Choosing a computer for Linux

I have been told that the Mhz of a machine is no longer the main factor in getting a new computer. What are the things to consider? Only want to use Linux and probably keeping to Ubuntu derivatives. I have peripherals of varying age but they work on Linux Mint 17.3 now. I don’t do games or shoot videos but want to have a speedy desktop and be able to have a few drives installed with different DE. Thanks.

I use Dell Powerstations so that what I would recomend, you can configure it yourself on their website (where they sell machines for small businesses), those are pretty much optimized for linux. Go for Xeon processors since you don’t game, it’s for servers but also good value in the desktop. It usually means RAM would be a bit more expensive if you choose ECC (error correction). Also mine desktop came without the graphics card preinstalled which is alright since its almost always better to buy that separately depending on the needs.

I think you could also order without RAM and find a cheaper place to buy ECC memory than Dell. You don’t have to use ECC but if you are doing file operations it’s at least a good insurance, in future you might want to use ZFS so it’s better to have ECC (you can’t combine those with regular mem sticks). For graphics nVidia is a better choice right now in linux, drivers for some AMD cards might not be ready yet.


If you only want to use linux why not buy from a linux-builder. There are a number of such suppliers who build linux machines. I bought one six months ago. To be able to point you in the right direction we need to know roughly in which part of the world you live and if you have any particular keyboard layout requirements (although for a desktop this would not be relevant, as you can buy a seperate keyboard).
This takes the guessing out of “will it work”. My machine has two drives, an SSD for the system and a 7200 hard disc for the data. I talked to the company that sold the machine to me and they pre-installed everything, including my Ubuntu-Mate. :slight_smile:
Because of the particular requirements I placed on my system I would not have been able to buy an equivalent windows box to convert to linux for the same price.

If you let us know roughly where in the world you’re located we should be able to suggest some linux-builders who could be of interest to you.

Thanks for the input both of you. I live in Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada. I have not heard of the things either of you mentioned before so I am not sure if they exist here. I was considering getting it put together by a local shop piecemeal. But the shop has far more experience with Windows concerns. I have used an Asus mother board previously and never had a problem for 10 years but I now want Linux only. Questions like is uefi better than grub2 are a mystery to me. Also what type of ram etc. to ask for??
Thanks again for your intput. Would be glad to look into what you have said and any future info.


Try this site ( to see an overview. :penguin:

I listen to various linux-focused podcasts and the company “system 76” seems to be rated quite highly. I’m based in Europe, so the supplier I bought from is not relevant for you. I’m not sure if there’s a linux-builder in Canada - hallo community :wave:, can anyone add canadian companies to the list of potential suppliers?

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Thanks so much for being there. Time for bed here now. May hear from you later. Blessings.

I have the same questions, but from Brazil, any info on that?

I got the help I needed from the “share your system specs” under tips tricks and tutorials. By sharing their computer specs I now know what will work on Linux with more certainty. Now to check costs before going to the the shop and having them put a machine together. Hope that helps.

HI thank you so much for putting your info forward. I had heard that some of the AMD parts were causing problems for people on the newer DE of LInux. Have you experienced any? Also I am not sure what part of the computer is being suggested by those who state there are problems. The info you hae already shared is exactly the type of thing I need to give to my local tech to put together. Now I have time to check part prices and see that I am being treated fairly. Thanks.

This utterly fantastic. Now I can actually think about what I want to get on my next computer and know that it works on my favorite OS. You have all been very helpful and give a great peace of mind. Thanks.
No idea how to give this a “Like” but I can assure you I DO.
ps my system is old but when I get the new one it will be put here.

Not sure what you meant by that. I see you are using a Dell BIOS is it causing you problems? I am not sure whether to go for an i5 or a i7. Have you been happy with the i5?
ps thanks for posting this it is very helpful

Have you tried version 18 as yet? With my set up that is where it started saying my bios was out of date. Seems like a good machine.

Thanks for sharing I find it very helpful. Great bunch at the mate forum!

Hallo Adhans

Try following up these links:

I’ve never come across this company before, so make your own enquiries before you make any decisions.

I use System76 machines, and I love them. I have a Ratel Pro, Sable, Meerkat, and a Lemur laptop. They all run Linux flawlessly. There are many machines out there that will run Linux, but if you’re going to buy from a company like Dell or HP you have to research the machines first to see how well they run Linux. Buying from a company like System76 (or other Linux PC makers) you won’t have to deal with that.

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Never use ECC RAMs and server processors for desktop computers. They are slow for desktop and they are for servers for a reason...

Some BIOS allow users to selectively disable components such as network adapters, USB ports, etc.
In this case, I had no use for the WiFi, so I turned it off in the BIOS.
The effect is that the WiFi hardware is not even visible from the operating system.

Sorry I guess my question got in the wrong spot. I have a concern with
using compiz. My v.18 of Mint Mate has two spots in the config panel of
Compiz and I don’t know which is the right choice since the default one is
gnome but mate compatibility is there but not checked. Slightly off course!