There's a chance I might be buying a new laptop. I saw good deals up at New Egg for these Acer computers. They both have pretty high-end graphics cards for the price. My concern is Linux compatibility.
Acer Aspire AS5552G-7641 (AMD Phenom II Quad-core and Radeon HD6650M)
Acer Aspire AS5742G-6480 (Intel Core i3 and Nvidia GeForce GT 540M)
Which do you think is better? What do you think of Acer?
Sorry, just saw the "NewEgg"...
After using Linux, I actually just shoot for the lowest price system, because I know Linux will be snappy on it... No joke... I'm still using my Lenovo X61 from like 6 or so years ago.... Using Linux Mint, they performance is good enough that I can't justify upgrading...
My strong advise is to go with NVIDIA over ATI at the moment. The open source ATI driver is getting there but still got a good way to go. The NVIDIA one (nouveau) is better, but again still a way to go.
There are closed source proprietary drivers from both manufacturers, and ATIs driver works very well once you get it to work, but continues to have the strangest bugs. Arch linux have taken it out of their install repository because it was causing way too many hassles. I swore I'd never by an ATI card again after the no end of hassles I had with the Radeon 9800 several years ago. Figured a year or so ago that they'd have got past all those and opted for an HD5000 series card. It'll work in Ubuntu fairly straight-forward but almost every other distro has arguments, and all seem to exhibit the same mode-setting bugs.
In contrast I have an NVIDIA card on my machine at work, and have used them for years with very few problems. I haven't had a single problem with the nvidia proprietary drivers on this machine.
Paul, thanks for your comments. The thing about the Acer laptop with the Nvidia card that bothers me is that it isn't clear if it has an Nvidia Optimus setup. That's where the laptop switches from an Intel graphics card to Nvidia card depending on the operation, e.g. word processing vs. hardcore gaming. Last I heard, Linux couldn't support Optimus. Or has that changed?
In the New Egg details, it looks like the laptop only has an Nvidia card. That would be okay. But some of the comments indicate an Optimus setup. Confusing.
Might be safer to go with ATI? I plan on using Ubuntu or one of the Ubuntu-based distros (like Linux Mint).
There is no current support for Optimus under *nix primarily because it means overhauling the entire X11 stack. I honestly don't know what would happen if you had optimus, whether you'd get nvidia only, intel only or otherwise.
If you're looking for a laptop with solid Ubuntu support, System76 have a good reputation.