Short list of laptops/desktops that work well with Qubes OS

Unfortunately the X250 does not allow for 16 GB memory according to it’s spec and I had to remove it from the “just works” list.

I can confirm it supports 16G. In one slot though.

Physical Memory Array
Location: System Board Or Motherboard
Use: System Memory
Error Correction Type: None
Maximum Capacity: 16 GB
Error Information Handle: Not Provided
Number Of Devices: 1

Handle 0x0009, DMI type 17, 34 bytes
Memory Device
Array Handle: 0x0008
Error Information Handle: Not Provided
Total Width: 64 bits
Data Width: 64 bits
Size: 16384 MB
Form Factor: SODIMM
Set: None
Locator: ChannelA-DIMM0
Bank Locator: BANK 0
Type: DDR3
Type Detail: Synchronous
Speed: 1600 MT/s
Manufacturer: Micron
Serial Number: 15461482
Asset Tag: None
Part Number: 16KTF2G64HZ-1G6A1
Rank: Unknown
Configured Clock Speed: 1600 MT/s

Handle 0x000A, DMI type 19, 31 bytes
Memory Array Mapped Address
Starting Address: 0x00000000000
Ending Address: 0x003FFFFFFFF
Range Size: 16 GB
Physical Array Handle: 0x0008
Partition Width: 1


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Alright, please have a look and let me know if you still think this is confusing or untidy.

Excellent. It’s back on. Thank you!

Thanks @Sven for a new version!

Nobody will open this “secret” text. Please write it in your first comment that the discussion should go to a different topic. Currently, your first comment is untidy :wink: .

You probably mean the number of USB controllers, but it’s definitely not obvious to others. I think it’s necessary to write here “USB controllers” and also link to some explanation what it is and why it’s important.

  1. What is the difference between “possible” and “optional” Heads?

  2. Why is Librem 14 at the end of the list? What is the sorting order now? I really think that your idea to sort by the CPU was great and useful, because with the lack of GPU acceleration, having a powerful CPU is critical for Qubes OS. I also liked that there was an explanation about the ordering.

  3. I still disagree that certified hardware should go to “Community ‘just works’ list”. This is a totally different level of support. The certified hardware should be linked above the list without mixing into it.

  4. Previous version was more readable on mobile…

  5. IMHO this is slightly unfair to mention that some laptops are “developer tested” without mentioning that Librem 14 is “vendor tested”. After all “developer tested” does not mean any guarantees, does it? By the way, we have a separate list of the “developer tested” hardware.

  6. You added a column with Heads support, but is it more important than, e.g., support of Intel ME neutralization or a possibility to buy non-preowned, or support of high-speed solid-state drives (which is recommended). Why?

  7. You removed links to the community reports. This is probably fine, since the reports can be found in the HCL list (although I liked it for the transparency). I suggest to link to this HCL list explaining that one can find them there. For example, replace


The 450s has 1 slot with soldered 4GB, and a second, upgradable, slot that can take up
to 16GB non-ECC DDR3 stick.
So the total RAM is 20GB.
I can confirm this for the i7 processor.

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I believe that the x250 will only support 16GB with an i7 processor.

I have one x250 i5-5300 with one slot with 16G.

I don’t want to reopen the pros/cons of Purism. But, there’s a degree
of special pleading here.
The Librem14 is at the bottom of the list because Purism start with a P
and the list is sorted by manufacturer.
The difference between “possible” and “optional” is that those machines
are primarily bought on the second hand market, so buyers should know that
it is possible to install coreboot. The Librem is primarily available from
Purism and you can specify whether to have Heads installed when you buy.
I see no value in stating that the Purism is “vendor tested” - since we
know that Purism will change models but keep the same name, I’m
reluctant to endorse them at all. But so it goes.

Where a supplier is actively supporting Qubes, we should take every
opportunity to promote their products. This is the case for Insurgo and
Nitro. They should be included here. It has nothing to do with “levels
of support”.

As to the other points, I think that “Heads” should be replaced by
“Coreboot”. I agree that it should be included.
I agree that “USB” is confusing between controllers/slots and that some
explanation is needed.
I don’t agree that users will not click on what you call “secret” text.

Let’s not forget this is supposed to be a simple list, and let’s not
burden Sven unduly.

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Good news - maybe it’s the i5-5200U that cant take 16GB.
Can I ask, do you see the full 20GB with that CPU?

Wonderful! Thank you @unman.

I’m using 20 GB. As unman said, it has a free DIMM slot.

But now that I think about it, requiring the user to obtain and install RAM might disqualify it from a “just works” list.

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Hi @fsflover thank you for your feedback and thank you to @unman for answering a lot of it already.

USB controllers

The problem is that “USB controllers” is pretty long for a column that will contain single digit numbers. Not sure how to solve that. Maybe “USB ctrls” … what are the chances people get that?

I hope someone here has a good idea how to solve this. @adw?


no = not possible
possible = if you have the skills and tools
optional = you can order it that way
yes = it always comes that way

sorting order

Alphabetical by OEM and to allow grouping of their machines when they have multiple possible CPU configurations. It makes the list easier to navigate and take in.

powerful CPU is critical for Qubes OS

I run Qubes OS on a 10 year old machine with one of the “slower” CPU (i7-3840QM) and it’s smoother and better then when I ran on the P51 (i7-7820HQ). Why? My guess is that the Linux graphics driver for the HD 4000 (i7-3840QM) works MUCH better than the one for HD 630 (i7-7820HQ).

The overall compatibility of the machine is WAY more important than the CPU in my opinion. I’d give up a “faster” machine with one USB controller every day of the week against an older with 3 or in my case 4 USB controllers. I guess it depends what you do with your machine.

So prioritizing by CPU speed does not accurately reflect the benefits one can get out of a specific machine.

certified / developer tested

  1. they fit the criteria, so they go on the list
  2. why exclude the best choices?
  3. show some love for Insurgo and Nitrokey (community members)


Checked that, if you tilt landscape it’s excellent.

Librem 14

This list is for people who need something that just works and the more I learn about what happened the less comfortable I feel to include the Librem 14 v1 in this list.

What happens when they do a v2?

Do we drop the v1 (there won’t be many used machines out there)?

How easy will it be for a new user to overlook the “v1”/“v2” thing, buy a Librem 14 and be screwed (assuming the v2 has some issues with Qubes OS)?

…that’s the exact thing that happened in the past.

Heads vs. Coreboot/ME neuter

This one I need help with. There are several things we could list:

  • Coreboot
  • Heads
  • Attestation with HW key (Nitro/Librem/Yubikey)
  • ME disabled/neutered
  • anti-interdiction

Heads means it supports Coreboot and also neutered ME (both are part of the build process). In addition Heads offers attestation with HW keys. All that together is what gives the teeth to anti-interdiction.

That’s why I choose Heads: it implies all the other things.

What is the argument to replace “Heads” with “Coreboot” @unman?

possibility to buy non-preowned

The more time I spend working the HCL / reports, the community-list and also the experiences I collected after @Plexus gave me a much needed push (thanks again man!) make me realize that older machines are just the better choice. Maybe with Linux in general, but for sure with Qubes OS. Maybe there are some machines from Purism, System76 or other specialized OEMs that fit the bill when they are new, but in general: older is better and way more affordable.

So giving any weight to machines just because you can buy them “off-the-shelf” is actually a disservice (in addition to the “showing your privilege part” @unman mentioned)… I really mean that. You spend more money to have more trouble, when you could spend way less and have smooth sailing.

In the criteria we just concentrate on networking, audio and graphics but all the other stuff is also way more likely to work smoothly in an older machine.

high-speed solid-state drives

Which machines do not support that?

links to the community reports.

When things slow down a bit I plan this:

  • unify threads that deal with one machine (in the HCL reports category only)
  • link those threads from the respective entry in the community list
  • link to all the HCL entries from those threads

I hope this will lead to community members stepping up to become quasi-maintainers of “their” machine (e.g. you for the Purism Librem 14 v1, me and others for the T430 etc.) and then build out those machine specific threads to a treasure trove for that specific machine. I predict the X220 will dominate them all :wink:


Some general options off the top of my head:

  1. An explanatory tooltip that explains the header more verbosely.
  2. Not using a table format and therefore not having to worry about column widths.
  3. Not attempting to include so much information in the table and thereby eliminating this column altogether.
  4. Relegating such details to someplace outside of the table and therefore not having to worry about presenting this data in the table.
  5. Displaying the table in some manner and place that allows for greater total width and therefore not being forced to be so economical with space.
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  1. As I suggested above, add a link to explanation what is a USB controller and why it’s important to have many. In such case, maybe “USB” or “USB cont.” is good enough.

No, it doesn’t. We said that 16GB need to be possible. It clearly is as you demonstrate.

thanks @Sven

I see 3 Laptop that disable and neutralize Me and Qubes compatible:

  • privacy beast x230
  • nitrokey
  • purism

Actually, there are 2 more, that disable and neutralize Me, if not mistaken, also Qubes compatible:

  • system 76
  • star laptop
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I will check if there are sufficient reports and let you know. Currently I am a few days behind processing new HCLs. Will catch up next week.

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Ok, I went all in and transitioned to the “one thread per machine” model all linked from the master list. Each “page” now contains the details of the respective machine and the HCL reports that have been submitted in the forum have been merged in too.

Next steps:

  • link to (qubes-users) HCL report from these threads
  • add more machines to the list (there are several candidates tagged that I have to evaluate)

@fsflover, @adw, @unman: if you have a moment, please review what was done and provide feedback in case I messed something up … or if you have ideas how to further improve.