{September 13, 2008}   new laptop!

whee! :) I got home friday afternoon and my laptop was here waiting for me. it’s a dell xps m1330, and so far I’m fairly happy with it. I installed arch on it last night, and now I begin the long process of installing software and tweaking settings and so on… :)

the hardware is almost all intel. the screen brightness fn-keys work even from a terminal, and the bios lets me choose default levels for AC and battery. there are two audio-out jacks as well as mic in at the front; I assume one of the two is better quality, but they sound the same to me. there are only two usb ports, but they’re on either side of the laptop so at least I can still choose what side to put things on. there’s a capslock led. there’s a slot-load dvd drive (why don’t all laptops have that?) and a fingerprint reader (maybe I’ll try to get that working sometime) and a webcam and it’s shiny. :)

the keyboard is standard size, unfortunately, which means it’s just a bit big for me. the trackpad, otoh, is tiny. blah. there’s no volume knob, but there are volume buttons that are producing keycodes, so I should be able to hook those up. I hope there’s a kmix plasmoid soon :)

along the top there’s a row of shiny buttons that don’t look like buttons: you press on them and they glow. :) whee, shiny. there’s a eject button, music controls and volume there.

something weird about the drive, though… it can boot a kubuntu cd just fine, and other computers can boot the arch cd, but the laptop can’t boot the arch cd. o.0 I ended up using the usb-boot option.

installing arch was fun. it’s like gentoo without the compiling. :) I spent far too long trying to decide how big my partitions should be, which ones to put in lvm, etc… eventually I finished with the base install, then spent hours trying to get wireless working – only to discover that I was running commands in the wrong order. :) pretty much all of my problems with arch today have been like that – audio was silent, then I remembered that I’d upgraded kernel stuff, so I rebooted and it worked again. network profiles didn’t work – because I’d got the wrong values in the config files. :) so now I have working sound, and a nice little dialog that lets me choose my network profile on boot (hooray for avoiding NetworkMangler!) – and arch boots amazingly fast. :) that might have something to do with the 2.1ghz processor, though. :)

it might be a while before I get around to installing kde on it, because I have math homework I really should start – but, wheeee! shiny new laptop! :)

Congratulations to your new notebook :-) I also wanted to buy a Dell first but I resisted simply because of the material problems they had lately with their NVIDIA cards.. wish you lcuk you have none of those problems.. my brother has the same notebook and had to get his motherboard replaced..

Think I’ll give Arch a try soon .. don’t really have the time for it but I’d really like to try it ^^

FVA says:

You’ll love that machine. I sure do, and I’m not easy on my laptops.

Those audio jacks are both high quality. If ALSA likes you*, you’ll be able to use both headphone outputs and the mic input to play back 5.1 surround sound from your laptop :)

*: You’re likely to get screwed by ALSA updates in every kernel update you apply… Prepare to reconfigure often :P

Craig D says:

Good laptop choice! I’ve had a XPS 1330 for 6 months now and love it. Dell makes some great laptops in my opinion. :D

Jeff says:

yay for new laptops! My Thinkpad T60 is a bit much, a bit big, and a bit the-battery-crapped-out-a-few-months-ago, so I sprung for an Aspire One. Should me here on Monday. I’m still pondering what to do for an OS. I’m afraid of compiling Gentoo on that little Atom, and my beloved openSUSE has been acting up on both my machines lately. In the meantime, yay for VirtualBox!

Dorin says:

Looks really nice. Too bad you can only buy it with Vista though.. or so it appears from the order form on Dell’s website.

Alvin says:

Congratz on your new laptop! Btw, what I like from Arch is the simplicity and its great community. Hope you enjoy your stay :). For installing Linux on Dell XPS M1330, everything you need has been covered in the wiki:

H:Jack says:

@Dorin: You can order it with Ubuntu (which prevents you from the Microsoft tax).

I’ll by myself such a XPS m1330 before X-mas.


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