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Intel Ubuntu Hardware

System76 Refreshes Ubuntu Linux Laptops With Intel Kaby Lake, NVIDIA GTX 10 Series, and 4K (betanews.com) 122

Brian Fagioli, writing for BetaNews: System76 is refreshing three of its laptops with some high-end parts. The Oryx Pro, Serval WS, and Bonobo WS are now all equipped with 7th generation Intel Kaby Lake processors. In addition, all three can be had with 4K displays and NVIDIA GTX 10 series graphics too. While the Oryx Pro already had the option of 4K and GTX 10, it is the 7th gen Intel chips that are new to it. In fact, all of the company's laptops now come with Kaby Lake standard. The computer seller throws some shade at Apple by saying, "The HiDPI displays that ship on the laptops have 3.1 million more pixels than Apple's 'Retina' displays, enabling sharper text, 4K video, and higher res gaming. Beyond that, the displays give video and photo professionals the ability to work more easily with higher resolution multimedia."

System76 Refreshes Ubuntu Linux Laptops With Intel Kaby Lake, NVIDIA GTX 10 Series, and 4K

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  • I Looked at System76 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Friday February 17, 2017 @02:28PM (#53888001)
    ...when I sent my daughter off to college last Fall. Figured it might be nice for her to have someone beside Dear Ol' Dad to call if she had some complicated Linux problems (she can handle the simple and medium problems). Then I saw how much they were charging! Could not justify the expense, even with whatever phonecall time it might save me. Bought a Lenovo and had her roll her own OS into it. She, and my wallet, are both way better for it...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17, 2017 @02:38PM (#53888083)

      A Lenovo? You're a horrible father.

      sudo apt-get new-father

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No!

        sudo yum -y new-father

        • No, definitely the first one. Apt > yum by a long shot.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          No!

          sudo yum -y new-father

          ./configure --new-father

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Then I saw how much they were charging!

      I have no complaints concerning the price of System76 laptops--I'm willing to pay a premium for hardware that works well with open source software. Nevertheless, there are two things that prevent me from purchasing a laptop from System76.

      (1) I want to see detailed technical specifications for the laptops. For example, I may wish to install an unusual (non-Linux) operating system on the laptop, and I would like to be able to verify that the hardware will be supported by the operating system. I'm not askin

      • by jon3k ( 691256 )

        (2) I want a laptop with a built-in DVD drive. Even Lenovo offers laptops with DVD drives, but System76 does not.

        What do you still use a DVD drive for? Just curious.

      • Then I saw how much they were charging!

        I have no complaints concerning the price of System76 laptops--I'm willing to pay a premium for hardware that works well with open source software. Nevertheless, there are two things that prevent me from purchasing a laptop from System76.

        (1) I want to see detailed technical specifications for the laptops. For example, I may wish to install an unusual (non-Linux) operating system on the laptop, and I would like to be able to verify that the hardware will be supported by the operating system. I'm not asking System76 to verify hardware compatibility--I'm only asking that they describe their hardware in enough detail that I can verify compatibility on my own. For example, what ethernet NIC does the laptop use? What wireless card? (In contrast, Lenovo provides detailed specifications at http://psref.lenovo.com/ [lenovo.com])

        (2) I want a laptop with a built-in DVD drive. Even Lenovo offers laptops with DVD drives, but System76 does not.

        If you want to install a non-Linux OS (assuming that it's not a BSD either), why are you going for System 76? The only reason to go that route is if you want a Linux laptop, or maybe even a BSD. While you could wipe Ubuntu and put in a distro of your choice, I believe System 76 would only support you on Ubuntu.

        If specs are important to you, then yeah, go w/ a Lenovo or an Asus. Incidentally, which OS did you wanna install?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the past, System76 laptops were just rebranded Clevos, which are sold in the U.S. by Sager. This is true of most boutique laptop providers. Theoretically, System76 does extra work to insure Linux works seamlessly on these laptops, but I've had zero issues getting Linux to work on the Clevo that I purchased. Certainly, these laptops aren't perfect, but I do believe the Clevo has some of the best value for the dollar in their laptop line. My biggest complaints are that their mechanical components are o

    • Clearly, you are paying for your own equipment... your employer's cost per hour of your time is far more expensive than your net salary per hour - when your employer is paying for one of these, it can actually be a "good deal."

  • Shade, eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Friday February 17, 2017 @02:29PM (#53888009) Homepage Journal

    The computer seller throws some shade at Apple by saying, "The HiDPI displays that ship on the laptops have 3.1 million more pixels than Apple's 'Retina' displays

    You can't "throw shade" at Apple over hardware capabilities in any meaningful way unless you can run OS X / macOS and its applications. Otherwise, you're in the position of a cruise ship boasting that it has roll stabilization in order to try and "shade" a luxury hotel. Pomegranates and kumquats. Irrelevant.

    And I say that as a very unhappy Apple hardware user.

    • If the pixels are under the DPI where your eye can even tell at a reasonable usage distance, does it matter if they are there or not?

      Sounds like 3.1 million more pixels that need to be redrawn 60 times a second for not a lot more value added. Except for marketing, because they all believe that more is always better.

      • Not saying this is you, because I know nothing of your preferences...

        But Apple guys always scoffing at anything more being a waste until apple leapfrogs the competition and now provides more. Then it's revolutionary.
        • by jon3k ( 691256 )
          First of all I'd love to hear some examples. But second of all, who are these "Apple people" and was it the exact same people saying this before and after?
        • Nope, that's not me. I have a problem wherever marketing's insatiable need for bigger numbers trumps actual engineering and common sense. Much like when Intel just kept deepening the pipeline on Pentium 4 in order to ramp clock speed, even though they were making a worse CPU due to branch prediction misses. Because Mhz sells.

          Apple is making these mistakes right now, but screen resolution isn't one of them. 4K resolution makes a difference on a 27" panel and above, not so much at 15" WQXGA or on the 350+

      • by rthille ( 8526 )

        Reading your post on a 15"MBP Retina display with the display running at full rez (>>what stock OSX will let you run it at) and the amount of screen real estate is awesome. More than on the 27" Dell sitting next to it. Yes people I work with complain they have trouble reading it, but I do fine with it. I wouldn't need that if @#$@# app & web devs didn't waste so much space these days, but what can I do...

        • I'd just like if web and app devs would not assume that everybody runs every program fullscreen and size *everything* according to the screen res instead of the program window's actual dimensions. C'mon, it's not like the browser and OS make this information difficult to obtain.

          Yes, I'm looking at you, Slashdot. (Among many, many others.)

    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      I assume that you think OS X is somehow superior to other OSs. As an primary OS X user (as well as Linux and Windows occasionally) for the past 7 years, I beg to differ. I've always found OS X to be kludgy, toylike and lacking features. I never could get used to its special keys (especially command and option) as well as the odd keyboard layout (no backspace???).
      I'm much more comfortable with Linux and its applications. I gave up on Apple hardware and have now adopted Chromebooks (with Crouton Linux) for al

      • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

        I assume that you think OS X is somehow superior to other OSs.

        No.OS X plus the applications I am using form a computing ecosystem that is superior to anything I might plop down on my desk that would be fundamentally unable to perform the same tasks unless I put out a great deal of money, time and energy that is absolutely not necessary in any way, shape or form. Adding extra pixels won't do any of that.

        I never could get used to its special keys (especially command and option) as well as the odd keyboard lay

      • by jon3k ( 691256 )
        If you couldn't get used to the keyboard after 7 years the problem isn't the keyboard, it's what's between the keyboard and the chair.

        I don't use a Mac but I could damn sure figure it out in 7 years.
    • by dave562 ( 969951 )

      They also seem to be trying to appeal to "video and photo professionals". I used to work in Hollywood and I know plenty of 'creative' people. I do not know a single person using Ubuntu, or any Linux distribution, for professional multimedia work.

      Beyond that, how many people who are using Gimp because they are too cheap to pay for Photoshop, have $4000+ to spend on one of these laptops?

      • Wellllll, I can easily afford one of these laptops... But ya, I still use Gimp. And OpenOffice.

        It's not even a matter of superiority, it's a matter of value. I don't perceive enough value in one of the high-priced market offerings to justify spending the money for me. Sure, I could afford a single-chair Photoshop license... But when Gimp does what I need without having to pay for it... why the hell pay for it? ePenis length?
        • by dave562 ( 969951 )

          What are you using for video editing?

          Has any of your work been broadcast?

          How about your print work? Is it in any publications? Online anywhere?

          Are you really making a living doing creative work, or is it a professional hobby of yours?

          • Just hobby- I wasn't trying to imply that I'm a professional... I'm a software engineer, not a digital arts guy.

            Beyond that, how many people who are using Gimp because they are too cheap to pay for Photoshop, have $4000+ to spend on one of these laptops?

            That's what I meant to reply to...

            Now to the point of professionals and software suites, I do have some interesting anecdotes... Where I work, our executive in charge of the graphic designers (an older gentleman) uses Photoshop exclusively, but 2 of our youngest graphic designers use Ubuntu laptops and Gimp. We don't do video, so I can't answer to that.

            • You apparently need to understand that 'creative professionals' almost exclusively use Macs.

              Except Adobe now treats Mac like the secondary platform.

              And a lot of 'creative professionals' don't work on computers at all, except for regular use of what is convenient for them.

              The whole 'Apple Creative Professional' thing is about ten years stale at this point. People are bound to cling to it as part of their identity, of course.

    • Re:Shade, eh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Friday February 17, 2017 @04:54PM (#53889073)

      I'm on my last Apple laptop it seems. A 2012 15" MacBook Pro with i7 2.3ghz quadcore. It's fabulous but it's been nothing but downhill for Apple hardware since. Every step they take is backwards. When this one dies I'm going to have to make Linux work for everything I do. I didn't mind paying too much for hardware that was useful. Now you pay too much for crap you didn't want while the stuff you liked is removed.

  • 4K - is that the price?

    • Re:4K (Score:5, Informative)

      by RavenLrD20k ( 311488 ) on Friday February 17, 2017 @03:01PM (#53888251) Journal
      I just designed a Bonobo for shits and giggles with dual 1080 SLI, 16GB DDR4, two 2TB HDDs, and 867 Mbps WiFi, with a 3 year P&L Warranty leaving the rest of the blocks at the defaults. 4K is almost 1K too low. Total came to $4,892.
      • Re:4K (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Friday February 17, 2017 @05:56PM (#53889395)

        System 76 is a pretty good value for the machine you get. Lets go over your choices to build a ~$5000 machine.

        > dual 1080 SLI

        Yes, that would be expensive. It's SLI on a friggin laptop. The "low end" option is a GTX 1070, which totally blows away what you can get on, say, an Apple. The dual 1080 SLI option adds 1500 bucks to the price. This is what you would expect, and also, not something you would buy unless you were actually sure you wanted it. This is a top end graphics card, and you're talking TWO of them in a laptop. This alone is 30% of the price.

        > two 2TB HDDs

        Lets be clear here: included in the price is an 256 GB SSD. You are adding two additional 2.5" HDDs to this.

        The 5 thousand dollar machine you built has a top of the line (which commands a VAST premium) Nvidia graphics card, then it has A SECOND ONE OF THOSE. It has THREE storage media- an SSD, and two HDDs. That sounds about right.

        Note that in raw power, this machine totally blows away anything offered by Apple, which can't progress beyond a middle of the line Radeon, and I'm pretty damned sure it can't do three media. Heck, I think the option on that is just a big SSD (which the Bonobo also offers in the configurator). I can't even get close to these specs on Alienware, where I couldn't find the option to get TWO friggin GTX 1080s, nor THREE media in the rig.

        My view: If you need the hardware you selected, this is a good deal for it, and you'd be hard pressed to find it at most mainstream shops, because the options chosen are wildly excessive for most users. The main name brands don't even offer this sort of stuff, it's super packed with metal.

        • Please note... I wasn't complaining about the price. I was just noting for Hog- who made the commentary about 4K being the price instead of the screen resolution that yes it could very well have been the price. The laptop as designed has roughly the same CPU Cores & threads, twice the GPU, and 1/4 of the storage of my desktop. Also note that my tower is running an i7-4790K O.C. to 4.8GHz, so although a little faster, it's several generations behind. I paid roughly $2,500 for the tower. I fully expe

  • I guess they are going for the "wild animal" theme for their names. It looks like they order them in "strength" of the animal with small mammals being the low end of each line, hooved quadrupeds at the mid-level and great apes at the high end.

    I just think the whole thing is stupid... who wants a desktop called "Wild Dog Pro"?

    It's a neat concept and all, selling pre-configured Linux laptops, desktops and servers but I just would not be able to tell people that I am running a "Bonobo WS" (WS?) computer with a

    • What's wrong with animal names? My machines are all named after fish--my laptop is "havskatt" (Swedish for "harbour catfish") and my desktop is "valhaj" ("whale shark"). Lots more sensible then naming them after, say, candy bars IMO.

  • Typing this on a system76 Oryx Pro (work asked me to choose between Mac or Linux). Their Lemur lineup wasn't out yet at the time but it'd be the one I'd get today with 14' + 32G RAM
  • by afgam28 ( 48611 ) on Friday February 17, 2017 @03:29PM (#53888457)

    One thing that I can't stand about these machines is that they have a num pad, which pushes the main keyboard and the touchpad way to the left of the device. This means you have to sit either with your arms pointing to the left, or your head pointing to the right.

    The number of users who would benefit from a num pad are few and far between, and they could just use a USB num pad.

    Strangely, there are only a few laptop manufacturers that align the center of the screen with the center of the keyboard and touchpad. I hope System 76 fixes this one day, because I'd love to replace my MacBook with a Linux laptop.

    • > One thing that I can't stand about these machines is that they have a num pad

      Oh dear. I didn't spot that. It's now not an option.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is utterly puzzling that this has become such widespread a problem. It doesn't take a genius to recognize the ergonomic benefits of a centered input devices, and fewer keys should make the device cheaper as well. Maybe it is only a few cents, but manufacturers are ever eager to cut corners elsewhere, so why not here, where less really is more?

      If they are pushing full keyboards because they imagine that it is a "pro" feature, a 3:2 display would be a much more attractive selling point. A quality etched

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Friday February 17, 2017 @06:24PM (#53889539)

        I mean, all the laptops I've ever owned, including my two current but now older dudes, have a numpad. I wouldn't personally consider a laptop without one. It really is interesting that it is contentious.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Ergonomics be damned? Why exactly is a fixed number pad so indispensable on a portable device? Your empty argument for the status quo stinks of Luddism, and isn't particularly friendly to left-handed people either. Would you like to mandate where the mouse goes too?

          • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

            > Ergonomics be damned?

            I mean, we are talking a shift of like an inch or two. Is that a big deal nowadays somehow? We are in a world with thumb keyboards instead of some chorded trickery that uses all your fingers, which would be faster and more ergonomic, and most people use QWERTY keyboards, which are ludicrously unergonomic and....

            > isn't particularly friendly to left-handed people either ...isn't particularly friendly to right-handed people, what with almost all the frequent keys being under the

          • I won't buy a laptop that doesn't have a numeric keypad.

            Why should I (a) have to move my hand well away from the keyboard to type in long numbers (e.g. 8-digit bug numbers) and (b) cart around an extra peripheral that eats up a USB port for no good reason?

            And did I mention that I'm left-handed?

            HAND.

    • by eionmac ( 949755 )

      Essential. if you do any scientific number work or in normal business accountancy of bookkeeping.
      I do not buy any laptop which is without a number pad. 7 Laptops with number pads in use in the house.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We bought around a dozen of Sager laptops in Octoboer so we could get 64 GB of RAM with 4k displays since our 16 GB MacBooks were just swapping so much it was painful to develop. We're in a top floor southwest-facing corner open office, and the screens were just too dim to use in the afternoon. I think all of the developers switched back to the much slower MacBooks because of the screens. Are the System 76 ones better than Sager? The Sager ones were nearly as bad as Dell.

  • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Friday February 17, 2017 @03:46PM (#53888585) Homepage Journal

    I'm a potential customer of one of these or new MBP. These seem like the only two options for a high end laptop these days. So I priced them out for a similar config.

    I compared as close a config as I could between a optioned up mac and Oryx.
    So that means 15", because the Oryx only offers the hires display on 15".
    Apple only offer 16GB ram on 15" models, so that's what I set it to on Oryx
    Oryx only offer up to 1TB on nvme, where Apple allow 2TB. But on the Oryx you can have second drive, so I added 1 TB SSD.
    The graphics card options are not choices since you need the max Orix option for the high res display.

    Apple: 15.4" retina display 2880x1800. Radeon 455 4GB. 2.8GHz CPU, 16GB Memory, 2TB Storage, $4299.
    Oryx 16.6" hidipi display . Nvidia GTX1070 8GB. 2.9GHz CPU. 1TB NMVe+1TB SSD. :$3154

    If you drop back to 1TB (which you might because Apple want $800 for the extra TB. It's Apple $3499, Oryx $2695.

    Other things you might care about:
    I'm personally ok with either macos or Linux. You may or may not care.
    The mac looks ok. The Oryx looks butt ugly.
    The Orix lets you option it up further than Apple - 64GB Ram for instance.

    In the past, claims that Apple were more expensive tended to ignore the horrible screens or limited storage on the cheaper counterparts.
    In this instance the Apple for a similar config is $800-$1000 more expensive.

    So the Oryx is looking pretty good, except for the butt ugly case.
       

    • Oh well - afgam28 pointed out the Oryz has a num pad. So throw it in the bin. It's useless with a crap keyboard shoved over to the right.

      • I love my number pad....
        I can't say that it *seems* to affect my typing speed. I can still pull 130-140wpm
        Is this a serious complaint?
      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        Wait, you don't like numpads? We can have a holy war! I can't deal with anything without a friggin numpad. Feels totally derp to try to enter more than a few numbers without one. I didn't realize there were people who actually don't like the numpad for some heretical reason. EEEEEIIIIIINFIDELLL!!!

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If I need numbers with more than a few digits, I write a program to compute the number for me... while I use the top row of number keys a lot, it is usually shifted to get all the interesting punctuation for programming, and getting simple digits out of those is even easier since I don't have to hold the shift with my pinky at the same time.

          I have zero muscle memory to use a numeric keypad and honestly don't even know if it will produce digits, arrow/paging keys if I pressed it. It's possible the switches

        • Wait, you don't like numpads? We can have a holy war! I can't deal with anything without a friggin numpad. Feels totally derp to try to enter more than a few numbers without one. I didn't realize there were people who actually don't like the numpad for some heretical reason. EEEEEIIIIIINFIDELLL!!!

          Because the keyboard it not centered on the screen, or more importantly, it's not centered under my hands.
          On a desktop I can move the keyboard to the right to compensate. Since I don't use the num pad, I don't need it and I save a bunch of desk space with a nice HHKB pro 2.

          Also a computer num pad is upside down relative to phones.

    • I think you have a good comparison, but I was wondering about the relative portability. Oryx: 15.2 × 10.7 × 1.1, 5.50lbs; MacBook Pro 15, 13.75" x 9.48" x 0.61", 4.02lbs. Though I don't think the Oryx is unmanageable, and I do think Apple might go to far looking for thin-ness, I have to give the MacBook Pro the edge on size.
    • by jon3k ( 691256 )

      In the past, claims that Apple were more expensive tended to ignore the horrible screens or limited storage on the cheaper counterparts. In this instance the Apple for a similar config is $800-$1000 more expensive.

      The Apple display is better. It might not be higher resolution, which is mostly irrelevant because it's retina and you can't really resolve the higher pixel density of the System76, but the Apple display also has better contrast and color reproduction. The display just LOOKS better. That's the thing that's hard for people to compare on a spec sheet unless they really know how to read in depth reviews.

  • Should we be expecting one everytime dell/lenovo/etc comes out with a new laptop model too?

  • by skogs ( 628589 )

    I don't mind the slashvertisement at all, I do mind not being able to get a 4k in a 17 inch size.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      The bonobo is 17" and has the 4K monitor, but is hella expensive. In fairness, Apple also does not offer a 4K in 17" :P

  • This distro seems to become a bigger train wreck with each passing release. The arbitrary bullshit that my current install (16.04LTS) keeps throwing at me boggles my mind at times. Who the fuck thought it made sense for a laptop to lock the display configuration files when it goes to sleep? Now any time I put my laptop to sleep I have to move .config, and .kde, and reboot the next time I want to connect to an external monitor. Otherwise it will happily detect and lock out any external monitor until the magic locked file is out of the way. A simple reboot doesn't resolve it, the files have to be moved manually out of the way.

    I wish that was the worst thing they've done, that is just the problem I run it to most often. The long term solution to it seems to be to just never put my laptop to sleep (as I use a different external display configuration at home than I do at work, and there are times I need to use only the laptop display while at work or on the road).
  • Is... has System 76 fixed the godawful keyboard yet? The gazellel prof 76 I have is a real pain to type on. It would be a fine laptop if not for the double-blasted horrible keyboard.

    -Matt

  • Nothing else matters, right?

System restarting, wait...

Working...