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Laptop for a Linux distro

Discussion in 'Linux & Open Source' started by elrasho, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. elrasho

    Soldato

    Joined: Jan 12, 2009

    Posts: 5,872

    My 6 year old Windows 7 laptop died so I'm looking for a Laptop purely for internet browsing, streaming Amazon Prime, Netflix and Youtube.

    Any recommendations on a Laptop and a distro? Idon'tt mind going second hand.
     
  2. TheSkateyBird

    Hitman

    Joined: Apr 4, 2011

    Posts: 768

    Location: Ashford, Kent

    Second hand Thinkpads run Linux beautifully. Recently picked up a T430s off the bay for around 130. Hardware support is pretty much the same across distros as they share the kernel, support for Thinkpads is particularly good as they are used by some of the developers. Only downside is that the TN screens on Thinkpads are pretty bad for viewing angle.

    I like Solus as a standard install and go distro, but you could pick from Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora etc - Whichever takes your fancy.
     
  3. elrasho

    Soldato

    Joined: Jan 12, 2009

    Posts: 5,872

    Brill my laptop was a thinkpad edge e520, loved it to bits.
     
  4. TheSkateyBird

    Hitman

    Joined: Apr 4, 2011

    Posts: 768

    Location: Ashford, Kent

    Nice! When browsing the best ones to choose from would be either the T series (14" screen) or the X series (12" screen). These two lines are very rugged and durable too, more so than the edge series!
     
  5. Hades

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 21,729

    Location: Surrey and London

    Another vote for a used Thinkpad T series. I have two now. My T530 (a larger version of the T430 mentioned above) was dirt cheap for a quad core i7, now with 16gb RAM and two SSD's. With a docking station it also drives three monitors. Poor inbuilt screen though. Even though it's 5 years old it's still a very viable desktop replacement.

    More recently I got an incredibly cheap T440s which is slimmer and lighter for travel, runs for about 10 hours on the extended battery, 1080p IPS screen, 12gb RAM and SSD for £175 (a few external scuffs). The trackpads on the T*40 models are poor but can be swapped with a later version.

    Both run Linux perfectly and have best in class keyboards. Unless you find one with an IPS screen then they can be poor though. Also the trackpads before the T*50 series are poor. But a huge advantage of Thinkpad T series is that they can be so easily repaired and upgraded. Parts are easy to find and they are generally cheap used laptops because business get rid of them regularly.

    The X series are a smaller version of the T.
     
  6. TheSkateyBird

    Hitman

    Joined: Apr 4, 2011

    Posts: 768

    Location: Ashford, Kent

    I've had my T430 for about a month and already managed to convince myself I need an X series as well :p
     
  7. ExoMale

    Mobster

    Joined: Jan 9, 2016

    Posts: 3,300

    Location: Gloucestershire

    I’m running 64bit Ubuntu 18.04 on my dell laptop which is essentially a low end HP stream lol and it runs fine, better than win 10 64bit it comes with from factory, it’s not a quick laptop, so like above then if you want fast then you can go wrong with anything 2nd/3rd gen i3, 4gb ram onwards or if you’d likely want brand new then pentium Versions
     
  8. Hades

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 21,729

    Location: Surrey and London

    There's one for sale in the MM right now :)

    *not mine
     
  9. manic111

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 1, 2007

    Posts: 15,050

    Location: Various

    What distro do you guys generally use? I was looking at buying a Thinkpad and installing Linux rather than getting a new Windows machine, but the massive "title" bar at the top of every program drives me spare - such a waste of screen estate on a laptop. Are there any distros designed with laptop screens in mind?
     
  10. Hades

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 21,729

    Location: Surrey and London

    Most Linux distro's and desktop environments are highly configurable. You could probably move the bar.

    I normally recommend Linux Mint Cinnamon. It looks quite a bit like Windows. But I've found recently that it's not the best for battery life out of the box on a laptop. So instead I would recommend Mint Mate or Ubuntu Mate which are quite lightweight. Ubuntu Mate starts with a top bar but is easily configured. However I've recently tried Kubuntu which uses the KDE Plasma desktop and I'm really liking it. It's also quite battery efficient. So any of those three would be my recommendation for a laptop which maximises space. I'm similar to you and dislike top bars.
     
  11. Sp00n

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 18,053

    Location: Brighton

    I have an x230 running Elementary, I love it, cost me £130, upgraded to an IPS panel (from china), 8gb ram, 120gb SSD + 240gb mSata.

    Only downside is the trackpad which I really don't like, but I have an external mouse I carry with me... and the screen is 1366x768, you can mod it to 1080p but I'm not that bothered, some people might be though.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  12. FatRakoon

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 9,963

    Location: Behind you... Naked!

    My Linux Laptop is my ASUS RoG

    Anything that has nVidia seems to be much better supported in Linux, and although ATI is fine, I am happier with nVidia.
    My older Laptop is also another real I7, however its only 1.6Ghz and that has ATI and I cannot fault it, so why am I saying nVidia over ATI?

    I do have a Clevo I7 and that has Intel and nVidia and under Windows, thats great, but Linux seems to hate it, or it did when I last tried it.

    So anything that has ATI or nVidia as the main GPU is ok... Intel is great if you dont need to game.
     
  13. alexakasloth

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 13, 2004

    Posts: 7,210

    Location: UK

    Another vote for the ThinkPad here, brought a refurbished T420 (i5, 4gb ram and 500GB HDD) for around £140 and added 4gb ram, and replaced the HDD with a SSD and added a small M2 for some steam games. No problems running Ubuntu on it.
     
  14. opethdisciple

    Capodecina

    Joined: May 18, 2010

    Posts: 17,696

    Location: London

    Yikes! I was gonna post the opposite. In my experiences out of the box both Ubuntu and Fedora work just fine with the generic Linux graphics driver for AMD but have major issues with Nvidia cards. It's 100% necessary to install the proprietary driver if you have an Nvidia card. This is not so straight forward. And even with the propitiatory Nvidia driver installed the PC with the AMD GPU in it just feel more snappy and Firefox also scrolls better as well. On the Nvidia card Firefox was laggy.

    If I was going to go full time Linux on my everyday PC I would be picking up an AMD card just to use the generic Linux driver. Then again I am talking about running a 6450 card so it's a few years old. Not sure what support is like for the latest cards.

    But Nvidia support in Linux seems to be a poor experience.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  15. Ben Cole

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 24, 2003

    Posts: 2,577

    Location: Porthcawl and Southampton

    Yet another vote for Lenovo. Got an X series with a Core 2 Duo for 40 quid just to run Ubuntu.

    I’ve since set up a dual boot on my E series i5/8Gb RAM because I just prefer using Linux for general browsing with Chrome.
     
  16. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 61,110

    Never had any problems with installing the proprietary driver but I do know there has been issues before if you've installed the non-proprietary driver and then put the proprietary one on later. The non-proprietary driver is basically a waste of time in most cases.

    While it does kind of suck that it is proprietary personally I do understand nVidia's reasoning on it and open sourcing it is far far from as trivial as people think.

    Personally I've found it the better experience once you have the proprietary driver working properly.

    That said and nothing to do with nVidia in most cases when I've tried to persist with using Linux for applications like this I've ended up transitioning back to Windows 7 after awhile anyhow as what starts as just a bit of light browsing and listening to music, etc. inevitably seems to run into usage where Linux doesn't quite do as well as Windows.

    Would be a vote for Ubuntu here but if you feel like being a bit more hands on then I'm quite a Debian fan - the core of the OS I find somehow more intuitive than most other flavours even those built off of Debian.