June 7, 2023

Linux will work on nearly any PC. I imply that actually. Bear in mind the Intel Pentium 4 processor? It is nonetheless supported by Debian Linux. That mentioned, Linux runs higher on some laptops than others. As of late fairly a couple of big-name PC makers even provide official help for Linux, that means you might have someplace to show if issues go awry.

That will help you determine one of the best Linux laptop computer to your excellent rig, I have been putting in (or attempting to put in) Linux on each laptop computer I’ve examined for the previous three years. Virtually all of them labored nice, however some had been simpler to get working than others. Various of my favorites include Linux proper out of the field.

Make sure you take a look at our different shopping for guides, like Finest Laptops, Finest Low-cost Laptops, Finest MacBooks, and The right way to Select the Proper Laptop computer.

Desk of Contents

  1. Finest for the Minimalist
  2. Finest for the Maximalist
  3. Finest Repairable
  4. Finest for Hackers
  5. Finest for Sysadmins
  6. If Your Finances Is Tight
  7. What to Look For in a Linux Laptop computer

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Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Version was one of many first big-name laptops to ship with Linux and it stays the lightest, smallest laptop computer with Linux put in. This configuration sports activities a Twelfth-Era Intel i7-1250U processor, 32 GB of RAM (soldered), and a 1-TB SSD. It ships with Ubuntu Linux 20.04, however in my testing, it can fortunately run any distro from Fedora to Arch (Dell help applies solely to Ubuntu although). Once you’re on the product web page, ensure you select Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS as your working system (it defaults to Home windows). 

For extra particulars on the {hardware}, see our evaluation of the Home windows model (6/10 WIRED Assessment). Whereas efficiency was not nice with Home windows, I’ve not discovered the identical to be true utilizing Ubuntu. The principle disadvantage to this machine is the dearth of ports. There are two USB-C ports, one among which is your charging port. There is not even a headphone jack. 

If the Dell’s lack of ports leaves you wanting, that is the laptop computer for you. System76’s Pangolin (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a 15-inch, AMD-powered monster of a laptop computer with each port a sysadmin might hope for. This config ships with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U, 32 GB of RAM (soldered), and a 250-GB SSD. You’ll be able to configure the Pangolin with as much as 8 TB of storage.

The battery life is nice for the dimensions—it lasts all day in most use instances—nevertheless it’s inferior to the Dell. The keyboard, alternatively, is improbable and an actual pleasure to sort on. The one draw back is the quantity pad, which makes the trackpad off-center. The port choice is the place the Pangolin actually shines. There’s Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Kind-C port (with DisplayPort help, however not Thunderbolt), three USB-A ports, a 3.5-mm headphone/microphone combo jack, and a full-size SD card reader. 

Most Repairable and Future-Proof

In order for you a laptop computer you possibly can improve, Framework’s Laptop computer is one of the best Linux rig for you. There are a couple of flavors out there. I examined the second launch of the 13-inch mannequin (8/10, WIRED Recommends) and beloved it. Proper now you possibly can preorder an AMD Ryzen 7 7040 or Intel Core Thirteenth-Gen sequence system with 32 GB of RAM, a 2-TB SSD, and whichever mixture of ports fits your wants for round $1,400. That can ship with no working system. When it arrives you possibly can set up Linux your self (or decide to ship it with Home windows if that you must twin boot). The one catch is that the AMD mannequin ships within the third quarter of the 12 months, although the Intel model will ship in June. If you happen to’re okay with the previous-gen chips, you possibly can seize one as we speak.

I examined Ubuntu, which Framework helps, and Arch Linux, and each labored nice (although Framework doesn’t formally help Arch). My solely gripe about utilizing the Framework is my gripe about virtually any Linux laptop computer: Battery life could possibly be higher. 

The System76 Oryx Professional is available in both 15-inch or 17-inch fashions with Twelfth-Gen Intel processors and Nvidia graphics (both the 3070 Ti or 3080 Ti GPU). There are alternatives for a shiny, OLED 4K display, as much as 64 GB of RAM, and as much as 8 TB of SSD area. It is not low-cost, however the Oryx Professional is by far essentially the most highly effective laptop computer on this web page. Just like the Pangolin above, the Oryx ships with both System76’s Pop_OS! or Ubuntu Linux. Not like the Pangolin, the Intel chip within the Oryx Professional means it ships with Coreboot, and open supply firmware.

OK, OK, it is corny, however there’s one thing concerning the Lenovo X1 Carbon Linux version that makes me need to set up Kali Linux and begin probing the espresso store Wi-Fi. Regardless of the case, this can be a slick laptop computer for these of us who assume ThinkPads are, ahem, slick. That slickness comes at a severe value although. For nearly double the worth of our different picks, you get a Thirteenth-Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 256-GB SSD (a lot of that is customizable). 

On the plus facet, you do get a pleasant 2K (2,880 X 1,800), OLED, anti-glare display. I’ve not had an opportunity to check this newest mannequin, however I actually just like the earlier launch (8/10, WIRED Recommends,) and the brand new model is primarily a spec bump. It is continuously on sale.

{Photograph}: Lenovo

One of many beauties of Linux is that it requires fewer sources and maintains help for older {hardware} far longer than Home windows or macOS. Meaning you needn’t lay our a fortune on a brand new laptop computer; you possibly can breathe life into an outdated one or seize a used laptop computer off eBay. I’ve been doing this for years, working my method by means of Lenovo’s X-series laptops (beginning with an X220, now an X14 Gen 1), however outdated Dell and Asus laptops are additionally nice for Linux. If you happen to decide to purchase used, take a look at our information to purchasing used on eBay to ensure you get deal.

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