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Budoka
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:57 am    Post subject: Gentoo friendly laptop recommendations? Reply with quote

I hope that this is the appropriate subforum. If it isn't, moderators please move it to the appropriate one.

I'm looking at purchasing a new laptop. One ideally that is Gentoo friendly in terms of hardware and installing. I've been running Gentoo successfully on a Samsung series 7 laptop for the past 10 years. It hasn't always been easy but somehow with perseverance and this forum I got the job done.

But it's on its deathbed now so it's time for a new laptop. Hardware has come a long way since my initial install so I have some concerns.

I'm currently considering the HP Spectre 360 15 in, the Dell XPS 15 in, or another Samsung in the series 7 or series 9 line. Unfortunately the Samsung series 7 and 9 now no longer have a 1 terabyte hard disk option which isn't ideal for me so I'm leaning heavily towards the HP or the Dell. Both are AMOLED 4K displays and are SSD drives. It seems that mechanical drives have gone the way of the dinosaur. They are also 2 in 1 devices with touch displays. Samsung uses an S-pen. Also, a fingerprint sensor is used in some models.

Does anyone have any experience, comments, reservations about any of these models? Is Gentoo equipped to handle some of this new hardware? Eg touchscreen, 4K displays, fingerprint sensors, etc? Once again I'll have to run as a dual boot but the majority of my time is spent in the Gentoo environment.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have three Hp's and one Toshiba. They all work fine, except hibernation. Just have not bothered because I don't need it. The Toshiba is more than 10 years old and runs 10 hours each day. One HP is used as mail and web server with build in UPS.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a dell xps 15 9550 and I'm happy but there are some problem with wireless (work but sometimes crash) and sound when plug headphone.
You can consider to buy dell xps developer edition but is a 13' (by default is installed with ubuntu).
Others laptop linux friendly are (no experience with these)

for my next laptop I am interested on TUXEDO
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coderanger
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Especially for gentoo it makes sense to look for a laptop with a good cooling system to avoid CPU throttling during long compilations.
Two powerful fans blowing in two sides is a best, I think. My t470p has single fan and it gets polluted with dust very often - good hardware, bad cooling system.

Also do not buy laptops containing devices with "broadcom" word - pure support/unstable work/network cards are not reliable, and do not buy anything containing devices named as GMA{some number} made by imagination technologies. Never.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thinkpad are great. Especially older models. I use a T420 with a i7-2640M and 16GB of RAM. Good airflow as well so no worries during heavy workload. Never had a single issue with Gentoo on it (and OpenBSD :o ) You can also flash coreboot on it :o (Which I did)
Of course, it is not slim.. but on the other hand, it can be bought for quite cheap, parts are available everywhere etc..
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Hu
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coderanger wrote:
Also do not buy laptops containing devices with "broadcom" word - pure support/unstable work/network cards are not reliable, and do not buy anything containing devices named as GMA{some number} made by imagination technologies. Never.
Could you elaborate on why these parts should be avoided? Are they hard to make work with open drivers? Are they unstable or otherwise unreliable? Do they tend to fail sooner than similar parts from other vendors?
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coderanger
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hu wrote:
Could you elaborate on why these parts should be avoided? Are they hard to make work with open drivers? Are they unstable or otherwise unreliable? Do they tend to fail sooner than similar parts from other vendors?

Unstable connection. Complicated setup, The mapping driver(b34/b43legacy/wl)<->kernel options<->exact_device is not easy to understand. Need to test each of them to understand what is working.
I tried to use Gentoo on MacBook Pro 2014 as a machine for work - the broadcom wifi card was disconnecting all the time, long traces in dmesg were not meaningful and I bought new laptop with Intel card at the end. I would not want other people to repeat this way. If the laptop is for work and making money then the network card must be much more reliable, otherwise VPN will be dropping all the time.
Some manufacturers produce devices with good linux drivers. Broadcom - doesn't.

Another example is graphical driver for CedarView/CedarTrail SoCs with PowerVR video core (example: GMA3600) from Imagination (example: Intel Atom N2600 - it was announced as linux compartible (sic!)).
The reality was absence of any driver. Users tried to ask their seller - seller told them to ask Intel - Intel said people must talk to Imagination - Imagination said people must talk to the seller. The loop was closed.
IMO the problem is closed hardware + unwillingnes to communicate with customers.
The very generic driver was adopted (if my memory serves me) by Alan Cox from GMA500 so it was possible to run basic desktop with limited functions, but no any 3d acceleration, no hardware rendering, no hardware video processing functionality were available.
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halcon
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have Lenovo IdeaPad 720s (Ryzen).

Works everything except:

- Finger Print Reader
- several Fn+X combinations
- in pure ALSA, there's the 'crackling' bug with the built-in microphone; I had to buy a cheap USB one

I did not see ACPI complaints announced at https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Lenovo_IdeaPad_720s_(Ryzen) <-- broken link; parentheses must be in url

Its SSD may be upgraded to 1 TB.

Configuring the hibernation took some additional time, but finally I managed it to work clearly (disabling USB).

When compiling heavy packages, I switch on a cooling pad (2 fans), smartd is silent.

No freezes.

It seems I have forgotten nothing.

In general, I can call it Gentoo-friendly.
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nvaert1986
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always considered the Lenovo ThinkPad T/W/P or the Dell Latitude, Dell XPS or Dell Precision series to be the most stable on Linux, depending on your needs. With HP laptops I've always seen lots of weird / unusual bugs.

Thing to look for:
- Intel based LAN adapters
- Intel based Wireless adapters
- Intel based Bluetooth adapters

My personal experience with Intel is that it just works out of the box with most distributions if the module is compiled and the firmware is loaded.

Things to avoid:
- Creative based onboard sound cards (they can give a real headache)
- Qualcomm based ethernet adapters
- Broadcom based wireless adapters
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Budoka
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coderanger wrote:
Especially for gentoo it makes sense to look for a laptop with a good cooling system to avoid CPU throttling during long compilations.
Two powerful fans blowing in two sides is a best, I think. My t470p has single fan and it gets polluted with dust very often - good hardware, bad cooling system.
...


Excellent reminder! In addition to some other issues, part of the reason I am moving on to a new laptop is that the fans failed on my current one. I don't know if it is a hardware flaw or because I hammered them to death doing processor-heavy tasks but they always required constant care and cleaning. They always sucked up all sorts of gunk into them.
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Budoka
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coderanger wrote:
...
Also do not buy laptops containing devices with "broadcom" word - pure support/unstable work/network cards are not reliable, and do not buy anything containing devices named as GMA{some number} made by imagination technologies. Never.


Thank you. This is exactly the kind of information I am looking for.
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Budoka
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nvaert1986 wrote:
I've always considered the Lenovo ThinkPad T/W/P or the Dell Latitude, Dell XPS or Dell Precision series to be the most stable on Linux, depending on your needs. With HP laptops I've always seen lots of weird / unusual bugs.

Thing to look for:
- Intel based LAN adapters
- Intel based Wireless adapters
- Intel based Bluetooth adapters

My personal experience with Intel is that it just works out of the box with most distributions if the module is compiled and the firmware is loaded.

Things to avoid:
- Creative based onboard sound cards (they can give a real headache)
- Qualcomm based ethernet adapters
- Broadcom based wireless adapters


Thank you. Excellent information.
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Budoka
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone else have any input about touchscreen and stylus support? Also biometric stuff like fingerprint sensors? Also any other issues with the "2 in 1" machines? I can't imagine it would be an issue but one never knows.

Last edited by Budoka on Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Budoka
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One issue that I am very interested in hearing about is one that I encountered when I first joined the Gentoo bandwagon.

At that time, Neddy Sagoon (Thank you, for all of your help through the years) pointed out the following:

Quote:
The Muxless part is a bit scary. It may mean that meanwhile, you can only use the low power chip. The problem is that both graphics chips can draw into the pixel buffer but only one can read the pixel buffer to the screen to generate the image. Work is in hand to make this work but its not complete. Xorg cannot stet up your system in this split manner. When you use the low power graphics, it will work, when you use the high power grahics you will get a black screen. This isn't a Gentoo thing, its the state of software development in GNU/Linux.

OK, I found your lspci ...
Code:
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 09)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Caicos [Radeon HD 6400M/7400M Series]


As a result of the inability to support two graphics chips, I was never able to use my Radeon chip. Is this still the current state of development with GNU/Linux? And would it apply to any dual-chip system or just the ones with Radeon?

Thanks
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nvaert1986
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Budoka wrote:
Does anyone else have any input about touchscreen and stylus support? Also biometric stuff like fingerprint sensors? Also any other issues with the "2 in 1" machines? I can't imagine it would be an issue but one never knows.


My experience is that older fingerprint readers and more simplistic fingerpint readers tend to work fine using fprint. More complicated fingerprint readers (like in recent Lenovo ThinkPad laptops) do not work.
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nvaert1986
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Budoka wrote:
One issue that I am very interested in hearing about is one that I encountered when I first joined the Gentoo bandwagon.

At that time, Neddy Sagoon (Thank you, for all of your help through the years) pointed out the following:

Quote:
The Muxless part is a bit scary. It may mean that meanwhile, you can only use the low power chip. The problem is that both graphics chips can draw into the pixel buffer but only one can read the pixel buffer to the screen to generate the image. Work is in hand to make this work but its not complete. Xorg cannot stet up your system in this split manner. When you use the low power graphics, it will work, when you use the high power grahics you will get a black screen. This isn't a Gentoo thing, its the state of software development in GNU/Linux.

OK, I found your lspci ...
Code:
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 09)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Caicos [Radeon HD 6400M/7400M Series]


As a result of the inability to support two graphics chips, I was never able to use my Radeon chip. Is this still the current state of development with GNU/Linux? And would it apply to any dual-chip system or just the ones with Radeon?

Thanks


Normally you should be fine, depending on your configuration, but this should work with both Intel and AMD Graphics. In the past it was so that you could switch in the BIOS (was done via a multiplexer) between Intel or AMD / NVIDIA graphics.
Nowadays the Intel graphics is almost always primary and all outputs are routed through the Intel graphics card, and you need to talk to the discrete graphics card (AMD / NVIDIA) using a reverse like configuration. The exception are the most expensive business laptops (Lenovo ThinkPad P series / Dell Precision 7xxx series / certain HP ZBook series). You can find examples for this on the internet / Gentoo Wiki.
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Budoka
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="nvaert1986"]
Budoka wrote:

...

Normally you should be fine, depending on your configuration, but this should work with both Intel and AMD Graphics. In the past it was so that you could switch in the BIOS (was done via a multiplexer) between Intel or AMD / NVIDIA graphics.
Nowadays the Intel graphics is almost always primary and all outputs are routed through the Intel graphics card, and you need to talk to the discrete graphics card (AMD / NVIDIA) using a reverse like configuration. The exception are the most expensive business laptops (Lenovo ThinkPad P series / Dell Precision 7xxx series / certain HP ZBook series). You can find examples for this on the internet / Gentoo Wiki.


Thanks nvaert1986. Can you clarify one point for me? So are you indicating that on newer
Quote:
most expensive business laptops (Lenovo ThinkPad P series / Dell Precision 7xxx series / certain HP ZBook series).
it IS an issue? I am indeed looking at Dell and HP boxes. Although I wasn't considering the ZBook series I was considering the HP 7xxxx models. Sounds like I should steer clear of them?
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nvaert1986
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Budoka"]
nvaert1986 wrote:
Budoka wrote:

...

Normally you should be fine, depending on your configuration, but this should work with both Intel and AMD Graphics. In the past it was so that you could switch in the BIOS (was done via a multiplexer) between Intel or AMD / NVIDIA graphics.
Nowadays the Intel graphics is almost always primary and all outputs are routed through the Intel graphics card, and you need to talk to the discrete graphics card (AMD / NVIDIA) using a reverse like configuration. The exception are the most expensive business laptops (Lenovo ThinkPad P series / Dell Precision 7xxx series / certain HP ZBook series). You can find examples for this on the internet / Gentoo Wiki.


Thanks nvaert1986. Can you clarify one point for me? So are you indicating that on newer
Quote:
most expensive business laptops (Lenovo ThinkPad P series / Dell Precision 7xxx series / certain HP ZBook series).
it IS an issue? I am indeed looking at Dell and HP boxes. Although I wasn't considering the ZBook series I was considering the HP 7xxxx models. Sounds like I should steer clear of them?


If you're running Gentoo and compiling a lot I would never recommend any consumer grade hardware, due to easy wear and tear (as I assume you're talking about a HP Pavilion 7000 series). If that's your choice however, I'd suggest doing some research on the chip. Usually it's the case that the graphics output for the screen and the output ports is hardwired to the Intel graphics card and the NVIDIA card is always accessed indirectly. If that's the case and you would like to render something on the AMD / NVIDIA card, you need some custom configuration. With NVIDIA it's called PRIME render offloading. With AMD I'm not sure, as I'm only familiar with NVIDIA, as it is possible with the NVIDIA proprietary driver.

Please see: https://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86_64/440.44/README/randr14.html and especially: https://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86_64/440.44/README/primerenderoffload.html (440.44 is the latest stable driver in Portage). You'll need to hard unmask the libglvnd USE flag and you'll need to use the very latest xorg-server version (1.20.6 I believe). You also will need to export variables with each application you want to start on the NVIDIA GPU.

Hope this helps you a little bit.
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duane
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:23 pm    Post subject: Off-Topic Laptop Reply with quote

I know this isn't what you're looking for, but I thought I'd recommend the Motile m142 anyway. You can buy it at walmart.com for around $300 if you watch the price fluctuation for a while. I picked it up as a filler, until I get a real system, but I think I may just stick with this one until it wears out. It's a budget laptop, but a lot of thought (and plagiarism) went into the design.

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Walmart-Motile-M142-Laptop-Review-Pretty-Good-for-500.443260.0.html

The only bit that gave me any trouble was getting the touchpad working. I ended up copying the kernel config from my older system, so I'm still not sure what fixed that in the end. It seems to be an elan clone, but it's the best touchpad I've used since my turn-of-the-century thinkpad. It's got a virtual button built into the upper left corner that's used to toggle the touchpad on/off, for typing. I've set it up under openbox, though I haven't tried to get the LED to work. I really like this feature.

The keyboard feels cheap, but it's easy to type on, and well laid-out. I stuck a 500G ssd in the second slot, and now I have plenty of space. I may put 16G of memory in it, but I haven't needed it yet.

After three weeks of use, everything just works.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello.

Not specifically Gentoo friendly, but Linux friendly for sure, you have Clevo laptop: been using one for a few months now and quite satisfied (running Debian).
There are many resellers around the world, that may end cheaper than buying from Clevo directly: at least I found one in France and a few others around Europe.

The main advantage of their offers, compared to what main brands offer, is that you can customize many parts of your machine (CPU, RAM, disk, second disk or optical drive, kbd layout and even wifi chip).
Then you can save money and opt for a minimal setup as well as go for a quite heavy configuration, for one single same basis.
For the disadvantages I could notice:
- sound is a little cheap (at least concerning built-in speakers)
- sometimes keyboard is just unresponsive after waking up from sleep (requires plugging in another kbd or halt with button)
- won't fit your needs if you want the cutting edge

++
Gi)
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Budoka
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all of the replies and input everyone. For better or for worse, I picked up an HP Spectre 360 (15-df1043dx). 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD Optane, and a 10th Gen Intel i7 processor.

I've come a long way in my knowledge of Gentoo since my first install all those years ago but I suspect this time won't go as easily as I would like so please stay tuned and bear with me as this is bound to continue in the Installation subforum.
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Budoka
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="nvaert1986"]
Budoka wrote:
nvaert1986 wrote:
Budoka wrote:

...

Normally you should be fine, depending on your configuration, but this should work with both Intel and AMD Graphics. In the past it was so that you could switch in the BIOS (was done via a multiplexer) between Intel or AMD / NVIDIA graphics.
Nowadays the Intel graphics is almost always primary and all outputs are routed through the Intel graphics card, and you need to talk to the discrete graphics card (AMD / NVIDIA) using a reverse like configuration. The exception are the most expensive business laptops (Lenovo ThinkPad P series / Dell Precision 7xxx series / certain HP ZBook series). You can find examples for this on the internet / Gentoo Wiki.


Thanks nvaert1986. Can you clarify one point for me? So are you indicating that on newer
Quote:
most expensive business laptops (Lenovo ThinkPad P series / Dell Precision 7xxx series / certain HP ZBook series).
it IS an issue? I am indeed looking at Dell and HP boxes. Although I wasn't considering the ZBook series I was considering the HP 7xxxx models. Sounds like I should steer clear of them?


If you're running Gentoo and compiling a lot I would never recommend any consumer grade hardware, due to easy wear and tear (as I assume you're talking about a HP Pavilion 7000 series). If that's your choice however, I'd suggest doing some research on the chip. Usually it's the case that the graphics output for the screen and the output ports is hardwired to the Intel graphics card and the NVIDIA card is always accessed indirectly. If that's the case and you would like to render something on the AMD / NVIDIA card, you need some custom configuration. With NVIDIA it's called PRIME render offloading. With AMD I'm not sure, as I'm only familiar with NVIDIA, as it is possible with the NVIDIA proprietary driver.

Please see: https://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86_64/440.44/README/randr14.html and especially: https://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86_64/440.44/README/primerenderoffload.html (440.44 is the latest stable driver in Portage). You'll need to hard unmask the libglvnd USE flag and you'll need to use the very latest xorg-server version (1.20.6 I believe). You also will need to export variables with each application you want to start on the NVIDIA GPU.

Hope this helps you a little bit.


Duly noted and thank you for the information. I'm definitely going to have to deal with this issue on the hardware I picked up.
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