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Thread: Recommended laptop for ubuntu

  1. #1
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    Recommended laptop for ubuntu

    Hello,

    I have only used Ubuntu briefly so far. I have a work laptop that uses windows but the computer scientists I work with run Ubuntu on Apple MacBooks.

    I'm looking to purchase a new laptop and would like to make the transition to Ubuntu.

    Does anybody have any suggestions what I should consider looking at, please? Would a MacBook be something worth considering?

    I have been using the cloud to run my GPU applications so I won't be needing a GPU anytime soon.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    Re: Recommended laptop for ubuntu

    Just to be sure>>> all offered information, may not be to your liking or usage.
    If it is just a look to see if Ubuntu is your choice, then yes a MacBook is a consideration, along with a bounty of others, like: HP,Lenovo,Dell,Acer yada yada.
    Before jumping in and buying any of the mentioned, research on the web to the detail of your machine in consideration.(Is It Linux compatible)

    Big suggestion also think about Refurbed, I've had amazing luck with this route.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Recommended laptop for ubuntu

    Lots-o-options available. If you have $2K, get a Dell XPS 13 preloaded with ubuntu. Beautiful machine.

    Typically, Apple laptops have been another expensive choice, but with Apple's CPU change last fall, I'd be weary of getting a non-amd64/Intel version. Very new hardware takes 6-24 months for linux support to get ironed out. How much bleeding do you want to be using bleeding edge hardware? I friend who runs huge scientific clusters for a University switched from a Mac to a Dell laptop and much prefers the dell. It wasn't his money.

    You can also find off-lease equipment in the $120-$200 range which can be an excellent value. My eBay 8th-gen Core i5 laptop was $305 2 yrs ago. 7500 passmarks, 8G ram, 1080p screen, 1TB HDD, everything works except the fingerprint reader. Fingerprints are terrible for actual security, so it wasn't an big loss. It is a very capable, fast-enough, laptop. Sure, I wish is was lighter and smaller, but to stay in my price range, compromises were needed. I had a beautiful 13inch Toshiba Core i3 that was half the RAM and half the passmarks, but under 2 lbs. Trade-offs. That Toshiba with 8G would have been an ideal machine for my portable needs, but RAM couldn't be upgraded. ;(

    I've had luck w/ dell, asus, lenovo, toshiba hardware and been burned by HP and Acer. Everyone has different experiences. I've never used Apple anything. I used to organize Linux InstallFests at the local University each fall. We'd have 20 volunteers and about 80 students with all sorts of hardware show up. The worst by far were low-end Acers and HPs. Mainly because the BIOS options were locked/limited and couldn't be altered.

    I'm cheap. Doubt I'll ever buy a new laptop again. I build desktops so all the components inside are vetted for Linux compatibility. If you don't need a portable computer with a screen, there are better, faster, cheaper, and much more flexible alternatives. Often, people think they need a laptop when they really don't.

    If you have more money than time/skill, buying a system preinstalled could be a good idea. System76, Dell, Lenovo and a number of smaller vendors sell those.
    Last edited by TheFu; January 19th, 2021 at 12:59 AM. Reason: added missing letters, grammar, extended explanations.

  4. #4
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    Re: Recommended laptop for ubuntu

    It's also a question of the manufacturer's marriage with M$.
    Older machines with BIOS are no problem, but UEFI-based models have opened a can of worms.

    The UEFI settings on some PCs are impossible to circumvent, and force you to use M$. A recent thread here was about an ACER laptop, that could not be persuaded to boot anything other than Win10.

    I can't give you good recommendation, except that manufacturers selling their machines with Ubuntu as an option could be a place to start.

  5. #5
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    Re: Recommended laptop for ubuntu

    Probably I would not buy new computer just to try out Ubuntu. Computer scientist probably know what they are doing, do you? See if your company is replacing/selling work laptops, most will probably run Ubuntu well and be a lot cheaper than a new or used Mac.

  6. #6
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    Re: Recommended laptop for ubuntu

    BTW, this in about the new Apple laptops and running Linux on them: https://www.theregister.com/2021/01/...apple_silicon/ There have been some successes, but plenty of caveats still - like USB doesn't work.

  7. #7
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    Re: Recommended laptop for ubuntu

    I would choose a laptop based on its physical specifications like size and weight. Most laptops from mainstream manufacturers will run Linux without a problem. If I were to buy another laptop these days, I would go for something lightweight like a Lenovo Yoga (https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops.../p/88YGC701457) and install Kubuntu on it.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Recommended laptop for ubuntu

    Unless you specifically want an Apple machine for some of the software that is available for that platform only I would suggest that it is money spent unwisely.

    My major caveat would be to stay away from very new hardware releases; go with versions of everything that is at least 6 months to a year away from its release and there is a very good chance that Linux/Ubuntu support will be good, or at least fairly easily enabled.

    There was a time when I might have suggested you stay away from AMD hardware and stick with Intel, but over the past year or two, this situation has changed; the AMD-Ryzen CPUs are now mostly well supported as long as you respect my caveat above and keep away from the very newest releases.
    AMD graphics, once a potential problem, is now much much better and is a lot easier to deal with than it used to be; the AMD ####G CPUs, ie, those with APU graphics in the CPU are very well supported now by either the radeon or the amdpro driver depending on model, so as I understand things now a fear of AMD for Linux is unnecessary.

    For the past 6 years I have managed to purchase laptops from the UK with no OS installed, and then easily installed Xubuntu, my preferred DE version, myself, with no difficulty at all and all hardware working immediately. That is a good saving of cost of around £90 - £100 on the cost of the same hardware with Windows-10; very worthwhile for me as I have no work requirements for Windows as many users do.

  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    Re: Recommended laptop for ubuntu

    If you are considering new, take a look at Starlabs Labtop (not a spelling error). Beautifully put together and you can select your flavour and specs. My wife has one and it has behaved impeccably for almost a year now.

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