I make no bones about the fact I am a Linux geek and try to make myself available to anyone with tech questions, but I typically will shy away from putting hands on to fix any Windows issues. I just don’t have the time or patience to mess with it. I was approached by a lady in my church with a brand new laptop telling me she wants me to install Linux on it. We talked about what software she uses and the only application I don’t have a solution for (outside of using a VM) is iTunes. Though, it looks like this may be a non-issue as she only uses it on her phone.
The computer is an HP Pavilion 15-cs0034cl with very nice specifications. Much nicer than most of the hardware I own.
- Intel Core i7-8550 @ 1.80GHz
- 12 GiB of RAM
- Intel UHD Graphics 630 (Kabylake GT2)
- Nvidia GeForce MX130
- Glossy 1920 x 1080 touch screen
- 2x USB 3 Ports
- 1 USB-C
- A REAL Ethernet port, Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411
- Intel Corporation Wireless 7265
- SD Card Reader
- 1 TB Hard Drive (yes, spinning rust)
I prepared the installation USB Flash Drive by downloading and imaging the drive.
To start out, it is necessary to Access the BIOS: F10
Upon entering the BIOS, was a bit underwhelmed by the interface. It has that early 2000s look to it; mostly blue and gray. It also doesn’t have the breadth of options you would see on a Dell Latitude series of machines. Even one from 10 plus years ago.
In order to access the boot options, arrow over to Boot System Configuration and press enter, then arrow down to Boot Options and press enter.
Ensure the following to get the system to boot from the USB Drive:
- USB Boot is Enabled
- Secure Boot is Enabled
- UEFI Boot Order, moved USB Diskette on Key/USB Hard Drive to the top of the list
Save and Exit, and began the installation process.
The install was without issue. In order to make this work, I removed the largest partition and, formatted the EFI partition but left the Microsoft Reserved Partition and Diagnostic Partition intact.
- 260.00 MiB for /boot/efi
- 12.00 GiB Swap
- I left this at 12 GiB so that should the owner of this machine require suspending to disk, the space is available. Many distros do not ship with this feature turned on but openSUSE does and it seemingly works fine on this machine.
- 25.00 GiB / (root)
- 0.86 TiB /home
To install the Nvidia drivers, taking advantage of the hybrid Intel / Nvidia technolgy, I used the openSUSE Wiki as a reference. It is very nicely laid out, step-by-step.
The Nvidia drivers certainly are an exercise in frustration. Maybe other distributions have the hybrid setups more dialed in but it is installed and usable. Realistically, this machine is not ever going to have to use the Nvidia graphics but it’s nice to know it’s there.
I installed my Basic Application List of the multimedia codecs and the Google Chrome browser. I don’t have a lack of faith in Firefox but I know this particular user is more accustomed to Google Chrome.
I also transferred a simple script and .desktop file I put together to assist in keeping the system properly updated with little effort.
What I like
This is a nice solid system that feels quality. I think I like the touch screen but at the same time just seems like a novel feature. The system is fast, thin and light weight. The keyboard isn’t bad and quite possibly one of the HP keyboards I have ever used.
The screen has a unique pivot point that tilts the laptop just a bit when it is opened.
Conveniently, this machine has an Intel Wireless NIC so there wasn’t any effort needed to get it operational. Outside of the Nvidia GPU, there wasn’t any fiddling required on this machine to get everything working.
The screen is really sharp and crisp looking. Based on the screen and keyboard alone, I could certainly use this as a daily driver.
What Don’t Like
I would prefer to have an AMD GPU as it is easier to use for the hybrid function. AMD has also open sourced their drivers so there is nothing that has to be done to get the needed performance out of your system. I still like having an optical media drive, tho admittedly, I am not using one as often as I used to but I still prefer having one built in.
I also don’t like people touching my screen…
I wasn’t able to test the USB-C port as I don’t have anything that to plug into it. Everything for this machine works right out of the gate. I would recommend this machine for most people as it will do what most people need. I only tested Tux Racer on this machine and it ran smashingly well, without any screen tearing or glitching.
I will be likely supporting this machine for quite a while but I don’t mind helping others get off of the proprietary software wagon. I am a big believer in owning your own hardware, having something that is more secure on a platform you can trust.
Here is to hoping this conversion to Linux goes well!