[qubes-users] Cheap laptops that run Qubes

I'm looking for a laptop that can run Qubes without stress. I want the
cheapest one possible.
Please let me know which one I should get.

1 Like

"cheap" and "stress" are relative.
You can pick up a decent corebooted x230 with 16Gb RAM and a good SSD for about 450
USD. You can go lower than this looking at an x220 i7, or an i5 - pick
up one for less than 200USD, max the RAM and add a good SSD, and you
could touch 300USD.
Take a beater, give it some love and you'll go cheaper for the same

People have different experiences - I'm currently on an x220 i5, with 13
running qubes - 1 running an analysis, 3 web browsers open, and vlc running

You'll probably get better answers if you say what your budget is, and
what you hope to do with Qubes.
You *can* work with an HDD and 12 GB RAM, but it's somewhat slow. But if
that's your budget, go for that and upgrade when you can. Prioritise the
SSD, and then the RAM.

1 Like

I'd second what Unman said, to me getting a used (which most x220s would be now) is going to be your best bet. I have an HP 8460p and it runs qubes like a (slow) champ and installed flawlessly.

It is my hope that the HCL can have more information added to it, something like the year of the computer's release, or a link to maybe an archive.org copy of the specs, or maybe (somehow) an average price of what its going for on ebay or something similar

(Qubes team, I'd be willing to do the grunt work of getting the links and perhaps adding them in for each HCL; and adding the option to add, or asking submitters to add links might be a good idea as well?)

1 Like

It just so happens that I’ve been researching what are the cheapest computers to do fairly standard computer things…

I would advise against using a used computer, unless you have strong reasons to believe it hasn’t been compromised. A used computer can go through various owners, and any one of those owners could have been targeted to the extent that the computer was hacked, perhaps even to the point of hardware tampering. Additionally, the person selling or passing the computer on to you, may be involved in a racket where they are deliberately passing on hacked computers for bad purposes. Since you want to run Qubes, I’m guessing security is important to you, which is why I’m generally advising against using a used computer.

If you want to go down the route of a used computer in spite of the above, you ought to think about faithfully reinstalling all of the firmware chips. You can’t necessarily rely on firmware-updating mechanisms provided by the existing firmware, as such mechanisms may themselves be compromised. I’m going through the same process for my old Chromebook C720 laptop-like computer. I’ve settled on de-soldering the main system firmware chip to replace it with one securely obtained in anonymous ways (to overcome targeted attacks) that I’ll be reprogramming using a brand new, securely obtained, Raspberry Pi computer, in addition to completely replacing components that have potentially-compromised firmware chips (such as the system disk). After taking such firmware-based security measures, you probably will mostly have to keep your ‘fingers crossed’, that the hardware hasn’t been altered in other ways—such other kinds of alteration are probably unlikely though.

On the other hand, if you are looking at a brand new computer, Raspberry Pi computers, smartphones, and tablets are just about the cheapest brand new computers you can get where you are able to do general computing things. As for the laptop requirement, you could perhaps think about setting-up a “pseudo laptop experience” using such computing devices.

Hope this helps,

Kind regards,

Mark Fernandes

1 Like

I run on a "used" computer...but...

Bios completely overwritten with coreboot.
New hard drive.
New solid state hard drive.

Chose a model with no "blobs" of code needed in the BIOS. Levovo Thinkpad T420i. The newest Lenovo model you can completely coreboot is an X1 carbon Generation 1. From Generation 2 on you will need blobs of encrypted code in the bios.

Stuart Perkins

1 Like