Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

If you're in the market for a new laptop, here's some advice to consider before you spend the money.

Buying a fully Linux compliant laptop can be a truly harrowing experience. Many people have learned to deal with uncompliant laptops. It's interesting to learn about some of the things people do to get by with an uncompliant or misconfigured system. When having audio problems, for instance, some users simply keep the volume to a minimum. Others, when having problems with X, get into the habit of restarting X every half hour; in especially bad cases they even reboot the laptop every half hour. I find these situations unacceptable. It is one thing if you were given the laptop at no cost, but it's completely different if you dropped hundreds of dollars of your own cash to get this kind of system. These problems all can be avoided if you take the time to educate yourself about what is available, set realistic goals for what you want to buy and make certain the machine you want is within your price range. All this said, setting up a Linux-based laptop actually can be a satisfying experience.

As with any other major purchase, when buying a laptop the first thing you need to do is define your needs. Take everything into consideration, and start with basic usage items. What size screen would you like to have? Do you prefer a touchpad or a trackpoint? Do you have a requirement for battery life? Do you want to be able to watch DVDs? Do you want to burn CDs? Do you require a good sound system? Are you planning on connecting to a wireless network, modem-based ISP or conventional wired LAN; or do you not require any LAN or internet connection at all? For what purposes are you primarily going to use the laptop: word processing, gaming, photo manipulation, SA access terminal, web browsing? All of these questions and uses should be considered, because the answers can effect drastically both the cost of the laptop and the time required to make it ready for use.

Once your needs are defined, start browsing the major laptop manufacturers' product lines. From my experience, I strongly recommend buying laptops from the big names: Toshiba, IBM, HP, Compaq, Dell and so on. Staying with the major names can guarantee support in the long run. If you need a battery three years from now, for example, it will be much easier to acquire one for a Thinkpad then it would be for an Acme brand no longer in business.

The largest advantage of having a popular brand is you can rely on the Linux community as a whole. The more people who have your laptop the more FAQs, how-tos and general documentation you can access. It is comforting to post a laptop-oriented problem on a public news group and receive replies from a dozen people with the same exact laptop who experienced the same exact problem.

So you've found a couple of laptops that you think fit your needs, but you're not sure how compatible they are with Linux. I suggest making a checklist of your prospective laptops' major components. Many times you'll find that a particular manufacturer doesn't have list the complete specifications on their web site. There are a few ways to remedy this situation. If the laptop can be store-bought, go to a walk-in retail outlet and use Windows to get a gander at what makes it tick. Windows provides a comprehensive list of all the components it detects. Simply open up the device manager and make a list of what you find, including what is listed under the Control Panel, System, Hardware and Device Manager. Take the list home and start your research.

A much more convenient way of finding out what things of interest are inside your prospective laptop is to do a Google search with the laptop's name and Linux as keywords, for example, Thinkpad R32 Linux“. Chances are you'll find a how-to that someone has created to instruct others about installing Linux on that particular machine. Such how-tos can be priceless resources in your Linux laptop quest; not only do you find a component list, but you also find out up-front how compatible the machine is.

In the area of compatibility, I find the biggest stickler to be the video card. Due to the quick pace with which laptops are being developed, Linux is struggling to keep most video cards supported with the most features enabled. It's not uncommon to have a video card capable of hardware-based 3-D rendering that simply can't do so under Linux due to driver limitations. This situation will change over time, of course, but who wants to wait if they don't have to?

At present the major manufacturers of video cards for laptops are ATI and NVIDIA. NVIDIA has a closed-source proprietary driver that is fully capable of 3-D rendering and offers many 2-D resolutions, all in full 24-bit color. These capabilities are impressive, but there's a catch. Due to the driver's closed-source nature, if a particular line of laptops has a problem with the driver, getting NVIDIA to address the issue could be difficult and may not happen at all.

ATI, however, handles Linux in a way that is friendlier to the Linux community: ATI's drivers are open source. Although ATI's support for the Linux platform initially was not up to the standards of NVIDIA, ATI's current supports is growing fast. Because the drivers are open-source, many people are working to provide the community with more than capable drivers that quickly are rivaling NVIDIA. Will ATI surpass NVIDIA in its support for Linux? It already may have, but NVIDIA is a major player and could turn the tables in an instant. Either way, Linux users win.

Other hardware of concern includes the sound chipset, modem, networking chipset and wireless devices. Depending on your needs, you might not require all of these items, but I'll bet the farm that you are going to need at least a few of them. Sound can be the most difficult and perhaps least vital thing to get running under Linux. Fortunately, in most cases on-line documentation can be found that will assist you in getting the sound to run properly.

Modems can be another big stickler for Linux compatibility. Software-based modems are common amongst laptop manufacturers, so it's not uncommon to discover that a particular modem does not work under Linux. If a functional modem is important to you, be sure to do some modem-specific research prior to that final purchase. In a pinch you can always use a PC card-based modem.

Although most integrated networking chipsets are supported by Linux, you never can tell with the off brands. Your networking chipset is definitely worth looking into. If I had to pick one component, LAN connectivity is perhaps the most important. Without it I would not own a laptop.

This bring us to my last area of concern, wireless LAN support. The bleeding edge of wireless networking can offer a plethora of compatibility obstacles. The 802.11 standard itself is hardly a standard, what with all of its substandards—802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g. Different access points play better with different client cards. Certain cards are faster, certain ones can work for a longer range, certain ones work better in ”noisy“ situations and certain ones are more compatible with those of other speeds. My point is special attention must be paid to wireless if it's support is vital to you.

All of the above-mentioned components go to show the overall quality of the laptop. In my opinion, a 3Com-integrated NIC has a higher value than does a Realtech. Sure, they'll both work, but in the long run you want to get the most for your money. The same goes for all the components of the laptop. An ATI IGP300 with 32MB of shared memory simply isn't as valuable as an NVIDIA Geforce4 32MB video card. You'll find many of these quality/price issues apparent when you start pricing individual laptops. The best method is to take your time, read as much as you can about each critical component and make an educated decision.

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Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

I am a linux user as well as a retail sales assoc at a major chain.... Knoppix is exactly the way I answered the "does linux work with this?" question... and BTW very few sonys will work booting off it but nearly every Toshiba I've tried has had no prob...

The best idea by far

Anonymous's picture

Good thinking ! Most decent laptops are available in computer superstores so that's doable.

However, I'm a bit unsure about the reaction of the average sales guy when you ask for the favour.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

A nice idea, but the likely hood of a store saying "sure stranger, please load your unathorized software on one of our PCs/Laptops, that we own and are responsible for" are probably slim to nil. With the only exception being if the sales person is a moron.

That's the equivilant of trusting all email attachments sent to you.

Many retail stores learned their lessons early on. You don't know how many times I past a store computer only to see "formating c:" on the screen.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

In UK retail stores, however, the salesperson typically *is* a moron. Advice:

1. Insert CD-ROM, reboot.

2. Wave single finger in salesperson's face.

3. Test Linux compatibility.

4. Go and buy laptop model from online competitor.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Knoppix doesn't install anything -- it just loads off the CD-ROM. If the store isn't willing to let you try the machine with the operating system you plan to run, then you should go elsewhere, and take your money with you.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

"If you believe *ANYTHING* the manufaturers say in terms of Linux driver support, you deserve to lose your money! "

Excuse me? If I trust a vendor, I deserve to get screwed? What sort of mental midget wanna be comment is that?

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

I was happy to see the title of the article and then... I read it. There isn't here much information specific to Linux in it. All it has to do with Linux is that the word has been mentioned a few times.What the author writes is a general advice to buying a laptop - whether it's Linux, Windows, BeOS or anything alse. In some areas the advice is so generic that it could be used to but a washing machine or a gardening tool. Oh, and btw, of course I will check prices in more than one place before I spend money.

The title says: "Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop".

Well, what are some Linux compatible laptops, any recommendations? I think an article answering that question would be of much more value to its readers.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Everybody that is interested in this article should look into buying one of two refurbished IBM ThinkPads. Both are currently available at ibm.com (3/6/03). I am not trying to promote IBM over any other brand, I've just had good luck with both of these machines. The ThinkPad T22 originally sold for anywhere from $2000 - $3000 (based on configuration) and is available refurbished for less that $1000 from IBM (but shop around, because other authorized resellers also sell this model). This guy is a PIII 900 that has an excellently supported video card (S3 Savage - 8mb ram), built in NIC (Intel eppro100), built in modem (Lucent Winmodem - Linux driver works flawlessly), and sound card (crystal cs42xx). You're not going to get the fastest machine available, nor will you get that super-bad Nvidia or ATI video, but you will have a perfectly supported Linux laptop. No "Windows" key on the keyboard, no fancy unsupported "E-mail" or "Web" buttons, just a nice, full size keyboard with a big 14 in screen and DVD (MPLayer works great). Very light weight, very sturdy (titanium-reinforced frame). I doubt you'll find a newer, better supported laptop than this. If you're looking into saving a bit more money, look into a refurbished ThinkPad 600x. Most of the same 100% linux supported hardware (less video ram and 1in smaller screen).

ATI drivers AREN'T open source

Anonymous's picture

Buggy DRI drivers are open source, but they don't support newest cards and they don't work very well in games.

ATIs own drivers: http://www.ati.com/support/faq/linux.html are closed source.

Re: ATI drivers AREN'T open source

Anonymous's picture

They may be buggy but its an offering that is not available from many other video card makers. Time changes things too, give the DRI drivers time and I'm sure they'll improve drastically. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

I have had three IBM ThinkPads over the years, still have then actually, and each has supported GNU/Linux better than its predecessor. The IBM ThinkPad R30 series works great with GNU/Linux, including sound, screen brightness keys, over-the-screen-light key, ACPI, built-in Intel Ethernet Express 10/100 NIC. I have not attempted to get the built-in modem working yet. The NetGear WiFi PCMCIA card works as well. All in all, if you want a solidly supported notebook IBM is certainly a safe harbour.

Are you sure?

C.RENDON's picture

Not at all I think. Meaby you can tell us what is the distribution that you are using because as long as I know Ubuntu and Fedora have some issues with R30 series.

Pro-Star

Anonymous's picture

I own a 8596 Pro-Star laptop and all of the hardware is supported, with the exception of the winmodem. There is a driver for it, but I haven't bothered to compile it.

While buying from better known brands is good general advice, this isn't always the case. In my case, I went with Pro-star because of the great pricing and the fact that all they sell is laptops. When I bought mine I researched them because I feared going with a tiny company that would not be there tomorrow. It turned out that they have been in existence for 12 years,well before Dell even started selling laptops. More interestingly, I discovered that some of Dell's models are exact replicas of pro-stars to the very last detail.

For instance, my LCD is also used by Dell and needs to be configured as such for Red Hat to pick it up.

Anyway, if anybody is in the market for a laptop and needs a more detailed account of my experience, stop by my site gporcel.net and send me an email.

Take care.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

My new Pavillian ze4210's AGP isn't supported so I'm stuck in VESA mode. I ONLY bought HP because THEY TOLD ME when I attended their INVENT tour that THEY SUPPORTED LINUX ON ALL HARDWARE! They LIED! I tried to get a refund for the unused unopened XP license under the impression that "HP supports Linux across it's entire hardware line", and I was TOLD TO RETURN MY NOTEBOOK! That would cost me a 15% restocking fee! :-(

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Same dismal experience from my Pavilion (or is that Pavillian?) ze4125. HP has a linux discussion forum (http://forums.itrc.hp.com/cm/FamilyHome/1,,118,00.html), but it just confirmed the lack of linux support for their ze41xx laptops (bios issues with PCMCIA). So, if you're planning on buying an HP and want to run linux, spend some time on this forum. But I'd recommend: STAY AWAY FROM HP.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Mental note made: rotate HP to the bottom of the stack.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

sue them! ;)

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Or, if he purchased it using a credit card (you did, of course, right?!), you have very strong grounds for a charge back! This means zero restocking fee too.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Has anyone used or seen a review of the new Lindows-based laptop? I can't say that I like Lindows, but all the parts should be supported in Linux, no?

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Lycoris is the company with the name that escapes you...

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Lindows the OS is based on Debian. Debian = :)

Lindows the company is reminiscent of another OS from a company out in Redmond, WA (the name escapes me at the moment). They're awfully loud and aggressive. I think the community needs someone like Lindows to make waves and get more mainstream attention. If Linux is to make inroads into the desktop market, it needs to battle MS with MS like tactics. Lindows is the only company with the balls to do so. I wish them luck.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Not quite. It does have an internal winmodem that isn't supported.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

I read that there was NO internal modem but only an opening in the back of the unit where an internal modem could be installed. So with these conflicting pieces of information who can really say just yet whether the LindowsOS Mobile PC does/does not have an internal modem that works.

For the price though it is a good deal if your primary uses for it are checking email and office applications then it will meet your needs. It definately is not a gamers nor programmers machine but it is not being marketed to anyone other than people who want/need a light weight portable computer.

Advice for buy a NON Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

If more people purchased laptops that didn't already have strong linux support, maybe we wouldn't have such a dismal selection to choose from. Figure out how to make it work and then let everyone else know. If we've learned anything from vendors so far its that we're on our own so we might as well make the best of it.

Re: Advice for buy a NON Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

I think this is also part of the problem. The vendors know the Linux community will make its own drivers. Why should they waste their R&D dollars? They know the Windows community will not build its own drivers. They have no choice but to build them or they're not going to sell their goods.

Re: Advice for buy a NON Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

I installed Mandrake 9.0 on a KDS Valiant 9380

about a month ago. Everything but the Winmodem worked

perfectly the first time, including recognizing a CDRW USB drive.

(I replaced the disastrously quirky Windows ME, which came with it, that never worked properly with the USB CDRW drive.)

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

how abouts iBooks and PowerBooks?

Those are the best selling Unix-laptops, with a plethora of software :-)

Laptops and Windows

Anonymous's picture

While the whole article concentrated on Linux-compatibility and simply shrug on the case of push-down-the-throat XP bundle, my experience rather suggest that focus should be the other round.

Actually, running Linux on any notebook i tried came never out to be an issue for me. Ok, winmodems do work only with a proprietary driver, but i have spare pcmcia. 3d is only supported with an ati proprietary driver, but i can easily wait in this case.

Far more problematic was the (as i believe) illegal bundling of windows XP with any well-known name notebook i ask for. I first thought, it would be a non-problem. Notebook sellers give plenty of options and asking for a notebook without OS should be simple - i thought.

But it isn't. The Dell hotline simply hanged up with the words "You get the notebook only with windows", other we're at least a little more polite. Folks! This is not a linux thing only. People have lot of spare windows licenses meanwhile and they normally do not need an OS with a new notebook. At least here in germany, forcing someone to buy anything together with something else is a business crime, but they commit it anyway. It's not so simple to sue, though.

Look at the pages of the notebook sellers. They are propagating buying windows XP as a "non-piracy" action. Oh yes, not running XP and especially a spare W9x or Linux is piracy, for sure. Truth is, i think, they have deals to get XP amoung their customers.

I heard arguments, hotline cost would rise, when notebooks would be sold without OS preinstalled. I do not believe this. There might be unfair customers, but most of them are fair. Otherwise all these small shops that sell do-it-yourself computers would have been out of business, already.

Finally, i bought me an ASUS notebook, which sells without any OS. So, there is at least one manufacturer, who is not yet working for MS and against his customers.

When buying a notebook, either for Linux or Windows, i strongly suggest to lookout for a non-OS option in first place. At least, it's your right as a customer.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Check out powernotebooks.com, I just got a Asus L3000 that installed Suse 8.1 Pro perfectly.. ATI Radeon 3d graphics and all. sold as PowerPro IV:24

Re: Laptops and Knoppix

Anonymous's picture

Oops, I pressed the wrong key. Sorry!

Anyway, I was wandering how useful Knoopix can be in testing the Linux compatibility of a laptop

Re: Laptops and Knoppix

Anonymous's picture

Well, I've found that audio and video testing using Knoppix is great. Speedwise, if Knoppix loads OpenOffice acceptably then you really are winning.

Now the bad bit. I've tested Knoppix on two Dell Inspirons - both hung on normal boot and I could only get to load by specifying 'nopcmcia'. Bit of a blow if you need a modem card!

BTW network and the rest worked a dream - so much so that an MSCE engineer and self-confessed MS addict was completely blown away with Knoppix as I logged it into the company Win2K network and printed to our network printers. He now keeps a copy with his laptop in case the Win2K network decides to 'take over' his laptop.

Re: Laptops and Knoppix

Anonymous's picture

KNoppix is awesome. I'm writing this from a T20 with Knoppix right now, because my Win2k system is hosed!

Everything works perfectly -- except I haven't tried the modem, nor have I been able to test the CD burner since Knoppix is using it to run.

I've found Knoppix very useful for being able to use the Linux programs for which there is no Windows equivalent. Now, a lot of people would say I have that backward...

Anyway, after my Knoppix experience, I can heartily recommend the IBM T Series as a Linux laptop. There *are* "Linmodem" drivers available, BTW, and I hear the latest Redhat does everything perfectly, right out of the box.

Re: Laptops and Knoppix

Anonymous's picture

For a lot of the Dells you have to disable probing a couple of memory addresses for the pcmcia tools. It's not really hard (and doesn't affect anything but solving the freeze). You might be able to modify your CD to run better on Dell laptops....

Re: Laptops and Knoppix - DELL Latitude & Linux Success story

Anonymous's picture

I bought Latitude C840 and KNOPPIX works just fine ... well ... almost

when I went to take my Latitude from the local dealer, i took a KNOPPIX cd with me. I had no problem booting the system ... I just spacified screen=1400x1050

Later, I installed KNOPPIX with knx-hdinstall. After that i discovered that all the hardware devices share single (11th) IRQ, which was slowing down the system. When I start to copy large files from the network, movies in particular, the system start to freez on every few MB . Then I decided to compile my own kernel. I've put ACPI, Dell Laptop support, p4 and all other thihgs i needed. I also downloaded the acpid*.deb and installed it.

Now the system works PERFECT !!! no freezing no problems at all !!

There is a package for DELL laptops called i8k, information about it can be found in the kernel module's documentation. These utilities allow you to monitor CPU temp and to control fans speed and activity - I find the usefull and a must have for a DELL laptop owner.

Good luck!

Don't hesitate to buy a Latitude notebook it is extreamly POWERFULL and stable, although it is heavy and huge. It also works fine with linux ;)

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

1. too expensive, they're getting better but still not at the commodity prices like PC laptops

2. Since this is a Linux article, OSX, while a Unix is still proprietary and unnaceptable to some for that reason.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Arrgh, popular misconceptions.

1. Not true. The iBook makes an excellent affordable laptop at $999.

2. PenguinPPC, Mandrake, Debian, Yellow Dog Linux, SuSE.

As I recall, one of the Xiph.org/Vorbis developers switched to an iBook running Linux soon after the original model came out. I put Linux on my iBook last year - everything was working save the modem, which they have a driver for now. My current Powerbook does not have Linux on it yet - nVidia video chipset - but people have managed getting X to work on it using XFree 4.2.99 - and XFree 4.3 is out now, so that's no prob.

So in summary, Apple is not too expensive - that's a myth - they are very well-built, and Linux support is normally more guaranteed than any other notebook, after a few weeks' time lag, due to more standardised hardware (same modem on Powerbook and iBook, etc.)

Regards,

- Michel

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop - SuSE

Anonymous's picture

Do not count in SuSE here.

They are not at all serious (any more?) about the PPC edition.

As an example, see the System requirements for SuSE Linux 7.3 PowerPC Edition:

"This listing refers to computers which were introduced before/in Autumn of 2000. Newer computers (2001 models) may not be supported..."

http://www.suse.de/en/private/products/suse_linux/ppc/system_requirement...

Of course, note the version number of their current PPC version (7.3), too (whereas the current i386 by SuSE edition is 8.2). However, they manage to keep the price tag current... :-(

In contrast, Debian, Mandrake, Yellow Dog, obviously are doing excellent work in supporting the PPC platform.

And TuxPPC (www.tuxppc.org, nubus.tuxppc.org) provide some very good resources for Linux on PPC.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

1. The iBook may be a nice little laptop and may cost $999, but could I get the same type of hardware performance in an x86 laptop for $699? The comment was that it cost more for what you get, not that every Apple laptop cost $3000. I'm not saying that you are wrong; I'm just saying that quoting one price of one Apple laptop doesn't tell us anything.

2. This is true, but the original poster was clearly talking about OSX, not Linux on a PowerPC. This is what the last commenter was replying to, so he was correct in his comments. He could have brought up the alternative of running a PowerPC version of Linux just to round out the picture, but since the original poster was talking about OSX, it was appropriate to point out that this is a site about Linux rather than OSX.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

No it doesn't give the same type of performance, PPC is faster, especially in linux. Almost everyone except mac users and IBM-PPC users, think that x86 is superior, it's not at all. For instance X86 is slower than PPC because of the extra processor pipelines, their are other proc. designs that slow down X86 architectures ,which pump up the clock speed and inadvertantly lower performance, IBM and Motorola proc.'s are the way to go. People must realize this, and consider this in their decision. For example I used an Athalon XP 1600+ running at 1.4 GHZ running Debian and it was slower than my powerbook with a 400 MHZ G3 running the same version of debian, but for PPC. The 400 MHZ G3 whipped the ***** out of the Athalon, same amount of ram, the athalon had 64 MB shared, the powerbook had 8MB on an Agp bus.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

The G3 *is* SLOW.

"Everyone knows this".

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

There's a lot of things making the speed of a computer.
One: With the system bus being so much slower than the processor these days, the bus speed and amount and speed of cache memory is just as important as processor speed.
What use is it with a 2 Ghz processor if it can only get hold of data to process each twentieth clock cycle?
Very much of what a processor does today is handling that slow memory access, so there's plenty of room for approaches.
Second and more important, Intel and AMD processors are based on a quite different concept than the processors used in Macs.
Intel and AMD produce CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computing) based processors, while the ones on Macs are RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing).
While CISC has many different instructions available, some of them such as multimedia specialized ones barely even used.
This means there's not room to run as many instructions in parallel (it's long since instructions were run one by one in a series). It also makes speculating what data might come from the memory buffer next (and running what code can be run while waiting for that precious data, often having to drop whole computations because things didn't turn out as expected) rather more complex.
On the other hand, CISC processors have much less instructions available, each of them being quite simple to execute. More compex tasks are made of several small instructions instead of few fat ones. This allows the processor to run more instructions in parallel. More instructions are run through the processor per clock cycle. A simpler basic design also makes the more complex tasks easier to handle.
One of Intel's selling points is the clock speed. But counting clock speed is like counting rounds per minite on a motor. It doesn't take into effect the power gained from each round, or if it makes things spin too much. It's a overly simple measurement, well fit for marketing but says little about actual performance.
So I don't know how well Macs perform today. But have no problem seeng a 400 Mhz processor outperforming a 1600 Mhz one. Especially not if you're specific about what kind of task you're running.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

can someone MOD parent up? this is interesting!

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

and as "neat" as OSX is, and a Unix based kernel and OS, not really a Unix...

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Yeah, they are wonderful. Only one problem, do you have an extra $1000 dollars for me to spend on it?

Seriously, my Dell cost me $1700 in November. To get a comparable PowerBook, I would have spent $3200!!

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Yeah, You're a ***** ***** you know that right? right? Good. Dell laptops are and never will be comparable to anything apple made or ever will make, my ***** powerbook from 2 years ago can whip the ***** ***** out of your shitty dell. I also think it's funny that you bought a laptop from dell knowing that they cut your warantee if you install linux. Also: you could have gotten a better iBook than anything dell makes for less than $1700, even cheaper than $1500 if you buy refurb. You actions are blatently retarded and you should not be allowed to talk any longer, your speaking privleges have been revoked, you ***** ***** Prick, I bet you use windoze too, ***** *****, you're an ***** too. People that are misinformed, including yourself need some help, god damn it. I wish there was someone who would help people like you out. Didn't you know that PPC is sooooo much faster, good damn, I hope your dell breaks and they refuse to fix it because you have linux on it.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

I will start by saying I own an iMac and an iBook and have defended my choices in computers on many occasions. But you have to be one of the most ignorant, stupid, and mean mac users I have ever met. I don't know how old you are but you sound like your under 13. You're as bad as the ignorant people who bash macs. And ironicly half of what you said about people being retarded and shouldn't be allowed to talk any longer can be said about you.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

This really is not worth my time but I just had to say it... You are dyed in the wool shithead! Good for you that you can afford an apple, did your daddy buy your car and pay your rent too? There is nothing wrong with apple and the proprietary hardware makes configuration a breeze BUT... There is NO WAY that you can convince me that you absolutely need to buy an apple to do useful work. *****.

Re: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Anonymous's picture

$3200 is for the 17" powerbook. You can get a 15.2 (soon to be 15.4)" powerbook for $1700 or a 12" iBook for $1000.