My desktop and laptop are both ~7 years old (although the former had been upgraded a few times).

I think I’m getting close to needing some new hardware. Question is, what do I go for?

Laptop needs to be no bigger than 14”. Feel free to add recommendations.

@mitcoes I’ve heard good things about the mate book

@kev I bought my son a Matebook 13 for his A-level studies. He runs the stock Windows 10 on it but it's built really solidly. If I knew they run Linux solidly I think I'd have one myself.

In your position, I would beef-up the desktop (you're going to want to edit videos of the boys growing-up, right?) and go modest on the laptop using it just for lightweight activities. A Pinetab Pro etc. would do here for battery life.


@neildarlow @kev @mitcoes I'm also thinking of option 3 from your blog post (decently spec'd desktop with a decent graphics card and a on the side) now I just have to save up the money for the desktop ...😂 Let us know what you decide

@lopeztel @neildarlow @mitcoes the only think that concerns me about the pine book pro is whether it will do what I need. Will the apps I want be available to me on ARM?

@kev @neildarlow @mitcoes that's a fair point, I bought one myself, just waiting for it to get to me. I'm not against building the software myself but perhaps you could create a list of your bare essentials and ask owners? or maybe look in Manjaro ARM forums for a list of packages, plus there is always AUR ...


I've got my Pinebook Pro here with me.
If your list of must haves isn't going to be an essay, I might be able to check it out.
Just let me know.

@neildarlow @mitcoes @lopeztel

@hrodnand @neildarlow @mitcoes @lopeztel my must haves are in the post. I would appreciate it if you could check. 😊

@kev @neildarlow @mitcoes @lopeztel


I did a quick check using pacman on the Pinebook and checked the AUR.

All information without any warranty...but may it be helpful. 😅

Firefox (web browser) => yes

Typora (writing posts in markdown) => not in pacman, but in AUR. Don't know if it will work.

Atom (code editor) => not in pacman, but in AUR. Don't know if it will work.

Filezilla (FTP) => yes, available in official repo (community)

@kev @neildarlow @mitcoes @lopeztel


Inkscape (vector graphics) => yes, available in official repo (extra)

The GIMP (image editor) => yes, available in official repo (extra)

Signal (private messaging)
=> not in pacman, but in AUR. Don't know if it will work.

Spotify (music) => There is spotifyd in the official repo (community). See:

@kev @neildarlow @mitcoes @lopeztel


Keybase (encrypted chat) => I am not really familiar with keybase, but there is a keybase 5.4.2-1 as CLI and GUI tool in official repos (community)

Minecraft (fun game) => not in pacman, only several AUR packages. Again not sure, if this works.

Hope this supports your decision a bit. 😊

@kev @lopeztel @neildarlow Linux on ARM are still complementary computers, you must have other for the serious tasks. Or be lucky enough to not need anything more.

@neildarlow @kev @mitcoes I beefed up my Dell Precision 690 to its ultimate form. 32GB of RAM, Quadro 4000 2GB for video editing, and an Osprey 560, Roxio Game Cap, Hauppauge HVR 1850, and TimeLeak HD72B. A 1TB SSD, a 640GB SATA, planning on expanding storage for the show.

@neildarlow @kev @mitcoes fifteen years old but an old Precision is just a beast of performance and innovation under the hood.

@kev I’m becoming partial to laptop & tablet... ezpz multi-monitor setup that travels well. That being said I’ll never give up my desktop!!

@kev Ordinarily I'd say: "It's not as simple as that. It all depends on what you want to do with it?" but given you're using 7 year old kit you're hardly likely to be a hardcore gamer so I'd say 'Laptop & Dock"

When I'm selling my first two question are:

"What do you actually want to do with it?"

"Will you use it at home/office or do you go places and need something to work on?"

Notice I didn't specify "Laptop" mobility is not Laptop exclusive.

Then I'm able to build up a picture and advise

@dick_turpin yeah, I need more than 500 characters to articulate my needs properly. I’ll write a post I think...

@kev Why not go for a laptop for low power/mobile purposes, and get more bang for your buck performance wise with a desktop computer?
The joy of being able to do some work without feeling limited by the performance of your device is hard to overstate. For performance and, as you mentioned, possible future upgradability, a fast desktop with a basic laptop seems like the best choice depending on the type of work you do with them.

@kev if you are not into competitive gaming and you don't want to have your desktop for the kids as well, then go laptop + dock. The use cases for the compute power a desktop brings these days are rather limited and so far it was easier for me to push them onto a virtual machine online instead of buying a desktop for the few days I actually needed one.

@kev I do the desktop laptop thing. At times I want high performance but I also want good battery life. So I've found a desktop and lower power laptop to be a good arrangement. I also do most of my work on my desktop anyway.

@kev I voted "laptop & dock" and here's why:

I myself have a big PC, but I would like to scale down to occupy less space, but also to save money on the electricity bill. I do game a bit, so I'm thinking of buying the Omen 15 with a Ryzen 4800U (8 cores/16 threads), which makes the laptop future proof, as more cores will last longer.

@wonderingdane @kev I second this, I recently got a work laptop that's got some really decent specs and with a 3x27" home setup it works really well.

@kev I went back to a 14" after being tired of slugging around 15.6" (it makes a surprisingly big difference).

I ended up with a Lenovo IdeadPad Flex since I wanted a touch screen as well.

I think this is the modern equivalent to what I have:

@kev my recommendation (if you want maximum portability) if in either situation you need a laptop is this:

Get the best bang for your buck 13" Intel (or thunderbolt compatible AMD) laptop at 1000, an external graphics card enclosure with your fave graphics card, and the WD19TB dock from Dell. I recommend that one because it's the one I use but any thunderbolt compatible dock with TB PASSTHROUGH will suffice.

@kev Or if you don't mind having two cables to plug in, go with a usb dock and plug enclosure directly into laptop with the dock in a regular usb port

I use an ~8 year old i7 (2nd gen) Packard Bell with upgraded RAM and ssd as kind of a desktop with an extra 27" monitor.
Still works fine with any distro and any of my use cases from web browsing to some video editing. No gaming though.

Even though I was a long time "most people only need a laptop" advocate, I think, right now, I would appreciate a dedicated "small form factor" desktop unit plus some adequate mobile device (laptop or tablet depending on specific needs).

@kev Saves space when you invest in a Laptop & dock.

@kev If you worry about your privacy the best decision is purism laptops, also system76 is good choice.

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