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Gaia Data Release 3: ‘Complete step change’ in understanding of our Universe



Gaia Data Release 3: ‘Complete step change’ in understanding of our Universe

Space scientists have recently announced the discovery of a ‘super Jupiter’ orbiting a white dwarf, the first detected using direct observations with the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Gaia mission.

The discovery forms part of a treasure trove of data made available in Gaia’s Data Release 3, which provides the most detailed survey of our galactic neighbourhood to date.

Observations made by the Gaia observatory, which orbits a point in space about 1.5 million km from Earth, will allow astronomers to create the most accurate and complete multi-dimensional map of the Milky Way and better understand our place in the Universe.

Martin Barstow, Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science at the University of Leicester and Director of Strategic Partnerships for Space Park Leicester, is part of the Gaia collaboration to have co-authored multiple papers using the new data.


Other highlights of Data Release 3 include description of ‘starquakes’, stellar DNA and a new binary star catalogue of more than 800,000 binary systems. Before Gaia launched in 2013, only around 30,000 binaries were known in our galaxy.

Professor Barstow said:

“Gaia data has been moving through astronomy like a tidal wave. It’s the most productive observatory we have available to use right now, and it’s transforming both astronomy and our understanding of the Universe.

“This Data Release 3 is a complete step change. All the data we have catalogued using spectra — stellar distances, ages, composition, and more — adds an extra dimension to what we know about the stars in our galaxy, and represents a huge leap forward.”

Data reveals a ‘super Jupiter’ companion


Observations of exoplanets orbiting white dwarfs is notoriously difficult. White dwarfs are the core remnant of stars not massive enough to become a black hole or neutron star.

However, by analysing the motion of the metal-rich white dwarf WD 0141-675 and noting a ‘wobble’ in its orbit, researchers inferred the existence of a companion object with a mass around nine times that of Jupiter. Too small to be a star, this must be an exoplanet.

This ‘super Jupiter’ is only the third known exoplanet to orbit a white dwarf, and makes WD 0141-675 the closest white dwarf to Earth to host a planet.

Stars in their eyes: Gaia more than doubles number of known binaries

Gaia’s Data Release 3 also expands astronomers’ understanding of binary systems, where two stars are gravitationally bound to one another. Sirius, the brightest star visible from Earth (after our Sun), is a binary system comprising a main sequence star, Sirius A, and a faint white dwarf companion, Sirius B.


These new datasets both refine the stellar catalogue of known binaries and add many more new such systems, bringing the total of known binary systems from around 300,000 before Data Release 3 to more than 800,000. Researchers detect binaries using Gaia’s radial velocity spectrometer and a variety of techniques;

  • astrometry: by detecting the motion of source objects which are not uniform and are observed to ‘wobble’ or otherwise change direction from what would otherwise be expected;
  • photometry: when aligned with Gaia’s line of sight, where one star is observed to pass in front of another and periodically ‘eclipse’ its companion;
  • and spectroscopy: these binaries have a radial velocity that varies periodically, depending on whether a star approaches or recedes from our viewpoint at Earth.

Professor Barstow continued:

“We have so much more data on binaries with this release and, crucially, that data is so much more precise than what has gone before.

“Once you have more precise data about a binary system you can work out all sorts of things such as ages and composition: all aspects we haven’t had information on before.

“And by answering those questions, we can start to understand more of the fundamentals about how our Universe works, including how stars live and die.”

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Best monitors for streaming in 2022



Best monitors for streaming in 2022

Published Jun 25, 2022 1:00 PM

With more and more people livestreaming content, you aren’t alone if you are wondering if there are some monitors for streaming out there that perform better than average for creators and consumers of everything from unboxings to speed runs. Monitors are rarely seen when watching someone online, yet they are so vital for the whole streaming experience. For that reason, we’ve put together this round-up of the best monitors for streaming so you won’t have to hope to catch a faint reflection of them in glasses’ frames. 

Thanks to the best webcams for streaming, we’ve all gotten a good look at the headsets and other accessories inside of our favorite streamer’s rooms. Some of the more observant of you might even have a solid idea of the best streaming devices and best mics for streaming already available. Well, read on and the best monitors to finish your setup will no longer be a mystery. 

  • Best overall: Samsung Odyssey G7
  • Best for Twitch: ASUS ROG Swift PG259QN
  • Best for gaming: BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K
  • Best for livestreaming IRL: ASUS ZenScreen MB166C
  • Best budget: Acer SB220Q

How we selected the best monitors for streaming

Streaming is an incredibly diverse field. In just a few hours of watching streamers you’re likely to see a huge assortment of content: From Maya in the great, bright outdoors working with wildlife to MoonMoon cursing at Mario in a dark room … from a woodblock printmaker showing detailed shots of his knife work to intensive screen transitions from the two-time himself, DrDisrespect, creators have different needs and uses for monitors.

The result is that it is difficult to select a monitor that is the very best for all streamers. Instead, we looked at monitors that are good for categories like gaming, sitting down and working for long hours, and also a few specialty monitors, like those that work well on the go. We also made sure to consider the current monitors of top streamers and the monitors we predicted they’d buy if they were to buy a new one right now. Combining personal experience, research on high-profile personalities, critical consensus, and user impressions, we narrowed down our list.


Things to consider before buying monitors for streaming

The No. 1 thing to consider is what kind of streamer you want to be. There is always some extra that might fit your particular niche the best. Be creative and work with your audience. Despite how much they enjoy OMEGALUL’ing your every failure, they really do care about your gaming experience, stream quality, and overall well-being. Well, at least, sorta.

Aside from niche favorites, there are some key things that pop up more frequently than others, including screen resolution, response time, and screen flicker. Aspect ratio, in particular, plays a unique role in livestreamed video gaming that you just might not expect.

Aspect ratio

For most streamers, the best aspect ratio for a monitor will be 16:9. The details of why that is the case are a bit lengthy, but worth learning if you want to stream.

Understanding what aspect ratio is and how it affects your streaming experience can be a bit tricky. Aspect ratio falls into a similar category as resolution, as it is a ratio of pixels. Where it diverges from resolution, however, is that it directly describes the rectangular shape of your screen.

The aspect ratio of your monitor can give you a good idea about how it will look. A 2:1 aspect ratio monitor could be 2 feet across and 1 foot up OR 6 feet across and 3 feet up. The vertical-to-horizontal ratio stays the same.


Stream hosting sites have standard viewing windows that can adjust to different viewers’ browser window sizes. Twitch and YouTube both default to 16:9 for this. Try changing your browser window size while watching a stream and see the display automatically adjust. The website automatically adjusts the image size to fit your window based on the aspect ratio selected.

How does this translate to the streaming experience? When aspect ratios don’t match, stream hosting services have to squeeze everything into a smaller space, shrinking the visible area. This can also happen even if you adjust the aspect ratio of your stream away from the 16:9 default if your viewers don’t have equivalent monitors to match.

To get around this, ultrawide streamers have to play games windowed, use specialized software, or find some other way around the issue. The result is a friction between what the viewer and streamer see on the screen, which is undesirable for all. Again, it is best to keep to a 16:9 ratio for a streaming monitor, or keep as close to it as possible.

Refresh rate

Refresh rate is going to be something that affects you, the streamer, directly more than it does the audience. While lower refresh rates can contribute to eye fatigue, which possibly lowers stream length, the biggest deal will be when you’re trying to edge out those headshots in FPS games or avoiding getting ganked in your MOBA of choice.

Refresh rates are measured in Hertz, or Hz, and reflect the number of times per second that a monitor’s image refreshes. The higher, the better, these typically start at around 60 Hz and start to level off around 144Hz, but there are those that go beyond.


For slow, tactical games like “Sid Meier’s Civilization” or casual “Hearthstone BG” runs, this won’t be a huge factor for you. However, when you’re in a 3-on-1 situation in the last minutes of a battle royale, it could make all of the difference in the world.

Response time

Another metric of screen changes, response time tells us how fast it takes a pixel on the monitor to go from one color to another. Measured in milliseconds, the testing usually covers the time to change from white to black or one shade of gray to another.

Much like refresh rate, above, this can make a lot of difference to your performance while playing fast games, especially FPS games. Additionally, it is another factor in the trailing white line behind your rapidly moving white cursor on dark-mode’d websites.

You should strive for a response time around 5 milliseconds or less, but a little bit over won’t affect the average individual too much. To put it into perspective, a blink takes about 150 milliseconds, so an extra millisecond or two in your monitor’s response time isn’t going to make a huge difference unless you’re in the top few percent of players in your game.

The best monitors for streaming: Reviews & Recommendations

Generally speaking, the best monitors for streaming are the best monitors for gaming that have a useful aspect ratio. They also tend to be monitors that keep your head and neck comfortable after many hours of streaming … gotta grind out those ranks, after all. We’ve also included an IRL streaming pick, for streaming on the go, due to the massive surge in popularity of that category. Many of them have already been top-streamer tested or belong to product lines used by your favorite eCelebrities. These are our best monitors for streaming.


Best overall: Samsung Odyssey G7

Samsung Odyssey G7 is the best streaming monitor overall.

Why it made the cut: This is one of the best monitors around, with a possible 240Hz refresh rate and that big-screen feel while keeping the preferred 16:9 ratio.


  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Refresh rate: Up to 240Hz
  • Response time: 1ms


  • Competitive response time
  • Elegantly curved display
  • Low eye strain


  • Expensive

The Samsung Odyssey G7 is a monitor that provides for consistently comfortable gaming and streaming experience. With a 31.5-inch curved screen utilizing WQHD level resolution, you get that big-screen feel without sacrificing the critical 16:9 aspect ratio.

If you’re into grinding out the hours in your streamer chair, you’ll be happy to know that it also ranks as a top monitor for reduced eye strain. This is largely in part due to the max refresh rate of 240Hz and the quick 1ms response time all displayed on a comfortably curved screen. What’s even better for the streamer is the fact that these factors also contribute to getting the best KDA in the squad.

When it comes time to complain about this monitor, it can be difficult. However, there is one spec we just don’t like so much about this monitor: the price. While it outclasses the competition in so many ways, we just wish that this wasn’t one of them.

Best for Twitch: ASUS ROG Swift PG259QN

ASUS ROG Swift PG259QN is the best monitor for streaming for twitch.

Why it made the cut: It has a top-of-the-line refresh rate and response time with about as much eye care as you can pack into a premium gaming monitor, all while maintaining that key 16:9 aspect ratio.



  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Refresh rate: 360Hz
  • Response time: 1ms


  • Impressively high max refresh rate
  • TUV-certified flicker-free and low blue light tech
  • Good connectivity (HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, USB)


  • Included stand quite large

The ASUS ROG Swift comes highly recommended for any Twitch streamer looking to make it big in FPS or battle royale games due to its hardcore refresh rate, response time, and Twitch-compatible aspect ratio. It even has great maneuverability for neck comfort and TUV Eye Comfort Certification for those 14+ hour weekend stream marathons. Anyone familiar with the streaming powerhouse XQC will find themselves drawn to this ASUS due to his time with its predecessor, the ASUS ROG Swift 258Q.

Aside from long hours of use, you’ll also find that the ASUS ROG Swift has great connectivity options, with USB and HDMI 2.0 alongside the somewhat better DisplayPort for the best possible frame rate.

The main irritation with this monitor is that the included stand is quite expansive. While it is sturdy and doesn’t shake easily, the stand is just about as wide as the monitor itself and has some depth to it, too. Consider using a wall mount to conserve desk space.

Best for gaming: BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K

BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is the best monitor for streaming and gaming.

Why it made the cut: This monitor is used by some of the best gaming streamers in the world and has the specs needed to be a top FPS player.


  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Refresh rate: 240Hz
  • Response time: 1 ms 


  • Dynamic Accuracy Plus tech for low blur
  • Smaller stand base than predecessor
  • Intensive response time
  • FPS Pro-Grade refresh rate


  • Duller colors than predecessor

Used by YouTube’s favorite medical unprofessional, DrDisrespect, the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K is an overall upgrade to the very popular BenQ ZOWIE XL2540. While retaining a lot of the power of the previous model, it comes in an upgraded package with even more FPS-playing potential.

The Dynamic Accuracy Plus (DyAc⁺) used by BenQ nearly eliminates motion blur. Where the typical LCD monitor will have an intermediary softer color between a flash white and a return to black, the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K will skip this to produce a crisp transition between colors. When coupled with a 1ms response time, this tech can give you the edge you deserve when you need to get precise headshots and track CS:GO recoil patterns down to the pixel.

We like how it compares to the previous model overall. Not only is the response time better, but it also has a much smaller base at approximately 20% smaller. We weren’t as impressed with the vividness of the colors, which appeared somewhat dull. There’s no other way to put it, though, this monitor will take the top 20% of FPS players to the next level of gaming.

Best for livestreaming IRL: ASUS ZenScreen MB166C

ASUS ZenScreen MB166C is the best monitor for livestreaming IRL.

Why it made the cut: The ASUS ZenScreen is a portable USB monitor with all of the features, including the ability to be tripod mounted, certain to make your next IRL stream a hit.


  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Weight: 1.72 lbs.
  • Size: 15.6” screen, 8.9″ x 14.2″ x 0.5″ total


  • Tripod mountable for any terrain
  • Very portable
  • TUV-certified flicker-free and low blue light tech
  • Single cord for power/connectivity


  • USB only
  • Not intended to work with phone

If you are an on-the-go IRL streamer that wants to set up a stream station just about anywhere, we would strongly encourage you to consider the ASUS ZenScreenMB166C. A tripod-mountable portable monitor for your laptop has the potential to spruce up live events and outdoor festivities. Popping one of our best cheap webcams on top can give convention attendees a fun way to wave and say “Hi” to your audience as well. The whole experience is enough to have you asking, “How much data does streaming live TV use?”

Not everything that comes with a tripod attachment is easily portable by default. Heavy, bulky objects are a pain to take with you. So will ease of movement be an issue with a ZenScreen? The verdict is “not likely.” At less than 2 pounds and under 0.5 inch in thickness, you can probably keep it in your laptop case so it will always be ready to go. The included protective sleeve will keep it from getting any scratches barring the most extreme of collisions.


You’ll also be happy to know that you won’t have to carry a million accessories to keep this monitor functional. A single USB cord will simultaneously cover the connection to your laptop and powering up the monitor. Unfortunately, that USB connection is the only connection possible. Overall, though, this monitor works incredibly well for its small size.

Best budget: Acer SB220Q

Acer SB220Q is the best budget monitor for streaming.

Why it made the cut: This is a reliable Acer with a price that is nearly impossible to beat, made perfect for chill “Hearthstone” card slinging or grinding TFT ranks.


  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Refresh rate: 75Hz
  • Response time: 4ms


  • Great refresh rate for the cost
  • Good enough response time for average gamers
  • Image quality for everyday gaming


  • No VESA mounting

For many streamers, especially those starting out or who want to focus on slower-paced games, getting a super-advanced monitor isn’t a great choice. A quality affordable monitor, like Acer’s SB220Q makes a lot more sense.

Looking at the raw stats, you see a monitor that pushes way above its paygrade. The monitor has a surprisingly high refresh rate of 75Hz in a tier where you’d usually expect 60Hz. For all but the very top players, the 4ms response time of this humble Acer won’t be any different than the 1ms response times sported by some monitors over four times this one’s cost. Additionally, not all games are so twitchy and reaction-based. A Top 100 “Hearthstone Battlegrounds” player is going to do just as well on this as they will anything else.

Really, the only thing we don’t like about it is that you can’t use your own mount with it as it doesn’t have VESA holes. The mount it comes with is okay, but losing the potential for options is always a bummer.



Q: How much does a monitor for streaming cost?

A monitor for streaming can cost anywhere from just over $100 to well over $500. When budgeting for a monitor for streaming, you should consider at what level your streaming will be done at. While it is tempting to imagine yourself shooting up into the ranks of streamer stardom, the average streamer on Twitch will never clear 100 viewers.

Q: Can I stream with only one monitor?

You can stream with only one monitor, but it is advisable to use two. Typically, you’ll want to have your main monitor full-screened with the game you’re playing and use a second monitor to keep an eye on the chat. This gives you a chance to keep up with the conversation, actively ban bad actors before the chat gets derailed, and provide a better sense of community to keep viewers coming back.

Q: Do monitors affect streaming?

Yes, monitors affect streaming. For one, the aspect ratio you use affects how viewers see what you’re streaming. That’s why we recommend a standard 16:9 aspect ratio. Next, a monitor can also affect your performance as a gamer or monitor user. High-quality monitors can take top-tier gamers to the next levels in reaction-intensive genres, like FPS. Low-quality monitors that hurt your eyes, on the other hand, will make streaming feel monotonous and more like a chore than a passion. The result will be a low-energy stream without the hype required to get viewers to smash that follow button.


Final thoughts on the best monitors for streaming

Getting a high-quality gaming monitor, like the Samsung Odyssey G7, is going to go a long way for you in your streaming career or hobby. At the same time, I also feel certain that any of the monitors on our list (except the ZenScreen) has all of the qualities necessary to be the main monitor for any person ready to start dedicating themselves to streaming. Now, go order your monitor, say your “Kappa 1, 2, 3” and get that stream started!

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Best Linux laptops of 2022



Best Linux laptops of 2022

Published Jun 25, 2022 9:00 AM

While Mac and Windows computers tend to dominate the discussions, Linux laptops deserve your consideration. While making the switch may involve a learning curve, Linux machines will reward you with a stable and secure operating system that offers a free, private, open-source platform. Some manufacturers still make it difficult to install Linux products on their laptops, although there are workarounds available to make almost any laptop run the OS. To avoid the potential problems of installing your own software, purchase one of the best Linux laptops that come ready to go right out of the box. 

Buying a laptop with Linux pre-installed also ensures that future software updates from the manufacturer will be supported. You won’t need to tinker with the operating system to ensure good performance. The following Linux laptops can provide solid options for professional machines, school computers, and even personal laptops for tinkering and coding.

  • Best overall: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 With Linux
  • Best for privacy: Purism Librem 13 laptop
  • Best for work: System76 Lemur Pro
  • Best for gaming: Juno Neptune 15-inch V3
  • Best budget: Acer Chromebook Spin 713

How we picked the best Linux laptops

When it comes to native Linux machines, options are relatively limited. Some manufacturers like Dell and HP have even jumped out of the Linux game recently. In order to find the best Linux laptops, we surveyed the market for available options and narrowed them down based on a few essential features. We compared power, security, ease of use, and brand reputation. Some of these machines come from smaller brands, but they offer excellent track records when it comes to support and product quality. 

When reviewing products, we relied on a mixture of personal experience, editorial reviews, user impressions, and spec comparisons to narrow down the field to these specific picks. 


Things to consider before buying a Linux laptop

A new laptop is a considerable investment that will need to last years. It makes sense, therefore, to do your research. Check out all the specifications of the models on your wishlist, and make sure your top choice fulfills all your needs. Before you go shopping, however, keep the following considerations in mind:

Resist the urge to reconfigure a Windows laptop

Although most laptops can run Linux, it really is simpler in the long term to buy a notebook with Linux pre-installed. This is especially true for new converts. That way you can be sure that distro developers and the manufacturer have tested the hardware thoroughly. This process makes sure that the total system is compatible. It’s especially important for features such as fingerprint readers and Wi-Fi cards that traditionally have needed Windows to run properly. You won’t need to worry about whether your Wi-Fi chipset is supported or find and install the right graphics drivers. You can essentially just plug and play.

You’ll also enjoy a seamless software update experience without having to search around for workarounds. If you encounter problems and need help from the manufacturer, many will only support Windows applications unless you have specifically purchased a Linux laptop. This is especially helpful if you’re a new Linux user and you think you may need more support with your purchase.

Limited choice 

One problem with choosing a Linux laptop over a Windows or macOS-powered machine is that you’ll have far fewer choices. Linux is undeniably less popular, or perhaps just a niche option compared to other operating systems. Some manufacturers, like HP, have even discontinued their Linux laptop offerings stating “limited demand” as the reasoning behind their decision. That means that there are simply fewer laptop models to choose from which will limit your options.

However, Linux users are often passionate about the many benefits of an open-source, free, and incredibly stable platform and therefore may be prepared to compromise.


Some programs will not work

Those who are new to the open-source operating system Linux may be surprised to find that many popular software programs will not run correctly as they have been specifically optimized to work on Windows or Mac operating systems. It takes a little research, reading, and even checking Linux chat boards to source alternatives to Adobe or Microsoft products, for example, but they are available, free of charge, and in many cases can offer an equal, or even superior, user experience. 

The cost

Although Linux laptop users do save on the cost of a Windows or macOS license, the actual computer will usually set you back more than a comparable laptop running another operating system. Linux-based computers are not usually included in lists of the best cheap laptops.

Again, you’ll need to consider how much you value the many benefits of choosing a Linux experience and if it’s worth paying more for your laptop to enjoy those benefits.

Best Linux laptops: Reviews & Recommendations

Your choice of a Linux laptop depends on what you intend to use the machine for. Whether you need a productivity workhorse, a low-price option, or a notebook loaded with a great graphics card to make games come alive, we’ve got the best options for your reference. 

Best overall: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 With Linux

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 With Linux is the best overall.

Why it made the cut: This lightweight high-quality machine has all the benefits of a premium ThinkPad combined with a Linux operating system. 



  • Operating System: Fedora 33 Workstation edition
  • RAM: 8 GB LPDDR4X 4266MHz (Soldered)
  • Size: 14.0″


  • ThinkPad nub
  • A high-quality laptop loaded with Linux
  • Very light and thin design


  • Expensive

Lenovo ThinkPads are tested to military requirements to ensure they are resistant to dust, sand, and fungus and will still run in extreme conditions. It’s the sort of rigorous testing you can really see reflected in the robust build. 

Although the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 With Linux is a premium laptop and the price reflects that quality. Don’t take the ticketed price as the final word, and instead be sure to shop around if this model is at the top of your picks. Lenovo often offers brand-wide discounts on its devices.

The 14-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS display looks great, especially with the new feature that aims to reduce blue light exposure. The touchpad has increased in size from the Gen 8 and it’s nice to have a little more space to work with. The black chassis and iconic red TrackPoint give this Linux laptop a chic look and help make it one of the best in class.

It sports an 11th-gen Core i5 Intel processor inside, as well as Iris XE integrated graphics. It’s a powerful work machine that offers advanced features for those who can justify the cost.

Best for privacy: Purism Librem 13

Purism Librem 13 laptop is the best Linux laptop for privacy.

Why it made the cut: Hailed as one of the most secure laptops ever, the Purism Librem 13 is made for security-conscious users looking to keep their data private.



  • Size: 13.3″
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-6500U 2 x 2.5 – 3.1 GHz 
  • Ram: 8GB up to 32GB, DDR4.


  • Customizable 
  • Open source BIOS
  • Only notebook on the market with physical kill switches for privacy


  • SD Card is very slow
  • Weak Wi-Fi

This Purism Librem 13 laptop is the perfect option for those seeking a system that helps protect their privacy. Two kill switches allow you to disable both the webcam and microphone, while the other one cuts Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These switches work immediately, cutting data transfers whenever required. 

The Librem 13’s coreboot and PureOS open-source firmware replace the default BIOS. If you enjoy getting into the source code and making changes yourself, the fully open-source coreboot lets you add or edit features as needed. This makes it so easy to open up and foster complete customization, and upgrades including the ability to swap RAM and storage, supporting SATA and NVMe M.2 drives. 

Use the Purism Key on the keyboard to quickly and easily launch apps, access a dock, and switch between windows and desktops. The Purism Librem 13 laptop is on the higher end of the price scale but for privacy-conscious buyers, it represents a first, a truly secure and safe computer. Many people feel that the peace of mind alone is priceless. 

Best for work: System76 Lemur Pro

System76 Lemur Pro is the best Linux laptop for work.

Why it made the cut: With an excellent keyboard that provides zero flex when typing and an incredibly long-lasting battery, this System76 Lemur Pro laptop is a top choice for productivity.


  • Operating system: Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS
  • CPU: 4c/8t Intel i7-10510u
  • RAM: up to 40GiB DDR4 (8GiB + 32GiB)


  • Outstanding keyboard
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Great looking design


  • Intel UHD 620 graphics don’t support gaming well

Laptops with pre-loaded Linux are available from a few big laptop manufacturers and smaller Linux-only boutique-style outfits like System76. The benefit of shopping a Linux-only brand is that they really specialize in a specific kind of machine. This system offers exceptional and impressive battery life and a keyboard that is a real joy to use. These features make it a solid choice for work, as it will last all day long through multiple different tasks and applications.

Running PopOS, a GNOME-based distro from System 76 and with open firmware with coreboot, this is a very capable laptop that can handle a variety of programs at speed. The possibilities are there for an upgradable build that can be customized to suit your needs. It’s incredibly light at just over 2 pounds, making it easy to pack up and travel to the office or a co-working space. The multitouch trackpad isn’t the most responsive on the market and the 720p webcam is also not a standout feature; however, both are still serviceable and will work for most people’s needs.

Best for gaming: Juno Neptune 15-inch V3

Juno Neptune 15-inch V3 is the best Linux laptop for gaming.

Why it made the cut: Preloaded with the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS operating system, this gaming laptop offers powerful graphics, and a 15.6-inch display with a 240Hz refresh rate, to prevent screen tearing and offer you an unparalleled gaming experience.


  • CPU: Intel 10th Generation Core (Comet Lake)
  • Size: 15.6″
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q – 8GB GDDR6, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q – 16GB GDDR6


  • Responsive glass trackpad
  • Privacy slider for webcam
  • NVIDIA graphics cards


  • Expensive

The Juno Neptune V3 is not a budget model at all and can’t be called a cheap gaming laptop. For the price, however, you’ll receive a top-notch Linux gaming machine. Expect an abundance of ports including a microSD slot, a USB 3.2 Gen 1, headphone and microphone jacks an Ethernet port, and two more USB 3.2 Gen 1 slots on the right side, plus an HDMI out, Mini-DP out, and a single USB-C Gen 2 slot that supports Thunderbolt 3.  

The beautiful 1080p 240Hz display looks truly amazing. It brings games to life and helps create an immersive experience to remember. The multi-color back-lit keyboard is also a fun touch and will brighten up your home office. Despite the high performance of this machine, the battery is surprisingly solid. However, if you yearn for more unplugged time or you want to take your laptop on the road, switch from the Nvidia to Intel graphics, depending on your task, and you’ll get a boost in battery life. With great gaming performance, graphics, battery life, and an impressive build, this laptop is a strong choice for Linux-loving gamers.

Best budget: Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is the best budget Linux laptop.

Why it made the cut: This affordable laptop offers long battery life, a comfortable keyboard, and, with its 360-degree hinge, it can also be used as a tablet. 



  • Size: 13.5
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • CPU: Intel Core i3-10110U 


  • Great hardware for the price
  • Can also run Android apps
  • 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop


  • Runs on Chrome OS and you may experience issues if you try to switch to a standard Linux platform

Linux purists likely won’t favor the Chrome operating system on this budget Acer Chromebook Spin 713 laptop. Plus, there aren’t any replaceable parts on this machine, so you won’t be able to customize and upgrade it. However, if you’re looking for a 2-in-1 tablet and laptop that’s based on Linux, uses a Linux kernel, and can run Linux distros, for a great price, consider this Chromebook.

For the low price, it really does pack a punch when it comes to hardware with an 11th-generation Intel Core processor, 256GB of internal storage as a minimum, and more vertical space thanks to the 3:2 aspect ratio screen. 

You can expect up to 10 hours of battery life, making it perfect for a day’s work, getting schoolwork done, or just browsing the internet at leisure. It has a slim, lightweight design but still manages to fit in two USB-C Thunderbolt ports, a USB-A port, a microSD slot, and HDMI out support. This laptop is an excellent and affordable introduction to Linux. You may have a hard time finding a version pre-loaded with Linux software, but there are plenty of guides online to help you make the transition.


Q: What does Linux have that Windows doesn’t?

Linux has many benefits over a Windows operating system, including, first and foremost, that it’s an open-source and free OS. This means you can edit the source code to create a completely customized operating system.

Most applications and programs designed for Linux are also free, representing more cost-saving. Linux systems are also much less likely to suffer from virus attacks that generally plague Windows-based systems and therefore you don’t really need to spring for antivirus software. 


Q: What should I look for in a Linux laptop?

If you feel confident wiping Windows from your new laptop and installing Linux yourself, go ahead. However, for newbies and for the general ease of use and convenience, why not buy a laptop already pre-installed with Linux? That way, you won’t need to search for drivers or workarounds to ensure your hardware and software work the way you want it to. You also can avoid potential battery drains from poor optimization.

Final thoughts on the best Linux laptops

Linux-lovers used to have to purchase a Windows laptop and then wipe the operating system and install Linux instead. They were subject to a so-called “Windows tax,” that arose from buying a laptop with an operating system they would never use. Now, you can instead save yourself some work and get a laptop preloaded with Linux.

Whether you go for our overall winner, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 With Linux, benefit from the privacy and security of the Purism Librem 13 laptop, pick up a bargain like the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, or blow the budget on a premium choice like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 With Linux, the choice is yours.


Linux is a great alternative operating system for developers, people who want to customize their operating system, and those who are security conscious. If it appeals to you, take your pick from our choices of the best Linux laptops.

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What to know about the Caesars, the gigantic truck-mounted artillery units France sent Ukraine



What to know about the Caesars, the gigantic truck-mounted artillery units France sent Ukraine

Russia has been reliant on heavy artillery for centuries, and the way it is conducting its war in Ukraine is proving that little has changed. Modern artillery can fire expensive munitions that can be guided precisely to, in the best possible scenario, hit only the target, but it seems clear from the damage being inflicted on civilians in Ukraine that Russian artillery is using cheap, unguided shells or rockets.

To counter this massive artillery fire, Ukraine has asked allies to supply it with modern artillery systems that can shoot and scoot—in other words, fire the munition from a vehicle and then drive away before the shell has even hit its target. That makes it very hard for the enemy to counter-attack, because by the time it has worked out where the shell was fired from, the gunners have scampered.

France has said that it loaned a dozen in April, then another six earlier this month, of its Caesar truck-mounted howitzers that the French Army has previously used in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Mali. Other nations that own the Caesar include Czech Republic, Denmark, Indonesia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand.

Here’s what to know about the Caesar.


It’s said to be easy to use

It took Ukrainian soldiers just two weeks at a training ground in France to learn how to use the 19.5-ton Caesars, which are made by French company Nexter. The gun is mounted on a 6×6 truck whose 245-horsepower engine can propel it to a top road speed of 50 mph and an off-road speed of more than 31 mph. The 33-foot-long, 8-foot-wide and 12-foot-high truck has a cruising range of 373 miles and can fit in a transport aircraft to be flown to its destination.

Popular Science spoke to a Caesar crew at last week’s Eurosatory land armaments show in Paris; they said the gun could be operated by a crew of four, “but five makes it faster.” All but one of its operators are rank-and-file soldiers. 

[Related: How technology, both old and new, has shaped the war in Ukraine so far]

The vehicle’s driver positions the truck, then lowers the hydraulically controlled platform at the rear. It pushes down, lifting the truck’s back wheels off the ground a few inches. That’s necessary to help handle the vibrations caused during firing. The munitions purveyor carries the ordnance to the charger, who slots the shells into the semi-automatic system. Meanwhile the gun-layer (the person aiming the artillery) sets the coordinates either using a satellite positioning system, such as GPS, or a map, and fires the weapon. 

It’s fast

It takes less than 60 seconds for the Caesar to get into action once the vehicle has been parked, and less than a minute for the 155mm/52 caliber ordnance, semi-automatic gun to hurl six shells at a target between 3 to 31 miles away in any weather. Less than 40 seconds after the last shell has been fired, the Caesar can have driven off. Shoot, and scoot. 


[Related: Why the threat of explosives will persist long after the war in Ukraine ends]

Meanwhile, the US Army uses the M777 towed 155 mm artillery piece which, as the name suggests, needs to be towed into position and unshackled from the towing vehicle before a minimum of eight soldiers can operate it. The Department of Defense is seeking to replace it with a truck-mounted system such as those manufactured by France, but also Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, China, Israel, Japan and South Africa.

It’s powerful

The gun’s detonation chamber, or the part of the system where the propulsive charge explodes, is 23-liters, compared to 18-liters on the US Army’s M777 towed howitzer, which means it can be packed with more propellant that then expels the shells faster and further. It fires all 39/52 caliber munitions that meet NATO standards or ERFB (Extended-Range Full-Bore) or intelligent munitions such as BONUS and SPACIDO.

It’s about to get a refresh

The new version, called the Caesar NG (for New Generation), will be mounted on an 8×8 truck and has already been bought by Belgium and Lithuania. The Caesar NG will weigh 27.56 tons, almost 8 tons heavier than the first-gen, because the truck cabin will be armored to level 2 STANAG (that’s a NATO standard) instead of being optionally protected with armored kits bolted onto the cabin as is the case with the gen-one version.

[Related: Everything to know about Switchblades, the attack drones the US is giving Ukraine]


Level 2 STANAG protects the occupants from a 7.6×39 mm round fired from 30 meters (98 feet) away, from a 6 kg (13 pound) explosion mine under any wheel or truck or under the center, and from a 155 mm high explosive fired from 80 meter (262 feet) away. 

Because the 8×8 truck is heavier, it will be powered by a 460 HP engine instead of the 245 HP engine on the 6×6 enabling it to reach the same on-road and off-road speeds. It will also have a new automatic gearbox and a new chassis. The Caesar NG is bigger overall: 40 ft long, 9 ft wide and 10 ft high. 

The Caesar NG should be ready by 2024. France will then have to choose whether to order 109 of them or else order only 33 and upgrade the 76 it already has—assuming none of those loaned to Ukraine are destroyed.

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