'm actually a bit disappointing about the new MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar). I found this new device very attractive for many reasons. However, it is not supported under Ubuntu (Linux). I think seriously return this computer and buying a new one. I'm writing this question to get some recommendations. I'm looking for a new computer having 3.3 GHz Intel Core i7, at least 16 GB RAM, more than 500 GB (flash memory) of capacity. Moreover, I'm using computer for doing programming (Python, MySQL, TensorFlow). Could anyone recommend me a good computer in considering those specifications? I thought maybe about the new computer Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

In fact, I start a new project that could take between four and six years to realize; hence, I just want the best computer (don't care about the price)

Thanks for your help!

  • 2
    So, your requirements are "Supports Ubuntu", "Runs Python, MySQL and Tensor flow with high performance" and "has these specs"? Does core count matter? Do you need a dGPU (NVidia or AMD, Workstation or gaming)? Would it be better for the SSD to have fast DQ write, mixed IO, low queue random write/read/mixed IO or sequential speeds? Do you have preferences for keyboard? Screen? Touchpad? Durability Weight? Any extra requirements will help us narrow down what you need. And of course, do you need shipping to a specific country?
    – timuzhti
    Dec 13 '16 at 13:27
  • @Alpha3031 You forgot the most important thing: What is the budget? lol Dec 16 '16 at 19:04
  • @Look at the question. I don't care about the price. Dec 16 '16 at 19:52
  • @NZKshatriya OP says budget is infinity dollars.
    – timuzhti
    Dec 17 '16 at 0:16
  • Oh, didnt see that.........well......... Dec 17 '16 at 2:12

Assuming you'd prioritise raw performance over portability and battery life, I'd recommend the

Dell Precision 15 7150 ($2,235)

It's a workstation laptop configurable to have a 512 GB NVMe SSD.

The CPU is an Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5, a quad core, hyperthreaded CPU, with base clock of 2.8 GHz and turbo up to 3.7 GHz (4 core turbo would be 3.5 GHz), it is one of the most powerful mobile CPUs currently on the market.

If you plan on heavily utilising the Intel graphics, or a large L4 cache appeals to you, then you can upgrade to the E3-1545M v5, with GT4e graphics, and the associated 128 MB of eDRAM on die.

In the default configuration, the laptop comes with Windows 10 Pro preinstalled, but you could choose to forgo that. With Ubuntu preinstalled, you save the licence price of $94. Note though, that they install Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, not the latest 16.04 LTS or 16.10.

The laptop also comes with a Quadro M2000M. While a Quadro specifically isn't necessary, its 640 CUDA cores and 4 GB of VRAM make it well suited for accelerating TensorFlow using cuDNN.

RAM starts at 32 GB and is upgradable up to 64 GB. Upgrading to ECC RAM is also an option. Note that laptop OEMs tend to overcharge for RAM upgrades, so you might be better off purchasing your own, if you wanted more.

The display is a fairly mediocre 1080p one. You might choose to upgrade to 4K, or a wider gamut panel, add a camera or remove the microphone.

You might also like to upgrade to a backlit keyboard ($33), a higher capacity battery, add a second hard drive and/or add a RAID card.

To summarise: The Dell Precision is a highly customisable and powerful mobile workstation. It should take care of anything you throw at it with speed, and it also supports Ubuntu (optionally preinstalled).

  • There is a very good review on this machine that goes in depth into battery life, etc. [Review}9http://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-Precision-7510-4K-IGZO-Mobile-Workstation-Review.167586.0.html). I am really surprised this only weighs 6 lbs.
    – Jeff
    Dec 17 '16 at 1:56
  • TBH, if anyone finds a similar computer with a Pascal based GTX card, I'd recommend that instead. I'm pretty sure that TensorFlow uses SP, not DP, which means that the newer Pascal would probably be much better. The hard bit is guaranteed Linux support, which is usually very good for Dell laptops, even when not officially supported (personal experience: I've got several with Lubuntu installed that I don't want to scrap but are too old for daily use. The new release with kernel 4.8 dosen't play well with some, but that's another issue)
    – timuzhti
    Dec 28 '16 at 10:03

Looking at your requirements you could attain the best of a couple worlds by going with laptop that runs Windows 10. The latest updates to Windows 10 offer an Ubuntu Bash Shell

Reference 1

Reference 2

This opens the doors to a lot of possibilities for you as far as laptops.

The Surface Book has received a lot of rave Reviews.

The Lenovo you specified seems to have some very mixed Reviews. My personal experience with Lenovo (I have 2) is that they work great and start to fail around year 2.

Additionally the processor speed that you specified is not available in an I7 Mobile processor. Reference Intel The only way you wound be able to get that would be to move to a "mobile workstation". This will increase the bulk and reduce the battery life of the laptop since it will require a desktop processor

Additional Info:

If you need a more "fully functional" Ubuntu interface you can easily use the Hyper V option in Windows 10 Pro and have a fully fuctional version of Ubuntu. Instructions For Windows 8 but it will be almost the same for Windows 10.

  • Yes, there is the Bash shell, but currently the functionality is a bit limited as far as I can tell. I would kill to be able to run/access things in the windows environment via Bash on Ubuntu on Windows, but have not been able to figure that out yet. Bash scripting works though. I do love annoying the Guru's on campus with the blasphemy of a bash shell on Windows tho. Dec 16 '16 at 19:06
  • @NZKshatriya Make 'em cry. I just updated the post that includes instructions to run full Ubuntu on Hyper-V if you upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
    – Jeff
    Dec 16 '16 at 23:16
  • The 7500U has a max turbo speed of 3.5 GHz (IIRC, that means 2 core turbo is 3.4), which would tentatively meet OP's specs.
    – timuzhti
    Dec 17 '16 at 0:28
  • @Alpha3031 Technically the i76600U has a turbo frequency of 3.4GHz which is what is in the Surface. Personally I am old school and don't even think about about "turbo" base clock rate is my general point of reference. Talking about this is making we want to go buy a new laptop though.
    – Jeff
    Dec 17 '16 at 1:44
  • Err, yes... All i5s, i7s and (most?) Xeons support Turbo boost.
    – timuzhti
    Dec 17 '16 at 1:46

If budget is no issue, and power both in CPU and GPU are desired, you can always go with: MSI 18.4" GT83VR TITAN SLI-024

USD $4,698.00

Note: This thing is a beast, in size as well as specs.

The way they have storage set up is as follows:

Super RAID 4™ 1 TB SSD (PCIE Gen3x4) [512 GB x 2] + 1 TB SATA 7200 RPM HDD (Super RAID 4 denotes MSI software to configure raid without getting into BIOS, other than that, the drives are set in a RAID 0 config)

(DUAL)GeForce GTX 1080 8GB SLI (VR Ready)

Intel Core i7 6920HQ (2.90 GHz)

64 GB Memory 1 TB HDD 1 TB SSD (PCIE Gen3x4)

18.4" Full HD 1920 x 1080

16.85" x 12.36" x 1.66"-2.52" 13.13 lbs.

I'm running a (lowly) MSI GL62-6QF-628, which runs Ubuntu quite well, after selecting the closed source Nvidia drivers, as well as the Intel microcode options under additional drivers via the update utility thing (that for the life of me I cannot remember the name of.......the sprocket icon lol)

  • Wait, how do you get RAID 4 with 2 disks? Do you mean RAID 0?
    – timuzhti
    Dec 17 '16 at 2:47
  • Yes.......I will edit.......Super Raid 4.....its MSI's little in house gimmick thing. Kind of like...Asus has their system tuning software, as MSI does, MSI has their own RAID solution....stuff.....sigh. Anyone know how to put the trademark sign into text? Dec 17 '16 at 2:52
  • I think caret-TM should work in the answer text. Should be the best short of copying the unicode character off Wikipedia or something.
    – timuzhti
    Dec 17 '16 at 2:57
  • I think I am happy with how it looks now....feel free to find other weirdness lol. Dec 17 '16 at 3:01

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