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Buying a New Laptop for Linux - Suggestions?


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#1 MikeJohnson

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 01:20 AM

Hi everyone,

 

Currently I use Linux on my Dell latitude laptop. It's quite old so I am looking for a new laptop with all the newest hardware.

I haven't purchased a laptop since long time so don't know anything about latest processors and stuff. I can buy a Windows PC and install Linux on it but I want help in finding the laptop with right set of hardware that supports Linux. My budget is $800.

 

Thank you.



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#2 NickAu

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 01:42 AM

Hi and welcome to BC

 

Knowing what you use the PC for will enable us to give you some suggestions.

 

If for example you don't need fancy graphics the money saved there could be put to use getting more ram or a solid state drive.

 

Regards

Nick.


Edited by NickAu, 04 December 2017 - 01:43 AM.

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#3 MikeJohnson

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 02:41 AM

Hi and welcome to BC

 

Knowing what you use the PC for will enable us to give you some suggestions.

 

If for example you don't need fancy graphics the money saved there could be put to use getting more ram or a solid state drive.

 

Regards

Nick.

I don't play games but still, I will like to have a laptop with entry level GPU, just in case. I would like to have a new and powerful processor. Battery life and weight of laptop are not a huge concern for me. 



#4 mremski

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 02:50 AM

Personal experience with different models of Lenovo Thinkpads and different distributions of Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS): they work fine.

FreeBSD since 3.3, only time I touch Windows is to fix my wife's computer


#5 MikeJohnson

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 04:29 AM

Personal experience with different models of Lenovo Thinkpads and different distributions of Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS): they work fine.

I have read that few Lenovo laptops hardware doesn't support Linux at all! - http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-37431299

I really love keyboards on Thinkpads, if you can tell me some model names that support linux then it would be great. I can spend up to $800.



#6 mremski

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 07:02 AM

Models that I have personally installed and run/am running Linux on (Ubuntu, CentOS):

E530, E531, E540, E550

 

I don't know pricing, I don't know if they "officially support" Linux, but I know that Linux runs on them just fine.  There are also various HP models that have had no issues installing/running Linux.


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#7 MikeJohnson

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 07:48 AM

Models that I have personally installed and run/am running Linux on (Ubuntu, CentOS):

E530, E531, E540, E550

 

I don't know pricing, I don't know if they "officially support" Linux, but I know that Linux runs on them just fine.  There are also various HP models that have had no issues installing/running Linux.

Thank you so much mremski :) I will have a look at those models. Not a fan of keyboards on HP notebooks still if I can get best bang for buck in terms of hardware then I would take it. 



#8 mremski

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 08:08 AM

I tend to go for a lower model of CPU and max out RAM;  the Intel i915 video stuff seems to work well enough, more RAM is always better.  They will most likely come with Windows installed;  I typically pick up a new drive (SSD, mSata, NVME), take out the one from the vendor, put the blank one in and install to that.  


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#9 pcpunk

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 10:31 AM

I typically pick up a new drive (SSD, mSata, NVME), take out the one from the vendor, put the blank one in and install to that.  

Great point mremski! and could be factored into the cost.  Then if Linux didn't work out for some odd reason, Mike may be able to return it?  Though Linux should work fine if Intel is Chosen IMO.

 

@MikeJohnson, if it were me I would use the old laptop to practice Installing Linux etc.  Unless, if you do go with the Extra Drive for the New pc, we should be able to get a new distro installed quite easily.

 

Mike, if you don't mind me asking, what are you using the Old Dell Laptop for now?  That may be a great Platform for Linux right now.  You could get the new one and use the old for linux until you get the hang of things.  Save over time for a new Drive for the New one, and then Install Linux to it later.  Also, when you find something you are interested in, post it and we can search the web to see if others have had issues.

 

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#10 MikeJohnson

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 12:52 PM

I tend to go for a lower model of CPU and max out RAM;  the Intel i915 video stuff seems to work well enough, more RAM is always better.  They will most likely come with Windows installed;  I typically pick up a new drive (SSD, mSata, NVME), take out the one from the vendor, put the blank one in and install to that.  

I may be doing an SSD upgrade later because I am on a strict budget of $800 right now. I would like to invest in a laptop with better processor right now and upgrade RAM and SSD later on.



#11 MikeJohnson

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 01:12 PM

 

I typically pick up a new drive (SSD, mSata, NVME), take out the one from the vendor, put the blank one in and install to that.  

Great point mremski! and could be factored into the cost.  Then if Linux didn't work out for some odd reason, Mike may be able to return it?  Though Linux should work fine if Intel is Chosen IMO.

 

@MikeJohnson, if it were me I would use the old laptop to practice Installing Linux etc.  Unless, if you do go with the Extra Drive for the New pc, we should be able to get a new distro installed quite easily.

 

Mike, if you don't mind me asking, what are you using the Old Dell Laptop for now?  That may be a great Platform for Linux right now.  You could get the new one and use the old for linux until you get the hang of things.  Save over time for a new Drive for the New one, and then Install Linux to it later.  Also, when you find something you are interested in, post it and we can search the web to see if others have had issues.

 

pcout

 

I use my old laptop for programming and i program machines. I mainly use Python and machine level languages for my work.

Actually I'm doing a project for which I need to have two laptops running linux. My old Dell laptop isn't that capable in terms of hardware and its RAM is also maxed out so upgrading isn't an option. That's why I am looking for a powerful and latest hardware laptop that supports linux. I like the idea of swapping the drives and installing linux on them. I can do that but I want a laptop that has newest and powerful processor.


Edited by MikeJohnson, 04 December 2017 - 01:12 PM.


#12 mremski

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 01:20 PM

 

I tend to go for a lower model of CPU and max out RAM;  the Intel i915 video stuff seems to work well enough, more RAM is always better.  They will most likely come with Windows installed;  I typically pick up a new drive (SSD, mSata, NVME), take out the one from the vendor, put the blank one in and install to that.  

I may be doing an SSD upgrade later because I am on a strict budget of $800 right now. I would like to invest in a laptop with better processor right now and upgrade RAM and SSD later on.

 

Fair enough.  I understand budgeting for "projects" just make sure that what you start with is at least adequate or you'll frustrated.  Web browser with lots of tabs,  you want a lot of memory.  Photo editing you want a lot of memory and a good GPU and a lot of storage.  Calculation intensive work (scientific data modeling) you want a better CPU and more memory.  

 

You want a 64 bit CPU (pretty much everything nowdays).

Memory: laptop memory is typically not as expandable as desktops.  Usually only 1 or 2 slots, so  upgrading may include replacing existing memory.  I'd look for at least 4GB now in a single slot so you can add another 4GB to bump to 8.  8 is a nice number for a general use computer. 

Look for a laptop with space to add storage so you have 2 drives instead of 1.  That way you can do the smart thing and separate your user data from the OS (your data is priceless, the OS you can always reinstall).

 

Again, these are simply my opinions, based on preference (which is why I use a desktop for my primary machine).


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#13 MikeJohnson

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 02:31 PM

 

 

I tend to go for a lower model of CPU and max out RAM;  the Intel i915 video stuff seems to work well enough, more RAM is always better.  They will most likely come with Windows installed;  I typically pick up a new drive (SSD, mSata, NVME), take out the one from the vendor, put the blank one in and install to that.  

I may be doing an SSD upgrade later because I am on a strict budget of $800 right now. I would like to invest in a laptop with better processor right now and upgrade RAM and SSD later on.

 

Fair enough.  I understand budgeting for "projects" just make sure that what you start with is at least adequate or you'll frustrated.  Web browser with lots of tabs,  you want a lot of memory.  Photo editing you want a lot of memory and a good GPU and a lot of storage.  Calculation intensive work (scientific data modeling) you want a better CPU and more memory.  

 

You want a 64 bit CPU (pretty much everything nowdays).

Memory: laptop memory is typically not as expandable as desktops.  Usually only 1 or 2 slots, so  upgrading may include replacing existing memory.  I'd look for at least 4GB now in a single slot so you can add another 4GB to bump to 8.  8 is a nice number for a general use computer. 

Look for a laptop with space to add storage so you have 2 drives instead of 1.  That way you can do the smart thing and separate your user data from the OS (your data is priceless, the OS you can always reinstall).

 

Again, these are simply my opinions, based on preference (which is why I use a desktop for my primary machine).

 

Thanks a lot for this tips mremski :) I will definitely take care of these things while selecting a laptop for me.

 

I just came across a page on linux laptops where they have mentioned a "chromebook for linux". Is bootloader accessible on Chromebooks? If yes, then please let me know how? I have one Chromebook sitting ideally at my home which I only use to watch YouTube. I thought they are locked to use just the Chrome OS.

 

P.S. - I'm still looking for a new laptop as my Chromebook has a very low level hardware (2GB RAM/Intel Celeron CPU/16GB Storage).



#14 NickAu

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 03:28 PM

 

I typically pick up a new drive (SSD, mSata, NVME), take out the one from the vendor, put the blank one in and install to that.

Opening the case yourself and replacing the HDD on a new laptop will void its warranty.


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#15 MikeJohnson

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 12:20 AM

 

 

I typically pick up a new drive (SSD, mSata, NVME), take out the one from the vendor, put the blank one in and install to that.

Opening the case yourself and replacing the HDD on a new laptop will void its warranty.

 

Thanks for the heads up






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