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I don't know if i am too late to answer you but I use Samsung Ativ Book 8 with Intel Core i5-3230M processormAMD Radeon HD 8850M, 8 GB RAM, FULLHD screen. It works great with ubuntu 12.04 so it should be good.
Sammys Activebooks are extremely nice, 'tho a bit expensive. Most likely I'll get one with I7 and 8870 HD. Two main problems with recent Sammys are unstable WiFi (this one is more related to Intel WiFi card than Samsung) and not so positive approach to Linux installed on their systems.
For something reasonably priced with hi-res screen and i7 i'd recommend Dell Vostro 3560. It has nice features, reasonable price, good warranty terms (it's business line after all) and Dell doesn't mind selling it with other OSes (Ubuntu, RHEL) so no MS tax.
I have been unable to find any real laptop customization options on HP's UK website. If you know where such a page is then please link it!
Sorry. It looks like HP UK is just a subsidiary and doesn't offer the same level of service that the US branch does. I don't know if they will ship to the UK but maybe you can find some way to get your product shipped to you from a friend in the US or something. I dunno. There really doesn't seem to be any good options for you UK folk.
The Ativ book 8 looks like it would be a good choice for someone who wants a top end AMD GPU and is willing to pay extra for it but thats not me. I'd prefer the i4600 graphics of the Gazelle Pro, mainly because it will be cooler and quieter but also because I've had the best experience with Intel out of all the open source drivers.
The 3560 only seems to be available with Win 7 or 8 in the UK and it is said to have a 'HD' screen which usually means 1366x768 which, like most Phoronix readers it seems, I believe to be a sick joke of a spec in 2013. It deserves to have died an unceremonious death a decade or so ago. I was originally only specifying 1600x900 (HD+) and up but now I think I have to insist on FullHD and 15"+ as minimum display specs so that my phones display doesn't take the piss out of my new laptop.
General purpose / casual:
anything with an Intel GPU or AMD's APU graphics (open Radeon driver or closed fglrx)
anything with an Nvidia GPU ---> run far away
if AMD HD7XXX series GPU and above: fglrx is the only decent driver
if AMD HD6XXX series GPU and below: open Radeon driver works well enough
if any Nvidia card: Nvidia binary driver is the only decent driver
Modeling / rendering:
Any Nvidia card + binary driver
Those who love burning battery uptime under general purpose / casual use:
anything with an Nvidia GPU + Nouveau driver