Date: 08-09-08 19:50
I put freebsd 5.0, and 6.0, on an old toshiba satellite - I had no issues. The kernel pretty much has all the drivers for it - A real oldie for sure.
As for the newer models, I would go with a dell. Actually get something nice from them, with all the bells and whistles.
1. they are cheap.
2. they are highly supported by most distros from unix to linux.
3. freebsd kicks butt and i would bet that almost anything you have on your dell will have driver support on freebsd 6.X.
Of course I am running Centos 5.0 on this laptop, but really, it should be an issue.
the issues come with wireless cards, and web cams. WE all deal with those issues, but figure it out.
Also, hear comes the question of graphics cards. I myself haven't had much experience with graphics cards, since I stick in command line with freebsd, and my linux distro loaded the basic settings. I got my ati card to work on this box, but not full 3d support. Go figure, lol. I would guess, and maybe I'm wrong, but the nvidia is valued more then the ati in most graphic situations simply becuz there is more support - as with freebsd, i would say most likely the same result.
so really you only have to worry about, wireless cards, webcams, and graphics cards.
if you buy a 1 year old laptop from dell, warrentied, so forth that they provide at reasonable price, then i bet freebsd driver wizards have already been written, and you should have no problem with say 5 or 6.0 NO PROBLEM.
the system will boot, almost everything will be recognized, but really the question stands, why are you putting freebsd on a laptop? is that going to be a server? or just for learning the commandline?
Using the xorg.conf for your Xserver should work fine, just need to tweek the xorg.conf if you want the best performance from your graphics card.