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

I meant to say “everyone but people that like to tinker”

Please ignore the list. My intention was to enumerate people more likely
to need the security of Qubes OS, but if you think that thought to the
end that answer is: everyone.

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Yeah, you are right, never mind. I guess that thought evolved from my current situation.

The spread from devices working out of the box to devices which need self complied kernels with multiple patches (as example) is really huge, thats why i thought devices with “little effort” should be added here too.

Anyway, Sven’s list is a good idea and should be kept and developed to be a starting point for absolute beginners.

There may be issues that relate to the “acceptable performance”
and the “without workarounds” conditions.

For example, packages are sometimes removed from distros, so (e.g) a
NIC that works fine in debian-10 may require an additional package be
installed in debian-11. I assume the same happens in Fedora.
Then there is the question of RAM requirements for 4.1 - I assume it is
the same as for 4.0, at least for basic installs, but that’s an
assumption, not validated as yet.

According to the Intel specs, this processor doesn’t have VT-d, or am I missing something obvious?

hey folks, this is a noble effort. there is actually already a list between certified hardware and HCL, called “tested models” with the framing Qubes developer tested, unofficially recommended and the content:

These hardware models have been (and continue to be) tested and work well with Qubes OS:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 5
  • Lenovo ThinkPad x230

Note: The Lenovo X and T series are similar enough to assume similar compatibility of the matching model from the other series.

because the x230 is the basis for the current certified hardware, in practice the “tested models” list is only adding the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 5 as a tested suggestion.

I would recommend we reframe the “tested model” content and have it be “recommended/curated Community test results” rather than “Qubes developer-tested results”. and the content can be the effort currently being done in this thread.

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That’s interesting, and not in a good way.
I don’t have that machine any more, but I checked the hcl and it says
3210M - I asked the person who uses it now and they said 4.0 works fine.

What’s odd is that the HCL has other reports from users with that
chip set claiming VT-d, as well as reports on other hardware where it
says no.
I looked at the reports backing the “Working” entries in case there was
any mistake, and there doesn’t seem to be.

So either there’s some mistake in the the hcl reports, there were
chips out there with capability outwith the official Intel spec, the
chips misreport themselves, or something else. ??? Paranoia runs deep.

This is supposed to be a simple buyer’s guide that can be relied on. I
know that this configuration works, but I’ll leave the final decision to @Sven

I also realise that specifying the chipset is really geeky, and not in
the spirit of this list.
I’ll be sure to report the speed first in other reports - @Sven if you
PM me I can provide that for the machines I’ve reported on so far, if
you like - since I cant edit, I would just pollute the list.

Hi @unman,

@Plexus and myself have been confronted with a similar instance in May. If one just checks the ARK database for the i7-3632QM it is shown to support Vt-d. So I ordered one to put into my T430. When attempting to install Qubes OS I then got the warning that Vt-d is not supported. More details in this thread.

Ultimately it turned out that there are two (2!) versions of the chip with the same name but different housing. The one that would fit the T430 doesn’t support Vt-d.

So based on that experience I did some searching for the i5-3210M and the same thing is true: different housings, one supports Vt-d the other doesn’t.

source

In this instance we know (from you no less) that the version that goes into the ThinkPad x230 supports Vt-d. So obviously we will include it in the list.

I am unsure what you mean by…

I also realize that specifying the chipset is really geeky, and not in the spirit of this list. I’ll be sure to report the speed first in other reports

Specifying the processor (chipset) is crucial from my point of view. Many OEM offer the same laptop/desktop with a choice of CPU and this in turn can dramatically influence the ease of installing Qubes OS. By speed you mean the clock speed?

Like you I am a mail user. Please feel free to email me directly anytime for any purpose.

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Very interesting. Thanks for investigating this, @Sven!

Qubes 4.0 installed on my Librem 15 without a hitch. The Librems are a bit pricey.

OK, I’ll start compiling the list and will post it by Sunday at the latest.

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Unfortunately Librem 15 is not sold anymore, so it can’t go to this list. Librem 14 should be a good fit though.

@unman:

Lenovo ThinkPad x220t with i5-2520M

Has no HCL entry and therefore technically doesn’t fit the requirements.

However since this machine is:

  • a variant of the x220 which has an outstanding showing in the HCL list
    (6 positive reports, 3 of which are specifically for R4)

  • reported by you (core team member, highly respected contributor,
    trusted source)

… I’ll include it in the list with a comment to the x220 saying “the
x220t has also been reported to work with R4.0”

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@unman:

**Lenovo ThinkPad x220t with i5-2520M **

Max RAM - 16GB
Tablet fully working connected to sys-usb. (Requires minor configuration
to enable tablet rpc)

Would you mind posting the “minor configuration” to the forum so I could
link it from the list please?

To clarify: The way I read it the X220T works perfectly WITHOUT any
modification and therefore fits the bill. If one want to use it as a
tablet … THEN a “minor configuration” is needed.

So far this is the Lenovo ThinkPad list (yes I’ll look into Librem 15).

Any chance there are other candidates?

Technically I could (and probably will after publishing a first version)
screen the entire HCL, identify candidates and then try to contact the
reporters to see if they had a “no workarounds needed” experience with
R4.0…

…but I’d appreciate some pointers from the community to get the first
version out of the door quickly.

@michael wrote:

I would recommend we reframe the “tested model” content and have it
be “recommended/curated Community test results” rather than “Qubes
developer-tested results”. and the content can be the effort
currently being done in this thread.

Thank you @michael, I like this a lot. I’ll post the result to the forum
in any case, but if @adw agrees with your proposal I’d be very happy to
submit a pull request to the website too.

@unman:

**Lenovo ThinkPad x230 with i5-3210M **
I asked the person who uses it now and they said 4.0 works fine.

There is actually only one HCL entry from Cody Gardner for this exact
CPU and it mentions UEFI
workarounds
.
Would you mind checking with the person who is using it now if they had
to apply any workarounds to get R4.0 installed?

ThinkPad X220 and X220 Tablet are limited to 8 GB max memory. While this
satisfies the minimum (6 GB) it is just half of the recommended memory
(16 GB).

Personally I’d be able to work with a 8 GB machine just fine using the
minimal templates, but this list is meant to be a “just works” kind of
thing. So I am not sure whether to include those.

Could I please get some feedback / opinions about this?

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I agree with removing the current “tested model” content. However, I’m not convinced that the content should go directly on the official website for the following reasons:

  1. People will mistake them for official recommendations, even if we clearly state that they’re from the community. (“I got this from the official website.” “But it’s on the official website!”)
  2. The content on the official web page will go out of sync with the content here on the forum. Then, it will be not clear which one is correct, and users will be (justifiably) confused. Maintaining only one copy of the list prevents this from happening.

For these reasons, I’m inclined to think that it’d be better if we simply linked to the community-maintained list on here on the forum.

In practice, this could mean:

  • We add a link to the forum list in the doc index and on any appropriate pages (e.g., the HCL page).
  • The existing hardware testing page becomes only about developer hardware testing activities and not at all about recommending models. Or we just eliminate this page entirely (if the devs don’t need it), and the existing URL becomes a redirect to the forum list.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to include 8 GB models due to the following scenario:

  1. User sees 8 GB model recommended on the list.
  2. User, not yet understanding the significance of memory to running Qubes, purchases 8 GB model.
  3. User runs into OOM problems.
  4. User posts about problems on forum.
  5. People reply, “It’s because you don’t have enough RAM.”
  6. User asks, “Can I add more?”
  7. People reply, “No. You should’ve gotten a model that supports more.”
  8. User now feels cheated, like there was a bait-and-switch. “Why did you recommend this model when you knew it wasn’t going to work well?”

Now, someone might say, “You can still list the 8 GB models. Just make sure to add a warning.” But how is a prospective user supposed to really understand the meaning and significance of this warning without ever having used Qubes? Most users don’t really know how many qubes they want to run simultaneously until having established some kind of workflow.

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