Nitropads with Qubes - System Performance

Dear Qubes community,

I would like to ask you for your experience about system performance of Nitropad x230 and Nitropad t430. I would like to buy one of them (16 GB RAM, SSD and i7 processor) and I am thinking which one will be more suitable for use with qubes as a main notebook.

I need to use one Windows 10 machine (Visual Studio, not graphics programs etc.) and in average 10 appvms.

I would like to ask you if is 16 GB really enough? Do you have experience with changing RAM for faster? Did you change SSD for faster? Is it even possible?

I understand that the t430 has a faster processor, but can it be recognised in Qubes at all (+10-15%)?

Thank you very much!

10 App VMs and Windows also… Would suggest 32GB of RAM then, or at least one single RAM with 16GB at the beginning, so you have space for another 16GB module. I promise you, you will order the other 16GB in a couple of weeks.

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thank you @TheGardner it will be great, but unfortunately max RAM on Nitropads is 16 GB :frowning:

@CaesarVialpandom, I am using a ThinkPad T430 that is basically identical to a NitroPad T430 with the i7-3840QM and 16 GB of RAM. I added a full HD screen (not sure Nitrokey offers that) and a Samsung PRO SSD (the PRO is important).

I use a Windows 10 HVM for some tasks (4GB RAM, 2 VCPUs, 100GB storage), which works just fine for Visual Studio, other IDEs and dev tools, Webex/Teams/Office etc. I have added a $20 USB express card to give Windows it’s own dedicated USB controller (for the debuggers, tracers and all the other stuff you need when doing Embedded programming) and a similar priced USB-Audio interface for sound.

I run 11+ qubes concurrently and permanently, all debian-minimal based. My sys-net, sys-usb, sys-firewall etc are all happy with 200MB memory. Vault gets 250MB. Signal 400MB. Offline qubes with LibreOffice, PDF viewer, VLC etc work fine with 500MB. Thunderbird qubes needs 700MB to work well in all situations (large mail database, searching etc). And Firefox qubes need at least 1GB to not be annoying (I have set the concurrent process limit to 1 to make it less memory consuming).

With a setup like the above it is quite unlikely you run out of memory with 16GB. Hasn’t happened to me yet this year :wink:

Things like wake/suspend, docking station just work like a charm :wink: Also I am driving a 4K external monitor with it. There are several NitroPad / T430 users in this forum here. As far as I can tell, they are all quite happy with their machines. Maybe they will comment here too.

I did also upgrade to quieter fan ($30) and exchange the Wi-Fi card (I think Nitrokey offers that as an option).

Couldn’t be happier. I just received a second T430 and are still waiting for the the other parts (display, fan, CPU, SSD, WiFi, RAM) to arrive. I am building a second identical machine. This can be done for ~ $1K. The idea is that I get R4.1 running perfectly on the second one and then switch over when it’s ready. R4.2 back to the other one etc.

That together with nightly backups means I will use this setup for a very very long time.

I understand that the t430 has a faster processor, but can it be recognized in Qubes at all (+10-15%)?

Yes, go for the quad-core i7-3840QM. The number of cores does make a very recognizable difference. This is different form the “speculative execution” topic.

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thank you @Sven for nice answer!!!

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What’s the significance of “PRO”?

Is there a brand you recommend? Does this add a 4th assignable USB controller?

Thanks.

The max SSD speed is limited by SATA 3.0 on these machines.

What’s the significance of “PRO”?

I’ll best quote from this article:

In Samsung SSDs, PRO indicates the SSD uses MLC, EVO indicates the SSD uses TLC, and QVO indicates the SSD uses QLC. MLC, short for Multi-Level Cell, means that one memory cell can store 2 bits of data. TLC, short for Triple-Level Cell, means that one memory cell can store 3 bits of data. QLC, short for Quad-Level Cell, means that one memory cell can store 4 bits of data.
In general, the performance of Samsung PRO SSD is the best, then the EVO SSD, and finally the QVO SSD. The reason lies in the writing and reading mechanism of NAND flash.

I have added a $20 USB express card to give Windows it’s own dedicated USB controller

Is there a brand you recommend?

I am using the StarTech.com 1 Port Flush Mount ExpressCard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Card Adapter (ECUSB3S11).

Does this add a 4th assignable USB controller?

Yes. :slight_smile:

[user@dom0 ~]$ qvm-pci | grep USB
dom0:00_14.0  USB controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family USB xHCI Host Controller  sys-usb (no-strict-reset=true)
dom0:00_1a.0  USB controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller #2  sys-usb (no-strict-reset=true)
dom0:00_1d.0  USB controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller #1  sys-usb (no-strict-reset=true)
dom0:03_00.0  USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller                      windows
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