Recommended to-have list
Laptop computer SHOULD have these features
- A fully featured laptop workstation (students should be able to use the machine in class with a full real keyboard).
- Greater than 3 hours of battery life.
- Greater than, or at least 16GB of RAM (bare minimum), and ideally more!
- x86-64bit architecture
- A machine that completely supports x86-64bit virtualiziation, with either of the following pairs of feature functioning and enabled:
- Intel VT-x and VT-d:
- AMD-v and AMD-Vi
- An operating system and machine that fully supports running x86-64bit virtualization and https://www.virtualbox.org/ software.
- BIOS/UEFI Boot should be unlocked and open.
Recommended not-to-have list
Computer SHOULD NOT have these features
- Primary machine should not be a desktop tower or tablet (should at least have a laptop workstation for use in class).
- Laptop should not block booting the computer to a USB drive with an experimental operating system on it, since this is needed for various classes, labs, and software development functions.
- Laptop should not have a required TPM. That is, the TPM should be able to be turned off or disabled.
- Some new Windows 11 machines do not allow editing or disabling the TPM, to enforce an anti-competetive business model, under the pretense of security...
- Should not have required boot lock via EFI/UEFI or any mechanism.
- Some 2020 or newer Mac machines block booting to USB, to enforce an anti-competetive business model, under the pretense of security...
- BIOS/boot should be unlocked.
- ARM architecture Chromebooks or ARM architecture Mac machines do not support x86-64bit virtualization or VirtualBox, and thus are not recommended: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture_family
Not required, but nice to have
- A large https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive
- This can make booting and other disk-access operations much faster.
Below are some examples of laptop retailers that sell machines that satisfy these requirements,
and thus optionally support the installation of:
Windows, Linux, Unix, BSD, or any other developmental operating system.
- https://clevo-computer.com/en (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clevo) makes System76, Tuxedo, Laptopwithlinux, Sager, etc...