons that make having a desktop silly (like traveling a lot), then just ignore what I said. I wouldn't detour anyone that really wants mobility for a laptop. I have just a cheap eeepc I take when I need something at school or meeting a client, but mostly it sits and does nothing otherwise.
 

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su
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Something made by Asus or Sony. Avoid glossy displays and buy one that's matte. It's a stupid design trend by manufacturers copying the worst part of Apple design. Nothing like a monitor doubling as a mirror and light glare all over the place.

Not a laptop person, so can't really get much more specific.

Laptops make crappy development environments in my opinion unless you're willing to spend 2000-3000 dollars and with that, you could buy 2-3 amazingly good desktop PCs. Why?

1) Not enough RAM (I have 24gb on my PC and 8gb on my backup)
2) Weaker CPU and GPU. Have to be in order to keep heat and power drain down.
3) Little control over the parts that go into them so you're at the mercy of the OEM to give you decent parts.
4) Speaking of OEM, you're at their mercy for warranty issues with laptops. Separate computer parts for a PC you build, you generally contact the manufacturer of that part directly and they don't treat you like a complete moron to prove it's really broke. I have had to return RAM to Corsair before, a hard drive to Western Digital and swap out a CPU fan and each time the process was either automated (sometimes free shipping back to the OEM) or the person you talked with figured you knew what you were doing already.
5) Crippled BIOS systems. Usually can't do much in them and can't disable things like hyperthreading (which is mostly worthless) or enable full virtualization for VMs. There are sadly even some that try to keep you from booting into another OS.
6) May have driver issues with Linux (google around for Nvidia Optimus and linux wifi drivers).

If you have your heart set on a laptop for reasons that make having a desktop silly (like traveling a lot), then just ignore what I said. I wouldn't detour anyone that really wants mobility for a laptop. I have just a cheap eeepc I take when I need something at school or meeting a client, but mostly it sits and does nothing otherwise.
I agree with everything you've said, however (as I should have mentioned), mobility is key. I rarely have a chance to sit at my desktop right now which is why I'm making the purchase in the first place.

I can't expect the greatest development/gaming environment, and I don't. I just want the option there when it's needed.

A desktop upgrade is definitely in the near (or not so near) future, but until things settle down and I'm able to spend more time at home (and even more specifically at my desk), I'm looking for the best mobile option that doesn't break the bank.

Asus is definitely at the top of the list. I'm also somewhat considering Acer. They're not the top brand, but the price is right for what I'm looking for and I've got a couple buddies who've had good experiences with them. (I didn't even consider Sony, not entirely sure why, lol.)

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
 

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Sony and Asus are the only ones I know offhand that will put a decent display panel (like an IPS panel) in their laptop displays (though you have to obviously pay more for that). Asus is also more friendly at least with not screwing with the device in ways that restrict you (soldering RAM, etc, but you may want to confirm anyways for any laptop).

Whatever you get, I would make sure it's somewhat linux friendly (especially the chipset in the wifi card) by searching google well. Having to deal with non-functional or semi-functional wifi drivers is a pain in the ass.

Also if you do want to try to develop anything at all or try to write code in the future, I consider a 16:10 display to be nicer for that over 16:9. An inch or more of extra vertical space is important to me over movies being letterboxed by an inch or so if you ever watch any on it. Eyes naturally read more easily up and down versus wider left to right columns.
 

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su
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sony and Asus are the only ones I know offhand that will put a decent display panel (like an IPS panel) in their laptop displays (though you have to obviously pay more for that). Asus is also more friendly at least with not screwing with the device in ways that restrict you (soldering RAM, etc, but you may want to confirm anyways for any laptop).

Whatever you get, I would make sure it's somewhat linux friendly (especially the chipset in the wifi card) by searching google well. Having to deal with non-functional or semi-functional wifi drivers is a pain in the ass.

Also if you do want to try to develop anything at all or try to write code in the future, I consider a 16:10 display to be nicer for that over 16:9. An inch or more of extra vertical space is important to me over movies being letterboxed by an inch or so if you ever watch any on it. Eyes naturally read more easily up and down versus wider left to right columns.
Yeah the compatibility will be big. My dad has an old HP laptop that pops a lot on Linux when using Wifi. He figured out why but wasn't able to resolve it.

I can't wait to update the desktop, back when I was 15, I designed websites as a hobby (and the cash didn't hurt). I had 3 21" CRT's on my desk, hahaha. One for Photoshop, one for XHTML/CSS/PHP, and one for everything else. Shit was awesome, but those things damn near broke the desk, lol. Keep telling myself I need to start that up again, I made more per month on average then I do now, but it was inconsistent and somewhere along the line I lost creativity.

Anyways, for now, with a 2 year old, a low end laptop is all I can justify. Thanks for the input, still unsure on which route to take CPU wise.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
 

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Yeah the compatibility will be big. My dad has an old HP laptop that pops a lot on Linux when using Wifi. He figured out why but wasn't able to resolve it.

I can't wait to update the desktop, back when I was 15, I designed websites as a hobby (and the cash didn't hurt). I had 3 21" CRT's on my desk, hahaha. One for Photoshop, one for XHTML/CSS/PHP, and one for everything else. Shit was awesome, but those things damn near broke the desk, lol. Keep telling myself I need to start that up again, I made more per month on average then I do now, but it was inconsistent and somewhere along the line I lost creativity.

Anyways, for now, with a 2 year old, a low end laptop is all I can justify. Thanks for the input, still unsure on which route to take CPU wise.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
I bought an HP dv6 6c35dx about a month ago and it's running an A8 3520m apu with the 6620g discrete graphics and 6gb of ram. I have been nothing but impressed with this machine. It may not sound like much at just 1.6 ghz, but it is more than enough grunt for gaming with the 2.5ghz Turbo boost and the graphics performance. Get about 6 hours of battery life average. I can compile a Linux kernel in about 30 minutes, which isn't the fastest, but it's far faster than my old core 2 duo.

I was concerned with ati catalyst support because I prefer to use gnome, but the latest 12.6 beta drivers from the aur perform exceptionally well with HDMI out or whatever you want. The gaming performance is very good as well. I tested it out in windows before I installed arch and it played everything I wanted just fine.

Regarding the graphics performance of the i7 vs the apu, there is probably going to be 0 gaming ability with the i7's graphics.

Only thing that won't work and never will is the fingerprint reader since fprint drivers seem to have died off a long time ago.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
 

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su
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I bought an HP dv6 6c35dx about a month ago and it's running an A8 3520m apu with the 6620g discrete graphics and 6gb of ram. I have been nothing but impressed with this machine. It may not sound like much at just 1.6 ghz, but it is more than enough grunt for gaming with the 2.5ghz Turbo boost and the graphics performance. Get about 6 hours of battery life average. I can compile a Linux kernel in about 30 minutes, which isn't the fastest, but it's far faster than my old core 2 duo.

I was concerned with ati catalyst support because I prefer to use gnome, but the latest 12.6 beta drivers from the aur perform exceptionally well with HDMI out or whatever you want. The gaming performance is very good as well. I tested it out in windows before I installed arch and it played everything I wanted just fine.

Regarding the graphics performance of the i7 vs the apu, there is probably going to be 0 gaming ability with the i7's graphics.

Only thing that won't work and never will is the fingerprint reader since fprint drivers seem to have died off a long time ago.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
I appreciate the information. I am of course skeptical of anything clocked at 1.6 (considering I can do that the baby computer I'm typing this on). I think price is going to steer my closer to the Llano though, it's just more affordable for what I'm looking for.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
 

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I appreciate the information. I am of course skeptical of anything clocked at 1.6 (considering I can do that the baby computer I'm typing this on). I think price is going to steer my closer to the Llano though, it's just more affordable for what I'm looking for.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
I can understand that. I have been pleasantly surprised with my slower llano though. The 2.5ghz turbo boost works works just like it should and gives a nice performance boost for less core heavy apps. It has actually converted me from an intel man haha XD. The price I paid for the performance I'm getting from it is outstanding.

Hopefully the piledriver architecture will be out by the time I rebuild my desktop because I'm definitely using AMD next to replace my old X3220.
 

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su
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I can understand that. I have been pleasantly surprised with my slower llano though. The 2.5ghz turbo boost works works just like it should and gives a nice performance boost for less core heavy apps. It has actually converted me from an intel man haha XD. The price I paid for the performance I'm getting from it is outstanding.

Hopefully the piledriver architecture will be out by the time I rebuild my desktop because I'm definitely using AMD next to replace my old X3220.
I've always been an AMD fanboy and have only recently considered Intel. When I first heard about the APU I was stoked because I knew it would make laptop gaming somewhat tolerable. But the low clock speeds scared me off. I appreciate the input though, I'm sure it will be enough to keep me happy. (For CPU, I'd much rather go with an i7, but I don't want to suffer in the graphics department because of it.)

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
 

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I haven't bought an AMD CPU since Intel released their crappy pentium 4 line. Since then, I've had a core 2 and an i7.
 

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I haven't bought an AMD CPU since Intel released their crappy pentium 4 line. Since then, I've had a core 2 and an i7.
Oh man I have had quite a few as well. Had an old Pentium 4, then a Pentium D (one of my favorites still) that I could over clock to 4ghz on stock voltages. Replaced it with X3220 (core 2 quad xeon). Then my core 2 duo laptop and now the a8 :D stuff has come a long freaking way.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
 
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I've always been an AMD fanboy and have only recently considered Intel. When I first heard about the APU I was stoked because I knew it would make laptop gaming somewhat tolerable. But the low clock speeds scared me off. I appreciate the input though, I'm sure it will be enough to keep me happy. (For CPU, I'd much rather go with an i7, but I don't want to suffer in the graphics department because of it.)

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
I have a thinkpad with the amd apu, I don't game but it runs pretty well.

I think that the linux kernel is only just starting to truly support the apu technology though in some of the latest releases (3.4) but I could be wrong.
 
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