Introduction

Hardware Requirements

Processor

Release Year (Non-Negotiable)
  • Recommended: 2011-2012
    • Minimum: 2008
Technical Requirements (Non-Negotiable)
  • 64-Bit
  • Acceptable: Dual Core
  • Recommended: Quad Core
Processor (Negotiable)
  • Intel
    • Value: (Sandy Bridge) Core i5
    • Low cost: (Sandy Bridge) Core i3
  • AMD
    • Value
      • (APU) Comal Fusion (Socket FS1r2/FP2)
      • (Non APU) Turion II Dunabe (Socket S1G4)
    • Low Cost
      • (APU) Sabine (Socket FS1)
      • (Non APU) Athlon II Dunabe (Socket S1G4)

Memory (Non-negotiable)

DDR3 is easier to find then DDR2.

  • Minimum: 4GB
  • Recommended: 8-16GB

SSD/HDD (Negotiable)

  • SSD
    • Minimum: 256GB
    • Recommend: 512GB
  • HDD
    • Minimum: 500GB
    • Recommend: 1TB

Miscellaneous

Non-Free firmware requirements (Integrated)

  • Intel
    • Intel HD Graphics: N/A
    • Intel GMA: Required for PowerVR chipsets (GMA 500/600/3600/3650)
  • AMD
    • AMD Radeon G Series: Non-Free firmware required.
    • AMD Radeon HD: Non-Free firmware required.

Non-Free firmware requirements (Dedicated)

  • AMD and nVidia require Non-Free firmware. Open source firmware may degrade performance or cause problems.

Laptop battery recalibration (Optional)

Refer to this guide if your laptop includes an older battery. This is optional but highly recommended.

Outils

Pièces

  1. Model:
    • Model:

    • Processor: Intel Core i5 2nd/3rd gen XXXXM/QM

      • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000/4000

    • RAM: 8/16/32GB (DDR3/L)

    • Storage: (SSD/HDD)

    • Networking

      • Ethernet:

      • WiFi:

  2. USB installation is typically recommended. Refer to this guide for bootable USB drive creation instructions. USB: This is recommended for most users. Modern systems boot from USB reliably.
    • USB installation is typically recommended. Refer to this guide for bootable USB drive creation instructions.

      • USB: This is recommended for most users. Modern systems boot from USB reliably.

      • DVD: Only consider this if your system cannot boot from USB reliably.

  3. Multiple attempts may be required. These steps were developed on an HP Pavilion 15-p263nr. Most systems will be similar. Press Esc/F12 to access the BIOS or F10/F11 for the One-time boot menu.
    • Multiple attempts may be required.

    • These steps were developed on an HP Pavilion 15-p263nr. Most systems will be similar.

    • Press Esc/F12 to access the BIOS or F10/F11 for the One-time boot menu.

      • Press the right arrow on your keyboard. Find System Configuration.

      • In System Configuration, select Boot Options. Make the following changes:

        • Disable Secure Boot. Press Enter and select Disabled. If needed, disable Legacy Boot.

    • Save the change and reboot your system.

  4. If you encrypt your system, backup your decryption key and password. *buntu covers Ubuntu and other flavors. Each release is similar, but system requirements vary. Support period: 3-5 years (LTS)/6 months (Rolling release). Linux Mint is Ubuntu derived. Referral links are used for revenue. Support period: 4 years.
    • If you encrypt your system, backup your decryption key and password.

    • *buntu covers Ubuntu and other flavors. Each release is similar, but system requirements vary. Support period: 3-5 years (LTS)/6 months (Rolling release).

    • Linux Mint is Ubuntu derived. Referral links are used for revenue. Support period: 4 years.

      • LMDE is Debian derived. It is not PPA compatible and receives fewer releases.

    • Debian is an intermediate distro, often used as a base distro. Support period: 5 years.

    • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS has privacy issues (Amazon integration). 18.04 LTS fixes this. EOL: 4/2021

  5. The RAM in your system determines how it performs. 8GB or more is recommended. DDR3L operates at 1.3V, if supported. DDR3L is backwards compatible with 1.5V. DDR3 was supported in 2008 (Intel GL/GS) and 2010 (AMD Nile).
    • The RAM in your system determines how it performs. 8GB or more is recommended.

      • DDR3L operates at 1.3V, if supported. DDR3L is backwards compatible with 1.5V.

      • DDR3 was supported in 2008 (Intel GL/GS) and 2010 (AMD Nile).

      • DDR2 was supported in 2005 (Intel 915GMS) and 2006 (AMD Kite). Availability may be limited.

  6. A UEFI BIOS is required to fully address >2TB SSDs.
    • A UEFI BIOS is required to fully address >2TB SSDs.

    • If found, make sure any known firmware bugs are fixed. Make sure TRIM is enabled.

      • 128GB SSDs are only practical as OS drives due to the capacity.

      • 256GB SSDs may work as a primary drive, but are typically OS drives.

      • 512GB SSDs are somewhat expensive, but work as a primary drive.

      • >512GB SSDs are expensive. If possible, wait for a price reduction.

    • A UEFI BIOS is required to fully address >2TB hard drives.

    • If known, record the Brand, Model and DOM of the original drive.

    • Budget: Recommended: WD Blue 1TB. WD Blue drives do not last as long.

    • 7mm: Recommended: WD Black 500GB.

    • 9.5mm: Recommended: WD Black 1TB.

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  8. A UEFI BIOS is required to fully address >2TB hard drives. Used drives should be tested before use. DO NOT reuse heavily used drives. 250-320GB hard drives are typically heavily used.
    • A UEFI BIOS is required to fully address >2TB hard drives.

    • Used drives should be tested before use. DO NOT reuse heavily used drives.

    • 250-320GB hard drives are typically heavily used.

    • 500GB-1TB hard drives <5 years old are generally serviceable. Drives >5 year old are likely to fail.

    • >1TB hard drives <5 years old are generally serviceable. Drives >5 year old are likely to fail.

    • If you do not use your optical drive, a Hard Drive -> Optical Drive Caddy can be installed. Measure your optical drive with a digital caliper to determine if it is 9.5 or 12.7mm.

    • DVD Recorder drives are the most common. DVD±R drives read both formats.

    • Blu-Ray drives are primarily user installed.

  9. Low end processors have been omitted. Core i Series 3rd gen (Ivy Bridge) systems are becoming common. However, they tend to be more expensive.
    • Low end processors have been omitted.

    • Core i Series 3rd gen (Ivy Bridge) systems are becoming common. However, they tend to be more expensive.

    • Core i Series 2nd gen (Sandy Bridge) systems are common and affordable.

    • Pentium (Sandy/Ivy Bridge) systems are low end, but better than Celeron systems. These are difficult to recommend.

    • While Core i Series 1st gen (Arrandale) systems are usable, the onboard graphics are subpar. Consider a Pentium laptop.

    • Core 2 Duo systems are still usable for basic tasks. It is typically cheaper to replace the entire system if it has a major failure.

  10. The Comal (Fusion) (2012) platform was designed for mainstream laptops. All processors are dual or quad core. This platform uses Radeon 7XXXG Series graphics. The Sabine (Fusion) (2011) platform was designed for mainstream laptops. Try to avoid E2/A4 laptops. This platform uses Radeon 6XXXG Series graphics.
    • The Comal (Fusion) (2012) platform was designed for mainstream laptops. All processors are dual or quad core. This platform uses Radeon 7XXXG Series graphics.

    • The Sabine (Fusion) (2011) platform was designed for mainstream laptops. Try to avoid E2/A4 laptops. This platform uses Radeon 6XXXG Series graphics.

    • The Brazos (2011) platform was designed for netbooks. All processors are dual core except the C30/E-240. This platform uses Radeon HD 6000 Series graphics.

    • The Danube (2010) platform was designed for mainstream notebooks. All processors are dual or quad core except the V Series. This platform uses Radeon HD 4200 Series graphics.

    • The Nile (2010) platform is designed for Ultrathin laptops. All processors are dual core except the Athlon II K125/K145/V105. This platform uses Radeon HD 4200 Series graphics.

    • These platforms do not support DDR3.

    • The Tigris (2009) platform was designed for mainstream laptops. All processors are dual core except the Sempron M100/120/140. This platform uses Radeon HD 4200 Series graphics.

    • The Congo (2009) platform was designed for Ultraportable laptops. There are no single core processors. This platform uses Radeon HD 3200 Series graphics.

  11. Chipsets on this list are integrated into the CPU. Intel HD Graphics (2010-present) are integrated into the processor. While HD Graphics 2000/2500/3000/4000 performance is acceptable, 1st generation is subpar.
    • Chipsets on this list are integrated into the CPU.

      • Intel HD Graphics (2010-present) are integrated into the processor. While HD Graphics 2000/2500/3000/4000 performance is acceptable, 1st generation is subpar.

      • AMD Radeon G Series graphics (2011-present) are integrated into A Series APUs. Since the GPU is integrated into the processor, performance is CPU dependent.

    • Chipsets on this list are integrated into the motherboard. There will be a performance gap.

      • AMD Radeon HD graphics (integrated) aged better than Intel graphics, but require Non-Free firmware.

      • Intel GMA graphics work well in Linux. However, most are unusable. PowerVR chipsets (500/600/3600/3650) require Non-Free firmware.

  12. Dual GPU laptops may not work correctly. Check if this can be disabled in the BIOS. AMD and nVidia require Non-Free firmware. Some images do not include it (Ex: Debian Official).
    • Dual GPU laptops may not work correctly. Check if this can be disabled in the BIOS.

    • AMD and nVidia require Non-Free firmware. Some images do not include it (Ex: Debian Official).

    • AMD

      • AMD Radeon GPUs are marketed towards consumers. While Linux support is better, some features are not supported.

      • AMD FirePro GPUs are made for ISV certified workstations. These cards provide full Linux support.

    • nVidia

      • nVidia GeForce GPUs are known for subpar Linux compatibility. nVidia focuses on proprietary API support (DirectX, PhysX, GameWorks). This may impact performance.

      • nVidia Quadro GPUs are made for ISV certified workstations. These cards provide full Linux support.

  13. Wireless cards without 802.11n or dual band support should be replaced. Some laptops require a half to full height bracket. Intel wireless cards work well in Linux. Some distros do not include the firmware required (Non-Free) on official images.
    • Wireless cards without 802.11n or dual band support should be replaced. Some laptops require a half to full height bracket.

    • Intel wireless cards work well in Linux. Some distros do not include the firmware required (Non-Free) on official images.

    • QCA/Atheros wireless cards work well in Linux and are usually easily configured. ath10k cards require Non-Free firmware.

    • Azurewave wireless card compatibility is primarily chipset based. ath10k cards are the most compatible.

    • Realtek wireless cards work best in *buntu and Linux Mint. Compatibility varies in other distros. Some distros do not include the firmware required (Non-Free) on official images.

  14. Dell laptops are not whitelisted. Factory Intel laptops provide the best out of the box support. Alienware (Dell) laptops are not whitelisted. Some Killer Wireless cards have problems in Linux.
    • Dell laptops are not whitelisted. Factory Intel laptops provide the best out of the box support.

    • Alienware (Dell) laptops are not whitelisted. Some Killer Wireless cards have problems in Linux.

    • Acer laptops are not whitelisted.

    • Asus Asus laptops are not whitelisted.

    • MSI laptops are not whitelisted. Some Killer Wireless cards have problems in Linux.

    • Samsung laptops are not whitelisted. Most laptops ship with Intel or Broadcom wireless.

    • Private label laptops are manufactured by ODM's (Ex: Clevo/Sager) for companies like System76. These are typically not whitelisted.

  15. These laptops will not boot with an unauthorized card installed. Lenovo laptops from this period are whitelisted. POST will halt with an 1802 error. Some laptops may boot with the card disabled.
    • These laptops will not boot with an unauthorized card installed.

    • Lenovo laptops from this period are whitelisted. POST will halt with an 1802 error. Some laptops may boot with the card disabled.

    • HP Business (2004-2012) laptops are whitelisted. 2013+ laptops are unaffected, but older models remain whitelisted.

    • HP Consumer (2007-present) laptops have been whitelisted since 2007. Current models remain whitelisted.

    • Some LG laptops have a whitelist. Research the laptop you are considering if this matters.

  16. Modern Intel/AMD processors integrate the northbridge into the processor.
    • Modern Intel/AMD processors integrate the northbridge into the processor.

    • This list is generalized and some chipsets are not listed. If possible, try and use a 1st party chipset.

    • Intel Outside of a few obscure chipsets, most Intel chipsets work without any issues.

    • AMD chipsets are primarily found on OEM systems and high end boards. Most motherboards use a VIA chipset.

    • VIA chipsets are known for excellent Linux compatibility. This is primarily because VIA provides firmware for Linux. Distros like Debian typically require manual firmware installation.

    • nVidia nForce nVidia left the chipset market in 2010, but these systems are still out there. These chipsets require Non-Free firmware.

  17. Image source: Dell Community
    • Image source: Dell Community

    • This step only applies to Latitude, Vostro and Precision systems. Some laptops require a BIOS update to enable this option.

    • Installation media without bundled Non-Free firmware REQUIRES manual configuration. Disable Optimus to avoid this.

      • Press F2 or F12 (One-time boot menu) to access the BIOS.

      • Open the Video submenu and find Optimus. Make the following changes:

        • Unckeck Enable Optimus.

      • Save the change and exit the BIOS. The system will default to the nVidia GPU in this mode.

  18. This step only applies to Optimus enabled ThinkPads. Installation media without bundled Non-Free firmware REQUIRES manual configuration. Disable Optimus to avoid this. Load the BIOS. Press F1 (BIOS), F12 (Boot menu) or the ThinkVantage button (Startup Interrupt).
    • This step only applies to Optimus enabled ThinkPads.

    • Installation media without bundled Non-Free firmware REQUIRES manual configuration. Disable Optimus to avoid this.

      • Load the BIOS. Press F1 (BIOS), F12 (Boot menu) or the ThinkVantage button (Startup Interrupt).

      • Find the Config tab in the BIOS.

      • Find the Display submenu. Press Enter and make the following changes:

        • Disable OS Detection for NVIDIA Optimus. To do this, press Enter and select Disabled.

      • Select a GPU to use once Optimus is disabled. Once done, choose Exist Saving Changes. The system will restart.

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