Linux HW suggestions, do's and don'ts?

(CarlG) #1


My main PC broke completely down a while back, and it’s time for an upgrade, possibly a complete paradigm shift. I’ve always been a Win user (disregarding Amiga :D), but I’m considering Linux for the first time given the direction MS is going. Was using Win7 at home and I hate Win10 at work (although I’m forced there due to main software used).

I tried upgrading my old laptop (i5 probook) to Linux mint, and I had issues connecting (both wireless and wired) which for no apparent reason fixed itself (I couldn’t update drivers or anything because I was not connected). However, the fans are busted on this one (Linux is crazy slow) so it feels crazy trying to keep this alive, or?

I’m writing this on a Lenovo Yoga 2in1 laptop I borrowed from work where installing Linux Mint went fine, but I completely lost sound on it the second day (Dummy device was listed). I restored backup and have had sound since. Now I’m worried about installing updates.

Needlessly to say, I’m a complete noob to Linux, so I need advice on what to get:

  1. What would be a good/decent laptop that runs Linux without a hitch that you can do some Blender work with? Should be powerful enough to do GPU renderings, but doesn’t have to be top of the line.

  2. But mainly, what would be a very good/top of the line desktop/workstation build that runs Linux without a hitch? Any hardware I should absolutely get or completely shun (motherbooards with integrated hw linux issues, network support, intel vs amd cpu, nvidia vs amd gpu)? I’m planning 2-3 30" 2560x1600 monitors (one switchable to laptop).

(Casey) #2

I’ve been there, and tried this. And I failed miserably. Everyone has different aptitudes, and mine is not high :stuck_out_tongue:

With that in mind, my advice would be to go ask all these questions over at the Level1Techs forums for sure. Much of the Linux community are pretty elitist, and have no time for noobs, but L1T is an exception. I’ve gotten a ton of help from them over there, form all kinds of issues, be they server, Linux or Windows.

As for my experience, I found that any attempt to use Linux, without a firm grasp of the terminal, just leads to eventual pain. You will break a thing, and you will need the terminal to fix it, and that’s a fact of Linux life. As for my personal limitations, you may find them comical, but I’m the kind of person that gets lost trying to understand copying a file from one location to another using any sort of command line interface. If that sort of thing doesn’t throw you off, then you will likely have a better time than I did.

And as for hardware, I think laptops tend to be very hit or miss with Linux installs. Some work great, others (like mine) are just a mess. Again, the L1T forums are a great place to go for hardware advice. There are already existing threads there that can guide you, just search for what you need.


As far as laptops, Dell has the XPS lineup that comes with Linux pre-installed, but there are other system manufacturers that provide Linux as the OS as well (ex: System76). If you would like to configure the laptop with your own choice of Linux distribution, you can go for Lenovo, HP, or install something else on the Dell XPS.

On workstations, I’m not familiar with and can’t vouch for any manufacturers since I prefer to build them. On that note, I recently built a new workstation that works flawlessly with Ubuntu LTS / Arch. I wouldn’t consider it top of the line due to my budget, but the specs are:

  • Ryzen 2700x with an MSI motherboard.
  • 32gb ram
  • Nvidia GTX 1070ti (AMD cards is just as good as long you don’t have any apps that require an Nvidia card exclusively)

You can always use Google to search for a specific hardware on Linux because chances are, someone else out there has bought that piece of hardware for a Linux system. Good luck!

Edit: Check this thread here: Need specs for mid/high end cycles animation rendering machine (2018)?

(inky) #4

Carlg don’t be despondent …
I’ve been using Linux mint for about 2.5 years now and have no intentions of turning back …
I have run blender on Linux since day one and while it has not been without some hiccups it is fairly stable …
I even managed to install unreal engine and export blender made assets to it which worked quite well, considering i had a very limited idea about what I was doing…

there is a learning curve however but you would have the same thing if you had never used windows before … you could have a duel boot system as well … you could even run virtual environments with varying levels of persistence… from a windows box …
As far as hardware goes there’s not much in it … Linux will work way better on “older hardware” than win 10 … Linux wifi drivers are a bit off so i always use a cable ( they work if you use vendor specific drivers but you have to find / compile / make them which is a major ball and chain)
I have a fairly old PC and vid card
i5-4460 CPU @ 3.20GHz…GF100GL [Quadro 5000]
and they both work under the 2.7…etc … I am struggling to find why gpu compute wont work in 2.8, however I think that rendering is using both at the same time… haven’t found any thing out YET… also these are daily beta builds and evee works a treat.
from listening to blender guru, it would seem to me any way, that intensive scenes crash in windows even with top end systems more than Linux ( it happens in 2.8 from time to time ) but stable releases just work.
Some addons are clunky in Linux releases but it hasn’t limited me yet.
All the best and good luck.