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Author Topic: What hardware do people use for Linux?  (Read 1040 times)

Bowdon

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What hardware do people use for Linux?
« on: November 29, 2019, 04:36:14 PM »

I'm still considering a move to Linux, but I've got a dilemma.

I have a couple of old laptops. But I was wondering if because of the age of them maybe they either aren't suitable or I wouldn't be able to experience the full abilities of Linux on the old laptops.

So then I was wondering, do people buy new pc/laptop for their Linux, or do they build their own machine?

What do the people who use Linux use? Old hardware, bought new hardware, or bought new build hardware?
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roseway

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2019, 06:44:31 PM »

I've been building my own PCs for many years, and that's where my main computing activity is. I don't like laptops because I'm fussy about the keyboard (I use an IBM Model M which is the best keyboard ever made. By building the PCs myself I get exactly what I want, which includes low noise and good quality reliable components.

Regarding old laptops, you'll probably find that they are fine with Linux, depending on how limited their memory and disk space are. Very recent laptops may be a problem because of hardware which Linux hasn't caught up with yet.
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burakkucat

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2019, 06:47:44 PM »

In my case, I have hardware that is over 20 years old, hardware that is over 9 years old and hardware that is over 6 years old.  :)

The first was given to me when it was then seven years old and needed to be repurposed & refurbished. The latter two were purchased new.
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MartinGoose

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2019, 09:06:47 PM »

So then I was wondering, do people buy new pc/laptop for their Linux, or do they build their own machine?

What do the people who use Linux use? Old hardware, bought new hardware, or bought new build hardware?

Any/all of the above. I have never encountered a PC or laptop that does not run Linux (PCLinuxOS in my case). My two desktops, one bought and one home built, both have 2nd gen Intel chips. My laptop is a Dell XPS13 which is just over a year old, with very modern hardware.

Stck with a distribution that has a fairly up-to-date kernel and you should be OK. Old hardware that you already have can be tested with a good liveCD to see how it goes before installation.

Take courage and give Linux a try!
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2019, 09:12:41 PM »

Personally I’d say one needs to use hardware that is appropriate to the purpose for which a machine will be used, regardless of the operating system that will be used?

If fast number crunching is involved, you need a fast CPU.
If memory intensive you need lots of RAM.
If graphics intensive, you need a suitable combination of CPU and GPU.
If lots of data storage then plenty of disk space.
A 64 bit CPU might be mandated by memory addressing requirements, or maybe if some applications demand it.

and etc   ... but all of these apply regardless of OS.

That said, on older hardware you may find that regardless of it being adequate, Linux might install where Microsoft operating systems may fail/refuse to install.
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broadstairs

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2019, 10:14:09 PM »

I run an AMD 64bit quad core cpu which is now probably 5 or 6 years old, it has 8gb real memory and I find it really hard to max it out in memory terms so it uses swap, the only use I really make for swap is hibernation! I do photo editing and video editing and it never seems to strain it. I dont have any SSDs it is all real spinning disks. I currently run openSUSE Tumbleweed on it which is a leading edge distro. I have 2 laptops which run openSUSE one with an i3 which runs Leap 15.1 and the other an i7 which runs Tumbleweed and they both have 4gb real memory and again neither seems to use swap other than for hibernation. I do use the i7 one for photo editing occasionally. Again both have real spinning disks.

Stuart
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2019, 03:12:23 AM »

I'm still considering a move to Linux, but I've got a dilemma.

I have a couple of old laptops. But I was wondering if because of the age of them maybe they either aren't suitable or I wouldn't be able to experience the full abilities of Linux on the old laptops.

So then I was wondering, do people buy new pc/laptop for their Linux, or do they build their own machine?

What do the people who use Linux use? Old hardware, bought new hardware, or bought new build hardware?

Personally I've done all of the above.  Historically Linux has been far far more compatible with older hardware than any other OS.  The only catch tends to be some obscure GPUs (such as when Intel decided to license PowerVR before they got their GPU optimised), although even then it should work, just might not be good for a desktop - perfectly fine as a server.

I don't like laptops because I'm fussy about the keyboard (I use an IBM Model M which is the best keyboard ever made.

I always thought this was a porn-free forum?  :D
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 03:16:07 AM by Alex Atkin UK »
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Chunkers

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2019, 03:29:54 PM »

In my experience old Dell laptops work really well with Linux, I have a couple of e6420 which I mess around with Linux on, currently Kubuntu, typically I use the for running servers for the kids, and when I don't want to take my "nice " laptop and never had any issues.

They are a bit Bricky, but I also like the fact that compared to modern slim and light laptops they are easy to disassemble and fix and you can buy cheap parts for them.

Don't overlook dual-boot options, also works well although slight risk that occasionally things get mixed upon the bootloader (had a few panicky moments over the years with my work laptop although might just be me)

Linux is fun, but these days I use it much less because Windows is so much more reliable than 20 years ago and you can get very cheap licences

C
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parkdale

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2019, 04:58:50 PM »

Intel Nuc's are good and are very Linux friendly, and can be bought very cheaply on fleabay etc
https://clearlinux.org is a optimised distribution for Intel hardware, but I normally use Lubuntu, and every thing just works out of the box.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2019, 07:21:39 PM »

@Bowden, don’t forget there’s another alternative, Apple’s MacOS, which takes the guesswork out of the hardware.   It’s effectively Unix under the skin, so still very very similar in spirit, to Linux.  And about as far as you can get from Microsoft.

In my career I worked extensively  on Unix and Linux system development, at kernel and application levels.   I have no hesitation in running a Linux distribution on my home server, as I’d be unlikely to find any ‘off the peg’ alternative that would fulfil my requirements.

But for a convenient, reliable and fully manufacturer-supported desktop workstation or stand alone ‘single home computer’, my choice these days  is an iMac with MacOS.  Costs a bit more, but so much less bother. :)
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2019, 10:00:11 PM »

But then you have the Apple lottery on hardware reliability.  Its sadly not as good as it used to be.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2019, 10:24:46 PM »

Still pretty good, though.

One of my home built Linux machines, an STB that serves as MythTV frontend in the living room, died within a year.   This was a small form-factor mini ITX, with non standard parts.     After dismantling it all  (yes, all) of the capacitors in the PSU were bulging, and failing.   The online importer failed to respond to complaints.  In the end I simply dug out my soldering iron and replaced all the capacitors with specimens of a higher rating.   But without wanting to sound arrogant, how many average punters could have done that?

From about about a dozen or more specimens  of Apple devices, iPods, iPhones, Mac Minis and iMacs, over the past decade, the only disappointment was an iPod touch that failed after two years, and a dodgy battery in an iPhone 6s.  Apple replaced that dodgy battery last week, iPhone nearly four years old, for just £50.  :)
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broadstairs

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2019, 09:16:05 AM »

The latest version of Apple's OS is getting more like Microsoft/Google/Android in some ways in that you have to be 'approved' to be able to run some free software. Gutenprint will not install yet as it has not been cleared by Apple! However it runs fine on Linux!

Stuart
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2019, 10:13:49 AM »

If there’s a reason why you need/want to roll up your sleeves and start customising things then yes, you’re better of with Linux, and I’d use it too.  And emphasise again, I do use it too.

Regarding application software availability though, I’d argue that it’s swings and roundabouts. You can get a lot of free ‘community’ stuff for Linux and some of it is excellent, but if you simply want to purchase a fully supported commercial product, you might be out of luck.

For example I use Adobe Lightroom for photo processing.  It’s expensive but it’s the real-deal, used by professional photographers.   It has no serious competitors, I’ve tried various open-source alternatives, none of them come close to Lightroom.   

Yet Lightroom’s not available for native Linux, even for people who are willing to pay for it. :(
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: What hardware do people use for Linux?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2019, 05:36:12 AM »

Still pretty good, though.

One of my home built Linux machines, an STB that serves as MythTV frontend in the living room, died within a year.   This was a small form-factor mini ITX, with non standard parts.     After dismantling it all  (yes, all) of the capacitors in the PSU were bulging, and failing.   The online importer failed to respond to complaints.  In the end I simply dug out my soldering iron and replaced all the capacitors with specimens of a higher rating.   But without wanting to sound arrogant, how many average punters could have done that?

From about about a dozen or more specimens  of Apple devices, iPods, iPhones, Mac Minis and iMacs, over the past decade, the only disappointment was an iPod touch that failed after two years, and a dodgy battery in an iPhone 6s.  Apple replaced that dodgy battery last week, iPhone nearly four years old, for just £50.  :)

I'm just rather paranoid with Louis Rossman reporting that newer Macbooks have a voltage regulator that just randomly dies and cannot be replaced.

I've never been a fan of Apple, but I did used to think they were reliable, but apparently not.

Then again I've been building PCs for so long, have tons of parts lying around.
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