The Open-Source Game Development Pipeline

Providing the means and education to create games using free/libre open-source tools.

So You Want to Buy a New Laptop…

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Good! Me too! 🙂

Below, I’ve written a detailed step-by-step guide towards purchasing your next laptop.

Step. 1 – GPU Support:

Go to NVIDIA’s website and check out their latest GNU/Linux and FreeBSD drivers here. After specifying the graphics card series your future laptop may have, click on the “search” button and see if it’s supported.

A good rule of thumb is to stick with “GTX” class GPUs, otherwise, you may end up with an “Optimus” laptop like I have (I also happen to own a Lenovo Z710 with a GT 745M inside… >_> /facepalm). My machine can now only access the CPU’s integrated graphics card (which happens to be a lowly Intel HD4600).

Getting the “Optimus” environment to play along in GNU/Linux or FreeBSD has been reported to be a pain on numerous Linux/FreeBSD forums. As I’ve just indicated, I myself have been burned on the Linux front.

Step. 2 – Compare Prices:

Right now there’s a low-cost FreeBSD & GNU/Linux driver-compatible GTX-based laptop for under $1000.00 USD on Newegg. It’s a MSI machine, and I’d recommend giving it a look.

Having lots of access to the BIOS is important, which my Optimus Lenovo laptop doesn’t provide. MSI has a reputation for being very gamer-friendly, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it gave that extra bit of freedom to their consumers. Of course, as of this writing, I do not even own a MSI laptop, but if somebody could validate this statement in the meantime, that would be great.

Step. 3 – Purchase the Laptop:

For those on a budget, you can also buy the aforementioned laptop on Amazon. The reason I mention this is because some of you may not have credit cards, or may have to save up in order to purchase something this expensive. If that’s the case, you can buy Amazon pre-paid gift cards and slowly accumulate the balance. Convenient!

Step. 4 – Enjoy Your New Laptop!

😀

Keep in mind that these steps are pretty generic, so you don’t have to buy a MSI laptop. I merely used it to illustrate this process. 🙂

Happy gaming!

ADDENDUM (3-16-2015):

It turns out that GNU/Linux may actually work on my new DELL after all… so I’ve removed any comments indicating otherwise. Not sure about FreeBSD, though. : /

Also, I don’t have a preference of NVIDIA over AMD, and I’ve written this article based on the cost and availability of hardware. There are also some GPU performance comparisons you may want to check out on Phoronix, for those of you who want to see the numbers.

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