Laptop recommendation

Warren Block wblock at
Mon Feb 20 04:19:27 UTC 2017

On Sat, 18 Feb 2017, David Christensen wrote:

> On 02/18/17 17:39, Warren Block wrote:
>> ... my most recent notebooks: Dell Latitude ... E7440, ...
>> The entry on the wiki for the Dell E7240 has everything I wished I could
>> ask before buying it.  The E7440 is essentially the same thing with a
>> 14-inch screen.  Both can be had with 1920x1080 screens, which I
>> strongly recommend because the lower-res screen is not IPS.
> How well does FreeBSD 11 work OOTB on the Dell E7440?

Quite well, although I replaced the wireless card with an Atheros.

> What things have you wrestled with?  How much success?

The fingerprint reader on the E7240 probably will never work without 
proprietary drivers.  The E7440 comes with a trackpoint joystick in 
addition to the touchpad.  The keyboard can be swapped for one without 
the trackpoint if you are comfortable working with small notebook ribbon 
connectors and such.

The E7440 can take a standard 2.5-inch SSD and an mSATA drive (or two 
mSATA drives), the E7240 can only hold mSATA drives.

These are ultrabooks, so the display is relatively small but hi-res. 
Neither has room for a built-in DVD drive.

Being Haswell, they only hold up to 16GB of RAM.

With FreeBSD 11, they work pretty well.  The E7240 is my travel system, 
and I've put a fair amount of use on it this year.

> Would you recommend a Dell E7440 for a FreeBSD noob?

Hard to say.  Mostly just because ultrabooks are not for everyone. 
People seem to generally want huge "laptops" to use as desktops rather 
than small, portable systems.

> Does this information match your experiences with FreeBSD 11.0 and current 
> patches (p7)?

Don't know about binary upgrades, I build from source.  But I have not 
seen any regressions.  Even had the touch screen sort of working, but 
lost some of the patches in an upgrade and have not grabbed them again 
for testing.

The conclusion is that I like these systems a lot. They work well with 
FreeBSD except for the wireless card.  They might come with an Intel 
card that is supported now, I don't know.  They are small and portable, 
with decent processor performance.  The 16GB memory limit is not the 
greatest, 32GB would make working with VMs easier.

If I were looking now, I would check for a Skylake equivalent, but be 
prepared to pay a lot more.

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