Choosing the right laptop for our OS

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.” ― Marshall McLuhan

Hardware selection is difficult. Amidst my busy schedule, everyday i consider, before I start a project, I consider what tools would benefit me in my work the most. Many people relate this to software, for example Microsoft Word vs notepad vs LibreOffice, each has its own perks. Likewise, the hardware matters too. It would be terrible to write an essay on a tablet or a smartphone.


Laptops are the in-between between functionality and portability and are neither here nor there. Therefore, for us to select a laptop is hard. It requires knowing what our customers want which is impossible to predict. Price is a factor too. We should always shape our tools before our tools shape us, otherwise we become crippled slaves. Hence, we should list down our requirements and stick to it.

After much consideration, our laptop should ideally feature:

1) At least a 4th generation i5 processor

The processor is important for our OS. This is due to the fact that many programs are still non-native and WINE uses a compatibility layer which requires more processor processing and possibly less graphics processing. Many users will require professional graphics and video processing as well.

2) Nvidia Graphics card – for optimal hardware compatibility

The graphics card must be able to handle HD videos and be able to last a few years. ATI has had issues with hardware compatibility with linux. Even though I have gotten ATI cards to work, the performance is significantly affected. Many users will require graphics and video processing and a good modern graphics card can ensure the hardware remains competitive for years to come. Being able to play a few games is part of the bonus, however I doubt linux will be behind windows or mac in terms of performance for native games.

3) Dual graphics card, onboard when Nvidia not in use

Having two graphics card to conserve power is a bonus although this requires extra configuration on linux, this is also not supported on all machines. However, I believe battery life is essential and we will ensure that this will be an available feature even we have to test on multiple hardware. That is also one of the reasons why we must choose Nvidia rather than ATI to achieve this function. Nvidia Prime allows one to manually switch the graphics card on linux, thus choosing how much power is needed. Bumblebee on the other hand allows different applications to be run by different cards. Both have their pros and cons.

4) 4 GB Ram and 1TB

This is more than the basic requirement for most users without overstretching the budget. Our OS can run with less than 1GB of disc space. You will also realise that the efficiency of our OS ensures that a small amount of ram is only needed and most of it will be used to power your essential programs.

5) HD display of at least 1080p

No point having nice hardware if your screen isn’t able to deliver. 1366 x 768 as well as 1920 x 1080 are the most common display out there (according to W3resource statistics). For gamers, 1920 is the most dominant (according to Steam statistics).

6) Display size about 12-14 inches

This is in between netbooks and huge gaming laptops.

7) Battery life of at least 5-7 hours while working

8) Not being forcd to pay for a default operating system

This costs from 120 – 200 SGD. Some companies are willing to refund it in part and some do not charge at all. Below is an example from Aftershock PC’s Website.

OS price based on Aftershock PC website


9) Weight

Less than 2kg

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