[colug-432] Laptop Review: HP Pavillion

Steve Roggenkamp roggenkamps at acm.org
Thu Mar 29 23:36:22 EDT 2012

Thanks for the description.  I'm in the market for a new laptop.
Right now I have an MSI Wind netbook that I like, but I'm wanting
something with a little more performance and has some portability.
Sounds like an HP Pavillion might fit the ticket.  I'm always
concerned about running Linux with laptops/notebooks/netbooks since
they seem to be highly engineered and tightly coupled to Windows.

I've been thinking about revamping my desktop machine as it's running
Debian Lenny as its base with a number of virtual machines running on
top.  It's been a great workhorse for over three years, but Lenny is
getting a bit long in the tooth, as they say.  I'd like to go to
Centos 6 as my base, to have the latest KVM/libvirt, or whatever the
latest virtualization layer is, but I don't want to tear down my
desktop without some assurance that I can get a working machine in a
reasonable amount of time.  It sounds like a Pavilion dm4 might allow
me to set up Centos 6 with virutalization and get everything working
before reworking the desktop.


On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 1:25 PM, Joshua Kramer <joskra42.list at gmail.com> wrote:
> I recently nuked the second of three USB ports on my netbook by plugging
> something in at an odd angle.  Seeing that I was woefully under-equipped
> equipment wise, and fearing that a USB catastrophe would nuke the one
> remaining good port, I set out looking for a new notebook.
> MicroCenter had a Lenovo Ideapad, an i5 with 4G of RAM and 500G disk, that I
> was interested in.  Unfortunately, upon booting the CentOS 6.2 live DVD, I
> noted that wireless and bluetooth did not work out of the box.  With a price
> range on the lower end of the scale, I set out to find a notebook that did
> work.
> An HP Pavillion dm4 caught my eye.  It's a dual core i3 with 4G of RAM and
> 640G of 5,400 RPM disk.  The display is an Intel 3000 chipset, and the
> resolution is 1366x768.  You won't be playing Skyrim on this machine, but I
> wasn't looking to spend a lot of money, either.  It is a refurbished unit
> with a 90 day warranty, but a 2-year extended warranty is available for
> $99.  It is relatively lightweight, just on the heavy side of
> "ultraportable".
> After verifying that CentOS worked with it, I added another 4G of RAM and
> walked out the door for a hair over $512 (not including extended warranty).
> After creating recovery media (it has Windows 7 Home Premium installed) I
> wiped it and first installed CentOS 6.2, leaving about 150G free.  I then
> installed the Ubuntu-based DreamStudio in a dual-boot configuration.
> DreamStudio boots up lightning-quick - less than 20 seconds - but when it
> reaches the login screen, the backlight is out.  I have to manually adjust
> the backlight at that time.  I haven't had the chance to try any of the
> multimedia apps (I installed it to do some light video editing) so there
> isn't much to report here.
> C6 boots up a bit more slowly... but at least I can see the login screen!
> :)  For the gigabit ethernet, I had to install an EPEL-based driver [1].
> The touchpad is sensitive, so if my hand brushes against it while typing,
> the cursor jumps around.  And, even when I connect it to a TV with 1920x1080
> resolution, it under-drives the TV at 1366x768.  Aside from those quirks, I
> am pleased with the performance of this machine, given that it's only an
> i3.  Linux-based KVM virtual guests are also snappy; Windows, not so much,
> but I haven't yet had a chance to install the KVM guest drivers.
> You can find this laptop elsewhere, but so far, MicroCenter has the least
> expensive price.
> http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0380343
> [1]: kmod-atl1e-
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