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I have a Samsung laptop running Windows 10:

Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-6100U CPU @ 2.30GHz
RAM: 4.00 GB
System type: 64-bit OS x64-based processor

It's a few years old, but it runs fine despite the occasional lag here and there. I'm not 100% happy running windows, and so I started to look into alternatives.

Will removing Windows 10 from my laptop and installing a Linux distro (Ubuntu/Debian/ or Fedora) improve its performance since it's a "lighter" OS? (I'm not too keen on running a VM, and I'd much rather run Linux exclusively).

I heard that Lenovo Thinkpad's architecture is more suited for running Linux, so I got a little worried that my laptop wouldn't be up for it.

I will be mostly using it for Python/R/C/C++ and some web development stuff. If you guys think I will indeed see an improvement in performance by changing OS, then is there anything I should keep in mind when making the switch?

Thanks a lot! Any feedback is appreciated.



UPDATE

samsung notebook NP500R4L (my model)

I tried googling my Samsung laptop model + linux and the article below was the first result that came up lol. btw, the article is from 2013 -- but still, my laptop isn't much newer than that.

How to destroy a brand-new Samsung laptop: Boot Linux on it link to article

In any case, that's a samsung issue, and I still wanna run linux. I'm planning to buy a Lenovo Thinkpad and just run Linux on it since its architecture is more suited for running Linux -- keeping windows on the Samsung laptop.

Below is the model I'm considering to buy (used) for running Linux:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad T430 i5-3230M 500 GB // 250.00 EUR

Lenovo ThinkPad T430 2349-Core i5 2.6 GHz-3230M/64-bit Windows 10 Pro/Windows 7 Professional 64-bit downgrade-pre-installed: Windows-4 Gb RAM-500 Gb HDD-DVD-printer-1366 x 768/14 "wide HD-Intel HD Graphics-update 4000

closed as primarily opinion-based by Ipor Sircer, sebasth, meuh, schily, telcoM Sep 2 '18 at 13:59

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Hard drive or SSD? – Mark Plotnick Sep 2 '18 at 0:31
  • it's a hard drive – tyler durden Sep 2 '18 at 0:40
  • When you see the occasional lag, is the disk busy? Windows 10 keeps the disk busy with prefetch and superfetch, as well as your antivirus and Windows Defender. Linux generally doesn't do any of that, except for ureadahead during boot. – Mark Plotnick Sep 2 '18 at 10:54
  • Indeed, lags occur with more frequency when the disk is busy like when I have a lot of tabs open plus a few applications running. That's why I recently removed everything from it, now I only have sublime text installed. I plan to use the Lenovo laptop (with Linux) to run other applications since this one can't handle much. – tyler durden Sep 2 '18 at 21:54
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It's hard to talk about performance without more specifics on what part of the system you're measuring performance of.

Are you worried about performance while running Python or R programs? Are you worried about performance while doing file operations on large filesystem trees? Are you worried about responsiveness of your desktop environment?

Even if you get more specific, it's hard to predict how Linux will behave compared to Windows, especially since there are many different Linux distributions which might set up the system in different ways, or have different policies for their package versions (some are stable and backport security fixes, while other try to ship newest releases) that can impact system performance overall.

In terms of desktops, that's even more so, since there are multiple desktop environments with different philosophies and approaches that also impact how well they perform on different hardware.

These days, it's hard to make a strong case for Linux being much lighter than Windows, especially on desktop environments. That is in part because some of the Linux desktop environments decided to invest on creating a better experience, also adding more eye candy (using the pervasiveness of GPU availability to keep the desktop snappy) and also adding more components and abstractions, that one could argue would make the system heavier.

On the other side, Windows has been getting rid of some legacy protocols and introducing new APIs, which might result in modern Windows being more responsive than it used to.

One thing that helps the Linux case is that you can make it lighter, by selecting specific components (like using simple window managers instead of full blown desktop environments), possibly at the cost of some usability.

Another possibility with Linux (by being an open source project) is that you can recompile the system with specific optimizations for your system, which might help squeeze that last few percent performance improvement that is hard to get on other platforms. (If that in specific interests you, check out distributions such as Gentoo which build all software from source and allow you to customize the build in details.)

It's hard to tell whether you'll have problems with Linux detecting and recognizing the hardware in your laptop. For the basics (cpu, disk, keyboard, screen) it's usually fine, but some components such as webcam or touchpad might give you some trouble or maybe require some tweaks to work the way you expect. You might want to google the model of your laptop + Linux to see if you find details or stories of others who tried to install and how much success they had with it.

Ubuntu is typically a distribution that tends to have good hardware support for desktops and laptops, so maybe you could check that out and see how it does.

Finally, there are many ways to run Linux on your laptop before installing it, many distributions provide Live-CD or USB images you can use to boot your laptop and do a "test drive" before you commit to installing. (Keep in mind some of these might appear "slow" while reading the files from slow media.) Anyways, that's probably a good way to see whether you like any distribution more than another and to see how they support your hardware.

Good luck in your plunge into Linux! And count on Unix & Linux as you go, ask more questions if you need more specific help.

  • Thanks for the great answer! It gave me a good perspective on the matter, but it also opened room for more questions haha so here it comes: – tyler durden Sep 2 '18 at 21:57
  • "Linux desktop environments decided to invest on creating a better experience, also adding more eye candy" I know that Ubuntu tries to sort of duplicate the mac/windows desktop UI...but did you mean all popular distros? I really don't care about eye candy, I wanna run my applications smoothly and I want them to give me feedback quickly. That's it. I was considering using Debian precisely because it focuses on the systems effectiveness, and not on things like UI. – tyler durden Sep 2 '18 at 22:03
  • I've also looked into Gentoo, and it seems to be more or less like Arch: // The biggest difference is that Gentoo is primarily a source based distribution with some support for binary packages tacked on, and Arch Linux is a binary distribution with a some support for source packages. This distinction has a lot of side effects. // I really like Arch's idea, I just didn't pursue it further because I don't know if I would be able to build it myself. Do you think Gentoo would be a easier alternative? – tyler durden Sep 2 '18 at 22:08
  • Finally, I updated my question: it seems my Samsung laptop won't be up for running Linux. Do you know of any laptop models/brands that could run Linux well, for instance Lenovo's Thinkpad? – tyler durden Sep 2 '18 at 22:11
  • " It's hard to talk about performance without more specifics on what part of the system you're measuring performance of. " You're definitely right, and coming from my perspective, good performance would be: Cloud9 IDE(on browser), Jupyter notebook(on browser) , and Hotmail all open on the same browser while I'm running sublime text with a few tabs open and R. That's it. – tyler durden Sep 2 '18 at 22:22
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Will removing Windows 10 from my laptop and installing a Linux distro (Ubuntu/Debian/ or Fedora) improve its performance since it's a "lighter" OS?

That's been my experience. The Linux OS is faster (copying/moving/searching) and programs developed for Linux run faster than if they are being ran under Cygwin, assuming they work without too much modification.

Linux has available system calls that are unavailable under Windows. I don't know that I'd call Linux lighter as it's more powerful and a lot to learn - I'd certainly call it faster across the board except for running Windows programs, either in a VM or with Wine.

I will be mostly using it for Python/R/C/C++ and some web development stuff.

If you're a developer (or want to be) learning Linux has benefits, but if you want to sell programs there's a larger open source base under Linux than Windows with which to compete with.

Python, C, and C++ (and most languages and programs, except 'Windows only' programs) will be a version ahead under Linux and run faster.

If performance of R is your only concern Microsoft offers an enhanced version of R on their website, with downloads for Windows, a few versions of Linux, and source code

If you guys think I will indeed see an improvement in performance by changing OS, then is there anything I should keep in mind when making the switch.

You may not see enough of a performance increase to be worth the trouble of learning Linux. Under Linux there's quite a bit of 'fix it yourself' or wait, how long you wait depends on how many users there are for the particular program and how good bug tracking is with the group.

I'd recommend running Linux but I wouldn't recommend giving up Windows.

There's a lot to be said for upgrading your HD and running both using dual boot.

How to start a windows partition from the Grub command line

  • Hey, thanks for the answer! I do know a little bit of Linux like navigating through the command line, and learning more about it would definitely be good. I'm an aspiring developer, and like you said Python/C/C++ running faster on Linux is a huge plus. Yes, you're right. Giving up windows wouldn't be such a good idea, but since this Samsung laptop probably won't be able to run Linux well (question updated) I was thinking about getting Lenovo's Thinkpad and run Linux on it. This way, I can keep Windows on my Samsung. – tyler durden Sep 2 '18 at 22:42
  • Do you think Thinkpad is a good model to run Linux? I'm planning to buy an used one, remove the windows os, and run Linux on it. Since I read about some models not being compatible with Linux I got a little worried about buying some laptop just to later find out it's not compatible with Linux. – tyler durden Sep 2 '18 at 22:46

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