Ethical hacking is not black hat hacking in which hackers try to steal private and public data, but it is a type of hacking in which ethical hacker ensures the security of the organization and returns the stolen data. For that, an ethical hacker needs a good machine to solve this problem.
Our TOP-5 laptops for hacking:
- MSI GS66
- Predator Helios 300
- Acer Nitro 5
- Lenovo ThinkPad T490
- Dell G5 15
- Asus Vivo Book Pro
- Razer Blade 15
Reasons to Select the Best Laptops for Ethical Hacking 2022:
- Moving from one place to another is a factor. Laptops do not need a suitable location for their complete setup. It can be easily taken with, wherever we want to go.
- The power system must also be managed if we are working in a flow. This can be easily handled in laptops and not in the computer.
- If we are talking about flexibility, the laptop is more comfortable than the others.
- Now is the time to explain the features, specifications, description, pros and cons of the best laptops for ethical hacking in 2021. This list is made after expert advice. You can agree or disagree with this list, but browsing this article will help you select the best laptop for ethical hacking. In particular, the factors discussed at last will help you choose the best one.
If you are a penetration testing professional or just a fan of Kali Linux, you know that Kali Linux is a powerful Linux distribution based on the Debian OS. You are probably looking for a laptop for advanced security penetration testing and research, computer forensics, and other high-security areas on the Internet. With all this in hand, this is an extremely powerful operating system and requires some of the more powerful and expensive machines.
Linux distribution systems are associated with most hackers (both ethical and unethical). Companies around the world are looking for security experts who can conduct penetration testing to find any loopholes in their security systems.
Computers and laptops are mostly bought by ordinary consumers (who are not particularly into hacking or security research); This is why most models come with Windows, macOS or Ubuntu installed. However, if you have a passion for penetration testing, ethical hacking, or security research, Kali Linux has several useful utilities to make your task easier!
It seems that we are dealing with a trend: hacking laptops stop looking so... flashy and defiant. Now a powerful laptop is a strict-looking mobile computer that is not ashamed to put on the table in front of colleagues discussing important issues at a business meeting. This is then, in the evening after work, the tables in Excel will be closed, and Battlefield will appear on the screen. And the MSI GS66 Stealth will easily cope with both tasks.
Technical specifications, equipment and software
There are many GS66 Stealth modifications on the global MSI website. In all cases, we are talking about mobile PCs equipped with a 15.6-inch matrix with Full HD resolution. All the main characteristics of this series of laptops are listed in the table below.
This one (probably the best laptop for hacking) has a 6-core Core i7-10750H and a 6-gigabyte mobile version of GeForce RTX 2060, as well as 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB drive. All MSI GS66 Stealth come with a pre-installed version of Windows 10 - home or professional, to choose from. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, there was no test modification on sale, so I can't voice the real cost of this laptop. It is known that the 10SFS-249RU model with Core i9-10980HK, 32 GB DDR4-2666, terabyte drive, 300-hertz IPS matrix and GeForce RTX 2070 in Max-Q design cost an average of $3,000 in May.
Appearance and input devices
The manufacturer himself calls the color of the GS66 Stealth case "true black", and the design is "restrained". And here, you know, you can't argue with MSI. Perhaps the youth in GS66 Stealth will not have enough pretentiousness, flashiness and a riot of colors, but the older generation will definitely appreciate the appearance of the laptop. The logo on the lid does not glow, there is no illumination on the edges of the case — modesty itself is in front of you, no other way.
All GS66 Stealth are equipped with a Killer E3100 network controller with a maximum data transfer rate of 2.5 Gbit/s. The Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 processor is responsible for the wireless connection, which supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac/ax standards with a frequency of 2.4 and 5 GHz and a maximum bandwidth of up to 2.4 Gbit/s. And this controller supports the Bluetooth 5.1 standard.
The one of the best laptop for hacking is compact by the standards of 15-inch hacking models. Firstly, its thickness does not exceed 18 mm, and its weight is 2.1 kg — if desired, you can always take a computer with you. Secondly, the matrix has small frames on the sides, their thickness is 5 mm, which made it possible to reduce the depth and width of the case.
All connectors are located on the sides. On the left you will find an external PSU connection port, Thunderbolt 3 (combined with USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C and mini-DisplayPort, as well as allowing you to charge a laptop), HDMI output and USB 3.2 Gen2 A-type. On the right there is a 3.5mm mini-jack for connecting a headset, USB 3.2 Gen2 C-type, RJ-45 and two more full-size USB 3.2 Gen 2 A-type. As you can see, up to two monitors can be connected to the laptop at the same time (taking into account its own display — three, the manufacturer calls it Matrix Display 2+1), which turns the device into a powerful "hiking" workstation.
Indeed, GS66 Stealth is positioned not only as a hacking system, but also as a laptop for so-called creative professionals. In this case, the test model lacks a card reader for complete happiness. The rest of the functionality of the device is performed on a five plus.
The GS66 Stealth keyboard and touchpad closely resemble the input devices used in the MSI P65 Creator 9SF — and this is another indication that the device is suitable for those who create content. The touchpad is large, smooth and incredibly comfortable, because its width is 14 cm.
The GS66 Stealth laptop for hacking keyboard does not completely copy the one installed in the P65 Creator 9SF, but repeats it in many aspects. There is also no digital block, but the engineers of MSI and SteelSeries did not have to "flatten" some buttons. Perhaps, only Fn was fairly worthy — they turned out to be very small. Some will also be confused by the location of the function button on the right, not on the left. You'll have to get used to it, there's nothing wrong with that. Another unusual thing: binding to the Fn function Print Screen. But the arrow buttons are large and convenient, the left Ctrl is the dream of any gamer, and Home, PgUp, PgDn and End are not lost, as, for example, in ROG Zephyrus G14. In addition, there are no stupid permutations like a slash to the left of the Enter button, as some other manufacturers like to do — in general, using the GS66 Stealth keyboard turns out to be quite comfortable.
The stroke of the buttons on the MSI/SteelSeries keyboards is traditionally small, but tactile. Pressing occurs almost silently. Each button is equipped with a separate RGB LED. The backlight is configured in the SteelSeries Engine 3 program. Various visual effects are supported, including the recognition of a musical melody or the display of what is happening in a running game.
Even in expensive hacking laptops in 2020, mainly low-quality HD cameras are still installed. GS66 Stealth is no exception in this regard, and its "webcam" is not suitable for normal streaming. But, according to the manufacturer, the camera also sees in the IR range, which gives it advantages when operating the Windows Hello system (face unlock). And she can handle video calls to colleagues on Skype quite well.
The ability to change removable components independently is a big plus for the absolute majority of MSI hacking laptops. The GS66 Stealth model is relatively easy to disassemble. Relatively - because after dismantling the nine screws, you will have to sweat to pick up and carefully remove the bottom.
The cooling system Cooler Boost Trinity+ in GS66 Stealth is conditionally separate. It consists of seven heat pipes and three fans. The cooler has a rather fancifully ornate design, I must admit. So, one heat pipe cooling the GP is also designed to remove heat from the CPU power converter. And one heat pipe cooling the central processor additionally cools the elements of the power supply circuit of the graphics chip and memory.
The manufacturer paid more attention to the GPU — as many as five heat pipes were allocated for cooling it and the VRM zone. The heat delivered with their help to the large radiator is dissipated by a pair of tangential type fans. The central processor (in our case, Core i7—10750H) is cooled by four shorter heat pipes and a radiator with fewer ribs — this is clearly visible in the photo. Well, only one "Carlson" takes heat from the CPU.
The manufacturer claims that Cooler Boost Trinity+ fans have received the thinnest 0.1 mm blades, which, according to MSI, create 15% more airflow compared to the previous generation cooler. However, we will study in detail the efficiency of the GS66 Stealth cooling system further.
Predator Helios 300
You know, it's not every day that manufacturers produce 21-inch laptops with a curved screen. Best laptops for hacking with GeForce GTX 1080 mobile graphics, sharpened in a case with a thickness of 18-19 mm, are still considered a curiosity. It was these extravagant novelties that Acer remembered in 2017. However, we all understand perfectly well that the most popular hacking laptops on the Russian market are completely different models. In this review, one of them is considered — a 17-inch laptop Predator Helios 300 PH317-51-56LG, equipped with a Core i5-7300HQ processor and a mobile version of GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB.
Technical specifications, equipment and software
The Predator Helios 300 series has a large number of modifications equipped with both 15- and 17-inch matrices, you can get acquainted on the website of the Delta Game computer store. The main characteristics of laptops are listed in the table below.
In the meantime, I will add that the Predator Helios 300 labeled PH317-51-56LG at a price of 88,000 rubles is equipped with 8 GB of DDR4-2400 RAM and a 1 TB hard disk. Exactly the same version, but with the Linux operating system preinstalled, costs 8,000 rubles less. A more pumped configuration with identical CPU and GPU, but with 16 GB of RAM and 128 GB SSD installed, will cost about 100,000 rubles.
Obviously, users who want to immediately take a full-fledged hacking system that works out of the box, it makes sense to purchase a laptop version with Windows 10 already preinstalled. Because, in fact, today this OS has no alternative options. Steam, Origin, Uplay, GOG — all these game clients are "sharpened" to work with the Microsoft system. The DirectX 12 programming interface used in modern games is supported only by Windows 10. NVIDIA graphics card drivers are regularly updated only on PCs and laptops with a "top ten". And the version of Windows 10 Creators Update is equipped with a game mode that provides running games with maximum priority against the background of other active programs (antivirus, messengers, and so on).
All Predator Helios 300 are equipped with Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A wireless module, which supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac standards with a frequency of 2.4 and 5 GHz and a maximum bandwidth of up to 867 Mbit/s and Bluetooth 4.2. The Realtek controller is responsible for the LAN connection.
Appearance and input devices
Externally, the Predator Helios 300 laptop for hacking looks like the younger brother of the Predator 21 X. The laptop turned out to be quite strict in appearance, although the hacking pedigree of the device is noticeable to the naked eye due to the recognizable logo, red bars and red stripes placed on the lid. The screen cover and bottom are made of practical and thick matte plastic. The area around the keyboard was decided to be made of glossy plastic. As a result, fingerprints and dust are very clearly visible on it. In general, there are no complaints about the Predator Helios 300 assembly, the device is very qualitatively tailored.
I will note only one small detail: on the official website of the company it is indicated that some Predator Helios 300 assemblies are equipped with a metal cover.
There are no connectors on the front and back of the Predator Helios 300 case, all the main ports are soldered on the sides of the laptop. The cooling system sucks air through a massive grate on the bottom. The already heated flow leaves the body through a perforation on the back wall of the device.
The Predator Helios 300 keyboard received a single-level red backlight. The WASD unit and the touch panel are additionally highlighted with red edging. The main keys are quite large (15 × 15 mm) and have a small recess in the center. The stroke of the keys is short, but physically it feels quite clear. It's a little inconvenient to use the right Shift — during games, I kept missing and pressing the up arrow button. Otherwise, I have no complaints about the Predator Helios 300 keyboard.
Predator Helios 300 does not have any additional buttons to which, for example, macros can be attached, as well as additional "tricks" inherent in game models. Well, getting rid of the Nazis in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus didn't make it any more boring.
The touchpad is small (105 × 78 mm), and it is traditionally shifted closer to the left end of the laptop case. There are no separate keys provided. Pressing the touchpad is pronounced, with a characteristic click. The touchpad supports Windows multi-touch gestures, as well as handwriting.
As for the camera, the Predator Helios 300 has a simple "webcam" with HD resolution and a frame rate of 30 Hz. Such optics are enough for Skype video calls, but for high-quality streams you will have to fork out for a separate FHD camera.
On the bottom of the Predator Helios 300 there are two removable hatches at once. With their help, the user gets quick access to a 2.5-inch hard drive and RAM modules. To get to the cooling system, it is necessary to remove the entire bottom. To do this, you will need to unscrew 15 screws.
The main and only drive in Predator Helios 300 PH317-51-56LG is a terabyte hard drive Toshiba MQ01ABD100. Eight gigabytes of RAM is implemented in the form of two 4-gigabyte Micron modules. On the one hand, the RAM operates in dual-channel mode, therefore, the right solution has been chosen in terms of performance. On the other hand, using two modules of 4 GB is not very promising. Here you want to increase the amount of RAM in your laptop. Then you will have to remove one die and install another board of unequal volume instead. So, when buying an 8 GB module, the total volume in the system will be 12 GB. If the laptop originally had an 8 GB DDR4-2400 bar, then the total amount of RAM in Predator Helios 300 after an independent upgrade would have been brought up to 16 GB.
Acer Nitro 5
According to the company's representatives, the Nitro series should be actively developed in the very near future. Devices with different screen diagonals will be introduced to the market, and not only a classic bundle of Intel processor and NVIDIA graphics card will be used as a platform, but also alternative solutions based on AMD Ryzen mobile processors. We also received a configuration in the laboratory that almost completely repeats the configuration of the previously tested Aspire VX15, which makes it possible to evaluate changes in the chassis design and compare the efficiency of cooling systems.
The appearance of the Nitro 5 turned out to be more restrained than aggressive, and many people will like it. There was no place in the design for the ubiquitous RGB illumination or logo illumination as such. The color scheme is based on a classic dark gray color, and the only color element that attracts attention is a bright red hinge, with the name Nitro engraved on top.
An interesting design solution was the edges of the laptop and the shape of its top cover. They received minor bevels and bends, due to which the beginner looks interesting, but not too flashy and will harmoniously fit into almost any home or work interior.
The dimensions of the device are 390x266x26.75 mm. The weight, excluding BP, is 2.7 kg. Plastic is used as the main body material, and it can easily be confused with metal on the lid. The overall build quality does not cause complaints: the lid and bottom are well fitted together, the rigidity of the structure, due to its thickness, can be described as sufficient, there are no backlashes or deflections of individual laptop panels.
The top-10 best laptop for hacking is equipped with a 15.6-inch display based on an IPS matrix with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. From above, the matrix is covered with a matte coating without a pronounced crystalline effect. During testing of the screen, we did not detect the presence of signs of SHI-modulation, which indicates the quality of the panel used.
As for the factory settings of the matrix, in our copy they turned out to be performed at a very decent level. First of all, it is worth noting the stable color temperature, which was close to the reference value of 6500K in almost the entire brightness range. Gamma curves are slightly scattered and in most cases pass above the base curve. The color coverage corresponds to 63.1% of the sRGB space and 39.1% to the AdobeRGB standard.
According to the Argyll utility, the maximum color deviation reaches 20.56 units, with an average value of 5.49 units. Manual calibration of the display would most likely allow DeltaE deviations to be reduced to the necessary aisles of 4 and 1.5 points, but given the indicators of color coverage, such actions are devoid of practical sense.
With the possibility of quick access, the Nitro 5 has two separate compartments for RAM modules and for one seat for a 2.5-inch hard drive (or for an SSD in case of an upgrade). At the same time, in order to get to the pre-installed solid-state drive made in the M.2 format, the user will already need to completely dismantle the back cover of the laptop.
Under it is a very productive cooling system consisting of an oblong radiator, a pair of radial fans, two copper heat pipes and a pair of heat distribution plates.
An Intel SSDPEKKW256G7 SSD with a capacity of 256 gigabytes is installed as a system drive in our Nitro 5 configuration. This disk is built on the basis of TLC 3D NAND flash memory of Intel's own design and is paired with the SMI SM2260 controller. Thanks to the use of the PCI Express 3.0 x4 (NVMe) data transfer interface, the SSD is able to provide data reading speeds up to 1570 MB/s and the speed varies up to 540 MB/s.
The driving force of the computer is a bunch of Intel Core i5-7300HQ CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card and 16 gigabytes of DDR4 RAM with a frequency of 2400 MHz.
The specified CPU belongs to the seventh generation of Intel processors — Kaby Lake. It is manufactured according to a 14-nm process technology, has four computing cores with a base clock frequency of 2500 MHz and the possibility of further automatic acceleration to 3500 MHz in Turbo Boost mode. Unlike its older counterpart in the face of the Core i7-7700HQ processor, the Core i5-7300HQ lacks support for Hyper-Threading technology, which allows processing data in eight threads at once.
The mobile version of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB graphics card in terms of technical characteristics does not differ from its dextopic counterpart and, with an efficient cooling system, is free to develop an equally high level of performance. The operating frequencies of the video core are in the range from 1493 MHz to 1620 MHz. Four gigabytes of GDDR5 video memory function with an effective frequency of 7008 MHz.
If there is a pre-installed operating system, Acer laptops are always equipped with a minimum set of proprietary software, which, in my opinion, is a plus and eliminates the need to clean the laptop of unnecessary programs immediately after its first launch.
Acer Care Center acts as the main proprietary utility of Nitro 5, which, in fact, combines the most popular system settings: it allows you to monitor the state of the OS and components, automatically download the necessary updates, prioritize the applications used, make backups, etc.
The performance margin that Nitro 5 is able to offer will be enough to perform a wide range of daily tasks that a user may encounter. The laptop is perfect for working with office applications, surfing the Internet, watching movies and, of course, Nitro 5 will cope with modern games, as evidenced by the high result of the Creative subtest.
Lenovo ThinkPad T490
Thinner is still better. The ThinkPad T490 may become the best laptop for hacking has received a radically updated appearance, which has not happened for a long time with the ThinkPad T-series models. Lenovo managed to significantly improve the mobility of the laptop by reducing its size and weight. We, in turn, wonder if we didn't have to sacrifice too much in the name of compactness. Only one thing is known for sure - this time the manufacturer did not save on the display.
ThinkPad laptops have been with us since 1992. The brand created by IBM has one of the longest histories in the world. During the existence of the ThinkPad, many different lines have appeared, but the main and iconic for this name are laptops of the X and T series. In 2005, Lenovo bought out IBM's PC business and became the rightful owner of the ThinkPad, but production priorities have not changed. To date, the ThinkPad T-series laptops are iconic and the most recognizable among all other models of the manufacturer.
Our current test sample - Lenovo ThinkPad T490 - is one of the most important models in its series. He is a representative of the line of 14-inch laptops for businesses and corporations, which also includes Lenovo ThinkPad T400, Lenovo ThinkPad T420 and Lenovo ThinkPad T480. Among the main rivals of the model from other manufacturers: HP EliteBook 840 G5, Dell Latitude 7490 and Fujitsu LifeBook U748. We will also compare it with the previous ThinkPad T480, Lenovo ThinkPad T480s and the new thin ThinkPad T490s.
The tested model belongs to the Campus program in Germany. That is, this package with Core i7, 8 GB of RAM, GeForce MX250, energy-efficient FHD display, 512-GB SSD and Windows 10 Pro costs only 1449 euros for students, teachers and researchers. To date, a similar configuration for ordinary customers will cost 1850 euros in the official Lenovo store.
Design and Features
Despite the fact that the predecessor of the ThinkPad T490 is the Lenovo ThinkPad T480, the hero of our review has much more in common with the ThinkPad T480s. The first large-scale redesign of the series occurred at the T470 in 2017 - then the manufacturer made the case thinner, and also changed its shape. In turn, the ThinkPad T490 seems more compact due to the beveled lower edges. The similarity with the T480s does not end there: the frames in the new model have also become smaller, due to which the display now occupies 72.3% of the cover area (previously 69%).
At the same time, the materials and design features of the ThinkPad T490 are closer to the ThinkPad T480. The case is almost entirely made of plastic with fiberglass, which additionally strengthens the magnesium tray. There is a soft-touch coating on the outside, which the previous model did not have. Thus, in general, the novelty can be considered as a hybrid of the ThinkPad T480 and T480s.
Despite the reduction in size, the set of ports from the previous model migrated to the novelty almost unchanged. The only exception was the card reader, which is now a microSD slot. Otherwise, as for 14 inches, the number of connectors is decent, there is even a full-size Ethernet, which is absent from the thinner T490s and X390.
Among the two USB Type-C ports on the left side, only one supports Thunderbolt 3. Two PCIe lines out of four are connected to it, because the laptop is able to output a picture to only one 4K monitor with a frequency of 60 Hz through a connected docking station. Only Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is capable of producing a picture on two monitors with such a resolution with a frequency.
The type and number of ports have not changed, but the location is quite serious. In the T490, most of the connectors are now on the left, and the ventilation grille is now on the right side. The connected cables will not interfere now, but sometimes hot air will touch your right hand if you use the mouse.
As mentioned earlier, the manufacturer got rid of the full-size card reader, replacing it with a slot that accepts only microSD. From our point of view, there is no need for such a solution, since there is plenty of space on both sides for a normal reader. But the good thing is that it is located on the left, and not behind, like the T490s / X390. The speed of operation is average, testing was carried out in conjunction with a reference memory card Toshiba Exceria Pro M501. In this segment, Dell Latitude 7490 has the fastest card reader, which took first place by a large margin from other rivals.
One of the most important components of any laptop is a wireless adapter. For Lenovo ThinkPad T490, its role is performed by Intel Wireless AC 9560, which supports the configuration of MIMO 2x2 and Bluetooth 5.0 antennas. At the moment, this is one of the fastest Wi-Fi adapters, it showed excellent results as part of a test laptop. The Intel I219V Gigabit controller is responsible for the wired network. There is no WWAN module in our test sample, but the antennas necessary for its operation are present at the factory.
Data security is the most important characteristic of a laptop for corporate and business users. The ThinkPad T490 has the appropriate technologies on board: the Kensington lock will protect against theft, the fingerprint scanner and facial recognition can serve for biometric authorization via Windows Hello, the webcam has a ThinkShutter shutter. In addition, there is a smart card reader on the right side. The laptop hardware platform itself has a TPM module and supports Computrace.
Included with the device, we found only a 65-watt power adapter with a Type-C connector. If you purchase a laptop on the manufacturer's website, you can immediately add branded accessories to it, including a variety of docking stations. The latter can be connected via a regular Type-C, Thunderbolt 3 or a proprietary connector on the left side. The best docking station is, in our opinion, the ThinkPad CS18 Ultra Dock.
Unfortunately, the Lenovo ThinkPad T490 is not so easy to maintain and disassemble. The design of the case is such that it is not only difficult to disassemble, but also to assemble it too. First you need to get the SIM tray (on the back side), otherwise it will be damaged. After that, unscrew the six bolts (they are fixed in the lid and will not be lost). Next, you should very carefully pry the lid with a plastic card opening the latches. This is not an easy matter - there are a lot of them and they are very tight. You should start with the area of the smart card reader, then go to the back side - so it will be more fun. Lifting the back side of the lid, carefully open all the latches on the front side, also using a plastic card. Only then can the lid be permanently removed.
But that's not all. In this case, it will also be important to describe how to properly assemble the laptop back. It is quite logical that the whole procedure described above should be repeated the other way around, but the important point is again the front side. You need to start with it and, importantly, snap the lid back from the middle to the sides (first to the left then to the right), one latch at a time, and not the whole lid at once. This is very important, because otherwise, after assembly, you will get a gap between the lid and the deck on the front side.
Dell G5 15
A long-playing and perhaps the best laptop for hacking. The new Dell G5 is capable of providing high performance in games on its 15-inch Full HD IPS display. Other characteristics are also acceptable: SSD + HDD, 8 GB of dual-channel RAM and Thunderbolt 3. The autonomy of the model pleasantly surprised us, but to reduce the price, the manufacturer still had to cut corners in some places.
Dell models of the G3, G5 and G7 series are quite interesting because they are an affordable alternative to top-end Alienware hacking laptops. The G5 affected by today's review is an average level. For the test, we received a laptop in a configuration with a Core i7-8750H processor and an Nvidia RTX 2060 video card. Among the rivals of the novelty, we selected Lenovo Legion Y530-15ICH, Acer Aspire Nitro 5 AN515-54 and HP Omen 15 for comparison. Also, we will include the 17.3-inch MSI GL73 8SE in this list, since at the moment it is the only laptop in our database with a completely similar filling and price.
Design and features - It has become more compact
Dell decided to completely change the design of the case in the G5 15 5590 - it became more stylish and restrained. Most of the body is covered with matte paint, but on the sides we see a lattice structure. Most of the body parts are made of plastic. Only the laptop deck is made of magnesium alloy. The coating of our test sample is black and matte, with the exception of only one glossy strip above the keyboard. The laptop is also available in black and white.
During testing, we had no complaints about the build quality. There are no gaps between the structural elements. In terms of strength, the case is quite good: the base, with sufficient effort, lends itself to twisting, but minimally; the lid is more pliable. When the lid is pressed, spots appear on the display. The hinges securely hold the screen in the specified position, the maximum opening angle is 140 degrees. We were very happy when we found that the laptop can be easily opened with one hand.
Equipment - Thunderbolt 3 on board
The set of ports on the top ten best laptop for hacking is decent. Most of all, the laptop stands out due to the presence of Thunderbolt 3, with which you can connect monitors, docking stations and even external video cards. However, USB Type-C does not support charging. In principle, this cannot be considered a disadvantage in this case, since the laptop requires more than the 100 watts that can be transmitted according to the Power Delivery standard.
In addition, the laptop has three full-size USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, as well as HDMI and Mini DisplayPort video outputs. That is, you can connect up to three external displays to the laptop. The ports are located on three sides of the case and are centered.
The Intel Wireless-AC 9560 adapter is responsible for the wireless network in the laptop. It supports 802.11a/b/g/n and ac standards. Speed measurements were carried out in ideal conditions: without other devices on the network and near the router. Overall, the indicators are excellent. The adapter also supports Bluetooth 5; the Killer E2500 Gigabit controller is responsible for the wired network.
Apart from the power adapter and the user manual, we didn't find anything in the laptop box.
There is no hatch on the bottom of the laptop, so you will have to remove the bottom cover to access the insides. It is held by bolts and latches, but it is removed quite easily. It is best to remove it using a special tool or a plastic card.
For this awesome laptop for hacking the manufacturer offers only one year warranty. However, the term can be extended and/or additional services can be purchased. For example, Premium Support with fast on-site service (2 years) will cost 130 euros. Premium Support Plus and a 3-year warranty with fast service will add 310 euros to the cost of the laptop.
The G5 has an island keyboard with backlight. Flat keys with slightly rounded corners have a short stroke and a clear response. However, it seems to us that the pressing force is not hard enough. When typing, the keyboard does not bend in any place, a function key is provided to control the backlight (2 brightness levels). In general, the keyboard is well suited to the needs of most users from the target audience.
The dimensions of the touchpad are 10.5 x 8 cm, so it is quite convenient to use. The surface is smooth enough for the fingers to slide well. The sensitivity is high, including at the corners. The built-in keys are characterized by a short stroke and a clear response.
The NVMe SSD from Toshiba is used as the system disk. This model is made in the M.2 2230 form factor, but you can install 2242 and 2280 format drives in the laptop - there is a special bracket with the necessary holes in the right places.
The capacity of the factory drive in this configuration is 128 GB. The user has 66 GB available at the first power-up. The speed of the SSD is very good, but below the standard figures of other NVMe drives.
Yes, the system SSD is small, but it is not used for storing large amounts of data. For these purposes, the laptop has a standard 1 TB mechanical hard drive (2.5 inches, 5400 rpm).
Like many other hacking laptops, the G5 contains a six-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor. This chip has a good balance of performance and power consumption. Since this is a mobile processor, its TDP is indicated by the manufacturer at the level of 45 watts, but Dell within this model has set a limit of 90 watts (for short-term loads). The base frequency of the processor is 2.2 GHz, and the maximum frequency is 3.9 GHz for all cores (4 GHz for four cores, 4.1 GHz for one or two cores).
The multithreaded test in Cinebench passed the test laptop at 3.6 - 3.9 GHz, in the single-threaded processor frequency was 3.9 GHz. When powered by a battery in a multithreaded test, the chip frequency was 1.4 - 1.6 GHz, and in a single-threaded 1.2 - 1.8 GHz.
The resolution of the matte 15.6-inch IPS display in the Dell G5 is 1920 x 1080 pixels. The contrast we measured deserves respect (1376:1), but the brightness is too small: only 219.2 cd/m2. We consider the indicators 1000:1 and 300 cd/m2 and above to be good. In any case, most of the rivals also fall short of these figures. Lenovo Legion Y530-15ICH and HP Omen 15 have brighter backlight, but lower contrast. The MSI GL73 8SE meets the stated standards, but it uses a TN panel with mediocre viewing angles.
The overall budget of the laptop affected the response time of the display. This indicator is noticeably higher than that of Legion and Omen 15. But there is also a positive point: PWM is not used here.
The system performance of the test G5 laptop for hacking is fine. The six-core processor provides a large reserve of power for any tasks in the coming years. A discrete graphics card copes well with modern games. The OS interface works smartly and smoothly, there were no slowdowns during testing. All these observations are once again confirmed by the high rating in PCMark.
This laptop has a GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card installed. It supports DirectX 12 and is built on the Turing architecture; the GPU frequency varies from 960 MHz to 1200 MHz. However, the maximum frequency may be higher if the chip temperature does not exceed the specified limit. During testing in the Witcher 3 game, the frequency of the video card in the laptop varied from 1400 to 1450 MHz. The RTX 2060 has 6144 MB of GDDR6 video memory on board.
The rating in 3DMark is normal for this video card. When running on battery power, the performance of the GPU is greatly reduced, due to a drop in frequency to 300 MHz. Switching modes in Dell Power Manager has no effect on the performance of the graphics card.
In addition to the discrete Nvidia, the laptop also has an Intel UHD Graphics 630 graphics card built into the processor. Optimus technology is used to switch between them. The built-in graphics card is used when there is no significant graphics load and reduces power consumption. Nvidia connects to work in games and demanding applications.
Asus Vivo Book Pro
Good cooling and OLED display. The new VivoBook 15 Pro - perfect laptop for hacking from Asus - is an affordable multimedia laptop based on modern productive components: an AMD Ryzen processor and an up-to-date graphics card from Nvidia. In addition, the model surprises with its bright 1080p OLED display.
The new models of the VivoBook Pro line from Asus offer good value for money in the multimedia class. As an option, new representatives of this series are also available with an OLED display. The buyer can also choose a processor (AMD or Intel) and a discrete graphics card from Nvidia. For the review, we chose a configuration with AMD Ryzen 5 5600H and Nvidia RTX 3050, which also includes 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB NVMe SSD and an FHD OLED display. The cost of such a model is 999 euros for students and teachers, as well as 1199 euros for regular users (with a licensed version of Windows on board).
Design and Features
The relatively low price of VivoBook 15 Pro, taking into account the installed components, directly affected the quality of the case - it is made of plastic. The laptop looks nice and even the tactile sensations from it are quite positive, but the difference with more expensive colleagues, like Dell XPS 15, is on the face: Asus is less durable and of course loses in terms of the quality of materials. The manufacturer's savings are also given out by other minor trifles: the deck is slightly squeezed with due effort, and when the lid is opened, the case crunches a little. By itself, the lid pleases more: let it be a little amenable to twisting, but with point pressure, the picture on the screen does not distort (otherwise it would be strange for an OLED display) and does not crackle when deformed. The hinge of the screen allows you to open the lid by 135 degrees, while it allows some backlash when changing the angle or shaking - the engineers should have adjusted the mechanism better.
At first glance, all the important ports are in place: there are USB Type-A and Type-C, as well as HDMI. However, in fact, it turned out that the standards of the interfaces themselves are outdated. The same USB Type-C supports only USB 3.2 Gen 1 and does not contain a built-in video output, and also cannot be used for charging; all other USB devices support only the outdated USB 2.0 at all. HDMI is also outdated (1.4b) because it is not able to output a picture to a 4K display with a frequency of 60 Hz. Some configurations of this model have a fingerprint scanner built into the power key, but our sample does not have it.
To access wireless networks, a MediaTek MT7921 adapter with a 2x2 antenna configuration is installed, which supports Wi-Fi 6. Paired with our Netgear Nighthawk AX12 router, this adapter completely refused to connect to a Wi-Fi 6 network, but we were able to test it by switching to Wi-Fi 5 - for this reason, the speed in the tests is much lower than normal. But the stability of the speed and connection does not raise questions.
The VivoBook 15 Pro webcam has a mechanical shutter with a red indicator. As expected, a standard 720p sensor with mediocre quality is installed here.
The bottom cover of the laptop is held only by Torx T6 bolts and therefore can be easily removed. Inside, the user, in addition to the battery and cooling system, has access to a single M.2 slot for SSD and M.2 slot for Wi-Fi.
The laptop has an island keyboard with a digital block, the stroke of the keys is 1.35 mm. It is convenient to type text on it, the keys are tapped quite quietly when entering. Only Enter and Space can be called noisy. The built-in white backlight has two brightness levels.
The touchpad is quite large: 13 x 7.5 cm. It has a nice coating on which the fingers are sliding well and high accuracy of cursor control. The built-in keys are pressed with a rather loud click, which is typical for many affordable laptops.
The manufacturer installed an AMOLED display from Samsung with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, but a standard IPS panel is also available as an option. Due to the ideal level of black AMOLED display has an extremely high level of contrast, because from a subjective point of view, the picture on it is very high quality. Compared to IPS displays, black looks much better, the colors in the image are lively and very juicy. In short, VivoBook 15 Pro has a solid advantage over most laptops based on standard IPS displays.
Our VivoBook 15 Pro test sample has an AMD Ryzen 5600H processor with a TDP of 45 watts, as well as an Nvidia RTX 3050 graphics card. Several system performance profiles are available in the MyASUS application, which affect both the processor and the graphics card.
We conducted most of the tests with the Standard profile, but we repeated some of them with two other profiles to identify the difference in practice. The Quiet profile is as effective as possible when performing normal tasks and even in games, but we will tell you more about this later.
The laptop has an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H with six physical cores (12 threads), which, due to the high level of TDP, gives good performance. Long-term performance under long-term load remains stable with Standard and Performance profiles. As expected, models with octa-core processors have some advantage, but the same XPS 15 is not so serious. Based on the results of all tests, we can say that for most tasks, the performance of the Ryzen 5 5600H is absolutely sufficient.
The VivoBook 15 Pro configuration on Intel uses a Core i7-11370H with four cores. In multithreaded tests, it lags behind Ryzen 5 by 30%, but in single-threaded tests it has an advantage of 10%. Nevertheless, since Ryzen is made according to the standards of a more modern and energy-efficient technological process (7 nm), in general it is better for the end user.
When running on battery power, processor performance is reduced, as the TDP is limited to about 30 watts. In multithreaded tests, this leads to a 15% decrease in performance, and in single-threaded tests it does not affect the results.
As our standard test showed (a lot of tabs in the browser, 4K YouTube videos, Prime95), there are no significant DPC delays in the system.
VivoBook 15 Pro notable laptop for hacking has only one SSD slot, which is connected to four PCIe 3.0 lines. In our sample, a SK Hynix BC711 drive is installed. Its capacity is 512 GB, of which 446 GB are available to the user after the first activation. The speed of the drive in the tests is at a very good level.
When performing simple tasks, the picture is displayed on the screen through the Radeon RX Vega 6 graphics built into the processor. As soon as you launch a graphically loaded application or game, the system automatically switches to Nvidia RTX 3050. Depending on the performance profile, the video card is allowed to consume from 35 watts to 50 watts. Accordingly, among all RTX 3050, its performance is at a low-average level, because the maximum TGP for this video card is 80 watts according to Nvidia. The difference in performance between profiles in MyASUS is about 10%.
When performing everyday tasks (office applications, browser), VivoBook 15 Pro fans are usually either turned off altogether, or work at a minimum speed, producing noise at the level of 27 dB (A). However, as the load increases, the cooling noise increases markedly.
VivoBook 15 Pro has no problems with heating - all indicators are extremely moderate. When performing everyday tasks, the surface barely heats up, and at high load there is only one hot zone on the bottom of the case.
During the stress test, the performance was stable, the processor and video card passed the test without trottling.
Power consumption and autonomous operation
The power consumption level of OLED displays strongly depends on the displayed content - the more light areas in the image, the higher the power consumption. Despite this feature, VivoBook 15 Pro showed quite acceptable values in the idle state. Moreover, even with a high load, the indicators were within the norm. The maximum consumption level of the device in the stress test reached 107 watts, but this is a peak short-term value, and on a permanent basis the maximum indicator reaches 76 watts. As you can see, the power of the complete 120W power adapter is fully sufficient to charge the battery under load.
The speakers are located at the bottom in the front of the case and sound quite good, but their volume is too low. They are definitely suitable for watching videos or listening to music, but not in a noisy environment.
Razer Blade 15
Razer is known for its hacking peripherals — the biggest contribution to its popularity was made by mice and keyboards, which were very different from all their competitors. From recent examples, we can recall the 19-button Razer Naga mouse — this manipulator was created for MMO games, but it can also be very useful in ordinary office work.
However, it is much more difficult to make a laptop than, for example, a keyboard — and yet Razer designers managed to do it. A beautiful Razer Blade hacking laptop with a very unusual combination of technical characteristics got into our test laboratory. As usual, we thoroughly studied it, and also checked how such power gets along with such a thin body and whether such an alliance leads to overheating and trottling.
The Razer Blade, one of the best laptops for hacking, looks exceptionally strict: the only eye—catching design element is a bright green logo. By the way, Razer is one of the few manufacturers that do not use letters or numbers in their logo — it's just an emblem that looks a bit like the coat of arms of the Isle of Man. While the laptop is running, the logo glows beautifully green.
The laptop cover is made of metal, generously covered with "soft-touch". Because of this, she collects fingerprints with incredible speed, and it is very, very difficult to clean them. But thanks to the large chamfer on the front of the laptop, the lid opens easily and simply. Fortunately, the manufacturer put a special cloth to remove fingerprints in the kit with the laptop. Alas, because of its modest size, the rag copes with its task mediocre, because not only the Razer Blade cover, but also the entire body is distinguished by increased markness.
The working area of our subject is made of a single metal blank and is also heartily covered with "soft-touch". This means that it is very pleasant to touch the laptop, but you should be prepared for the fact that the ubiquitous hard-to-remove "fingers" will hit the sense of beauty and prevent you from enjoying the excellent appearance of the laptop. The Razer Blade's screen is covered with glossy glass with a touch coating, and thanks to the oleophobic layer, the prints on the glass are not so noticeable. By the way, the laptop has an IPS + IGZO matrix with a resolution of 3200x1800 pixels.
Perhaps we have listed all the main disadvantages in the ergonomics of our test subject, which means that you can start praising the laptop - and there is something for it. The keyboard of the Razer Blade turned out to be successful: the movement of the buttons is moderately tight, and pressing feels good. The reduction in size did not affect any of the keys — except for the eternally suffering "arrows" (this time only the "up" and "down" buttons got it). In addition, the keyboard does not bend at all — this simple quality is still rare in laptops.
The touchpad is also good. Its only drawback is that it is not very convenient to use it in games. Touchpads, however, are not very suitable for games at all (one could expect some kind of revolutionary improvement from Razer — but, alas, there are no surprises). In all other cases, a 150x64 mm touch panel will be very useful. There were no problems with gesture recognition — this quality is as rare as a well-fixed keyboard. Separate, physical buttons are another rarity: almost all touchpads are now "button—less". Beautiful, but less convenient — at least in Windows conditions.
A quad-core processor is absolutely necessary for a hacking laptop, and Razer understands this well. Therefore, an Intel Core i7-4702HQ processor with a clock frequency of 2.2 GHz is installed inside our test subject, which in Turbo Boost mode can increase to 3.2 GHz. Also, the processor is endowed with 6 MB of third-level cache memory and an integrated Intel HD 4600 video core, and its heat package is 37 watts.
The video adapter is the pride of Razer Blade. In addition to the integrated Intel graphics core, there is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M graphics card inside — at the time of writing, this is the second most powerful NVIDIA mobile video adapter. Only the GeForce 880M can be cooler than this video card, but it is extremely rare to put it anywhere. I must say that before the appearance of the Razer Blade, the GTX 870M graphics card was found only in 15- and 17-inch laptops, while the diagonal of the screen of our test subject is 14 inches. We will definitely talk about how a processor with a TDP of 37 watts and a video card with a TDP of 100 watts get along with each other when we move on to testing, but for now we will continue to study the specifications.
The bottom of the Razer Blade laptop for hacking is held on 10 screws with a Torx slot. The screw heads are made of very soft metal, so they can become unusable after four or five assembly and disassembly cycles.
On the bottom there are two wide legs, thanks to which the laptop stands firmly on almost any flat surfaces. There are also two ventilation grilles, information about the manufacturer and a sticker with a key for Windows 8.1.
The components of the laptop are located very tightly, and the manufacturer approached the layout of the elements on the board very responsibly. In particular, all the important elements of the laptop (processor, graphics card, memory, etc.) are additionally fixed with a red compound.
Hacking laptops with IGZO matrices are increasingly entering our test laboratory. The Razer Blade has a 14-inch IPS + IGZO matrix manufactured by SHARP LQ140Z1JW01, covered with glass with a touch layer. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has skimped on the anti-reflective coating, so there is no escape from various glare and parasitic reflections. The screen resolution is 3200x1800 pixels, which gives a pixel density of 262 PPI, which means that Windows will have to enable scaling.
As for the image quality, there was a surprise waiting for us here: the color rendition of the Blade turned out to be excellent. The Razer Blade screen can be safely called one of the best laptop screens that we met in 2014. Moreover, it is worth thanking not only and not so much the matrix manufacturer, but the Razer company itself, which thoroughly approached the image quality and calibrated the laptop screen. For calibration, the X-Rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter and the Argyll CMS v. 1.6.3 software package with the dispcalGUI v. graphical interface were used. 188.8.131.52 (we got this information from the color profile of the laptop screen, which was installed by default) - almost the same set that we use.
Due to the presence of factory calibration of the screen, we were forced to change our display tests. In addition to the usual "before and after calibration" measurements, we separately checked the factory calibration and compared the Razer results with ours.
After testing the screen, we can say that Razer decided not to calibrate each laptop, but made one profile and now install it in all instances of Razer Blade. This approach works well, and if your tasks are limited to watching videos and games— then you will definitely not notice the slightest imperfection of the "general" profile. Well, for those who want to engage in professional photo processing, we advise you to calibrate the screen again to improve its color reproduction and remove those small flaws that the "averaged" profile from Razer inevitably gives.
In any case, the display is simply magnificent - bright, contrasting, with excellent color reproduction (after calibration) and a very small, almost invisible grain to the eye. The screen is a dream!
Sound and cooling system evaluation
Laptops are often unlucky with built-in speakers, they lack both low and high frequencies. Fortunately, the Razer Blade is doing well with the built-in audio: we did not notice a lack of high frequencies, and the bass turned out to be quite good — by mobile standards. I would also like to note a very loud sound, without a characteristic rattling.
As for the noise from the cooling system, it works very quietly during downtime or simple office tasks. But when launching games, two turbines manifest themselves in full. In such conditions, the Razer Blade makes a lot of noise, although it still does not look like a plane taking off — the tone and volume level of the sound are tolerable, about the same as any other modern hacking laptop.
Testing the cooling system
Usually we don't test the laptop cooling system in such detail, but this time we decided to make an exception — due to the fact that in such a compact laptop, the total TDP of the processor and video card is 140 watts. This is a very large amount for a thin 14-inch laptop — let's see how the cooling system copes with it.
We searched for trottling in several ways. First, we tested the processor using a stress test from the AIDA64 package for 10 minutes, and then repeated this test, adding to it a load on a discrete video adapter. Then, in order to assess how the laptop behaves under normal, not synthetic load, we launched Crysis 3 with maximum graphics settings and checked how well Razer Blade copes with this very real task.
FAQ and Buying Guide
We're pretty sure you've made your choice by now. We haven't compiled a list of over 20 laptops for Linux because they are much more confusing when choosing an option. So a small but very well-reviewed and curated list was mentioned.
You can get very confused looking for yourself on different websites. With everything in mind like price range, features, usage, etc, the list is done and ready to go. Make sure you go through each specification as each of them is unique in its own particular way.
Is MacBook Good For Hacking?
There are different opinions of people regarding MacBook and hacking. But there, I have my idea. For me, if a hacker knows how to use Kali Linux software, it is good with any laptop.
This software has its convenience for hackers and does not disturb any super device. Also, if we research Macbook thoroughly, its operating system can run a lot of hacking tools simultaneously.
Apple machines can efficiently use POSIX and UNIX. Besides, it has the same operating system as other high end PCs. In addition, Apple can maintain and quickly work on Kali Linux software and Windows operating system.
There is also vim text editing software that works just like Windows OS and Linux software. It will be easier for you if you know how to use it. The MacBook can manage and operate all of the hacking tools and software. Thus, MacBook will indeed work for hackers.
How much RAM do I need for hacking purposes?
When it comes to hacking, you need to see what you need to hack. Almost all brands produce laptops with 8GB of RAM. So, you can choose one for you. But if you want to expand the RAM later, make your device have this option. It is better if you have 16GB RAM as it will help you with many tasks. Later, upgrade that RAM to up to 32GB and your device will become a beast. You can check out the Asus VivoBook S15 as an example.
This device has 8 GB of RAM which is expandable and the graphics are Intel UHD 620. Furthermore, the screen is 15.6 inches with 87% screen-to-body ratio. This screen has Nano edges to give you a wide result. Its processor is Intel 8565U i5 processor. It offers lag-free performance with 256GB SSD and 1TB storage. And in the end, you get 8 hours of battery life. So, when buying any laptop to hack, you should try this device.
What is the preferred specification for the best hacking laptop?
To hack laptops, there's not just one thing to look at. You need to check the following features.
Having a sound graphics card is the main thing for a hack as well as a hacking device Especially if you are using the best hacking laptop for hacking, a sound card is a must.
Your minimum requirement must be 2GB. However, to handle detailed work, choose a 4GB card or even more.
For a hacking laptop, your requirement must be around 8GB of RAM for your hacking task. However, this will help you if you are learning hacking. If you are a professional hacker, you will need at least 16GB of RAM. Also, to handle multiple detailed tasks at a time, you should have 32GB of beastly RAM in your system.
If you are hard at work, you must have the latest processor. For ethical hacking, you can buy any office laptop or hacking laptop with an i7 or even i8 processor.
But if you think you can go with the i3 processor, you can't. So, always try to choose an i7-i8 processor laptop for your hacking activities.
Why do hackers use Linux?
This is the central question that people primarily ask themselves whenever they talk about hackers. There is suspense on this question. People mostly think that hackers prefer it to the operating system because it is open source.
However, this is not the only reason. Read below for all the reasons why hackers are using Kali Linux. It is open source.If you think hackers are using the operating system or mac for hacking, you are wrong.
They use Kali Linux software because it is open source to use. Open source software is easily accessible software that you can easily modify. This distribution code allows a hacker to create modifications as needed.
Not only this, but it also allows the hacker to access the codes of other applications immediately. Hence, a hacker can access all of these and work without limits. No other operating system or even Mac offers this freehand to a user.
In recent years, a huge number of pentester devices have been released on the Clearnet, and new ones are constantly appearing. Most are sold in scattered stores all over the place (including aliexpress), and pentesters have a new headache - choosing among dozens of similar devices or looking for another "universal" solution. Finally Yago Hansen, the cool IT security specialist and consultant, simply put together a catalog of cool devices, gadgets and accessories which proved to be effective. Now the catalog is in its second version, it contains 177 items from 8 categories. Here is an adaptation of it as a series of 7 posts (some categories will be combined or divided into two articles due to the difference in size).