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I am thinking of buying a new laptop, and need Ubuntu as my OS. Is it true that the latest Intel i3, i5, i7 CPUs work properly immediately after install, or do I need to install some additional software/drivers for them to work?

I'm just curious if it is that simple, and I didn't find this answer searching the internet.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Yes, both the 2nd and 3rd generation (latest) i3/i5/i7 processors and built-in graphics will work out of the box in Ubuntu 12.04. The 2nd-gen usually have the suffix -2xxx and HD3000 graphics while 3rd have -3xxx and HD4000 graphics. e.g. i3-2310M is 2nd-gen i3, while i5-3520M is 3rd-gen i5.

However, many laptops also come with a second discrete (separate) graphics card from AMD/Nvidia (called hybrid graphics), and you will need to install the drivers for those for optimal performance. But it's an easy process, and can be done with two clicks from Settings...Additional Drivers.

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Thank you. Looks like it's simpler than I thought. :) –  Beni Bogosel Jun 9 '12 at 22:22
1  
Just a suggestion - Stay with the free graphics driver. I had installed the proprietary ATI driver and Gnome Shell wouldn't work. Unity did, though. –  Akshit Baunthiyal Sep 16 '12 at 4:01

Tested a Second Generation Sandy Bridge (i7 2600) and a 3rd Generation Ivy Bridge (i7 3770T) in both cases the worked out of the box as all Intel CPUs.

In the 12.04 which uses the 3.2 Kernel many performance improvements were backported from 3.3 back to 3.2 to use in 12.04. So both Sandy and Ivy should work nicely. There are even more enhancements for both architectures that we will find in the upcoming 12.10 which will benefit even more this type of hardware.

If you want to see if the CPU is correctly handled a simple command would be:

sudo cat /proc/cpuinfo this will give you ALL the information about the CPU. Since it is a multi core cpu, you will see A LOT of information. Others way can be sudo lshw -c cpu and sudo dmidecode -t processor.

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Dell Vostro 3460 Ivy Bridge i5 3210M, nvidia 630M, Ubuntu 12.04 x64 Installed without any problems, but then I've encountered random freezes, solved by updating kernel to 3.3.x version.

If you are using nvidia hybrid graphics (optimus) I recommend to install bumblebee
Without Bumblebee, with additional drivers battery life ~ 2.30 hours, with bumblebee ~5.30-6.30 hours (without using discrete card) with the same load.

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Be careful Beni. Sometimes things don't work out as smoothly as we expect. I just installed Ubuntu 12.04 on my new laptop (HP Pavilion dv4) which has a 3rd gen. core i7 processor as well as a separate nVidia VGA card. That did not go well. I had issues from the very beginning. First of all my Ubuntu live CD booted into a blank screen. Had to change some kernel mode settings to get past that. The blank screen issue returned after the installation completed. So now I have to always boot my system with the "nomodeset" kernel flag.

Then there were issues due to 2 VGA cards (Intel HD and nVidia). Turns out this hybrid graphics concept doesn't work well on Linux yet. There are lots of related threads on this site regarding these problems. So please take some time to go through them. Right now I'm running solely on Intel HD. The nVidia card is just sitting there doing nothing.

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On my Sony VAIO laptop with i7 processor, I was initially unable to start a VM with 64-bit Ubuntu. I had to go into the BIOS to enable virtualization support on the processor.

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I don't really need VM, but thanks for the info. –  Beni Bogosel Jun 13 '12 at 18:51

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