Replacement for Macbook Air (to run Ubuntu)

Discussion in 'Linux/BSD/Free Systems' started by /dev/null, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Hey guys,

    Just sold my 2015 (broadwell based) Macbook Air & looking for something better. Looking to buy a laptop (leaning toward Dell XPS 13) and my priorities are (in order):

    1) Linux compatibility
    2) Hardware Build quality
    3) Battery life (I'd love to have a user replaceable battery for my 12 hours+ of flights to Brazil)
    4) 13" or less.
    5) Price (under $1000)
    6) 8G ram or better
    7) 1920x1080 IPS screen or better
    8) I5-8xxx (does this work well with kernel 4.13 ? 4.15 ?) with integrated graphics.
    9) SSD: nvme, 256G or better.

    What should I be looking at after the Dell XPS? This one looks nice, but I'd like to have other options as well.

    Should I be considering Ryzen laptops? I'm open to that as well.
     
  2. TrailRunner

    TrailRunner Limp Gawd

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    At work we're issued HP Elitebooks. Good build quality, replaceable batteries even on the thin-and-lights, plus official Linux support (SUSE is offered as an OS option from the factory).
     
  3. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Thanks. How is battery life? I'm going to poke around the HP site a little...
     
  4. TrailRunner

    TrailRunner Limp Gawd

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    My previous laptop was a desktop replacement, 15", got about 7 hours. We were issued ulrabooks as replacements this spring, also 15" chassis size, also about 7 hours.
     
  5. bman212121

    bman212121 [H]ard|Gawd

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    https://www.amazon.com/ZenBook-UX390UA-i7-7500U-Fingerprint-Windows/dp/B075FVDRK2

    The Asus Zenbooks are usually decent, so it might be worth a look at one of those. The XPS 13 is also a solid bet as well.


    User replaceable batteries are kind of a thing of the past, so I don't know how many devices you'll still be able to buy with one. Most ultrabooks are not replaceable. If for whatever reason you don't have access to an AC outlet some of the newer ultrabooks allow charging from Type-C. So pick up one of those big 10K or 20K mAH battery cells and you can probably squeak a couple more hours out of the small laptops.

    https://www.amazon.com/Anker-PowerCore-Ultra-High-Capacity-Portable/dp/B014ZO46LK

    From what I'm reading you definitely want to look at reviews to make sure it's compatible. I would have thought that USB-C charging would be fairly standard, but there appears to be quite a few caveats to which models actually work with these battery packs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
  6. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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  7. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Anyone have experience with Samsung Notebook 9 Spin/Pro?

    MC has some big discounts on those. Wondering how quality is...

    Pro I linked here is $799 but has 4k screen and GTX 950...
     
  8. DGMurdockIII

    DGMurdockIII Limp Gawd

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    Get a system 76 system they are made for Linux and support it
     
  9. octane

    octane [H]Lite

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    Don't get as ASUS. They refuse to sell even registered repairers spare parts (at least in my locale), the only parts they'll sell are batteries and chargers. They expect you to take the device back to ASUS for repair and charge more than the device is worth in many cases.

    Even Acer sell every part you need, no worries.
     
  10. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Anyone have experience with the LG Gram? I have read some forum posts (another forum, not here) that Linus himself uses these & likes them. Only downside is the screen is a bit flexible due to very thin materials & very low weight (2.07 lb / 939g )
     
  11. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    My advice is like this:

    1. Try to avoid hybrid graphics like the plague unless one GPU can be disabled in UEFI. Linux and hybrid graphics is still a weakness, sadly.
    2. Avoid 4k screens, 4k on the average laptop screen is just too small even with effective scaling options. 1080p with an IPS display is the sweet spot when it comes to laptops.
    3. Sleek is nice, but under Linux you need battery capacity, even a removable battery if possible so you can swap it out on the go - So don't let sexiness become a deciding factor in your decision making process.

    System76 use rebadged Clevo's, have you looked into those? Here in AU they're a rip off, but they may be affordable in your locale.
     
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  12. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    System76 looked expensive compared to the other options. I'm leaning towards 1080p vs higher as I've read battery life is better. Not sure what options are for removable batteries.
     
  13. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    System76 are expensive, but if you can find a reseller selling plain old Clevo's you may be on a win. Sadly I've never found one selling OEM Clevo's for a reasonable price here in AU.
     
  14. swatbat

    swatbat [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I have the xps 13 developer edition(2017 model).

    Overall it is a good little notebook and the qhd or whatever touchscreen mine has is really nice. The trackpad on it leaves some to be desired but it's a really thin notebook. As of right now dell doesn't have any propriety drivers on that model although it does come with their driver loader on their ubuntu install. They have been pushing any code they do into linux.

    Looks like microcenter has it cheaper with windows on it but for a grand you can get it from dell with ubuntu loaded, i5, 8 gigs, 256 m2, 1080p non touch.

    Biggest downside is you can't upgrade the memory in it and the touchpad. I've had mine for almost a year though(i7, 8gig, 256, higher res touchscreen) and have been very happy with it. Can't really speak for battery life though as I haven't used it in that long of a setting without being plugged in somewhere.

    Edit: Dell has a ac adapter/usb power pack thing for the xps although I thought it got bad ratings. Something to consider though.

    Yea system76 just uses rebranded clevo's that they have the keyboard custom printed with a ubuntu key instead of the windows logo on it. I've always seen this as their issue too, you can(at least in the US) find the same notebook through a reseller in whitebox for a good bit cheaper. Wouldn't surprise me if one of those companies is the one imaging them for system 76 as they don't do it themselves. They have admitted before that whoever does final assembly for them images them as well as a way to cut costs. In the end the notebooks are generally not as nice as your dell and hp business systems or apple and samsung laptops. Clevo might even make some of those, just to a higher standard.

    Personally I think the xps is going to be one of your best bets, I'd personally buy the developer edition directly from them for the support.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  15. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Took a look on Dells website. The Ubuntu versions i found only have the 7th gen i-* processors. Are they available with the 8th gen? If not, heard anything about a release date for the dev edition with 8th gen?

    If not going 8th gen, maybe I should go for something like this? Edit: Sadly thats from an XPS deal posted in July :(

    [​IMG]
     
  16. octane

    octane [H]Lite

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    The 7xxxU processors are still a pretty capable piece of kit.

    Althoough I did find this link that tends to indicate that the newer models have i7 8550U's fitted.

    http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc...ptops-and-netbooks/dell-xps-13-1328971/review
     
  17. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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  18. swatbat

    swatbat [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I hadn't realized the 8th gen version was out. I'm guessing the developer edition isn't far behind.
     
  19. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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  20. swatbat

    swatbat [H]ardForum Junkie

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  21. octane

    octane [H]Lite

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  22. AltTabbins

    AltTabbins [H]ard as it Gets

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    Looks like the page was taken down. I know they are releasing details in CES. They generally have it for sale a day or two after announcement. At least thats how it was with the XPS 15 that I run at work.

    Also my vote goes to the XPS line. 13 or 15. They both work flawlessly in every distro I've tossed on them. I even have a Precision 3800 (basically the precision version of the XPS) and its works great with Ubuntu 17.10 on it now.
     
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  23. swatbat

    swatbat [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I can see see the 8th gen i series developer edition on dells site and configure one.
     
  24. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I see the 8th gen now.

    So here are some comparisons between the "13" and "new 13"
    all 7th gen are 2 core, 4 thread (including i7)
    all 8th gen are 4 core, 8 thread (including i5!)

    ===================
    "13" (price after XPS10 coupon all 1920x1080, Ubuntu)
    i5-7200U
    4G, 128G: $765
    8G, 128G: $810
    8G, 256G: $900

    i7-7560U
    8G, 256G: $1,125
    8G, 512G: $1,260

    ===================
    "New 13"

    i5-8250u
    4G, 128G: $974
    8G, 128G: $1074
    8G, 256G: $1174

    i7-8550u
    8G, 256G: $1,424

    Microcenter (9360??)
    =========
    i5-8250u, 8G, 256 (windows) = $900
    i7-8550u, 8G, 256 (windows) = $1100
     
  25. Biznatch

    Biznatch 2[H]4U

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    Lenovo Yoga 720 13 would fit the bill. I have the i5 version I got for ~600$, but there is an i7 version as well for ~750$. 1920x1080 IPS touch screen (convertible), 8GB ram, 256GB solid state, USB C, very small/thin. I'm running Ubuntu 17.10. Easy install and all hardware/drivers are working flawlessly.
     
  26. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    With the huge performance hit of meltdown (yep I sometimes do push my system...) I'm thinking maybe the appropriate thing to do is wait until the Ryzen APUS show up. Hopefully they aren't all in sub $700 bargain basement machines or in $1200+ 6 pound gaming laptops. Still thinking about it....
     
  27. Biznatch

    Biznatch 2[H]4U

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    It's not that big of a hit, and only specific workloads/system calls are affected, like DB/Web services.
     
  28. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I heard VM hit is big & I kind of hope to do vm stuff as well....
     
  29. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Well I see the XP13/15 (certified refurbed/new/scratch/dent) are on sale at Dell. It's 3 gens old (9360/93560 vs9370 & 9370 "new" have been released) but the deals don't look half bad. Big disappointment is can't get 16G ram with 1080p screen on the 13"

    Some examples (prices after 20% coupon - 9360, 15% coupon - 9560)
    XPS13 (9360 - cert refurb)

    i3-7100U, 4G, 128G: $480
    i5-7200U, 4G, 128G: $576

    i7-8550U, 8G, 256G: $780
    I7-7560U, 8G, 256G: $798
    I7-7560U, 8G, 512G: $870
    i7-8550U, 8G, 512G: $1,070
    i7-8550U, 16G, 512G: $1,106 (3200x1800)

    XPS15 (9560 cert refurb - Has GTX 1050, 1080p)
    i7-7700HQ, 8G, 256G: $924
    i7-7700HQ, 16G, 512G: $1,115
    i7-7700HQ, 16G, 1T: $1,243

    Edit: Interestingly they also have some sales on the business side as well.

    I found an Precision M3250 with the following specs, price after 12% coupon:
    E3-1505Mv6, 32G ECC ram, 512G ssd, 3 year in-home/on-site warranty, $1,211
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  30. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Ended up deciding to get something a lot more basic & waiting for spectre/meltdown to be fixed.

    If I'm short on ram I can pop in another 8G chip, and if the ssd sucks, I can drop in my own NVME (although this laptop only has x2 lanes alloacted from what I've read). TB3 port is supposed to have x4 lanes, which means E-gpu is even a possibility.

    $794 all-in.
    Latitude 7480
    Win 10 Pro (will keep it around for bios updates & that is about it)
    1920x1080 IPS
    I5-7300U
    256G ssd (sata I think...)
    8G ddr4
    Thunderbolt 3 port
    3 years in-home/on-site warrany
    60wh battery