Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

All Gurus once were Newbies
Forum rules
There are no such things as "stupid" questions. However if you think your question is a bit stupid, then this is the right place for you to post it. Please stick to easy to-the-point questions that you feel people can answer fast. For long and complicated questions prefer the other forums within the support section.
Before you post please read how to get help
Post Reply
cecilieaux
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:43 am
Location: Washington, D.C.

Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by cecilieaux »

I put this here because I couldn't figure out where else to put it. I realize this is a matter of likes and opinions, but I would like to hear some thoughts

I have a desktop and a Dell laptop. The latter is not faring all that well and I'm thinking of replacing it (I've had it 6 years).

I saw an HP with 8 GB ram and a 1TB drive for under $1,000, where they'll install with Linux. (See https://thelinuxlaptop.com/product_info ... cts_id/106)

I'm also wondering whether Linux Mint 20 or Ubuntu 20.04. Any reason why NOT to return to Ubuntu (I couldn't stand the Unity GUI), especially since there's Cinnamon?

Any opinions? I realize this is not a hard science and it's all a matter of preference.
Last edited by cecilieaux on Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cecilieaux
--
Every time I think I'm past newbiedom something like this happens.
Running Linux Mint Cinnamon 20.0 Ulyana
User avatar
lsemmens
Level 11
Level 11
Posts: 3526
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:07 pm
Location: Rural South Australia

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by lsemmens »

Unfortunately you'll get a myriad of opinions. Mine is, look out for the auctions where they sell off old govt computers. I've always done well there. I bring one home and install Mint on it, no probs for another few years.
Fully mint Household
Out of my mind - please leave a message
User avatar
whispers
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:41 pm
Location: Gippsland.Victoria

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by whispers »

my 2 cents worth = stick to DELL i5 15" latitude and live happily ever after
LM 20 Ulyana , Cinnamon , Toshiba Satellite Pro C665 - 8GB - CORE 2 2381MHZ
Petermint
Level 6
Level 6
Posts: 1130
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:12 am

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by Petermint »

For laptop, SSD is far safer than a spinning platter of rust. The keyboard is next if you type a lot, I never buy without road testing the keyboard.

If you buy a good brand, you can open up the case and replace the disk, memory, and battery. Look for the how-to video on how to upgrade before you purchase.

The fastest changing part of a computer is USB. I am waiting for real USB 3.2 (gen 2)on an affordable notebook.
ralplpcr
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 851
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:11 am

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by ralplpcr »

cecilieaux wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:34 pm
I'm also wondering whether Linux Mint 20 or Ubuntu 10.04.....
I'm assuming this is a typo - - Ubuntu 10.04 is quite old, and has been out of support for some time? :D Given the choice, I certainly prefer Mint, but like you said, it's a personal preference.

My advice? Look for "clearance" or "outlet" models from whichever manufacturer you decide to use. Linux tends to somewhat "lag behind" in support of some of the latest processor & video support of the newest models compared to Windows. A "last generation" laptop will still perform very well, and will likely be much better supported than something bleeding-edge that's been tuned solely for Windows, as the Linux community has had time to develop support for the older hardware.

ThinkPads & some Dell systems tend to work very well with Mint/Ubuntu. ASUS can also be good. If you have any questions about compatibility, you can always get the specs of the laptop you're considering & post here - - we'll be glad to do a little checking & let you know what you might be able to expect?
cecilieaux
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:43 am
Location: Washington, D.C.

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by cecilieaux »

ralplpcr wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:19 am
cecilieaux wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:34 pm
I'm also wondering whether Linux Mint 20 or Ubuntu 10.04.....
I'm assuming this is a typo - - Ubuntu 10.04 is quite old, and has been out of support for some time?
I meant 20.04 (now corrected, thanks!).
Cecilieaux
--
Every time I think I'm past newbiedom something like this happens.
Running Linux Mint Cinnamon 20.0 Ulyana
cecilieaux
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:43 am
Location: Washington, D.C.

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by cecilieaux »

Petermint wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:27 am
For laptop, SSD is far safer than a spinning platter of rust.
My only fear is I hear that SSDs die faster. Has the life of SSDs been extended in recent years? Would it last 10 years?
Cecilieaux
--
Every time I think I'm past newbiedom something like this happens.
Running Linux Mint Cinnamon 20.0 Ulyana
anglinux
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2020 3:34 pm

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by anglinux »

I'm using a HP 14-dk0002dx
(https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c06429939)
SSD, Ram and Wireless card can be replaced, and it is somewhat "new" I guess. CPU not as powerful than your choice.

I bet some HP systems also work.
Anyone with any experience with Purism?
Petermint
Level 6
Level 6
Posts: 1130
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:12 am

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by Petermint »

The top SSD brands are more reliable that mechanical disk and do not break if you bump them while in use. There is little that can damage an SSD. A continuously operating defrag is the only thing you would switch off as a defrag is only useful for reducing seek times on mechanical disks.

SSDs do slow down when hot so clean the fans every year. Rotating disks break when you top/start them 50,000 times, something that can happen with the wrong power saving options. SSDs are not damaged by constant flicking into low power modes.

I usually buy a top model notebook with the smallest SSD option, use it for a couple of weeks, then upgrade the SSD to the biggest Samsung option.

My current notebook was the top of the line Toshiba on sale due to Toshiba releasing an almost identical model with a different model number. I raided the shop clearance bins for me, my family, and friends. My machine was a $1000 off because the new model had radically different packaging. The actual new model machine was identical except for a 5% faster Intel CPU.

The shops had to clear out the old models. The magazines were promoting the updated Intel processors as if they were Thor's hammer. My cheap old model with the new improved SSD was several times faster.
griffintwosix
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 2:45 pm

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by griffintwosix »

I run LM20 on Lenovo IdeaPad S340-15IWL, w Intel Core i7. All parts are field replaceable and 100 % compatible with linux mint 20.
RIH
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 732
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:47 am

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by RIH »

Couple of years ago I had a bad experience with an HP at exactly the same time as my next door neighbour was having similar issues, so I have stayed clear of them since. They, obviously, may well have improved since.
Currently own a Lenovo & am VERY pleased with it & have recommended friends to buy similar without complaints.
Yesterday I loaded Mint 20 onto a friends' new Lenovo idealpad S340. Took me a while to suss out how to change Intel RST to ACSI in BIOS. However once that hurdle was breached the install went flawlessly & the machine is really impressive running Mint 20..
bt101
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:30 am

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by bt101 »

My 2 cents.

I'm with those that say to get a used, last generation machine.
First, I'm cheap ;-)
BTW I don't want a machine that is slow, but I'm not one of those people who will spend 10x the price to get rid of that last millisecond of waiting for an app to open.

You can get a nice business machine for less than the price of a consumer model (local buy/sell sites or online sellers).
I did a "little" investigation on SSD. I was kinda bummed that my older machine didn't support NVME drives. After looking online, I found a post where I guy said he had several machines with both NVME and SATA SSDs and the boot time was really close. So I bought the lowest price ADATA SSD from Amazon and I'm happy as it made a big diff from the spinning drive. Yes, I know that gurus would test this drive and it they would laugh at the "sustained" throughput, but I'm happy with the boot time and time to launch apps.

The bonus of an older machine is that the kernel that comes with most distributions is sometimes a bit behind-the-times, so you'll have better luck that all the hardware on a last generation machine will be supported in the kernel.

A while ago I saw a sale on a brand new laptop and bought it (I was off my meds). It was a dirt cheap low powered laptop that I use mostly for a remote terminal and is light enough to carry if I need. Anyway, I loaded Mint onto it and I found that some the devices didn't work (track pad, cheap internal "SSD", wifi, etc). That's when I learned that the kernel may not support the latest hardware. I did upgrade the kernel to the very latest and it fixed all but one thing (could never hibernate using the lid). Anyway, lesson learned, less headaches with older stuff.
Petermint
Level 6
Level 6
Posts: 1130
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:12 am

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by Petermint »

Cheap is good. Except for USB and network. Some new machines have 2.5k ethernet instead of 1k. Some new machines have real USB 3.2 (Gen 2 or later) instead of the fake gen 1. I need both. With 2 * Gen 2 ports, I could add 2.5k, 5k, or 10k ethernet via USB plus external HDMI plus all my fast external disks. For me, 2 * Gen 2 is a must!

Everything else of interest has very little difference between the best of the previous generation and the affordable bits of the latest generation. The sales person might say the new stuff is 5000% faster but it is really only 5%. Sales people are just bad at maths when it is anything other than working out their commission.

One suggestion for the latest hardware. New Wifi chips can be a pain. If you do not have wired access, keep an option for Internet access. An old working USB Wifi. A USB cable from your 4G phone. You can always use the other options to access these forums and download software packages.
User avatar
AndyMH
Level 13
Level 13
Posts: 4512
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:23 pm
Location: Wiltshire

Re: Buying a new laptop, suggestions?

Post by AndyMH »

Save money, buy a second hand T series thinkpad.
Homebrew i5-8400+GTX1080 Cinnamon 19.0, 3 x Thinkpad T430 Cinnamon 19.0, i7-3632 , i5-3320, i5-3210, Thinkpad T60 19.0 Mate
Post Reply

Return to “Newbie Questions”