A laptop suitable for Ubuntu? AsusK53S

I have been asked to purchase a laptop for an elderly, ex-academic who wants a machine that will be reasonably future-proof (say 6 years). My local PC repairer recommends Toshiba for their internal ruggedness and I have found one (C670) at my local Argos store:
http://www.argos.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Search?storeId=10001&catalogId=1500002951&langId=-1&searchTerms=5085783
Just to be on the safe side I would be grateful if someone would mention any known problems running Ubuntu 11.10 on this series of laptops.
I bought an Ubuntu V11.10 disc from the Canonical Store which they advertise as “for desktops”. Would it be OK for this laptop? It certainly won’t load onto my old Dell D505 – but that’s another problem being addressed elsewhere on this forum.

Many thanks.

A quick launchpad search shows that there are known bugs with this laptop and 11.10 … see here:

and

and

All seem ACPI related, and the consensus appears to be that they’ll probably be fixed in 12.04 … none of them seem to stop 11.10 from installing and working, but some functionality is lost.

In my opinion Toshiba are no better built than other laptops, in fact I’d say they’ve become cheaper built over the years … but I suppose that can be said for most makes.

My wife has a Toshiba Satellite Pro (can’t remember the exact model), and it’s very flimsy … the socket where the power supply goes has pushed inside the case and this is not a one off, a couple of weeks ago I had another Toshiba in for repair with the same problem (tiny piece of plastic breaks off the case and the socket disappears inside, only fix is to dismantle and glue the socket in place, not ideal in case it ever needs replacing, annoying because I like the idea of the socket not being soldered to the motherboard) … not a show stopper, but I’d say along with the very cheap “plasticy” feel a definite sign of “penny pinching” on build quality … that said I’ve had no other real problems with it.

Maybe this will help:

Thank you for taking so much trouble, Mark. I am certainly put off by your experience and the example bugs.
I like the solidity of my old Dell Latitude and I note that the Ubuntu Certified Hardware site shows very many Dell laptops as being suitable (but not my D505!).
If you have a preference for a particular make/model, I would be grateful for your suggestion. My “customer” has a budget of <£500 which may be a bit limiting.

I wasn’t particularly trying to put you off Toshiba … just pointing out the buld quality is not what it once was so I wouldn’t recommend them OVER AND ABOVE other makes anymore.

That said it IS a lot of lappy for the money, specially being a 17 incher.

Does it need to be 17" ? … there are a LOT of 15.6" lappies out there ?

17" is a bit big but I’m going up to B’ham on Wednesday and it would be nice to take a laptop with me, and Argos have one in stock which gives me time to load Linux. But if laptops are much of a muchness, I probably don’t need to be fussy.
My thanks again for your time.

I quite like the look of this:

Asus K53SC

Intel Core i5 2430 2.4GHz
4GB RAM
500GB HDD
15.6" HD LED
DVD Writer
NVIDIA GeForce GT520
Webcam + Bluetooth
Windows 7 Home Premium 64

NVIDIA graphics, which is always a good sign :slight_smile:

Intel Core i5 dual core (4 threads) 2.4Ghz … so it will greatly outpace the Pentium B940 of the Toshiba.
(if you check the spec on the Intel website, this is a MUCH better CPU with many more advanced features than the B940 … see inks below)
http://ark.intel.com/products/53450/Intel-Core-i5-2430M-Processor-(3M-Cache-2_40-GHz)
and
http://ark.intel.com/products/55626/Intel-Pentium-Processor-B940-(2M-Cache-2_00-GHz)

Historically I’ve always rated the build quality of ASUS, and it’s within your budget … just … but then if you look for laptops with NVIDIA graphics, they tend to be more expensive that others).

Linlap (a good source for peoples experiences with Linux on specific laptops):
http://www.linlap.com
suggest it is compatible with debian, so is very likely to work well with Ubuntu
http://www.linlap.com/wiki/asus+k53sc

and the only bug I can find is about UEFI being broken … not an issue, as it works fine in BIOS mode:

It must be said though, that I have no personal experience with this particular model.

I’d recommend some of the Acer lappies (< 3 years). I’ve had my Acer Aspire 6920 almost 4 years now and it’s built is just brilliant. Nothing has broken yet, apart from me stupidly jamming a memory sick duo memory card into it, thinking the 7 in 1 card reader, would be able to read it. Apart from that it’s just been brilliant and such a joy to use. It doesn’t lack on performance either, with a Intel Duo CPU and NVidia 9500GS M graphics card, it’s great. I can play Blu-ray / HD movies on it no problem at all (When I’m using another distro. Natty Narwhal aka Ubuntu 11.04 is has really bad lag).

I’ve had some issues with it getting to work with Ubuntu, but they weren’t anything major due to me running an experimental version of Ubuntu and not a LTS version.

Other things my laptop has are:

Gigabyte Ethernet connection
Wireless N network adapter
3GB RAM
HDMI/VGA output
4 USB ports.
Doly Digital Home Theater Virtual Surround Sound

It’s only a 15.6" screen, but it does wonders.

I would say, stay away from new/more recent laptops are the build quality tend to me sort of flimsy as Mark pointed out. My brothers laptop, which is an Acer Aspire 5790 is like mine, only he has 2GB of RAM, Intel GMA built-in graphics card and a wireless G network adapter but compared to the built quality of mine, his feels a lot more cheap and brash. It’s the same with my mums, just not nice to touch at all.

I’d say your best bet would be to buy an older laptop minimum of 3/4 years. Hope this helps.

Thank you both for your experiences and advice which I shall forward to my friend for his decision.
And then, no doubt, I shall be returning for more advice when installing Ubuntu on it!

That’s what we’re to do. Look forward to you replying later on. :slight_smile:

The Ubuntu.com site showed only one Asus laptop, so I was a bit wary. The site showed hundreds of Dells, which made me feel a bit more comfortable, so I browsed, looked up reviews and suppliers. But there’s too much choice and reviews conflict (of course) so I took the easy option and went for the Asus.
Ebuyer, the supplier that Mark pointed to, is very easy to deal with; they deliver next day; and the price seems very good. So I’ve ordered one for Monday.
Thank you both for providing your opinions. I’ll let you know how the installation goes!

Please do … any problems, give us a shout :slight_smile:

After reading the link from Linlap, I doubt if there will be any major issues though.

The Asus laptop is excellent! Very good quality and nicely laid out. I recommend it.
I created the Recovery Discs without difficulty and have installed Ubuntu successfully after changing the boot order (and back, afterwards).
This post is being made via my wireless network on the laptop.
My great thanks to everyone’s advice.

I’m glad you like it … I hate recommending laptops I have no personal experience with, and because laptops seem to have such short production runs these days, it’s nearly impossible to have experience of laptops that are current.