High-end laptop recommendation

Hi everybody!

Do you have experience with what is the best performing high-end laptop that is fully functional with Qubes? Ram >= 32 GB. With standard IME without coreboot. I’m looking for something that will have very high build quality comparable to an Apple Macbook Pro.

Thank you

You will find two options here (32+ GB RAM)

I can recommend Librem 14.

Thinkpad L14 Gen 3 AMD works with 64GB RAM and has a fast CPU, though there are of course faster ones.
Chassis is mostly plastic though afaik. The T series from Thinkpad use higher quality materials, however there were no models with 64GB RAM last time I looked, and it is partially soldered. They did have a model with max 48GB RAM, but that was 32+16GB so it is slower because it isn’t dual channel.
If you’re interested, here’s my HCL:

The T480 can use 64 GB memory.

Thank you! Do you know what is real difference between L14 and T490 please? Except ram (48 vs 68).

You probably want to avoid the T490, it doesn’t support 64 GB memory, and last I checked Qubes didn’t work out of the box there were some issue with the wifi firmware.

The T490 is just a worse version of the T480.

True, I only mentioned models currently available from Lenovo, so you’d probably have to get this second hand. Keep in mind though that the T480 uses an 8th gen Intel CPU. Currently 6th gen and older are EOL and do no longer receive microcode updates for CPU vulnerabilities, so 8th gen probably goes EOL as well in 1-2 years.

True, but people are also getting the T430 and X230 recommended, which already have that issue.

You can get the 8th gen i5 or i7 T480 for around $200, if you upgrade it with 32 GB memory and NVMe the total is somewhere around $500, and you have a laptop that is slightly worse than a $2000 librem, if you don’t care about coreboot.

And what about Dell Laptops? Are there any high-end compatible devices?

Generally, if suspend is important for you, then you’d better choose a model with an Intel CPU. Modern AMD mobile CPU (which has intergrated amdgpu) often suffers from suspend/resume instability.

That is indeed a nice price. I just wanted to clarify the EOL issue for users who might not be aware of that. That the T430 and X230 are EOL has already been posted quite a few times in these forums(which is one of the reasons I didn’t buy one), but users might not be aware that 8th gen Intel will probaby end that soon.

Xen 4.14.5-15 update seems to fix that(now in current/stable repo), at least for some AMD models. For my AMD laptop suspend now works fine, I tried suspend 20 times in a row:

I can confirm from a performance perspective. Forget about the camera and the microphone, though. I was switching from a MacBook to the Librem 14. It was not just a disappointment, but a shock, the quality was that bad.

No experience, but if you live in Europe, it is probably worth to have a look at https://www.tuxedocomputers.com/.

I’ll have a Thinkpad X1 Carbon 10 (12th gen intel) on the HCL sometime next week and will report any findings. Already anticipating issues with WiFi 6 / need to run latest kernel/firmware. 32GB is max, soldered. Not sure how I’ll manage as my desktop is 64 and my average util is ~40.

I always see issues about build quality reported elsewhere and pretty vocally, how long have you owned yours, do you give it much mistreatment, and what is your opinion on quality/durability? Thanks

How about Dell laptops? Any experiences?

i have had my 14 for a bit longer over a year, only build issue i have had was the eth port was a bit to short, so i added some spacers to it,
i have a 2T 980 Pro and 64G ram in it and the preformance is good, but i only use it with qubes for all my banking/crypto/secure data needs

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Speaking of coreboot-supported AMD no-PSP G505S laptop (more info here) - somebody reported it running fine with 32GB, however this was with 2 x 16GB DDR3 SO-DIMMs which are rare/expensive - and aren’t as fast as 2 x 8GB alternatives that could be found running at 1600MHz CL9