Help me choose/build my Linux dev laptop

Hello, new user here. I tried finding the most appropriate forum to post in, but couldn’t find any better than this. If this category is wrong just forgive me, close this post and point me to the right one and I will repost it.

I’m not a hardware geek, I just have some basic understanding. I need a replacement Linux laptop for working, but cannot find the best one right now. Here are my needs:

  • Linux support: YES - and a good one :smiley:
  • Budget: 2500 Euro ± 10%
  • Location: EU
  • OS: best if no OS installed (but in any case I will wipe the disk as soon as i get the machine - so don’t care what it has on)
  • Keyboard: best if US international - without numpad keys
  • Memory: best if 32GB, bare min 16GB
  • Screen: currently using a QHD - and I love it. Best choice for me would be to stick with QHD/QHD+, alternatively UHD, alternatively FHD
  • Processor: quad core - anything is fine if it’s fast
  • GPU: everything is fine as long as it provides reliable OpenCL support (I do basic photo editing)
  • Disk: would like to upgrade to NVMe SSD. Min 512GB. No need for extra disks, but if there is space, then a big fat HDD is welcome.
  • Max workload: 1 Windows server VM, 1 Windows 10 VM, 2-3 Linux VMs, couple of browser instances + other software

The best candidate so far is this one, which I configured in the following way:

But I’m not conviced, the annoying things about this setup are

  • screen resolution non optimal
  • it probably has a plasticky case and it looks too '90s
  • I could spend double the price for a premium machine that will last me for the next 5 years, instead of going for a compromise

Thanks in advance

If i would choose a laptop for linux i would choose system76 laptops.
System76 has a pretty wide range of laptops and also they make sure the PopOS works perfectly with the systems they sell.
I would suggest you to go for Oryx Pro with your current budget.
They even make sure the Nvidia graphics have the drivers working as they are supposed to.
I do not own one right now but i will buy one really soon as a linux only machine. Now i switch from W10 to PopOS depending on the work i do :sweat_smile: and it sux, but mostly i prefer working on PopOS, the workflow on this distro is just amazing.I love it :smiley:

Hey, thanks for the reply.

I checked their page, but they seem to ship only to US and Canada.

In any case, the Oryx Pro has the weird keyboard with numpad - which i absolutely don’t want. I have also heard NVIDIA has bad reputation in terms of drivers for Linux.

The Lemur Pro 14’ seems a much better choice for me. I just contacted their sales team to ask if they ship to Italy and how much it is. ATM the configuration I choose comes at $1,662.00. I’ll likely also have to add 21% VAT if I order it from the US. I like the case much better than the one I have shown above. Let’s see what is the final price.

Unpopular opinion: MacBook Pro.

Here’s a 2019 one on eBay UK for €2400 (check your own country’s eBay, this one has a UK power adaptor).

  • 8-core i9-9880H
  • 16 GB RAM
  • Radeon Pro 5600M with 8 GB HBM2
  • 1 TB SSD
  • Premium construction
  • Best trackpad on the market, still
  • Very good audio
  • Very good screen (16:10, 500 cd/m², wide gamut, perfect resolution for 2× UI scale – 226ppi)

The popularity of them also makes finding support and repair easier. There might be a couple of annoying hoops to jump through installing Linux, but I’m sure it’s documented somewhere. I don’t know what Touch Bar support is like on Linux; unfortunately the non-Touch Bar models were discontinued ~2016 I think. People do have a perception that MacBooks are 3× the price than PC laptops, but they’re only 3× the price of the PC laptops that aren’t worth buying. A comparable XPS 15 and MacBook Pro cost within ~20% of each other.

Have you looked at the offerings from Lenovo and Dell?
X1 Carbon with Fedora
And XPS/Precision with Ubuntu

Lenovo even supports firmware updates via lvfs.


Hi, thanks for replying. I did look at Dell and Lenovo, but it seems not carefully enough! Apparently, you can customize both the screen resolution and the keyboard layouts. The only things I’m not sure about is whether I can add more memory at a later point.

I cannot find the Lenovo with Fedora on the italian Lenovo store.

I just digged deep in their (local) website and found these two options:

The Dell laptop has too few ports on the sides of the case for my taste, but I like it better and it costs less.

I just had a phone call with Lenovo and the memory is soldered onto the motherboard, so it’s not possible to add more.

I also tried to reach the Dell italian Sales, but apparently it does not exist (!) and if you phone the call center there is only the tech support, which tells you to reach the resellers for more information. Very disappointing.

System 76 oryx with coreboot. Spec it out they are nice of the serval ws coreboot if you want even more power but it’s not portable

Razer has nice linux support

Honestly Dell XPS 13 dev edition if you want something from a big manufacturer and good support.

That’s all I can think of.

I avoid: (like the plague)


If you want more ports, try Precision line from Dell. Those should also have the Linux option.*

*Dev/Linux editions often have a fixed BOM, and you won’t get ie. Incompatible WiFi.

IIRC i have heard on a Linux podcast that the Lenovo with Fedora is not listed on all international sites, but should be sold via phone globally.

I am very interested into xps13, but I still don’t know if the memory is soldered or if I can add/replace it. 16GB does not seem a long term solution, I plan to keep this new purchase for at least 3-4 years

The 2020 XPS 13 (see MobileTechReview video), and probably the previous 2–3 generations at least, have soldered memory. SODIMM memory is pretty rare in these more premium models. The business offerings like Dell Precision and ThinkPad might still have removable RAM.

To be honest, if you’re hesitant about 16 GB I would just get 32 GB upfront, but this is the guy that recommended a MacBook. :upside_down_face:

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