OT: Laptop Recommendations For CentOS6

Hi all,

First of all, sorry for the OT. I need to buy a new laptop for my work. My prerequisites are:

- RAM: 6/8 GiB (preferably 8 GiB)
- Processor: Core i7
- Disk: up to 500 GiB for SATA, 128 GiB for SSD.
- Graphics card: Intel HD (I really hate to use Nvidia or ATI Radeon graphics cards).

The most important tasks will be:

– Surf the web :)
– Read email
– And the Most important task: I need to install complete virtual test labs on it using KVM, Xen and VMware suites to run several different types of OSes: RHEL, CentOS, OEL, Solaris-like, BSD, Windows 2012/2008
R2, etc.


Any suggestions?? My first choice will be Toshiba or Lenovo laptops and of course it needs to be 100% compatible with CentOS6 (or almost at 95%).

Thanks.

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  1. #1 by Johan Vermeulen on August 17th, 2013 - 3:38 am

    hello,

    over the past year, I bought a lot of laptops and I insist on running CentOS on all of them.

    * the best is Dell dell-vostro3450, wich is 95 % compatible. The other
    5% being some fn function keys
    but I think it’s not for sale any more.

    * At the moment I use an Acer Aspire E1-571. That is 97 % compatible, because most fn keys work.
    And the Broadcom wireless card can easily be replaced.

    * the worst are Asus X55-A and Dell Vostro 3460 that have Atheros network cards.

    * I never tried Ati Radeon on CentOS because of bad experience on Opensuse. But maybe it works
    Nvidia will sometimes require extra software for use with external monitor or beamer.
    So I agree on you with the intel graphics.

    * The thing is, if you spend some 600 Euro’s, you more often than not end up with in the best case
    some Broadcom cards that can be made to work given some effort.
    In worst case with Atheros cards that require some magic to make them work.

    * imho if you buy a laptop that has Intel HD graphics, Intel network card and Intel wireless card, it will work
    out of the CentOS box.
    but those are too expensive for me.

    Greetings, J.

    Op 16-08-13 18:06, carlopmart schreef:

  2. #2 by Fabrizio Di on August 17th, 2013 - 5:52 am

    I have Asus U32U with 8GBs of RAM and 320GBs of HD and everything works fine (also the HDMI out) except some keys like volume up/down but I think it’s just a issue about config.


    “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” (A. Einstein)

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    Fabrizio Di Carlo

  3. #3 by Eliezer Croitoru on August 17th, 2013 - 7:03 am

    Hey there,

    CentOS is using what kernel? 2.x??
    which was not designed to work with newer hardware but Fedora works fine with it. If you need specific functions like EMAIL WEB etc take a look at the latest stable Fedora and go back one version and test it. I am using Fedora(18) on a very old MSI (5 years or more) and it works nice but not as fast as newer basic desktop corei3. I assume that Fedora will work on basic laptop chipsets. they do have compatibly list:
    http://wiki.CentOS.org/AdditionalResources/HardwareList http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/HCL/Machines/Laptops

    if you can know what is the chipset on each card like atheros broadcom intel nvidia ati etc you can make sure that the OS will work with it. my desktop has a ATI card so it’s suppose to be compatible with Fedora.

    Did you considered other OS for the machine?

    Eliezer

  4. #4 by Ljubomir Ljubojevic on August 17th, 2013 - 7:53 am

    Eliezer, pleasse learn from this article:
    https://lwn.net/Articles/486304/

    Then you should learn about ElRepo (www.elrepo.org) kernel modules that provide drivers for anything that was asked by users. Even Broadcom drivers are available for quick recompile and some of us provide already recompiled Broadcom kmod packages.

    I use CentOS 5.x and 6.x on Laptop for 5 years now and I have everything working.

  5. #5 by Ljubomir Ljubojevic on August 17th, 2013 - 8:08 am

    I recently bought Samsung NP350E5x-A04HR that is all Intel with with traditional Fn function (some manufacturers reverse the Fn action so you get F1-F12 WITH Fn, and play/pause/wireless/etc are used WITHOUT Fn key)
    with current problem that volume key goes haywire when pressed several times and freezes screen. Only thing that it failed to recognize is Card Reader, it looks like some bus is not recognized.

    Design is good, key are fairly large, numerical keyboard properly spaced and almost all keys on traditional places (arrows are little smaller), it has 1Gbit Lan, 2 x USB3 + 2xUSB2, touchpad is large and there are no connectors on the back of the laptop (only on the sides).

    So you might want to check out Samsung models with same specs (mine has Pentium DualCore, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD).

  6. #6 by Eliezer Croitoru on August 17th, 2013 - 8:24 am

    and how many VMs are you running on this machine exactly? 1?

    On my laptop it works nicely with more then 5 online linux machines. try kvm and then VMWARE and then VIRTUALBOX and see what is the supported OS and I assume XEN is a nice example of how it works on your machine…

    Eliezer

  7. #7 by Ljubomir Ljubojevic on August 17th, 2013 - 9:14 am

    Is there are a reason why KVM, Xen , VMWARE and Virtualbox does not run on CentOS???

    * KVM works if CPU supports it.

    * Xen has it’s on project on CentOS 6:
    http://blog.xen.org/index.php/2013/06/20/welcome-to-the-xen4CentOS6-project-first-release/

    * VMWare says it supports it:
    https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/detail.php?deviceCategory=software&testConfig&productid363&releaseid!7&supRel!7,&deviceCategory=software&operatingSystems’&testConfigurations&osFamily=2&page=1&display_interval&sortColumn=Partner&sortOrder=Asc&testConfig

    * VirtualBox works

    I am personally not aware of such problem. Please enlighten me.

  8. #8 by Mihamina Rakotomandimby on August 17th, 2013 - 9:43 am

    I currently dual boot a Dell latitude E6430 with Fedora 18 and CentOS 6
    without problems. CPU i5 + Intel graphic (1600×900) on the 14″. I think it’s a very good choice.

  9. #9 by Eliezer Croitoru on August 17th, 2013 - 10:11 am

    Indeed you are right about it and it should work but not every cpu do the same with the same VM engine. if you do have all of them running I am sure you can tell the “client”
    or anyone in the world that it works. Else.. you can just tell him it’s supported by the “vendor” or the product team\list etc in a case He will have some troubles running it.

    Eliezer

  10. #10 by wwp on August 17th, 2013 - 10:39 am

    Hello Ljubomir,

    [snip]

    Just my 2 cents: I work with VMWare Workstation (currently 8.0.6) since ages on CentOS installed on Dell Latitude series laptops (E6530, E6500, D810, for work purposes). Some versions needed a vmware-any-any patch to install, some are fine out of the box. With CentOS6, with the latest VM
    WS version and the E6530 I only faced a keyboard configuration issue, no solution but workarounds that make things OK.

    Regards,

  11. #11 by Eero Volotinen on August 17th, 2013 - 10:50 am

    levono thinkpad w530

  12. #12 by C. L. on August 17th, 2013 - 11:37 am

    Fedora is not an option for me, due to:

    - It is a bleeding-edge distro (stability is most important)
    - VMware Workstation doesn’t works out of the box
    - EOL for every release is too short

    If I can’t install CentOS, the other only OS option is Debian.

  13. #13 by C. L. on August 17th, 2013 - 11:38 am

    Eliezer, what made is your laptop??

  14. #14 by C. L. on August 17th, 2013 - 11:40 am

    Uhmm Dell E6530 seems an interesting option …

  15. #15 by Andrew Wyatt on August 17th, 2013 - 11:42 am

    There are a few repos out there with kernel 3.4.x for CentOS 6 including the CentOS Xen-c6 repo (http://dev.CentOS.org/CentOS/6/xen-c6/x86_64/RPMS/) and my personal repo at SF (http://sourceforge.net/projects/fuduntu-el/).

    Kernel 3.4 may give you the support you need, and also keep compatibility with VMWare Workstation. Worth evaluating before giving up.

  16. #16 by Ljubomir Ljubojevic on August 17th, 2013 - 12:05 pm

    ElRepo has 3.10 kernels.

  17. #17 by wwp on August 17th, 2013 - 12:06 pm

    Hello carlopmart,

    [snip]

    Yes it’s a very interesting laptop if you can afford it. Only very few minor glitches, nothing I couldn’t workaround with a bit of experience and configuration steps. I don’t know what possible hardware configs are available from Dell for this series (I got that one at work), but here it’s powerful enough to drive C++/Qt compilations, a vmware ws to run a VPN in it, plus my personal communications, music edition and photo processing, it also performs nicely playing videos and sound is neat. It may lack USB3, but has external sata.

    The 15″ 1920×1080 screen is maybe not perfect (you can see a grid under some conditions, I’m not sure if it’s a hardware limitation or a video driver thing, like unperfect refresh rate thing), but it’s well color-calibrated and comfortable for any use.

    I’m happy w/ CentOS6 + some stuff compiled from sources on it.

    Regards,

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