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Cheap UEFI Laptop?

If you are having a problem with getting any of your computer's hardware to work with MEPIS or you can't find the right driver, this is the forum to use. It's for newbies and regular users to post questions. Just make sure to post what hardware you are having problems with, in the subject and not just in the post's text area, please.
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BitJam
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Cheap UEFI Laptop?

#1 Post by BitJam » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:37 pm

I'm thinking about getting a cheap UEFI laptop to explore the wonderful world of booting via UEFI. There are several machines from different manufacturers with similar specs: 15" -- 16" 1366x768 display, dual core, 4 Gig RAM, 500 GB hard drive, that I've been looking at. The Acer Aspire seemed best spec-wise, for me, because it has 3 usb ports and bluetooth. I would not be comfortable with only 2 usb ports and no bluetooth because I expect to always use a mouse and I need at least one other usb port for a LiveUSB but that would leave me with no spares.

I'm not thrilled at paying the MS tax but it might be useful to have Windows so I can deal with dual booting.

I'm wondering if anyone here has ideas, suggestions, or warnings.

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?

#2 Post by NGIB » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:53 pm

I recently bought an HP DV6, AMD A-10 with 6GB RAM and 640GB drive from Blinq for just over $320. Reurbs from Newegg can be a good deal as well. I had all Intel CPUs and I wanted a late model AMD for testing. It has 4 USB ports (3-3.0, 1-2.0), HDMI, and Bluetooth.

I installed the fglrx driver last night (running MX-14.2 on it) and while the driver loaded and operates OK the ATI Control Center does not run. When executed in terminal I get back the error: segment fault. This is why I wanted an AMD box to play with, nice to see how non-Intel stuff works...
Life's tough, it's tougher if you're stupid...

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?

#3 Post by lucky9 » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:58 pm

Just FYI, I use an Acer Netbook with only 2 USB ports. First thing I did was buy a 4-Port Hub. Wireless Mouse, Modem, and a USB FlashDrive (if needed) have never caused a problem.

My Acer has been rock-solid hardware-wise. But it is 4 or 5 years old, so can't say what quality control is like currently. But I'd look at them seriously if I needed another NetBook or Laptop.
Yes, even I am dishonest. Not in many ways, but in some. Forty-one, I think it is.
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JimC
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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?

#4 Post by JimC » Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:38 pm

I found a really good deal a couple of months ago on an Inspiron 15 (3521) with the optional 17 Watt TDP Core i3 3227U (dual core CPU supporting 4 threads via HT) instead of the lower end CPU that cheaper setups had, optional 6 cell battery (versus the default 4 Cell battery found in the entry level setups), 4GB DDR3 (1x4GB with a slot open for another DIMM), 500GB drive, and optional touch screen for $309.00 (before any coupon codes for more off).

After applying a 30% off coupon code I had from subscribing to the mailing list for Dell Outlet, my price including tax and shipping came to only $227 (including a one year warranty with next business day on site service after remote diagnostics). It came with a UEFI BIOS setup with Win 8 installed.

Got to love the deals you can find if you're a good shopper. ;-)

If you watch for coupon codes at http://www.twitter.com/delloutlet you'll find some pretty good deals on a frequent basis. Here's a link I see from the Dell Outlet twitter page now:

http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/22/camp ... id=5322728

But, if you're patient, you can often find even better deals (for example 20 or 30 percent off lower priced machines, too).

BTW, the laptop arrived in absolutely perfect, like new condition, and there isn't a scratch on it anywhere (and because it's got a [very] textured lid, I don't expect it to be prone to scratching anyway). I can't tell it from a brand new machine.

That was my 7th Dell Outlet machine. Over the last 10 years, I've bought a refurbished Dell Dimension 8400 with a 3Ghz P4 in it (the oldest one I've bought from Dell Outlet, and even it still worked fine the last time it was fired up), Dell Inspiron 1720 (purchased in December 2007, still in use with Mepis 11 on it), Dell Inspiron 530 with a Core 2 Quad Q6660 in it (no longer used, sitting in a corner), Dell Inspiron 545 with a dual Core AMD Athlon CPU (no longer being used, sitting in a corner), Dell Inspiron 11Z Netbook (still used by a great niece full time with MX-14 on it, that I got for only $153 delivered from Dell Outlet with 64 bit Win 7 on it after a coupon code), Dell XPS 8500 with a Core i7 3770 (the desktop I use full time right now, that has a UEFI BIOS and came with Win 8 on it), and now this Dell Inspirion 15 (3521) laptop with a 15.6" Touchscreen that I bought as a replacement for the Inspiron 1720 for my wife to use (and the newest Inspiron 15 came with a UEFI BIOS with Win 8 on it).

They've all arrived in perfect, like new condition. I love the deals you can find if you're a good shopper and wait for Dell Outlet Coupon codes for more off (as I usually do, using a 30% off coupon code in this case, bringing the price of the Inspirion 15 that I bought recently down to $227 including tax and shipping)

From my perspective, there's no down side to them (refurbished from Dell Outlet), as they come with the same warranty as their new machines (1 year warranty on hardware and labor including next business day onsite service after remote diagnostics in this new Inspiron 15 laptop's case). Sometimes you get even better warranties, as they have the same warranties that came with the original machines. Every Dell Outlet refurbished machine I've purchased so far as been in perfect, like new condition (if not for the refurbished sticker on the bottom, you'd assume you just received a brand new machine instead).

You can opt for longer warranties for more money, too (same options you have with a new machine). But, I just stick with the default 1 year warranty when buying them.

If you watch for deals and coupon codes, you'll sometimes find good prices on the new machines, too. But, I always wait for coupon codes for more off (usually from 20 to 30 percent off) on refurbished machines from Dell Outlet instead.
Last edited by JimC on Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?

#5 Post by m_pav » Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:52 pm

Acer had a bad run with the 5xxx series dying for no good reason and the massive costs of replacement motherboards on ebay is a testimony to how bad they really were. For a small town of 4500 people, we have more defunct Acer bodies in our recycling bins than any other brand, and that's not to mention the number that customers took away with them instead of leaving them to be recycled properly. Our bins used to be lined with budget HP/Compaq machines, still true for desktops, but only a few laptops in there now. The 5xxx range seems to have been exhausted now so this new batch will need to be proven before I could recommend them.

Acer and Toshiba systems seem to have really poor hinge design and support in the chassis, have repaired numerous chassis with gravelled interiors at the predominantly left hinge.

I always advise my customers to keep a hundred miles away from el-cheapo systems and spend at least $100 more to buy a better brand/model because they are more likely to live beyond the 2-3 year mark.
Mike P

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(Mine)Lenovo T560, i7-6600U, 16GB, 2.0TB SSHD, MX17 64-bit
(Wifes) Asus M4A88TD-M, AMD Phenom II x4 955 CPU, nVidia GF610, 6Gb, 500GB+320GB, MX17 + KDE
(Kids) Intel NUC, J1900, 4GB, 64GB SSD, MX17

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?

#6 Post by JimC » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:56 pm

...I'm wondering if anyone here has ideas, suggestions, or warnings.
Look at the CPU model, specs, speed, TDP (max wattage drawn) and Wireless Chipset (to make sure Linux drivers are available), battery capacity, etc.

I usually look up a CPU model using google for starters. For example, this in the Intel Specs page for the Core i3 3227u in the most recent laptop I bought:

http://ark.intel.com/products/72057/Int ... e-1_90-GHz

It supports VT-x (which is one of the things I look for) in case I want to do something like run a copy of my wife's older Mepis 11 install within a virtual machine using Virtualbox, since performance would be better with VT-x support. VT-d would be nice to have, too (something that CPU doesn't get). But, VT-x is far more important to virtual machine performance.

It's Core i3 CPU also tests better than some of the lower end CPUs found in that laptop niche. I just google for a cpu model and click on the benchmark link for one (or add passmark to the search query and you'll find those benchmarks):

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu ... 40+1.90GHz

That's a last generation CPU; and you'll find Core i3 4xxx CPUs as optional in the latest configs.

In contrast, some of the CPUs in the cheaper configs only test at a bit over 1000 as far as their passmark test scores

There are pros and cons to any of them. For example, I see Dell has some new 15" laptops for as little as $249 right now (with a $20 off coupon available so you could get a brand new laptop for $229). But, those are using a Celeron N2830 CPU that is not very fast.

On the plus side, it's a newer 7.5 Watt TDP CPU, meaning you should see terrific battery life. But, I'd rather have one of the configurations with the Intel 2127U CPU instead (or similar speed CPU), as even though it's a 17 Watt TDP, it's almost twice as fast.

Or, even better, a Core i3 CPU (one of the lower wattage models with a 15 or 17 Watt TDP) supporting 4 threads, even though they're still dual core; like the laptop I found at a good price in refurbished condition after a coupon code for more off.

Make sure you can get drivers for the wireless chipset, too. My Dell XPS 8500 desktop and the newer Dell Inspiron 15 laptop I got for my wife both use a Dell 1703 Wireless b/g/n wireless model with an Atheros AR9485 wireless chipset that's supported by most newer Linux distros. But, you'll find newer Wireless models in many other configurations (for example, I see a Dell 1705 versus 1703 wireless card mentioned for some newer laptop models. Dell 1506 wireless models in other configs, etc; and I have not researched the newer Dell Wireless models to see what chipset they use yet. Basically, I'd make sure you know what chipsets are being used and if they're supported by available Linux drivers or not.

Regardless of laptop brand/model (Dell, HP, Lenova, Acer, etc.), I'd do some searches to make sure linux drivers are available for everything that comes with the model you buy (and as a general rule of thumb, the newer the chipsets, the harder it can be to find drivers).

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?

#7 Post by KBD » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:06 pm

I was looking at one of these: Acer Aspire ES1-511-C59V
It has pretty good reviews on Amazon
https://www.google.com/search?q=Acer+As ... untu+14.04
I'm guessing it has efi.
But our daughter gave us an old Toshiba laptop to use, and I decided I like being Windows free, hate to break an old habit :-)

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?

#8 Post by BitJam » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:31 pm

@KDB, I just placed an order for that machine an hour or two ago. There is a very similar model available in Germany that has Linpus Linux pre-installed. I figure Acer is probably making an effort to keep their hardware Linux compatible although it is certainly not a guarantee.

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?

#9 Post by KBD » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:16 pm

Let us know how it works for you, especially let us know how installing Linux goes with it :-)

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Re: Cheap UEFI Laptop?

#10 Post by antiX-Dave » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:28 pm

BitJam wrote:@KDB, I just placed an order for that machine an hour or two ago. There is a very similar model available in Germany that has Linpus Linux pre-installed. I figure Acer is probably making an effort to keep their hardware Linux compatible although it is certainly not a guarantee.
It appears that way, every acer I have had contact with runs linux great. The only real problem I have had is the one shows the wireless interface as eth1. They have tried selling the linpus netbooks and linpus laptops here. They worked great but where limited to what you could do / install.... where a tad cheaper to purchase as well. I have had my acer i3 for years now, only upgrade was putting in an ssd after my heads crashed in the original drive from tipping on a cushion. I am very hard pressed to find a better one. However recently purchasing a lenovo i5 with an ssd and a few extra plusses (finger print reader/ blue tooth) has gotten my eye. Especially when it has support on that model for ubuntu, suse, redhat/fedora, and another flavor of linux out their site / driver download page.

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