I finished the setup of my new laptop. It’s a shiny new Dell D620 with all the features you could ever want. I’m running 64 bit Gentoo Linux along with Xfce 4.4 as my desktop. This is my first time running a 64bit clean OS and I must say that Gentoo continues to be the coolest OS I’ve ever used. When comparing the compile time of this laptop with my other laptop, the difference is quite the impressive. My Thinkpad G40 with it’s 2.8g P4 compiles mozilla-firefox in 63 minutes. This laptop did the same in 22 minutes.
The only part of the setup that was a bit tricky was learning how to make sure the display turned back on after the lid had been closed. So far everything I need is working (1440x900, wifi, sound, composite, dvd) - even Flash 9, which is very impressive considering it’s one of the two 32bit packages I have installed. The other is Realplayer. I must admit I find it a bit funny that the only two packages I need that aren’t open source, are also the only two packages that aren’t available in 64bit.
Initially I was getting terrible performance when playing the “March of the Penguins” dvd. This problem turned out to be the kernel treating the dvd controller as ide. Switching it to use sata fixed that right up (change to grub.conf). Now it’s playing dvd’s with impressive quality considering it has a business class video card (Intel i950) instead of a super hot gamers card. The display is much nicer than I expected. Some people had remarked that it was quite dull. I find it to be wonderful. The keyboard is also very nice. In fact the overall fit and finish is excellent. I was quite nervous about getting a Dell laptop because in the past I had found them to feel cheep. I took the advice of a co-worker on this one… and I’m glad I did :)