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Please Help Me Choose A Netbook--Dual Boot Win/Ubuntu

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Cheers All,

Well, it's motorcycle season and the old, heavy clunker of a laptop has to go. I'd love to replace it with a netbook to save weight and space. I'm not much of a power user, no gaming (though I'd love to throw my newly purchased copy of Portal 2 on it just for diversionary purposes ).

Primarily, I'll use it for browsing, blog editing, email, picture/music storage, some pic editing via Gimp, as well as watching some video.

I'm open to any brand, but would like good longevity/reliability as well as decent durability. I like the

currently available in blue for $300 and for about $150 more the HPdm1z.

What does the collective think? Does anyone have experience dual booting Windows and Ubuntu on a netbook. Is the more powerful HP really worth the extra $$ and weight? Is there a better choice?

Additionally, what's the consensus regarding the differences between a 10.1" screen and a 11.6" screen?

When I built my desktop, you guys really helped me out. Hopefully, I can get the same assistance this time as well. Thanks.
Edited by ManOnTheSilverMountain - 5/5/11 at 12:21am
    
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post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ManOnTheSilverMountain View Post
Cheers All,

Well, it's motorcycle season and the old, heavy clunker of a laptop has to go. I'd love to replace it with a netbook to save weight and space. I'm not much of a power user, no gaming (though I'd love to throw my newly purchased copy of Portal 2 on it just for diversionary purposes ).

Primarily, I'll use it for browsing, blog editing, email, picture/music storage, some pic editing via Gimp, as well as watching some video.

I'm open to any brand, but would like good longevity/reliability as well as decent durability. I like the Asus 1015PN currently available in blue for $300 and for about $150 more the HPdm1z.

What does the collective think? Does anyone have experience dual booting Windows and Ubuntu on a netbook. Is the more powerful HP really worth the extra $$ and weight? Is there a better choice?

When I built my desktop, you guys really helped me out. Hopefully, I can get the same assistance this time as well. Thanks.

Here's a better idea: get a Lenovo X120e instead. Configure it with the AMD E-350 APU and it comes at $440. Buy 2GB of Crucial DDR3 RAM for $22 inc. shipping and you'll have 4GB of RAM. Upgrading the RAM is extremely easy and will not void the warranty. All you need is to remove the three screws from the back access panel and just add the RAM and close. So, for $12 more, you get 1GB more RAM, a laptop is is immensely better built than the HP and ASUS and looks much more professional, and a matte screen instead of a glossy one. Lenovo's customer service is MUCH better than HP's, too. I'd say it's easily worth it.

I convinced my mom to buy one for work and home and she loves it.

As for the rest of your questions, going from 10.1" to 11.6" makes a huge difference not only from the screen real estate but also because of the higher res of 1366x768 instead of 1024x600. You'll find the AMD E-350 APU is much faster than Atom at normal tasks.
Edited by LOL_Wut_Axel - 5/5/11 at 12:26am
    
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post #3 of 13
I personally have the 1015PN in blue and it's great. I was debating between that and the 1215N but I opted for the better price. I did buy some upgraded RAM from crucial and upgrade from windows starter to windows ultimate. You should definitely go to an upgraded version of windows because starter can't change between integrated graphics and nvidia ion. It has amazing battery life though, easily 8 hours on full charge. Just be careful plugging in and taking out the charger cord, there's a lot of complaints about the pin breaking. I've had it for 3-4 months and have been careful and haven't had any problems. It's a great netbook.
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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. Interesting option, the Lenovo. I had a Thinkpad years ago. Are they as good these days?

As for the Asus, is it really necessary to upgrade the OS? If so, it kind of defeats the nice price...
    
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post #5 of 13
here is another option:
HP DM1 at Bestbuy for $380

it has the E-350, better graphics, larger screen, etc... it is a nice looking laptop for sure. Not sure if I could justify the price when i'm looking for a web surfing net book, (also so i can fit it in the saddlebags) Haha.

I just cant find the power/screen res and price combination that I want. I was almost settled on the above linked asus 1015n but low res 10.1" seems useless to me to play a game on, its so small...
     
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post #6 of 13
OP stay away from AMD with Linux. That is your only warning. AMD/ATI has had nothing but terrible support in the Linux world because they refuse to work with the community.

If you are going to use Linux at all it's best to go Nvidia or Intel for a GPU. AMDs CPUs are fine but their GPUs get no support because they refuse to make decent drivers or share code with the community.
     
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rookie1337 View Post
OP stay away from AMD with Linux. That is your only warning. AMD/ATI has had nothing but terrible support in the Linux world because they refuse to work with the community.
Rookie, I understand the principle of your argument, but regarding the X120e specifically, the people in this thread at the Ubuntu forums seem to be experiencing only minor problems with 11.04.

Do you have any alternative netbook recommendations?
    
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post #8 of 13
fglrx 11.4 is the first amd driver that doesnt suck completely for me in linux.
i am not sure how well the amd fusion will work given that it is new.

That said performance is still not great and I plan to switch to nvidia.

Another thing to consider is wireless. Intel is the most easily supported. I think hp usually uses broadcom which is ok and easy in ubuntu but many other distros will have to compile the driver manually. I had really poor performance with the broadcom driver. When I tried to switch to an intel card I found hp puts bios whitelists on their netbooks and only certain hardware will work.
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post #9 of 13
Pretty much what cavallino said.

Any of the ION powered Asus models will be a nice mix but like having WIN7 starter you'll have to reboot to switch between the ION GPU and the Atom GPU. Fortunately both are well supported from what I last read on them in Linux.

It's not so much the netbook it's self that's going to be a problem as much as the GPU and WIFI cards. I can tell you that the buntu's have really dropped the ball on wifi support. I had to move to Fedora or openSUSE for my netbook to get wifi support.

And I'd definitely stay away from 11.04 for right now. Unity seems a bit buggy (check the Linux section of this forum).

If you want the Fusion APUs then just be ready to have a more difficult time getting them to work or having them be unstable.
     
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post #10 of 13
I'd rather cut my arms than have to use Atom, to be honest. Before I had the Asus netbook in question here and Atom is simply unbearable. It's horribly slow if you open more than two programs, and everything feels laggy. The only thing ION helped was with the fact that Flash animations and videos didn't stutter anymore. I seriously wouldn't recommend anyone to settle for Atom.

I convinced my mom to buy the X120e and it's pretty much as fast as my current laptop doing everyday things and can handle a decent amount of multitasking, even light gaming. The build quality is just simply too good to pass up. I'd say at its current price it's a no-brainer. As for the OS, if you get the Asus, you'll probably need to upgrade to Home Premium, which is another expense. You'll probably also want to get more RAM since 1GB is rather horrible now-a-days, but the max. you can upgrade to is 2GB, so you still won't be able to do any decent multi-tasking. You're limited to 250GB storage capacity instead of 320, not to mention the 7200RPM HDD on the X120e will help with responsiveness. You also get a better screen with higher resolution and more real-estate, which definitely makes a difference. You have to scroll less on webpages and you have no problems with the resolution being so low that you have to scroll vertically on some sites. There's also the fact that, being a ThinkPad, the X120e should have much higher reliability, plus they also have much better customer service.

In the end, I'd look at it like this: would you like a bad Windows laptop that can run Ubuntu decently plus having almost no features or a great Windows laptop that, as of now, has some small problems in Ubuntu? I'll tell you one thing from my experience, though: Atom is terrible.
    
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