Build advice: 13900T vs 5700G

Disclaimer: I know, just about everyone is tired of these. I am covering how guilty I feel by adding to the pile, by convincing myself that this one may be different by the sheer contrast between the two options.

I have been using Qubes OS for all my work for a few years now. I adore it and consider it essential. I don’t do anything special: up to 16 qubes at a time (including sys and other scaffolding and dispvms) in various activities including text editing, light coding, email, web browsing, text adventures, etc.

I tailored my latest laptop to Qubes OS (4800H 64Gb) and I have had zero complaints in terms of performance (the only disappointment is video playback, but I have given up on that front). However, it is LOUD, and after two years I cannot take the fan noise anymore.

Therefore, I would build a fanless low-power sort-of-portable desktop. But, I am stuck at the CPU decision: Intel 13900T or AMD 5700G?

The 13900T has 24 cores (8P+16E) at a measly 1.1Ghz base clock
The 5700G has “only” 8 cores at a much higher 3.8Ghz base clock

Common knowledge with Qubes OS has been more cores more better, and Intel > AMD (because Xen). But the difference in core count and cock speed between these two processors is huge.

Does the common knowledge apply or is the base clock of the 13900T too low? At what point is an advantage in number of cores overcome by the disadvantage in base clock?

Qubes 4.1 runs very smoothly on my AMD 5700G. It’s running on this fully passive (0 DB) system: Hardware compatibility list (HCL) | Qubes OS (Cirrus7 Incus)
I pretty much use Qubes for the same things as you, mostly development actually. The 64GB is not really needed, 32GB would also have sufficed.

I can’t say a thing about the Intel proc, personally I was a bit fed up with Intel ME and all the inevitable security problems/patches and that’s why I took the gamble and decided for the AMD. Probably both processors are overkill, btw. All I can say is I’m quite happy with this system, especially for the past year Qubes 4.1 has been running without a glitch on it. I hardly ever use over 12 Qubes simutaneously, but I never noticed the smallest slowdown, Qube startup times are also pretty nice.


Thank you for sharing your personal experience with the 5700G and a fanless system. it is good to confirm that it performs well.
What kind of temperatures do you observe under full load with the incus 7? Which of the three chassis sizes do you have?

The main question on the expected difference in performance is open if anyone else has information.

For the Incus case I chose the extended cooling edition, seemed like a no-brainer to me. Temps are fine, during ‘normal’ use they are actually lower than in a comparable system with a Noctua cooler. Base proc temp is just above 35C. When watching a movie it rises to around 55-60C. Since I mainly use it for development and sometimes watching a movie, I never had a reason to test it under full load, sorry to say. SSD temps are also fine, while typing this 34C. It cools down pretty quickly too.

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That sounds ideal really, quite cool even. Happy to read this. Thank you for the info!