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Looking To (Hopefully) Refresh My Brother's Crummy Laptop. Opinions?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Bit rot and the annoyances of Windows 10 have left my brother wanting to dabble in Linux and its many flavors.


First, the specs, courtesy of Windows 10's about page :P

CPU: AMD A6-5200 APU with Radeon(TM) HD Graphics 2.00 GHz

GPU: AMD Radeon HD 8400/R3 Series

4 Gigs of RAM

Secondly, purpose. All he does is browse with Chrome and listen to music, so nothing he'll really lose out on, I guess besides putting music on his phone with ITunes, as much as we abhor it. Being a beginner at Linux and lazy, he shouldn't use something that relies entirely on full terminal know-how yet. I guess what we want is a fairly streamlined and simple experience. Nothing special and (relatively) easy to update. Just something to use Chrome, Audacity, and VLC on.


So to start off, what Distro should he go for? Compatibility with the hardware and ease of updates is key.

Then, what desktop environment? I was thinking Cinnamon because it's so similar to Windows, but we know they tend to work better with certain Distros, so we're free to any ideas. 


 I am still getting into Linux myself and I would like to know what security measures should be taken besides good ol' uBlock Origin. I know you can set up a firejail, but I personally do not have experience doing that. 


Thank you.

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Just get good old ubuntu. It's one of the most used distributions so it has a lot of info about it going around.

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2 minutes ago, Longguy said:

Compatibility with the hardware and ease of updates is key.

Updates are equally easy on almost all distros so I wouldn't worry about that. Compatibility should be fine, it doesn't have any weird hardware - just make sure you install the open source AMD driver.

3 minutes ago, Longguy said:

So to start off, what Distro should he go for? Compatibility with the hardware and ease of updates is key.

Then, what desktop environment?

Gonna be honest here, for someone looking to do 2-3 things total the desktop environment is the only think that matters in the choice of distro. I would recommend Ubuntu MATE.

5 minutes ago, Longguy said:

 I am still getting into Linux myself and I would like to know what security measures should be taken besides good ol' uBlock Origin.

If you only install things from the repositories and don't run random scripts from the internet you're set. Oh, and keep your system up to date, particularly the browser.

...is there a question here? ?

sudo chmod -R 000 /*

What is scaling and how does it work? Asus PB287Q unboxing! Console alternatives :D Watch Netflix with Kodi on Arch Linux Sharing folders over the internet using SSH Beginner's Guide To LTT (by iamdarkyoshi)

Sauron'stm Product Scores:


Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.


-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]


A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.


-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]


From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.


-OnePlus X - [7/10]


A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.


-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]


Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.


-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]


Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.


-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]


A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.



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for this machine, I'd recommend Xubuntu.  This particular distro uses XFCE a lightweight desktop manager that has a lot less overhead than regular Ubuntu's Gnome.  It is pretty easy to use.  I put it on one of my dad's laptops from 2012 and he uses it for browsing / minor gaming.

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