best laptop for Qubes OS

Best Laptop for Qubes OS: Best 4 Hardware Compatible Laptops

The best laptop for Qubes OS is one that provides a good balance of price and performance. A laptop with strong specs can handle more VMs without sacrificing performance, while also enabling you to use more powerful applications.

Finding the best laptop for Qubes OS is more challenging than it seems. There is always a hardware compatibility problem with normal laptops. Because Qubes relies on advanced hardware virtualization features. 

To satisfy the needs of a Qubes geek, we present our top 4 compatible laptop recommendations for Qubes OS out of hundreds available in the laptop industry.

Qubes is a security-oriented, free, and open-source operating system. It comes up with security by isolation, which means limiting the permissions of programs. Finding the best Qubes laptops is always challenging in terms of hardware compatibility. Qubes OS needs more resources: Fast Processor, Memory, Large storage space, and high-end graphics.

4 Best Laptop Recommendations for Qubes OS

We reviewed the best Qubes OS Laptops for your ease. You can choose any of the below listed Qubes Laptops.

What Kind of Laptop will be Compatible for Qubes OS

Here, we can divide the requirement criteria into two sub-criteria. The minimum requirements and the recommended ones. Minimum requirements are those that a machine must have while recommended will be preferred.

Minimum Requirements for Qubes OS Laptop

  • Cpu: 64-bit Intel or AMD processor Intel 
  • VT-x with EPT or AMD-V with RVI
  • Intel VT-d or AMD-Vi
  • Minimum 4 GB RAM
  • Minimum 32 GB disk space

Recommended Requirements for Qubes OS Laptop

  • Cpu: 64-bit Intel or AMD processor Intel:64-bit Intel speeds up most desktop applications. It has 64bit addressable memory space. Also, 64-bit pointer types allow virtual address ranges greater than 4GB in size. Software programs that require many computations to perform faster functions on the multi-core 64-bit processors, for the most part. 
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM built-in RAM is excellent for speeding up things. The more memory Qubes Laptop has the better they perform. To gain the most outcome out of Qubes you really need a minimum of 4GB RAM, although the recommended memory is 16GB RAM.
  • Storage: For Qubes OS your primary concern is voluminous data storage. You will need a large space for storing high-quality data, applications, graphics, and gaming as working with Qubes OS. Therefore, a minimum of 32GB space and a maximum of 128 GB space is required.
  • Graphics: Intel integrated graphics processor (IGP) strongly recommended
  • Peripherals: non-USB keyboard or Multiple USB controllers are required for a Qubes OS Laptop.

1. Lenovo Legion Y530

Editor’s pick, best laptop for Qubes OS that resides at No. 1 position is Lenovo Legion Y530. 

Lenovo is known for making quality, lightweight laptops. It has a strong overall performance. The Lenovo Y530 comes up with an Intel Core i5-8300H processor. Therefore this has Multi Quad-core performance which is ideal for Qubes OS. Lenovo Y530 provides 8-GB built-in RAM which is best for Qubes operating systems, using 8 GBs of RAM will speed up things and it is best for browsing fast and working on many tabs simultaneously. As we know Qubes OS divides different Programs in qubes (domain) for different purposes, then 8GB RAM will work best with 128GB SSD and a secondary 1TB storage space.

Lenovo Y530 offers a sufficient number of ports on its left including its USB 3.1, Type-C for charging, Mini-Display Port, HDMI, Gigabit LAN, and Kensington Lock. Lenovo Y530 does not have a card reader slot. Lenovo’s are well known for an excellent keyboard, Lenovo brings up the best features which also enables comfortable typing with the soft and quiet gentle touch.

Qubes Laptop must have more battery timing as Qubes OS want’s. Lenovo Y530 is the best choice. when choosing the best laptop for gaming because its battery timings are almost average.

Lenovo Legion Y530 is a 15.60-inch display laptop that has a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. It has a sleek and stylish look, with thin bezels around it. Lenovo Legion Y530 is made of plastic but it seems like a little professional laptop.

Lenovo Y530 comes up with Poor RGB coverage, inaccurate color, and poor webcam, however, our main concern is fast Processor, high storage capacity for Qubes OS. The low-powered MediaTek SoC is efficient and produces limited heat so Lenovo Y530 Doesn’t get too hot. Lenovo Y530  has Above-average speakers not so loud.

However, Lenovo Y530’s overall computing and multitasking performance are great. Hence, this laptop’s hardware specification meets with Qubes OS recommended requirements.

2. Asus Vivobook 15

Asus Vivobook 15 is the best budget laptop for Qubes OS. It is a sleek designed laptop with excellent performance and affordable price. The slate grey color makes it more attractive.  

Asus Vivobook 15 comes up with the Latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 dual-core processor with a clock base speed of 1.2 GHz and reaches up to a maximum speed of 3.4 GHz. Asus Vivobook 15 has 8 GB DDR4 RAM and 128 GB of storage space. DDR4 provides great capacity, power efficiency, system-level reliability, availability, and serviceability.

The VivoBook 15’s 15.6-inch and 1920 x 1080 display produces sharp images, weighing just 1.8kg and is 18mm thick. The display is very attractive too, it produces a clear, sharp image with bold, bright colors for display. On the left side of the laptop is just two USB Type-A ports, both USB 2.0, but things got a lot more interesting on the right side. The right side of the Asus VivoBook 15 has another USB Type-A port, a power jack, an HDMI 2.0 port, a USB Type-C port, a headphone and microphone jack, and Obviously a micro SD card slot. The Asus VivoBook 15 uses a power-efficient CPU. The laptop ran cool and quiet.

Vivobook 15 does not only have good performance but it also comes with a lightweight and compact chassis which makes it a perfect budgeted laptop.

On the touchpad, it feels plasticy and audible click. The press is fully responsive. Asus Vivobook 15 features an Ergonomic keyboard with a built-in fingerprint sensor, located on the top right side of the trackpad which makes it fast and secure.

Its Full HD display, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, and 128 SSD storage will provide smooth performance on Qubes OS.

Asus Vivobook 15 promises strong all-around performance and good connectivity at a very competitive price although its battery life is average.

3. Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Surface Pro 4 comes up with a much faster sixth-generation 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U processor with integrated Intel HD Graphics 520. Surface Pro 4 has 8GB of Primary memory and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) storage space. As this computer has almost recommended memory and storage space it is one of the best choices for Qubes OS.

Surface Pro 4 has many ports including one USB 3.0 port, an SD card reader slot, a headphone jack, a Display Port, and the surface connector for power. Surface Pro 4 does not have a c-type connector.

Surface Pro 4 is more powerful, lasts longer, and is cheaper and is just as well made. Its additional cover keyboard is fabulous, and its new stylus pen looks stylish and classy. Its Pen has 1,024 degrees of pressure sensitivity, which feels more responsive and accurate.

Microsoft surface pro 4 resolution pixels are 2736 x1824. The display of Surface Pro 4 is extremely bright with rich colors. The laptop is more beneficial for Qubes OS. its superb deeper colors and vibrant combo are the best for high-quality video makers, programmers, and visual workers. The surface pro weighs 1.08kg, which makes it lighter than Microsoft ultrabooks, but more than 313g heavier than the surface go with the type cover.

Microsoft pro 4 has a strong battery life of almost 10 hours, you don’t need to worry about running out of power. Furthermore, Surface Pro 4 is fanless, so it doesn’t make any noise. The more remarkable fact about Surface Pro 4 is that the reduction of fans, despite this fanless feature  Surface Pro 4  does not get too hot or even warm.

4. Apple MacBook Air

Next on our list of best laptops for Qubes OS is a MacBook from Apple. If you are comfortable with using Apple products like iPads, iPhones, etc. then MacBook Air will be a quite familiar pick.

Apple MacBook Air has a 13.3-inch Retina display. It has a magic keyboard and Touch ID. 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of memory, It gives you a large space for Storing high-quality data

    • Stereo speakers with wider stereo sound
    • Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
    • Up to 11 hours of battery life
    • Force Touch trackpad

There’s no fan anymore, for one thing, just an aluminum heat spreader. But even when pushing this machine to its absolute limit, I never felt it get more than a little warm, the similarity extends to the webcam, which is still 720p resolution and still terrible, MacBook Air performs like a pro-level laptop, fixed and more satisfying keyboard, Port selection limited to two USB Type-C connections. It’s a uniquely satisfying and responsive touchpad, making this a great laptop for working at a coffee shop or on a plane having a Qubes OS with no mouse 16:10 aspect ratio. 

This is nontrivially higher than the full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) resolution that’s common on most mainstream laptops, but still well short of 4K. The latter is generally reserved for high-end content-creator laptops (and desktops) that can benefit from the greater pixel count, but it’s a drain on battery life and much more expensive. For the lighter kind of general use work, a MacBook Air is intended for, the Retina Display’s resolution is extremely sharp without being overkill. The display looks fantastic.

Qubes: The most Secure Linux operating system

Qubes OS is at the top of the list of most secure privacy-conscious Linux operating systems. It is a Fedora-based operating system that provides high security.

Qubes OS provides security by isolation. This means isolating programs from one another can prevent them from a vast amount of risks. Qubes uses virtualization to isolate application software. Virtualization comprises two fronts, hardware, and software. The isolating method focuses on limiting software and hardware interactions.

Operating system divides different Programs into Qubes (domain) for different purposes, hardware domains are separated from the software domain. Programs are isolated in their separate Qubes so that one Qube getting compromised won’t affect the others.  Each Qube or domain has a different security level depending on the activity of the user. For example, if you’re concerned about malicious email attachments, Qubes can make it so that every attachment gets opened in its single-use disposable Qube. Similarly, your online banking activities won’t be at risk. Qubes prevents many kinds of malware attacks.

Laptop for Qubes Operating System: An Investment to the Security and Privacy

While there are other privacy-minded Linux operating systems out there, but with Qubes OS you can expect a secure, customizable, and stable operating system that can facilitate both privacy and security. That level of performance will come at a cost though.

For most of its lifetime, Qubes has been based on the Xen hypervisor platform. Recently it switched to using XEN as a backup hypervisor and now uses “Generic Hardware Virtualization,” or GHVM for short, a homegrown open source virtualization solution developed by Qubes developers.

Qubes has a good feature to segregate running apps and data. It provides multiple security domains of isolating all processes and activities within each domain.

How to Choose the Best laptop for Qubes OS

The best laptop for Qubes OS depends on your budget and your use case. A Qubes user that wants to run many VMs should look for a computer with a strong processor (CPU), while someone who only needs one VM should be able to get away with a weaker CPU.

The Qubes OS project recommends the following list of specifications for a more suitable laptop, although, in reality, the choice is up to the user:

Standard Hardware

Qubes OS runs on standard hardware, so it’s possible to install it on almost any machine that can run Linux. That said, if you have an older machine, it may not have either the processing power or memory required to run Qubes comfortably. 4GB of RAM is listed as the minimum requirement, but that’s only if you want to be able to run a few VMs at once. The recommended minimum is 8GB of RAM, and if you want to be able to create and run lots of VMs simultaneously, 16 or 32GB RAM is recommended.

Qubes OS has been designed from the ground up with security in mind, so we recommend avoiding older machines with untrustworthy firmware (or no firmware at all). Instead, opt for newer hardware that supports virtualization extensions — particularly VT-x (Intel) or AMD-V — which support hardware-level virtualization.

High Resolution

A high-resolution display is nice but not required, as you can increase font size in the settings to make everything easier to read.

Long battery life

battery life is an important factor in a device, especially if you need to use it frequently. Most laptops with long battery life have a power-efficient processor. It’s best to get a device that lasts at least 6 hours on one charge so you don’t have to worry about carrying its charger everywhere you go.

AVOID AMD APU-based laptops

Although some AMD APU-based laptops are supported by Qubes, they have major limitations – such as lack of support for VT-d/IOMMU. This means that it is not possible to run HVM domains (like Windows/Linux) on these machines. Consequently, if you intend to use an APU-based laptop, you will be limited to running only PV domains (OpenVZ containers or Xen PV VMs).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.How does Qubes OS provide security?

Qubes OS has advent security by compartmentalization. Each compartment provides a secure environment to a specific Qube. So, these remain under low coupling and high cohesion relationships.

Qubes offers you to do everything on your same laptop or computer without facing a problem, which means a single cyber-attack will not take away your whole digital life.

Q.What is the main concept behind Qubes?

To provide security by isolation to all the programs that you run on a computer as it is a security-oriented operating system(OS). Xen, X Windows, and Fedora Core 18 are the operating systems on which Qubes OS has been built.

Q.How is Qubes OS different from other security solutions?

As every operating system has some GUI server like Xor or X-based server but not anyone has GUI-level isolation. But Qubes OS has proper GUI-level isolation. Secondly, many of the operating systems are based on monolithic kernels that just present some security problems. As monolithic kernels have millions of lines of code which makes it worse and some of the code is attainable from untrusted applications. And there is the possibility of making attacks through bugging. While in Qubes Xen hypervisor is used for security isolation between domains and it just has a few hundred of thousand lines code. The best work of Xen hypervisor is that it doesn’t know anything about untrusted applications. 

Q.What are the system requirements for Qubes OS?

3 types of system requirements are specified for Qubes OS.

  1. Hardware certification requirements: These are the most rigorous requirements. By it, you can get a high standard of security and privacy.
  2. Recommended system requirements: These are less distinct than hardware certification just highlights the most important that we consider to Qubes.
  3. Minimum system requirements: They are less stringent. they just vary the necessities that run Qubes.

Q.Why do a great laptop necessary for running Qubes OS?

Having great laptops will only fulfill the requirements of Qubes OS. As they are more compatible with those which are old as they do not have large memory, high-end graphics, fast processing system, high storage, and many other characteristics.

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