(Notebook-)Hardware recommendation?

Hi,

I’m starting a new job in 2022 and am told that I will be allowed to choose my hardware. What can you recommmend?

Hard requirements

  • Notebook, no numpad
  • Must be decent to run KDE Plasma and a few VMs (2-3) without issues
  • 500GB SSD or more for /nix/store and /home, optionally another disk for /data
  • Good Battery life (8hrs on office workloads would be nice)
  • German Keyboard layout available
  • USB Connectivity with 2 or more USB2/3 ports (USB-C would be nice as well)
  • HDMI output

Soft requirements

  • Mobile data possible (not sure whether I get a smartphone with a mobile data plan that I can use as AP when traveling)
  • Full-HD should do. As I don’t want a numpad the size is restricted to 15" or less anyways, Full-HD should be perfectly fine. Of course I don’t complain about a better screen.
  • CPU Intel or AMD - I honestly don’t care as long as it works and is fast enough for my usecases
  • Camera quality. Better is better of course, but I don’t expect to video-chat too much.
  • Microphone quality. I don’t care, I will be wearing headphones for audio-calls anyways.

Non-requirements

  • It does not have to be the lightest of all notebooks, I can carry! :slight_smile:
  • Also, no experiments. I will be working 8 hours a day with the device, I don’t want to have to fiddle around with WLAN drivers, GPU drivers, etc etc. It has to work.

Usecase

I will be doing software development (Rust, maybe others) on the device, plus some office work (the usual stuff). I might be watching videos from time to time.
So: No video editing, no GPU-heavy work…

What I am thinking about is a well-powered Thinkpad right now, or a recent tuxedo with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD plus a decent CPU with 8 cores… But there might be others that I did not consider yet that you guys like.


I said nothing about the price range because I don’t yet know what I will be allowed to order price-wise. Keeping it reasonable of course, I guess.

I’m quite happy with my Dell Precision and for a business use case it’s nice that you can get 5 years of support with a technician coming to your house to repair it.
So you don’t have to send it away for weeks.
It’s quite configurable and powerful.
You can even get a version with Ubuntu preinstalled so you don’t have to pay for Windows.
Mine is 3 years old now and has a 6-core i7, 32GB RAM, 512SSD, 1080p matt screen and a 97Wh battery and still works very well.

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Dell Latitude. Works fine, but:

it’s nice that you can get 5 years of support with a technician coming to your house to repair it.

3 years but otherwise 1000 x this!

Fortunately NixOS obviously makes it trivial to have a spare machine (anything made in the last 5 years) lying around with the same software configuration, but the on-site part is phenomenal.

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Got a ThinkPad P14s after reading Domen’s blogpost on it: Domen Kožar
Don’t regret it. :slight_smile:

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Got a ThinkPad P14s after reading Domen’s blogpost on it: Domen Kožar
Don’t regret it. :slight_smile:

That sounds awesome indeed!

I’ll throw in a tentative suggestion for the Framework laptop. It’s not a perfect out of the box experience, based on a couple of nixos specific reviews, and it’s not the most powerful machine. But it’s very friendly to repair and upgrades. For instance they’ve claimed the mainboard form factor will remain the same for some generations, so e.g. when alder lake becomes available, you could probably upgrade it for the massive improvements that provides with minimal cost.

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That post from Domen sounds indeed awesome! I will definitively add this to my options!

Thought of that one as well but I thought that it didn’t have a German keyboard but it does!

I got a Tuxedo this year (a Pulse 15), and really enjoy the build
quality! The Auras don’t look to be quite as premium feeling.

The InfinityBooks look quite nice as well, overall very glad with my purchase.

Matthias Beyer via NixOS Discourse discourse@discourse.nixos.org writes:

I was eyeing Slimbook and Tuxedo but eventually decided to go with Lenovo X1 Yoga (Gen 6). You can order it with Ubuntu (to make sure everything works on Linux, though I doubt they use different HW version - at least FW updates are the same).

I comes with the latest Intel gen 11 CPU, up to 32GB RAM and 1TB disk. I’m really happy with it. The keyboard is really good well to my taste - and I do have experience with X230 and T460s. The build quality is rock solid - all magnesium. I think this rigidity is part of the reason why I prefer the its keyboard over T460s despite reduced key travel distance. I also like that fan exhaust points backwards so that keyboard/palm area stays always cool. I like the ports to variety - 2x USB-C (with PD), 2x USB-A (so my old dongles work), and dedicated HDMI as a backup.

I opted for the (gorgeous) 4k screen but they have FullHD versions as well.

Due to 4k and external monitor I need to run Wayland to have HiDPI working properly. Wayland + kde still have some glitches, at least on NixOS though, it literally gets better every week (I’m on unstable channel). The ultimate solution is expected with KDE 5.24 which is due in Feb where they will finally support notion of primary / secondary monitor in Wayland.

Otherwise, again, everything works - I use Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 dock that has display, mouse, DAC, ETH, studio mic, and extra USB hub connected to it and it’s all is made available to my laptop through a single TB4 cable (which charges as well of course). Stylus and touchscreen work out of the box and get auto-disabled when I flip it into book mode. Auto-rotate worked in Ubuntu but I didn’t care to install sensor driver in NixOS yet.

I really wanted to try 2-in-1 laptop because I’m used to place it below my main screen and with 2-in-1 you can flip keyboard backwards and use my full-size external keyboard while still having the laptop screen (and camera) available.

Hope it helps.

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I’ve been using nixos on a HP spectre x360 (2020) without any issues. I needed some hacking for screen rotation and proper touch screen when external monitors are connected, but this is probably also related to me not using a DE (rather a custom instantwm session).
Mine is 4k, but you can also get FHD which is probably even easier to setup (no HiDPI ist generally easier).

I’ll second the Framework suggestion. With the latest kernel, everything just works. The 3:2 ratio screen is one of its best features. Nice keyboard. Other keyboard layouts are going to be available, if they aren’t already.

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