New laptop

What I need:

  • 8GB RAM
  • ~14″
  • battery should last ~5hours
  • Solid State Drive
  • no Microsoft tax (I don’t use Windows™ so I don’t want to pay for it)
  • in €1xxx range
  • at least 2 mouse buttons and a ctrl-key (sorry apple)
  • should be very quiet

Anyone any idea?

I don’t care about gfx card but it’s a plus if it should work with open source drivers.



  1. Philip Paeps

    If you don’t want a Microsoft licence, Apple is pretty much your only option. Just about every credible non-Apple option will include a Microsoft licence.

    You can pull the sticker off though and you don’t have to use it. Just stick it on a nearby urinal or something and don’t let it keep you awake at night.

    The point of a laptop is to get work done, not to make bold political statements.

    • pietercolpaert


      There are several ways to avoid the microsoft tax – for instance fd-computers sells barebone laptops, or Dell used to sell computers with ubuntu preinstalled (although at this moment they seem to have stopped this service?)

      • Philip Paeps

        If the point is to get work done, you probably don’t want a “barebones” laptop. It will weigh a tonne and fall apart. You also want reasonable warranty and some reassurance that you won’t actually need it.

        Likewise, if you want to get work done, you probably don’t want anything with Ubuntu. Run Linux instead.

  2. Paul Cobbaut

    Macbook pro’s have a control key, and can work with any two-button mouse. They are silent and battery lasts more than 5 hours (my laptop is now 18 months old). 8 gig, ssd, very silent.
    The only disadvantage is paying the MacOSX tax.

  3. Chielus

    * 8GB is overkill, 4GB certainly is enough for the next 4 years
    * why do you want 14 inch? 14 inch is quite small to work decently.
    * most laptops are quiet nowadays. unless you buy a medion or a cheap acer
    * no windows license will be hard to find
    * SSD: is nice, but hard to find. you can try Dell for this

    • pietercolpaert

      thanks for your reply!

      1. I need 8 GB. (at this moment I have 4GB and yes when I have 4 virtual machines open I want to be able to open netbeans 😉 )
      2. Yes 14″. I want a laptop that I put in my normal schoolbag. I’m sick of having to carry this thing everywhere
      3. I’ve found out that the windows tax will be a compulsory thing (back in the old days it was easier!)
      4. SSD is really really nice and actually they’re pretty easy to find nowadays 🙂

      I don’t know about the noisiness. I hope you’re right 🙂


    • Philip Paeps

      Whether or not 8G RAM is “overkill” or not certainly depends on Pieter’s workload, no? One thing to keep in mind though is that there’s a non-zero power penalty to having more memory. If you’re not actively going to use the memory, you might as well not have it.

      Regarding the 14″: I do all my work on a 12.1″ ThinkPad X200s and I like to think that I work “decently”. Of course, I write kernel-mode software and live my life in vi and zsh. If you are in the habit of using so-called “editors” which like to hide the code from you underneath lots and lots of fancy widgets, then I concede that 14″ may be a bit small. On the other hand, the 27″ monitors such software seems to feel is adequate isn’t exactly portable.

      Note that last I checked, Lenovo still took a rather high markup on SSDs, other vendors probably do too. It may be more economical to buy a model with a spinny disk and replace it with an SSD. Be sure to note this alteration on the warranty forms!

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