Laptop recommendation

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Laptop recommendation

Postby Reorx on Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:19 pm

I am looking for a laptop for my next Linux Mint computer... I have had good luck converting Dell laptops (3 Vostros, 1 XPS, and 3 others whose model names I can't remember) so I am “partial” to Dell laptops... I have been browsing the Dell website and it looks like a Dell Inspiron 15 might be a good candidate (The Vostro line has been discontinued)... My question is this >>>

Does anyone have any experience putting a reasonably modern version of Mint (13, 14, or 15) on a new Dell Inspiron 15 in the last year or so? I am interested in hearing from anyone with experience with the Inspiron 15 in terms of what worked or what didn't.

Thanx in advance for your input...

- R -

P.S.: I have searched the hardware section of the community site and found no joy...

P.P.S: I am looking for a medium performance CPU (i3 or i5 @ 2 to 3 GHz), 4 to 8 GB of RAM, boring Intel HD video, 15” (non-glare) 1366 x 768 monitor, HD size doesn't matter, audio/headphone jack and WiFi that are linux friendly...

P.P.P.S: Can the SSD in an Inspiron 15z be used as a boot drive and the other HD be setup for /home?
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Re: Laptop recommendation

Postby fotofill on Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:12 pm

Good afternoon! I bought an inspiron 15 (6 GB RAM, 500 GB HD) last night and have Mint 14 64 bit installed. ( I trashed Win 8 right away ) Everything works well BUT the WIFI. This area is a weak point for me so I am struggling with a fix. The DELL website tells me that the wifi card is a Dell N-1705 with Bluetooth. If I can get the wifi fixed I'll be a happy camper, but, I am still working on it. I have a rather old HP laptop w/ 14 installed and the wifi worked immediately.
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Re: Laptop recommendation

Postby Reorx on Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:12 pm

fotofill wrote:Good afternoon! I bought an inspiron 15 (6 GB RAM, 500 GB HD) last night and have Mint 14 64 bit installed. ( I trashed Win 8 right away ) Everything works well BUT the WIFI. This area is a weak point for me so I am struggling with a fix. The DELL website tells me that the wifi card is a Dell N-1705 with Bluetooth. If I can get the wifi fixed I'll be a happy camper, but, I am still working on it. I have a rather old HP laptop w/ 14 installed and the wifi worked immediately.
I saw that there seem to be 2 varieties of WiFi. One is Intel Centrino and the other is Dell N1705... I expect that the Centrino works out of the box. The Dell N1705 is probably not made by Dell (they don't make any components). At a terminal try
Code: Select all
inxi -n
to identify the card...

Also, you can connect to the internet with a wired connection to look for drivers...

How was dealing with EFI on the Inspiron 15? I have never done one. Do you know which specific model it is? Is it a 3521?

Also - other than WiFi, the only other problem I have had with laptops is that occasionally the earphones don't automute and rarely they don't automute or work! Do the headphones work correctly?

Also, which version (DE) of Mint 14 are you using?
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Re: Laptop recommendation

Postby fotofill on Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:04 am

Good Morning! I'm sorry for the late reply, I just saw,today, that you responded to my post. To answer your questions: First, I have been using Linux Mint Mate. I will be using Mint KDE on my next installation, on a different computer, so that I can use Digicam more efficiently. Next, the WIFI card is an Atheros AR9565, which was id'ed by Linux Mint 15 right out of the box and it has been working very well. Third, the Dell model is a 3521 and the EFI experience has been just fine. The battery life is OK but it is only a four cell so, in my estimation the life per charge is a little short, but I can live with it for now. All in all, I'd say that the selection of the Dell was a good one and I am very pleased. There is one annoyance, however, which I posted yesterday, but have not yet received any advice on - the cursor has developed an icon sized box of eight lines which I cannot seem to eliminate.
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Re: Laptop recommendation

Postby Ronshere on Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:49 pm

Hello
I put LM 15 64bit Cinnamon on a Dell Inspiron 17R - N7110 and everything works fine.
Haven't had any problems at all. In fact, I think its way better than the Windows 7 that it
came with. I founds its easier to connect wirelessly on the road and I have much better control
over the LCd's brightness which can be too bright inside.
Everything has worked great!

PS I learned, too late, that I could have bought the identical laptop minus Windows installed on it for
about $100 less brand new. So if you might want to see if the laptop you want is available
without an OS on it and save some money. Or you can just donate your money to Bill and Melinda.
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Re: Laptop recommendation

Postby Reorx on Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:46 pm

I'm pretty sure that Dell won't sell me a machine without an OS. I asked in the not so distant past...

Where can you get a Dell without an OS???

They used to sell low end laptops with Linux (Ubuntu) installed for around $300 - I have a few and they work great. All are Vostro laptops... The Vostro line has been discontinued. The only laptops that Dell sells now (last I looked) are relative high end (>$1,000) laptops. Having said that, I found a NOS Vostro 3560 at the Dell store and ordered one before they ran out of them... I test booted it with a live USB stick and everything seemed to work correctly and the performance was very nice... :mrgreen: What I am debating is whether I should leave Win7 on it or just wipe the HD completely and install mint. This machine is going to be a machine for a college student designed for work not play... I will probably wipe Windoze completely as it is just a problem waiting to happen...

Thanx for the input...

Enjoy the Mint! :mrgreen:

- R -
Last edited by Reorx on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Laptop recommendation

Postby jayeemsuh on Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:56 am

I use Linux Mint on a netbook and a laptop. My laptop is an Asus X45C and has as few issues on fresh installs of all of the LM editions. The two main ones that I remember off the top is the brightness control function keys (which I have a post up about right now) and the Elantech touchpad which has problems with palm detection and toggling on/off. I run Cinnamon on this machine and it runs pretty well.

My netbook is a Gateway LT27 and aside from the obvious hardware limitations of a netbook, runs LM with only a couple minor issues. The only one I remember that persists across editions of mint is the internal mic not working with PulseAudio. I have to remove pulseaudio to use my microphone which removes the ability to independently control sound for different applications. Not a big deal for me. On this machine KDE and Cinnamon were too heavy for practical use. LXDE on running Lubuntu (i realize this isn't mint but wanted to address the light-weight DEs) and Xfce on LM 15 run really well and seem to suit the machine perfectly. I currently use LM 15 Xfce and i'm pretty happy with it.

Happy notebook hunting!
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Re: Laptop recommendation

Postby fotofill on Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:26 am

I hate to report this but, I got the Dell 3521 at...Walmart for about $380.00. It came, as previuosly reported, w/ Win 8. A little messing with the startup allowed me to install Mint 15 Mate w/o any trouble.
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Re: Laptop recommendation

Postby Reorx on Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:38 pm

No reason to "hate reporting" anything... I have already made my choice to fill a specific need... I'm glad things worked out for you as well... Took a look at that machine - it's a Dell Inspiron 15 inch... nice little laptop... I'm happy to know that the Inspiron line is Mint friendly... thanx for the information! :mrgreen:
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Re: Laptop recommendation

Postby DrPhill on Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:50 pm

FWIW I have two laptops, both Dell, both work a treat with Mint13
Inspiron 5030
XPS L502

HTH
Two years - and still delighted with Mint 13.

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