[Solved] Some questions before purchasing a laptop

Edit: Purchased the laptop. :partying_face:


Hi. I want to purchase a study laptop. This is going to be my first laptop (been using a PC until now) so I wanted to ask some questions before I make my purchase. I'll be getting a simple 8GB ram + SSD config. I don't need graphics.
  1. How do I know the real battery life of the laptops? The advertised stats are overstated ofcourse. My work is mostly centered around typing LaTeX documents, and having Waterfox open all the time. No “heavy” stuff; although lately online classes are also on my list.

  2. AMD comes cheaper than Intel processors. Any reason for me to stay away from them? I occasionally spin up VirtualBox instances and my university course also includes android development so I’ll be using an android emulator. Please share any tasks which you think may be a problem while using AMD processors. I am enrolled in an Computer Enginnering course, so my work will be centered around it. (I personally don’t think there should be a problem with AMD)

  3. Any brands you’ll suggest me to stay away from? If some brands have poor driver support for linux distros so I will not purchase that. Specifically speaking I’ll be running EnOS on the laptop. No plans to use any other distro.

  4. Some laptops come with a USB type C port. Is there any real use for that apart from making it “future proof”?

Thanks!

Edit: If you want to give any other suggestions, please feel free to do so. :slightly_smiling_face:

  1. Only personal experience / multiple independent reviews can give you idea of a real stat, as it’s heavily depends on: OS, settings, software used in test etc

  2. I have no direct experience, but AMD CPUs of 4000 series and especially 5000 series (don’t think there are laptops with it yet?) are extremely good and capable! If you’ll use something very heavy like Android studio (which is terrible software :exploding_head:) - in general top AMD models should perform better than Intel for such tasks.

  3. It’s hard to tell in general, as with time it always changes…I can advice only to stay away from internal components of RAM / SSD made by Kingston!

  4. Not really, it’s also capable on later versions to be used as display cable…

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I can suggest lenovo for sure. These have the best linux support, thinkpads. There some good deals out there, lenovo also ships now with fedora in addition to ubuntu. They even publish docs how to set up debian on their systems.

The T490s works well for example, battery life is about 5-7 hours, and fits your specs.

It boils down to your budget. Carbon x1 also worked great, no compatibility issues and great battery life (7+)

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Thanks @keybreak and @Zircon34

I’m kinda tight on budget. Its around 50k INR (~670USD). There’s are ryzen 3500 laptop abailable in this price.

I’ll keep this in mind.

I’m looking on amazon right now and they are above my budget, unless I settle for an i3 processor which I’m not going to do. I’ll check lenovo’s website too just in case they have some good offers.

Yes they are good, but over 2.5x my budget. :upside_down_face:

Yes, you can connect a docking station that provides power and has for example multiple usb, ethernet and multiscreen ports. That goes quite well with linux. I just read a review yesterday that said the only thing to keep away from is “display link”…

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Well if T-series is too expensive, why not look into the E-series?

They’re the cheaper line of thinkpads.

Recently bought myself a second hand E580 for 350 euros.
It has an I5 8250u quad core, and 8GB of ram, but it’s upgradeable to 32GB
The battery has just enough life in it to get me through a work day, but it has a 65W USB-C charger, so it charges up rather quickly.

If second hand isn’t your thing, the new(ish) E14 could be worth looking at.

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One question: is the i3 very inferior to i5? Reading up online, it looks like i5 is the one for me (or an equivalent AMD proessor) but i3 come for much cheaper price.

I’m not sure what it’s like there, but if you can, you can try to get a 2nd hand Thinkpad. T480, T490 and any version of Carbon X1 are great and come in under 600 usd.

I have seen many people getting second hand thinkpads, but second hand isn’t my choice. Plus in India, there isn’t many options for second hand thinkpads, unless you’re ready to research.

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If it’s still a dual core, then probably yes…

I know there are still dual core 10th gen I3’s…
I believe (but please correct me if I’m wrong) that the recent I5’s are all quad core or higher…

You will notice that difference

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I recommend Lenovo. They officially support Linux on many if not all of their laptops. I believe Dell is similar supportive for Linux but I only have experience with Lenovo. And I love my Thinkpad!

Battery life and such can be easily monitored and configured with the tlp tool which is installed by default from EndeavourOS.

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I filtered this page and there are some 2 core processors. I’ll go with quad core although. (if I go for intel)
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What about HP? Any reason why nobody mentioned that brand, and there are two HP laptops that have the specs and are in my budget


Second one is quite cheaper than first, but doesn’t have HDD (which is not a problem for me)

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Personally, for longevity, I suggest going with an i5 or an AMD 3500 equivalent. I feel your pain when it comes to used hardware. There just isn’t the market for them in Thailand as there is in the “West”.

Not a good idea. Getting Linux to run on them can be a hair pulling experience. I have seen issues with their WiFi, Touchpad, and other hardware issues.

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HP has pretty good models / build quality in a low / mid price models range, from what i’ve previously encountered

P.S. Not sure on Linux support

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So I should drop HP altogether?

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Some of the “mainstream” brands I would suggest, from my experience, are Asus, Dell, and Lenovo. I have seen several Dell laptops and Asus laptops here in Thailand available with either Ubuntu or EndlessOS flavors of Linux. I would go look at some of the local shops and see what is for sale with Linux, and then find it online.

Can you say painful.

That is my opinion. HP tends to lock things down. For example, on some of their latest machines, you can’t even get into the bios unless you do a special shutdown from within Windows.

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Yeah but those are 8th gen and older… While I was typing that I actually meant 10th gen and up…

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Hmm… Thanks for sharing your experience. I’d want to go out to local stores, but covid won’t let me. :cry:

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What about a Huawei Matebook D14 / Honor Magicbook 14?

I have one of those Huawei Laptops, and for a cheap laptop (600 euros new) its pretty good…

It has a Ryzen 5 3500u, and 8GB of ram… (soldered in though)
i had no issues running Arch linux on it, except for the fingerprint reader not working

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