Budget 51-70k Need a Linux laptop for programming


fractal

Well-Known Member
Disciple
Need a laptop for a college student.

What's your Budget? (e.g. >30K, not more than 50K etc.)
60K

What will be your primary usage for the notebook be? (e.g. web surfing/office apps/Casual Gaming)
Mainly programming/development
Youtube videos
No gaming at all

What size and weight considerations do you have? (e.g. Do you want a 17" desktop replacement or you want an ultraportable 12" or something in between)
15.6" looks about right
Weight or thickness is not a major consideration

Any brand that you prefer, or any brand that you detest? (e.g some would prefer to stay away from Acer or Dell)
Avoiding ASUS as faced problem with Battery drain on Linux

Any other considerations? (e.g Battery life; Widescreen/non-widescreen; Glossy/Matte screen etc.)
Good build quality
Display should be FHD. Should be good as will be used 12hrs/day
Decent Battery life on Linux
Would prefer FreeDOS/Linux as OS. Do not need Windows OS so hoping to save some money there
Config - Ryzen 5, 8GB RAM, SSD
 

silverstar

Member
Recruit
Hey, I will not be suggesting specific models in this comment but as a student myself and having helped hundreds of fellow and juniors with "common" issues on their laptops with Linux installed I can suggest you some pointers to consider.

  1. Avoid HP laptops like the plague
    1. Unless you're buying one of their expensive gaming laptops (I think it's called the Omen series) avoid buying any HP laptops for home/business use
    2. This is because of their generally shitty quality (noticeably more shitty than other brands anyways) to offer you a cheaper price.
    3. Almost all of them will have issues with the Ethernet/Wi-fi drivers on Linux. You will have to manually install drivers (there are well documented guides online). This will work mostly but if it doesn't, you're in for a hell of a ride. It's a "tradition" like thing in our college having to do this for hundreds of juniors who buy HP laptops and I know the pain.
    4. I have seen many models ending up with hinge issues less than 1 year down the line. Those hinges are shite.
    5. You are free to ignore this advice as ultimately the choice is yours. I don't mean to scare you away from HP but these are some practical issues you have to deal with. Ofc, this doesn't mean other brands are free of all issues but HP is hated more than others.
  2. Be careful when (read avoid) buying laptops pre-installed with Linux
    1. You will find that many manufacturers offer laptops pre-installed with Ubuntu, Fedora or any other Linux distribution. I see that you are leaning towards buying such laptops in hope of saving some money. I would understand your perspective but there are some gotchas you are probably not aware.
    2. I don't know the situation now, but manufacturers usually offer better spec'd windows machines at the same price compared to the pre-installed Linux versions. So do thorough research while choosing your model so that you don't end up with inferior specs or quality in the quest of buying only a pre-installed Linux machine.
    3. You don't know when you will need Windows anyways. As a programmer myself I know some workflows are much easier on Windows. Also the random software your courses might prescribe might support Windows only. So it's a good idea to have Windows even though you're absolutely not using it because you never know when you'll need it.
  3. General tips
    1. Your future self will thank you for buying a 16GB RAM model or to have an empty RAM slot in your laptop for future RAM upgrades
    2. Try buying a model with SSD+HDD to save money to some extent. I think you'll easily find models with 256GB + 1-1.5TB
    3. Be sure about warranty/after sales support. Dell has great support. Do similar research for the laptop brand you're considering as well.
    4. Consider importing a laptop via. relatives or friends from Dubai or the USA. Those laptops are generally cheaper and you are certain to get much higher specs at the same price compared to buying from India. Beware about warranty terms though. It varies by brand but most offer international coverage. Some don't.
      1. Foreign purchase by friends/relatives on your behalf > Buying in India > Direct import via. courier/shipping company. I would suggest following this priority order to purchase your laptop if possible
    5. Don't be afraid to move away from Ubuntu or Fedora when you begin to dislike it. There are tons of other distributions and I'm sure you will find something that is suitable for your tastes.

I personally don't want to suggest specific models because it's better to conduct your own research into the models and shortlist something suitable according to your needs. I hope you will find these pointers useful. I'm certain there are others who will disagree with some of my points and you too are free to either consider or ignore them.

Best of luck!
 

6pack

Well-Known Member
ex-Mod
For linux, Dell and Lenovo officially support Ubuntu.
Linux can be installed on any machine with 2GB ram. So get what is in your budget. The newer 4th Gen AMD CPUs need new kernel and those new kernels are only on rolling distros like manjaro or arch. Ubuntu has a hwe kernel but it's on 5.4.

You can always run windows in dual boot or in a vm if required.
 

fractal

Well-Known Member
Disciple
Thanks for the info. Will do some more research on this. Was hoping to pick up something during the current sales
 

vishalrao

Global Moral Police
Veteran
I like the base model Lenovo thinkpad E14 gen2 which is under 60k I think. Only there's some ongoing issues with Linux kernel support for functions keys which might need a bios fix with no update from Lenovo so far
oh I forgot to tell that as of few weeks ago when I checked the status was made to order with delivery time more than 8 weeks
I am personally interested in the HP probook 445 g7 model but that is out of stock it seems
 

codelad

Member
Disciple
Since your core requirement is for coding/development, you should be safe with pretty much any hardware/architecture you choose. Still, a few things you may want to look out for:

1. Try to stick to slightly older and known-to-work models. Linux thrives on community support, and older models often have better support. Do a casual search on well-known Linux forums, wikis. This way, should you face issues, it is likely that someone else has had the same problems and you are more likely to find workarounds/solutions or get help.

2. Check if the graphics hardware is known to work - if you are keen on free software, be sure to verify if it works with non-proprietary drivers. Avoid dual/switchable graphics. There are ways to get them to work (Bumblebee, etc.), but they are often impractical. If you are new to Linux, try to read up a bit on Nvidia vs AMD vs Intel support (and if you are a console guy, on KMS support).

3. Be sure to verify if the wireless hardware is known to work with Linux. There are differing levels of compatibility and numerous workarounds to get most hardware to work. Still, you'll save yourself a lot of pain later, if you stick to something that is known to work. Do not ignore the wired ethernet hardware - you often need this as a fallback before you have the wireless all set up.

4. Power management, as someone already pointed out. Check for suspend/hibernation issues. Also for special keys/events support - since most laptops come with sleep/hibernation keys, lid events, etc.

5. Then there's some others you may optionally want to do a bit of research on - the audio hardware, CPU instruction set (depending on what kind of coding you do).

Remember, Google (and DDG - their bangs function has direct searches to a ton of Linux resources) is your friend. Good luck!
 
Last edited:

NaniBot

Member
Disciple
Thinkpads (the X and T series) offered the best compatibility (is it still the case in 2020?) since many GNU/Linux distros developers use it themselves. I would suggest a decent thinkpad as you might be tempted to try out other OS like the BSDs. I have a thinkpad x220 which works great with GNU/Linux and OpenBSD. I haven't tried FreeBSD and NetBSD so can't comment on that. So yea, thinkpads X and T series would be the best but I'm not so sure about the pricing maybe go for a refurbished one?

However, why not just use virtualization on Windows to run GNU/Linux distros? Added advantage would be the rollback thingy in case you mess things up inside your distro and would like to revert the state. Also helps to rapidly test kernel/driver stuff without worrying about your killing your OS.

As stated by others, stay away from switchable graphics. Realtek wifi cards are known to be buggy (8723 BE/DE series to be exact) and some HP laptops use them. I would go for Intel cards. Also, an SSD is a must.

Pulseaudio seems to have taken away the pain that users experienced with just ALSA but some audio problems still remain. I can't remember what exactly it was but I think the audio on one of my friend's laptop didn't work and I had to manually specify the codec to be loaded by the intel hda driver.
 

Top