Hardware to run like a dream?

Want to setup a dreamy Qubes experience (support + performance), need hardware recommendations please. Have some questions below.

Ryzen desktop:

  1. CPU, core count important 3900 vs 3600 ?
  2. X470, B450 supported ?
  3. Is integrated graphics by way of APU needed, 3400G, 5600G … enough cores ?
  4. Drive speed is important but is NVME PCIE 4.0 supported, is NVME 3.0 supported or is it just Sata?
  5. Better to have GPU, I know Nvidia is out, but is a rx 460/570 paired with a CPU better performance and compatibility than an APU?
  6. Qubes, dual monitor support, 1440p support ?


  1. What ryzen based laptop is supported and runs like a dream ?
  2. Specs to look out for to ensure support and speed ?

(Bonus)Old Laptop:

  1. T430, worth maxing out ram and installing Sata SSD or will it just run very poorly ?

If you have any of the answers to the above questions please share your thoughts. Many thanks!

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Interested in hearing the opinions on the T430 (or X230).

T430 opinions would only be a bonus to me, but still interested nonetheless. Kind of cool to libreboot it and get it up on Qubes.

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T430 and X230 aren’t libreboot compatible. But they are coreboot’able (afaik). Still cool tho. I think the “run like a dream” scenario should include the peace of mind comes from having no CPU-level backdoors in your Qubes experience.

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indeed, cb + me_cl only for t430.

? Also for x230

Until late I would recommend a corebooted x230 to anyone for Qubes. It
was a perfect fit for Qubes, and cheap too.
Currently there seem to be major issues with hot running, random
freezes, and hard crashes that seem to affect older hardware in
particular. Until those issues are resolved I no longer recommend.

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team.
When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.
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Actually the big deal in addition to cb & me_cl is the cb payload: heads. With this you have measured boot and attestation. THAT is the big deal.

When it comes to formulations like “runs like a dream” the answer depends very much on the use case and skill level of the user.

A user who wants to run memory and CPU intensive applications like image/video editing, games, maybe web browser instances with 10+ tabs open and plenty of plugins installed, run windows 10 qube(s) and expects response times close to what they would see on a non-Qubes OS install … well, the old ThinkPads will be painful for such users.

On the other hand, users who mostly communicate (mail, messaging, audio/video/screen sharing meetings etc.) use standard office applications (LibreOffice, PDF reader) do well compartmentalized web browsing (multiple qubes, only very few tabs per instance) and maybe some software development, watch streaming videos fullscreen but don’t mind occasional little artifacts in busy scenes … are patient or skilled enough to figure out minimal templates, are OK with 8 seconds start time for a qube (because they value the additional security) … well for me that is “runs like a dream”.

I guess it depends on your dreams :wink:


It’s a common complaint to me that start times for Qubes and individual
qubes are much longer with 4.1 (testing enabled)

I have noticed that too but where able to negate the effect by switching to BTRFS. Startup times on R4.1 using the default disk partitioning scheme and format are an average of 1.6 seconds longer for me[1]. Starting a backup is another situation showing an extreme performance gain using BTRFS.

@renehoj recently pointed out that the amount of memory allocated to a qube makes a difference in the startup time[2]. Most of my application qubes are consuming between 500-800 MB.

I have so far refrained from enabling testing as I can’t afford to hit a bug in the middle of the work week. The freezes are infrequent enough to no be a major issue but I am also one of those people who hits Ctrl+S all the time almost unconsciously after loosing an entire days work almost 30 years ago.

  1. Ext4 vs. Btrfs performance on Qubes OS installs ↩︎

  2. Survey: CPU and VM boot time - #75 by renehoj ↩︎

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Just in case I wanted to also mention Community-recommended computers.


Thanks for chiming in.

Games = no,
Video editing = no,
win 10 qube = yes,
chrome tabs = a few

Dream = no crashes, and not too much waiting. I know it will not be native os level, but as snappy as can be on a reasonable budget.

Questions still standing (Reformulated):

Ryzen desktop:

  1. CPU: Core count vs frequency → 3900X vs 5800X3d ?
  2. X470, X570, B550 B450 supported ?
  3. Is integrated graphics a requirement and is Ryzen compitable 3400G, 5600G … is 6 cores enough ?
  4. Is NVME PCIE 4.0 supported, is NVME 3.0 supported or is it just Sata SSd?
  5. Better to have GPU, I know Nvidia is out, but is a rx 460/570 paired with a CPU better performance and compatibility than an APU?
  6. Does Qubes support multi monitor setups, 1440p support ?

[Above question will help determine a suitable laptop, no question]

(Bonus)Old Laptop Thinkpad T430:
[Not suitable for daily driver too slow even when maxed out, no question]

Please let me know your thoughts, thanks you!


I have used the Ryzen 5 2600X with the ASUS B450-F didn’t have any issues with it.

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Survey is a great reference, no NVME support comments or speed tests would also be curious about modern Ryzen 9 performance; could be some performance jumps.

Did you have an NVME drive?


NVMe drives work as normal drives, but don’t expect the on-board controller to be able to do mirrored NVMe.

IMHO, since physical cores are allocated to a “qube”, more cores are better.

In terms of stability (aka crashes), you might consider a platform Qubes developers have gone over with a fine tooth comb. I would imagine a T430 with a solid state drive wouldn’t be a slouch.

As Sven has noted, you can outfit a T430 with a i7-3840QM that has four physical cores clocked at 3.8 GHZ.

As others have said, depends on your needs and tolerance for doing your own IT support.