Top 5 Linux Laptops to Build a Fast and Powerful Workstation

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Even though Microsoft Windows and Mac OS are the most popular operating systems some of us prefer using Linux. Linux operating system is mostly used by programmers because it is open source, which means that it is modifiable for different uses. Linux has various distributions that are customizable based on the needs of the user. 

You will find numerous Linux distributions that pertain to different requirements. There are Linux distributions for hackers, Linux distributions for programmers, Linux distributions for extremely old computers, and much more. There is a Linux for everyone who wants a customizable operating system.

Windows might be user-friendly, but Linux is an efficient and reliable system that rarely crashes. Linux makes up for more than a third of all the servers used on the internet. With the addition of user-friendly desktop environments, office suites, web browsers, and even games, developers have made it more suitable for home and office desktops. 

Albeit, Windows is more advanced than Linux, the latter is still at the frontline of the competition because it is free and more reliable. Yes, most laptops and computers in the market are powered by Windows. Windows 10 is currently the king of operating systems, but there are some manufacturers in the market that chose to install Linux instead of Windows on their PCs. 

Here are a few best Linux laptops that you can choose from. 

1. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8

 

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Product Highlights

With the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8, Lenovo is targeting the enterprise users that want to use Linux operating system. This is one of the most portable and quick charging laptops on the market. With up to 18 hours of battery, it will let you finish work without the need for intermittent charging. The wide viewing angles and facility to rotate up to 180-degree lets you work even under the sun. 

Features

With a 14 inch glossy screen, the laptop is fitted with a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 and houses up to 16GB of RAM. It comes with the flexibility to choose from a range of processors from 8th quad-core Core i5 to 10th generation hexa-core Core i7. You can choose from the options according to your processing speed demands and budget. 

The X1 Carbon gives you a choice between 1080p and 4k display. As is the norm, 4k display provides rich and well-saturated pictures compared to the former. Don’t try and play a graphic intensive game on this laptop because it isn’t built for it. The frame rate can reach around 30fps and does not match the minimum requirement for most games. 

To ensure that your sensitive data is protected the X1 Carbon is equipped with a dTPM 2.0 chip. This encrypts all confidential information before being transmitted. The laptop has a webcam cover, referred to as a ThinkShutter that helps cover your lens. 

What We Like About Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8

The X1 Carbon generates minimal noise up to 31.5 dB when working under high loads and is therefore quiet. 

What We Don’t Like About Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8

It is not suitable for playing graphic-intensive games and does not have Wi-Fi 6 capability. 

        Pros        Cons
FHD touchscreen
High dynamic range technology shows clear text
18 hours battery life
Expensive

2. Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition

 

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Product Highlights

The Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition is an Ubuntu-powered laptop made by Dell and Canonical. Dell aims to offer Linux users commercial assurance with this product. The XPS 13 has pre-loaded Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and comes with the basics that should work with most Linux distributions. This product is one of Dell’s most popular models. It is a sleek and good looking laptop that has top-notch hardware and good battery life.

Features

The XPS 13 Developer’s edition ships with an Intel Core i7 8th Gen microprocessor. It houses a four-core, hyperthreaded i7-8550U CPU operating at a 1.8GHz frequency. The system sports 16GB of RAM which can be increased to 32 GB. 

The product has a 4K UHD+ touchscreen. It has a uniform, slim bezel all the way around, with a screen aspect ratio of 16:10. The 4k display contributes to crisp and clear images. It has enough power to handle an average day of work which includes running a web browser, using the Windows subsystem for Linux, videoconferencing with Zoom, and streaming music to a Bluetooth speaker.

What We Like About Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition

The XPS 13 Developers Editions houses a 52 Whr battery that can last up to 18 hours with a single charge. 

What We Don’t Like About Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition

It doesn’t offer many connectivity options. There is no Ethernet jack, no HDMI port, and no USB-A port.

        Pros        Cons
4k display
Great for developers
Good battery life
Fewer connectivity options
Expensive

3. System 76 Oryx Pro

 

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Product Highlights

Many of us might not have heard of System76. The company is located in Denver and follows the “by hackers, for hackers” ethos. This Linux laptop maker has refreshed its high-end Oryx Pro machine with new Intel Core CPUs and Nvidia graphics to attract developers. The 2020 Oryx Pro Linux laptop is an upgrade to System76’s 2015 Oryx Pro model and accompanies an eight-core Intel Comet Lake 10th generation Core i710875H processor, from Intel’s high-power H-series lineup. The laptop comes with either System76’s own Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS 64-bit or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS 64-bit pre-installed. 

Features

The laptop is available with a 15.6-inch or 17.3-inch 4K HiDPI display. It houses 32 GB of DDR4 RAM operating at 2400MHz, a half-terabyte NVMe SSD, and an 8GB NVIDIA GTX 1070.  The laptop has negligible boot times and the graphics card improves the performance of the device. Also, to save the battery you can switch to Intel graphics from Nvidia graphics. 

The graphics card lets you play high-resolution games at maximum settings and also guarantees a decent frame rate. Coupled with a glare-resistant matte display and backlit keyboard, this laptop can surely enhance your gaming experience. 

What We Like About System 76 Oryx Pro

The laptop has a backlit keyboard with a numeric keypad.

What We Don’t Like About System 76 Oryx Pro

Even if the laptop is put into battery saver mode, it still draws a significant amount of power and shuts down in around four hours. 

        Pros        Cons
8GB NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphics card
Packed with features that help develop and play games
Matte finish
Power draw is significantly higher

4. Lambda Tensorbook 

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Product Highlights

Lambda Labs is a company that builds custom deep learning laptops and workstations. If you want a deep learning mobile workstation, choose Lambda Tensorbook. This is a powerful laptop made for AI, mobile deep learning, and machine learning available at an affordable cost. Rather than paying for an expensive cloud computing service, you can invest in Tensorbook for high-end computing power for running resource-intensive projects. 

Features

Lambda focuses primarily on data scientists and machine learning engineers. From a machine learning perspective, aspects to consider are 8GB GPU, 8 cores processor, a memory of 64 GB, and 2TB storage. It is available with both operating systems MS Windows and Linux Ubuntu.

The 8 GB Pascal GTX 1070 GPU that is housed in the laptop improves the Tensorbook to help run training processes effortlessly. It is powerful enough to handle artificial learning and deep learning training workloads along with coding tasks. Tensorbook can be considered as a portable AI notebook equipped with a strong GPU with machine learning libraries pre-installed. 

What We Like About Lambda Tensorbook 

The unit has pre-installed Lambda Stack AI software to ensure that software and driver upgrades are installed instantly and smoothly.

What We Don’t Like About Lambda Tensorbook 

Internal speakers are of bad quality. 

        Pros        Cons
Excellent Linux OS and tools for software development
Excellent graphics processor
Doubles as a high-performance machine learning and personal laptop
Does not have an in-built webcam

5. ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 Ultra-Slim Convertible Laptop

 

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Product Highlights

Launched along with the ZenBook 14 (UM431) in November last year, the ZenBook Flip 14 (UM462) can be considered as a hybrid equivalent of the former with an optional processor upgrade. Instead of the ZenBook 14’s AMD Ryzen 5 3500U, the latter hosts an AMD Ryzen 7 3700U chip with up to 4.0GHz of boosted clock speed while retaining the same four-core eight-thread setup. ZenBook Flip 14 is a swift convertible laptop with a 14-inch FHD display and long-lasting battery life.

Features

Powered by the modern AMD processor with 8GB of RAM, the computer houses PCIe NVMe solid-state drive. The integrated 2GB Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU powers the brilliant graphics processing. This helps enhance the performance of your PC and boost gaming speed. 

The vibrant, colorful screen you notice on this laptop is a result of Nvidia graphics. The screen has the ability to reproduce 100 percent of the colors to create the perfect image. The colors look natural and well saturated. You can work on it even under bright sunlight as the glare is less. Also, you can tilt the screen to a maximum viewing angle of 178 degrees. 

What We Like About ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 Ultra-Slim Convertible Laptop

The unit can handle multitasking on numerous applications without any signs of lag or stuttering.

What We Don’t Like About ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 Ultra-Slim Convertible Laptop

The colors are slightly muted on the display. 

        Pros        Cons
Lightweight
Well designed
2GB Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU for brilliant graphics processing
Stylus is not too responsive

Buyer’s Guide

Here are a few factors to research before you buy a Linux laptop.

  • Basic workstation features

When you choose a Linux laptop, make sure they have basic features. The laptop should be able to efficiently handle your day to day tasks like web browsing, video streaming, and coding without any lag and stutter. Go for a laptop with 4 GB RAM, 1080p display, and at least 64 GB of storage space. 

  • Gaming

If you are picking a Linux laptop for gaming, check the GPU and the RAM that the computer hosts. Most graphics-intensive games these days need certain minimum requirements to function flawlessly. Have a check on the features of your laptop and find out whether it is possible to game without lagging. 

  • Linux distribution

If you are looking for a laptop that can run a Linux distribution, research the components of the laptop. Any laptop with all-Intel components will work flawlessly. If you are tech-savvy, finding the correct Linux version and configuration for chosen hardware should be easy. Linux installation is made quite easy by a global network of Linux support forums and user groups. They are one of the best support groups available to you 24×7 for your assistance if you come across any installation issues and the tips are free because it is open source.

Conclusion 

Linux is a product that, since its beginnings in 1991, has been used by tech-savvy coders and programmers. It eventually gained popularity because it was free and had many features that could easily beat Windows. While major companies manufacture systems powered by Windows there are certain small companies like System 76 that cater to Linux enthusiasts. Technically speaking, you can install Linux on any laptop if you have the technical knowledge and the patience for it. An easier way to do it would be to invest in a Linux laptop. 

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