17 April 2012 by Ian Davis
At the beginning of March I bought myself a new laptop. I didn’t want a Dell because I’ve had endless hassle in the past with the broadcom wifi drivers under Linux. I wanted something basic and reliable. I ended up choosing a Lenovo G570, one of their “value” laptops. I’ve been really impressed with it so far. The only negative I have is the quality of the lid which is a flimsy plastic – I just know it’s going to crack at some point. Apart from that, I really love it. The display is 15″ with a decent resolution and it’s the first glossy screen I’ve had which makes the colours quite vivid. I went for 6GB RAM and the slower i3 processor since most data-related work I do is memory bound. It came with a 750GB hard drive too which is plenty.
The best thing about it though is the keyboard which is just lovely to use. It’s quiet and well constructed and has good spacing between the keys which helps with my fat fingers. It’s also the first laptop I’ve had with a number pad on the right. Not sure how much I’ll use that really but I quite like it.
The laptop came with Windows 7 pre-installed but I replaced it straight away with Linux Mint. However 2 weeks later Mint mysteriously broke. On the login screen I lost all options for selecting a window manager so couldn’t login and had to rebuild. I’ve used various Debian derivatives in the past such as Ubuntu, CrunchBang and Linux Mint so this time I went straight for the source and installed Debian, switching it to the unstable version Sid. This gives me Gnome 3 with Gnome Shell which I’m really enjoying. I don’t miss my menus or task bar at all! Here’s what my desktop looks like with the window overview activated:
Update: I meant to add one useful tip for anyone with an integrated Intel Graphics Controller running Linux. I had nasty graphics glitches when playing Minecraft – speckles of pink/red all over the game textures. I solved it by upgrading to a 3.2 Linux kernel. Here’s the forum post that gave me the answer.