The GPD Win Max is probably the most powerful handheld gaming computer on the market right now, although that could change in the coming months as the AYA Neo, GPD Win 3, and One Netbook OneGx Pro hit the streets.

But whether the Win Max loses its performance crown anytime soon or not, it will likely remain a pretty impressive option for folks looking for a compact, portable gaming computer. One of the only things I found disappointing when I tested the Win Max earlier this year was that I couldn’t get it to run Linux. Others had more luck, but I figured we’d need to wait for serious Linux developers to fully support the hardware before things would get easier for casual users.

Now that time has (almost) come. Developer Martin Wimpress has created a custom Ubuntu MATE image for the GPD Win Max, and it should be available for download soon.

Update: Ubuntu MATE 20.04.1 LTS for the GPD Win Max is now available for download from the Ubuntu MATE website. 


According to Wimpress, the tweaks he made for the Win Max include:

  • Screen orientation (out of the box it’s set to portrait, but he’s set it to landscape)
  • Touch screen calibration
  • EDID is working
  • Controller, trackpad, suspend, and media keys all work

Wimpress recently showed off the Win Max running Ubuntu MATE in a Twitch stream, showing some of the changes he’d made and demonstrating gameplay with a Win Max running Ubuntu MATE.

While it should be possible to make similar tweaks to other GNU/Linux distributions, Ubuntu MATE has a history of developing custom images for mini-laptops. There are also versions of the operating system available for:

  • GPD Pocket
  • GPD Pocket 2, GPD Win 2, One Mix Yoga 1s, and One Mix Yoga 2
  • GPD P2 Max
  • GPD Micro PC
  • Topjoy Falcon

The GPD Win Max is one of the largest GPD devices to date, with an 8 inch display, touch-type keyboard, built-in game controllers, and a body that measures 8.1″ x 5.5″ x 1″ and weighs about 1.8 pounds.

But with an Intel Core i5-1035G7 processor, Intel Iris Plus 940 graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of NVMe storage, it’s also the highest-performance GPD device to date… at least until the Intel Tiger Lake-powered Win 3 comes around next year.

You can read more about the Win Max in Liliputing’s GPD Win Max review.

via @m_wimpress (1)(2) and @ubuntu_mate

This article was original published November 16, 2020 and last updated November 24, 2020. 

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11 replies on “Ubuntu MATE for the GPD Win Max handheld gaming PC now available”

  1. So Brad, if you were going to hold out for a small next gen tiger lake laptop running Windows for primary on the go gaming, what overall package impresses you the most. I would love a multifunction small laptop that delivers the goods on gaming, so the more it looks like a laptop, rather than a PSP, the better. The GPD win max 3’s controlling interface for games, for me, is a non starter. Just looks too awkward to use for hours of gaming. I’d rather use my own xbox controller, but I’m reading their has been compatibility problems with using an external controller on the max 3. Looks like GPD are heading in another direction with their next attempt at gaming with their gpd win 3 which is less laptop like and thus less appealing for me. The one netbook one gxpro 10th gen I see is currently on Amazon. You haven’t exactly been bowled over by it, but it looks like the most laptop looking hardware and more up my alley if they release it with the tiger lake chip, but I’m less impressed after reading your input on the current model.

    Bottom line. Do you have an early favorite in the small portable next gen gaming hardware coming out in 2021 that could possibly tick off all the boxes for me?

    1. FWIW, I don’t know that GPD is going to stick with the Win 3 form factor long term. Some enthusiasts have been asking for something like a Nintendo Switch/Sony Vaio UX design since they started doing handheld Windows gaming PCs, and they decided to give it a try with this generation.

      The 2nd-gen Win Max will almost certainly look more like the original Win Max, but have a Tiger Lake processor instead of Ice Lake.

      The OneGx form factor is fine, I guess. But the game controllers feel wonky since they’re not permanently attached.

      If I were in your shoes, I might hold out for the Win Max 2 unless you’ve got your heart set on something smaller. I have no idea if/when GPD or One Netbook will have a 7 inch clamshell device with Tiger Lake.

      1. Good advice. Think I’ll wait and see what will happen in 2021, rather than be too hasty, and end up regretting the purchase in the long run. Thank you sir for the input.

      2. In my humble opinion, the best would be a 2 in 1 with detachable controllers which face downwards so that they are usable when the laptop is converted to tablet mode. You get a proper Switch-like experience and a proper keyboard when not gaming

  2. It’s good to see MATE as an alternative to the horrible Gnome 3 graphical interface that comes with Ubuntu.

  3. What sets it apart is its ability to run Windows. If it ran Linux, there are plenty of alternatives…

  4. It’s nice that GPD sends their devices to Martin for out of the box Ubuntu MATE support. I don’t have a Win Max but I do have a MicroPC since I don’t game and prefer handheld/thumb use.

    Looking forward to what the MicroPC 2 will be and hope Martin and Hans de Goede (for kernel updates) get units again. I hope it doesn’t get design cues from the upcoming Win 3. That is, keep a physical keyboard (not that capacitive touch thing) and keep the clamshell design.

    1. I hope the MicroPC 2 gets Linux support too. The current MicroPC needed kernel updates for the display. I’m thankful to Hans who made those patches and upstreamed them. Everything else was just the usual userspace stuff.

      I’m hoping they keep the clam shell form factor. I’d really like built-in LTE too. So much so, I’m actually considering getting the OneGX with LTE and sacrifice the handheld use case and Ethernet port (none of my devices with serial interfaces still use the RS-232 port).

      1. I have the MicroPC too. I’m not a mobile gamer and the Win 3 is obviously a gaming device first and PC second so I understand the design choices and PC-use sacrifices including the crappy capacitive keyboard to help with the sliding screen and thickness so I don’t buy the Win devices.

        I hope the MicroPC 2 will be a thing and has a UMPC first design. I’d also pay for a built-in LTE version if they offer it.

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