Budget 90k+ Suggestions for Laptop with Linux support | Type-C DP & PD | 16 GB RAM | Powerful CPU | >2K display

dipakmdhrm

Recruit
This will be my primary workstation.
  • Need Linux Support for my work with docker containers.
  • Need Type-C DP & PD to connect with Type C Monitor
  • Need High RAM & Powerful CPU for better performance
  • Need 2k Display because I want it.
Any suggestions?
 

SangeetDev

Recruit
I'm currently using LG Gram 17 2021 model, 16GB 512GB config which I got for 89k and am quite happy with it using Linux.​
Some things to note:​
1. By default there's a black tape covering most of intake. This is intended to direct airflow from VRM to the CPU, but the path is too long causing overheating. I removed the tape and the laptop runs extremely cool now but has a fan whine noise. I'm fine with it but many might not be. Also not many people are comfortable opening and tinkering with their new laptop, so that's possibly a deal breaker.​
2. RAM is limited to 16GB soldered. I can't seem to find a 32GB version of it in India. I'm usually just on edge of filling it, so could be a potential deal breaker for some. 2022 model is supposed to have 32GB models more readily available.​
3. It has two SSD slots so I dual boot Windows and Linux in separate SSDs. Makes life a breeze.​
4. The screen is amazing. 1440p, color accurate, 17 inches, 16:10. 400 nits. Can't ask for anything better. Only problem is glossy screen, something they fixed in next year model.​
5. Battery life is okay. It's significantly better in Linux than Windows, but for anything resource intensive, you're looking at 5-7 hours. For normal usage, I've seen it going to 10 hours, but don't expect anything more.​
6. Has 2 x Thunderbolt 3 ports with USB PD. I just connect to my monitor with KB and mouse connected, so just a single cable gets an entire setup going for me. Getting proper 4k 60Hz with HDR with USB connections on just a single port. Also 65W charging of course. It's perfect.​
7. Build: Great lightweight, surprisingly sturdy, fully black minimal design. Lighter than my previous 13 inch Macbook Pro so that's something for a 17 inch device.​
8. Keyboard is awkward. Touchpad is more towards the right side of the keyboard, so typing can get tricky in the beginning, but you get used to it. Not perfect, but otherwise, the touchpad and keyboard are good. The touchpad is an obvious step down from my Macbook, but it's as good or better than most Windows laptops.​
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Experience with Linux:​
Currently running Fedora with KDE. Had some issues with sound, but I installed drivers manually and got it working. Other than fingerprint scanner, everything works including function keys, so I have nothing to complain.​
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It's certainly not perfect and has some quirks, but it's currently my primary workstation and I really like it. You can consider the next gen model as that has 12th gen processor which is way better, has anti glare screen and has a top tier 32GB model as well. But it's bound to be super pricey, so your mileage may vary.

It's one of a kind device. You can't find many 17 inch laptops weighing only 1.3 kgs while having a fantastic 1440p 16:10 display with extra SSD slot. Almost perfect for Linux if you're fine with opening it up and tweaking the thermal setup a bit.​
 

codelad

Disciple
Among things you may want to consider on a Linux laptop:

1. Since you are keen on USB-C PD, research into power management issues in whatever models you end up shortlisting. I've had serious USB-C PM (and hardware) issues with my 2020 Zephyrus G14. So much so that I had to give up on using my USB-C connection with my monitor.

2. Most newer laptops come with integrated + discrete graphics. Again w.r.t. PM, Nvidia plays nice with Intel iGPUs (Coffeelake and newer), but not with most Ryzen chips (with very few exceptions). In general, switchable graphics could be a pain.

3. Verify the hardware specs for Linux compatibility (wifi, audio chips, special keys, etc.).

4. Running Linux on popular Thinkpad and Dell XPS models is quite well documented, so these may be your safest bets. I've personally run Linux on Thinkpads for many years and it mostly worked out-of-the-box and when I occassionally had issues, there was almost always a solution already available somewhere.
 

SangeetDev

Recruit
I considered Thinkpads too but they're usually too heavy and have crappy displays. Definitely nowhere near the quality of LG Gram with a 1440p color accurate, high brightness 16:10 display.

The thinkpads which have good displays cost well over 1L for half decent config. And of course they tend to be quite heavy.

They're good laptops, but not without compromises.
 

vishalrao

Global Moral Police
Skilled
Have you checked out the HP Aero 13? I'm not sure about Linux support myself but newer kernel distros like opensuse tumbleweed might work.
 

codelad

Disciple
I considered Thinkpads too but they're usually too heavy and have crappy displays. Definitely nowhere near the quality of LG Gram with a 1440p color accurate, high brightness 16:10 display.

The thinkpads which have good displays cost well over 1L for half decent config. And of course they tend to be quite heavy.

They're good laptops, but not without compromises.
Actually, weight and their increasingly absurd pricing are the only reasons I switched away from Thinkpads. Then there's also availbility issues (I believe this is a problem with the Dell XPS models as well). Still, I believe they offered solid Linux support out of the box, if that is what you are primarily after.

LG Gram is good too and had it on my shortlist. Reviews cautioned about a slight screen wobble that bothered me, being an aggressive typist - so went with the Zephyrus G14 instead. Apart from the USB-C issues and limited upgradeability (which I can live with), the G14 is a solid machine too - solid battery life (I only have the iGPU running, though), decent 2K screen, has some device-specific software available on Linux. Also, I think the USB-C issues may have been resolved on the post 2020 G14 models.

All said, there probably is no perfect mainstream Linux laptop. With a bit of careful research, you can avoid surprises and be aware of what you are ready to compromise on, and live with.
 

SangeetDev

Recruit
Thinkpads in general have been the best for Linux if you don't particularly care about display quality. They literally spec the Indian versions with worst displays possible.

They sell plenty units to businesses just on brand name so I guess they don't care about the consumer oriented features. After all most managements buying these don't know the difference between 1080p 250 nits 67% NTSC TN panel and 1440p 500 nits 100% DCI P3 IPS panels. Some are still giving their employees units with 1366x768 displays.
 
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