Would you help me to find the right laptop?

Hey there!
I saw that lately there has been some discussion about laptops, and since I’m searching for a new one I thought I’d just create a new topic asking for your suggestions based on my specific needs.

So right now I’m using a HP Omen 15 (AMD). It has a Ryzen 5 4600H, 16GB (upgradable) RAM, 512GB nvme + 1TB nvme and a nVidia GTX 1660 Ti.
It’s a beast that I bought some years ago because I was working as a video editor, so I needed that power daily.
But now some things are changed and I’m not really making use of all of this. Particularly I don’t need an nVidia GPU anymore and by not using it I got just the usual headaches, without any real advantage. Plus the fans are really noisy and it overheats constantly. It’s annoying.

So I’m thinking about replacing it with a laptop with a non-nVidia and not-hybrid, GPU. Note that I still need something powerful, I don’t want it to be a big downgrade, so the new laptop should have:

  1. A good AMD Ryzen processor, at least 5 (ideally 7), or Intel’s equivalent
  2. At least 16gb RAM (better if expandable to 32 or more)
  3. Two SSD slots (I might give up on this one, so it’s okay even if there are only one)
  4. A good monitor (100% sRGB)
  5. Should stay reasonably silent and cool, at least when idle
  6. Obviously, a great Linux compatibility :smile:

I don’t care about battery and SSD size since I’d replace it with mine anyway.
I saw Asus VivoBook series which seemed to tick all boxes, but I read mixed opinions about Linux compatibility, so I’m not sure honestly.

The budget is <900€ if possible, I don’t mind buying used or renewed items and one last thing: I’m in Europe (Italy), so unfortunately great laptops like the HP Dev One, the System76’s and similar are not an option for me.

Well, thank you so much if you have read all of this and are willing to suggest me something!

Cheers :blush:

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The 2 SSD slots makes that honestly a VERY hard recommendation. Simply put, outside of gaming laptops and mobile workstation laptops, there aren’t many that still have 2 slots. And gaming laptops will ALWAYS have a discrete GPU. Which means you’re looking at mobile workstations, and those aren’t generally cheap, and often have discrete GPU’s.
One I can somewhat recommend is the one I just got in today, which so far has been going great. ThinkBook 14P Gen3. It’s a performance oriented ThinkBook, so has 2 SSD slots, up to 32GB LPDDR5 soldered, and unfortunately a GarbageTek wifi, but it’s socketed so you can replace it with a good wifi card (I personally recommend the QCNFA765, but I went with the AMD RZ616 in this because I had one available). IT’s an H series CPU, so it will turn up the fans when it’s being worked, but it’s very quiet when idle/mostly idle.
If you get it with the 2.2K LCD (very important if) it’s 300-nit, 100% sRGB, 1500:1 contrast. While not the brightest display ever, it’s actually still a really good display, and my personal opinion is that it’s the absolute PERFECT resolution for a 14" 16:10 LCD.
Strangely, it seems fwupd supports at least SOME of this laptop. First time I’ve ever seen fwupd claim to work on a ThinkBook. Not sure if it works, since I just got it in I haven’t actually finished fully setting it up, but so far, I’m impressed with it (except for the vinyl I used to skin it, that I’m unhappy with, but that’s neither here nor there). And got it less than $700 with a 2 year warranty included.
Edit - I’ve found a weakness on it. The touchpad is…meh. Very, very, meh. Feels ok enough, but not very sensitive. I had to remove the skin to get it to reliably read my inputs at the top half of the touchpad.

The two ssd slots, surprisingly, makes it hard to find something under 900 euro… Maybe something used? There are websites or shops that have older machines. A while ago it was more common to have multiple sata drives.
Framework 16 has two nvme storage slots, also storage expansion cards. Bit pricey(more than 1.5x your budget), but worth it in my opinion for the added longevity. Great reviews for linux.

Damn, you’re both right…that requirement makes it really hard. That’s strange, I thought that it’d be a pretty popular feature. Well, I guess my Omen 15 spoiled me, through these years :slight_smile:
Let’s call it optional then! If you have any suggestions that tick all boxes but have only one slot, shoot it anyway! I’m open to suggestions and inputs, the points I wrote are not too rigid and I can reconsider things.

That said, thanks @mihalycsaba but unfortunately I really can’t spend that price…that’s a shame, because the framework seems wonderful.

@tlmiller76 thank you! I didn’t know this model, seems to be pretty hard to find outside the official lenovo site, but it’s definitely interesting! I honestly don’t care much about the touchpad, I always use an external trackball…honestly I heard that the ThinkBook’s build quality is not the best, especially compared to ThinkPad’s, but I have never used one so I can’t say.
Anyway I’ll keep an eye on it!

Framework 13 amd version, it can still use storage expansion cards. Price is around 900. Probably you can get better specs in this price with less repairability.

That’s really cool, but it goes over 1000€ if just adding ram. It starts over 900€ without ram and ssd, but in order to obtain an usable combination the price become too high.
Maybe in the future…

Is it possible to physically remove the Nvidia card?
Is there an integrated GPU too?

If removing is not possible, does blacklisting the proprietary nvidia driver help with the power consumption?

Disabling the dedicated GPU in BIOS could also do the job.

True, there might be a switch in BIOS for disabling it.

That could be a solution. I’ll try to search it in the BIOS.
Though I think it would make more sense to sell this laptop and get a new one using it’s full potential…using this disabling the dedicated GPU seems like crippling it to me. And when I tried using it without drivers, the fan were still super loud…
I know there are ways to control the fans’ speed, but I don’t want to risk damaging the hardware so again, I think it just make more sense to buy an hardware that’s appropriate for my use…

If you don’t need mobile broad band on it, I was able to pull my wwan card and install a 2230 size nvme in it’s place. So I have 2 drives. . . Technically, but it’s not advertised as such.

If this is acceptable it could open up more options for you.

It is acceptable, yes! Open up then :smiley:

I removed the mobile card in my Thinkpad t480s and I have 2 drives now. The normal 2280 and I think the other is an odd size like 2240? But I’ve read now with the popularity of steam deck I think the 2230 form you can get in like 2 tb and you should just need the 2240>2230 adapter…

I believe it works in a number of the ThinkPads with the SIM card options. @tlmiller76 can probably chime in better. But I 100% have 2 drives in mine, granted it’s a little older now. I would be surprised if they didn’t still do it.

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Intel ThinkPads up to T480/T480s this works in. T490 if you get one with an EARLY BIOS version it will apparently as well, but BIOS updates eventually added whitelists so it won’t anymore. Pre-T480 they used SATA 2242’s though, T480/T480s were the only non P’s that used NVMe. AMD ThinkPads it works in the Ryzen versions up to the T14 Gen1 AMD. (Ax85, Tx95/s, T14 Gen1). I assume it would work in the T14s Gen1 AMD, I actually don’t know for certain. After that, they added whitelists.

As far as the 2230>2242 adapter, I know several people on r/ThinkPad that have it and use it, works well, you can add up to 1TB without having to worry about finding a b+m key NVMe. Sadly, most 2TB drives apparently require too much power (as they’re Gen4 SSD’s, hard to find Gen3 2TB 2230’s) and won’t work in the adapter.

As far as other recommendations for the OP’s thread, with dual drives out of the way, I have some that I think would fit the bill well. Some may be hard/impossible to find in your area, sorry, we get spoiled with most models here in the US.

T14/T14s Gen3 AMD. 6000 series pro CPU’s, up to 32GB LPDDR5 6400, single up to 4TB SSD. Qualcomm QCNFA725 (same as 765 but soldered to board) wifi. Up to 2.8K OLED, but the sweet spot is the WUXGA 400-nit low power LCD. Have gotten cheap used here with the release of the Gen4’s, and IMO are the better system other than not having the option of 64GB ram. Not as powerful, not as good GPU (but not FAR from as good), but better efficiency. My T14s G3A gets 9+ hours on battery, even on linux.

HP EliteBook 845 G9. Basically the HP version of the T14 G3A. But has socketed RAM instead of soldered. Also thinner and lighter, thus disproving claims that “we need to solder the ram to make it thin and light”. They had MASSIVE BIOS issues on release, but they’ve improved it since then.

Dell Latitude 5440. Dell has never made AMD CPU’s available in the Latitude line. Reason I moved away from Latitudes as my standard laptop. However, with 13th gen, Intel is competitive again. This is a 13th gen machine with the available 400-nit low power LCD, 2 SODIMMS, but only a 2230 slot for SSD upgrades (yeah, not even a 2242 slot, they fully went to a 2230). Not a large detriment to storage, mine still has a 2TB SSD. Performs great, looks nice, good keyboard, and can be had cheap (I bought my first one for $450, sadly I bought the wrong one and it was easier to just buy another and flip the first than to get the part to fix my screwup). Only Xe graphics, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the old UHD, and the i7 w/ Xe96 is even competitive with Vega8 in the Ryzen7’s.

ThinkPad L14 Gen3/4 AMD. Older Ryzen 3 (not even 3+ like Rembrandt like the T14 G3A and 845) based system, but the Ryzen 3’s are still EXTREMELY competitive. Once again, the option of the 400-nit low power LCD. Only Vega iGP, but it’s still highly competitive. And these can be found cheap. The only difference between the 2 generations is that the Gen4 CPU’s are the renamed Barcelo Refresh 7000 series, but they’re the exact same CPU’s as the Barcelo 5000 series in the Gen3. Despite being the “value” series, this (G3) is my current favorite laptop I own.

Yes, to answer the unspoken question, I change laptops like most people change underwear.

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This is my second ThinkBook ever. I hated the first one. It was a horrible device. Pretty, but otherwise I despised it. This ones redeeming it. So far, I REALLY like this. LOOKS very premium, and at a basic feel, feels it too. Once you start really opening it and everything, you can feel that it’s not as premium as it looks (these are ultra-value business laptops below even the E and L series, just above consumer laptops in quality, basically prosumer laptops).
I’m most shocked that this had 2x2280 Gen4 slots. I was not expecting that (and hadn’t ever read that in any review). I had actually looked at it because someone had asked me about potential upgrades for their E14 (available with the same 2.2K LCD), and then sadly I found one with good specs at a good price. I am weak. I hit buy.
I MAY actually end up getting a 2560x1600 400-nit LCD to try in this. I think the Innolux would fit, it’s a TINY bit different size (less than 1mm wide and tall), same depth, and same active display area. And the connector is in the same spot as the existing LCD. I really don’t feel the need to, the 2.2K LCD is actually great, but I’m a tinkerer at heart. But going up to WQXGA I’m not sure about, my Elitebook 845 G10 has that, and while I can use it (and in fact it’s the primary reason I bought it), it’s not as nice looking as the 2240x1400 on here without scaling.

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This list is exactly what I was searching for!
Thank you, there are all precious informations for me.
I’ll definitely add the laptops you suggested (and the one you just bought!) to the list of possibilities, they’re very interesting.
Actually I found a (probably) good deal for an HP Dev One on eBay from USA too, but I’m not totally sure about that. It looks an amazing laptop though.

One more question, since you change laptops like most people change underwear (please keep doing it :smiley: ). Do you know something about Asus VivoBooks? As I wrote there are some that seem to be exactly what I need, but I’m not sure of the compatibility…

VivoBooks are a entry level consumer grade laptop. I tend to avoid them because they generally have only 8GB or 16GB ram, it’s usually soldered, and generally the build quality is exactly what you’d expect when I say “entry level consumer grade”. Not to say some aren’t made well, but the quality control is essentially nonexistant. So one will be fantastic, and the next won’t even power on brand new out of the box. With most of them being unupgradable RAM, poor quality control, and either poor displays or OLED’s (which kill batteries, I prioritize the display quality and efficiency above all else), they’re not a laptop line I have any interest in.
ZenBooks are a little better quality, usually have better displays (or OLEDs again), but still suffer from the only soldered and only 16GB ram issue.
As far as Linux compatibility, they mostly work. Many times the ACPI support will rely on Windows firmware & drivers to correct, so you’ll have LOADS of ACPI issues (most aren’t important and won’t affect you), and you must have Windows to update the BIOS.

I see. I’ll avoid it then.
The laptop you suggested, do they all come with a 100%sRGB monitor, at least as an option? I’m trying to figure it out but it doesn’t seem a so easy to find information (no idea why though).
I ask because a solid multimedia compartment is a must for me and I really can’t stand 45% ntsc monitors and their “colors”, so I want to be sure.

Yes, although all of them I its the 400-nit low power 72% NTSC (which is ~100% sRGB) screen. Some have options for OLEDs instead that are 100% DCI-P3 which is significantly higher than 100% sRGB. Some for 2.2K LCD’s that are 100% sRGB but only 300-nit brightness (the same as I have on this ThinkBook). Good display despite not being insanely bright, but not a low-power display.
The Elitebook has a 2560x1600 500-nit LCD available (I have it on my G10). NICE display, but the absolute upper end of usable on a 14" without scaling. And battery killer. But beautiful.

Got it. Thank you.
About T14s, are previous gens any good? I have found a good deal for a T14s G1 AMD, but since you mentioned G3 I’m curious about the pro/cons