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Semiformalishmaybe

2011 Laptop Adjustment

Status of my new laptop (likely dull):Before putting Linux on it, I played with the 3d glasses - the effect is neat but not amazing. Also, even before moving to Linux, I noticed two things:

  • The display is very very bright. Wow.
  • The trackpad is of poor quality. This is largely because it does random things when touched by more than one bit of hand at a time, and that sensitivity includes areas of it that should be buttons as well as a limited area outside the trackpad proper. Boo.
Enter Linux:
  • Generic Fedora 14 install. Something seemed to be wrong with dhclient post-install; neither the wireless nor wired interfaces would come up despite being found. After statically assigning an IP and having it work, I did a "yum reinstall dhclient" and went over the network settings with a fine-toothed comb. Networking's been fine since
  • Trackpad is oversensitive under Linux too. Sigh.
  • The laptop is much lighter than my old one. Nice!
  • System doesn't feel much faster, but I haven't stressed it much yet.
  • 8G RAM is nice.
  • The builtin Webcam is amazing.
  • Sound quality is downgraded to "meh". The Envy 17 3D has a very nice subwoofer called "Beats". There are no Linux drivers yet. Sound is (naturally) fine with earphones, but sans subwoofer, the range is restricted to higher notes.
  • The power adapter that came with the system is not that amazing, but I ordered a travel power adapter that's fantastic; It's light, modular, and has an extra power out for charging USB devices, like my phone.
  • Keyboard is ok. This design won't trap cat hair, but tactile response is meh. Also, the location of keys around the numeric keypad will take some getting used to.
  • I don't like the DVD drive; it's not tray based, it's one of those "grab it directly if it's in a slot" sort.
  • There are plenty of good ports all over the place like with my old system
  • Big problem: Video. The laptop has two video chipsets, some Intel video controller (that AFAIK is not connected to any display output) and the ATI Radeon HD 6850M. Unfortunately, this is very new hardware, newer than the opensource radeon drivers, so it doesn't work. Blacklisting the i915 driver lets the system boot (without "nomodeset"), but in VESA mode with a bad resolution and worse aspect ratio. To try:
    • Proprietary Drivers
    • Fedora 15 LiveDVD, which has bleeding-edge opensource video drivers
    • Last resort: Going into the sources for the opensource drivers and tweaking resourceIDs to see if I can get X to treat it as a lesser cousin videocard, and hoping that works
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