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Best Distro for Laptop?

Discussion in 'Laptops / Netbooks' started by Louis Aparicio, May 20, 2017.

  1. Louis Aparicio

    Louis Aparicio New Member

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    Currently, I'm running Ubuntu on VMware on an ASUS S400C on Windows 10. I'm finding it sluggish and hard to do work on it. I'd like to remove Windows and have Linux as the sole OS on the ASUS laptop. My question is, which is the best distro to run on the ASUS laptop? I'd like to keep as many of its features as possible, including the touchscreen. An alternative would be to get a secondhand laptop and install Linux on that one instead. Which laptop brand, if any, works best with Linux, preferably Ubuntu, but I'm not fixed on it. I could go with Mint, Debian, or any other. Thanks in advanced for your comments.


     
  2. JasKinasis

    JasKinasis Active Member

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    If you are running Ubuntu in VMware under Windows, I'm not surprised it's a bit sluggish, heh heh!

    If you want to get a better idea of how well it will perform running natively, I'd recommend installing Ubuntu onto a bootable USB thumb-drive. That will allow you to boot into Ubuntu from the thumb-drive and you will be able to see how well it would perform if you did a proper install of it.

    Running from a USB-drive is more or less comparable to a HDD install. On USB you do sometimes get some slight slow-downs when there are a lot of simultaneous read/writes going on. This is due to the limited band-width/speed (sorry, not sure of the correct term) of the USB bus. On a HDD, you wouldn't get that slow-down. It's a performance bottleneck with USB. You have very limited thoughput.

    But generally speaking, if it runs well from USB - then it will run just as well (if not better) from a HD install.
    If you ask ten different people which distro they would recommend, you could easily get 10 completely different answers.
    In my opinion, your best bet is to download and test-drive a few different distros on USB and see what works best on your hardware and which fits in with your expectations/workflow.

    As for which laptops run better - I've never had a problem with any of my old laptops. But perhaps I've just been lucky. Can't remember any of the models of my old laptops offhand, but all of them have been a little old when I first got them - so the hardware was already well-supported under Linux.

    I'm currently running an Asus K55-VD that was designed for Windows 8, with dual Nvidia/Intel Optimus graphics cards, intel i3 processors etc. I've upgraded from 4Gb to 8Gb of RAM and Linux runs brilliantly. I've never had a problem with anything.

    Currently running Debian Testing (installed from the lightweight net-based installer) with dwm as the default window manager along with additional desktops/wms: 2wm, Xmonad, Enlightenment 20 and KDE/Plasma - purely for when I want to demonstrate Linux to others.
     
    #2 JasKinasis, May 20, 2017
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
    wizardfromoz and atanere like this.
  3. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Hi Louis, and welcome!

    Of course, you may get many different opinions on a question like this, but there is no real correct answer. We all have different needs and different tastes. The "best" distro is the one that YOU choose. All those you named are Debian/Ubuntu based, so you may have already found those to your liking, but there are many others if you want to take the time to experiment.

    For experimenting, a second laptop is a nice option if that is available to you. That keeps from interrupting your regular computing and workflow on your primary laptop. Usually Linux runs nicely as a virtual machine, so I'm a little curious about that. You could attempt to create a dual-boot install with your Windows 10, but that has become tricky sometimes because of the BIOS replacement called UEFI, and also at least one other quirk about Windows 10: it usually goes into hibernation rather than doing a full shut down when you tell it to power off.

    These issues can be overcome, but they are easy to miss and can cause trouble for both experienced and inexperienced users. Asus should have a built in utility to make a "System Recovery" for Windows 10... and I would strongly recommend that you create this Recovery set before making any changes to your laptop. The System Recovery may be made on a USB stick, or on a set of numerous DVD's. Also backup up any important data that you can't stand to lose. Seriously! Sometimes things go smoothly, but I have seen way too many cases where things don't go well the first time and you end up formatting the hard drive and starting over from scratch. If you prepare for disaster... it won't be a disaster, and you'll have your important data safely backed up.

    OK, opinion time: I'm partial to Linux Mint for newbies, with the MATE desktop. For more advanced users, Debian is a rock solid distro with any desktop. I don't use the touch screens that I have, but I've read the Gnome is about the best for that, so you might want to check it out if touch control is important to you.

    And, keep asking questions. I know many here will help you along the way.

    Cheers!
     
  4. Louis Aparicio

    Louis Aparicio New Member

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    Great explanation. Thank you. And yes, I've installed Linux side by side when I first had Windows 7, but I've had difficulties with UEFI-based OS. My first experience with Linux was Debian, and I really enjoyed it, but I installed it on an old desktop. I haven't tried on laptops. I'm inexperienced dealing with drivers. Mint is a beautifully crafted distro, but I didn't have enough "muscle" on my older hardware to run it properly. Thanks for your thorough and insightful comments and suggestions.
     
  5. Louis Aparicio

    Louis Aparicio New Member

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    Interesting. I hadn't thought of using a USB drive. It didn't occur to me that it could be fast enough. I'll give it a try. Thanks.
     
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  6. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    While looking at USB installs, check out if an option for "persistence" is also available. Not all distros can do it, but persistence will allow up to 4GB of USB space to store and remember information between booting. This lets you install some additional software not included with the default distro, and it also saves things like your home WiFi password so you don't have to always log in to your network manually. Good luck!
     
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  7. Louis Aparicio

    Louis Aparicio New Member

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    "Persistenece"? I've never heard of the term. It certainly worth considering to keep the settings and paswords. Thanks for the tip.
     
  8. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    This article gives a little more detail about persistence (including some limitations) and refers you to a special program (Linux Live USB Creator) that offers the persistence option. Not all programs for creating a Linux USB can create persistence, but there are some others... I have previously used the Universal USB Installer and also Unetbootin.

    The article cited says that only Ubuntu-based and Fedora distros can use persistence on a USB, but I think that it's possible with Debian also.

    Let us know if you have any trouble with it.

    Cheers
     
  9. darry1966

    darry1966 Member

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  10. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Well-Known Member

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    Hi Louis, hi All

    Louis, if you wish to explore the Persistence option, and just want to place one Linux Distro on a USB stick, you could do worse than check out Unetbootin.

    If you are in a Debian-based Linux Distro such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint, it is already in their Repositories

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install unetbootin
    and it offers persistence of up to 4GB

    Unetbootin is also cross-platform, so you can use it from Windows as well.

    Enjoy

    Wizard
     
  11. VP9KS

    VP9KS Active Member

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    If you are using older hardware, you might want to try "Puppy" or "Linux Lite". Puppy is so small that it runs from ram. It can also be run from the cd without installing. Just my 2 cents worth.:D

    happy trails
    Paul
     
  12. darry1966

    darry1966 Member

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  13. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Well-Known Member

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    @Louis

    If you make the time, can you give us the output for the following command?:

    Code:
    inxi -Fxz
    from your Ubuntu?

    You can cut & paste the output into a spoiler (plus sign 4th from right on toolbar in your reply pane) such as I have with mine below:

    System: Host: localhost.localdomain Kernel: 4.10.16-pclos1 x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 4.9.2)
    Desktop: KDE Plasma 5.8.6 (Qt 5.6.2) Distro: PCLinuxOS
    Machine: Device: desktop Mobo: Acer model: Aspire Z5761
    UEFI: American Megatrends v: P01-A2 date: 12/13/2010
    CPU: Quad core Intel Core i7-2600S (-HT-MCP-) cache: 8192 KB
    flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 22348
    clock speeds: max: 3800 MHz 1: 2311 MHz 2: 3578 MHz 3: 3599 MHz
    4: 3355 MHz 5: 3718 MHz 6: 1700 MHz 7: 2793 MHz 8: 1714 MHz
    Graphics: Card: NVIDIA GF108 [GeForce GT 420] bus-ID: 01:00.0
    Display Server: X.Org 1.19.3 drivers: nvidia,v4l
    Resolution: [email protected]
    GLX Renderer: GeForce GT 420/PCIe/SSE2
    GLX Version: 4.5.0 NVIDIA 375.66 Direct Rendering: Yes
    Audio: Card-1 NVIDIA GF108 High Definition Audio Controller
    driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 01:00.1
    Card-2 Intel 6 Series/C200 Series Family High Definition Audio Controller
    driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
    Card-3 Chicony driver: USB Audio usb-ID: 001-004
    Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.10.16-pclos1
    Network: Card-1: Intel 82579V Gigabit Network Connection
    driver: e1000e v: 3.2.6-k port: f040 bus-ID: 00:19.0
    IF: eth0 state: down mac: <filter>
    Card-2: Realtek RTL8191SU 802.11n WLAN Adapter
    driver: r8712u usb-ID: 002-003
    IF: wlan0 state: N/A mac: N/A
    Drives: HDD Total Size: 2000.4GB (0.4% used)
    ID-1: /dev/sda model: WDC_WD20EARS size: 2000.4GB
    Partition: ID-1: / size: 20G used: 5.4G (29%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/root
    ID-2: swap-1 size: 8.09GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda2
    RAID: No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
    Sensors: None detected - is lm-sensors installed and configured?
    Info: Processes: 235 Uptime: 37 min Memory: 1432.9/7959.6MB
    Init: SysVinit runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 4.9.2
    Client: Shell (bash 4.3.481) inxi: 2.3.8

    I haven't had a chance to look up the specs on the ASUS, and this will give me a clear picture of your environment.

    Thanks

    Wizard
     
  14. Louis Aparicio

    Louis Aparicio New Member

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    Thank you, I'll look it up.
     
  15. maxpro4u

    maxpro4u New Member

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    since you have a touchscreen, ubuntu-gnome should work well.
     
  16. ShowMeRon

    ShowMeRon New Member

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    I have an Asus X540SAA....using PCLINUXOS KDE5. LXDE works using less memory.
     
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