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System76 announce their 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen powered Serval WS laptop

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Users have been pestering Linux hardware vendor and Pop!_OS distribution maker System76 for some time to make an AMD powered laptop, even in our comments we've seen plenty of calls for it and so they listened. Today they announced the 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen powered Serval WS.

System76 say it has desktop-level power in a portable housing, making it "uniquely positioned for a wide variety of uses". They're not really overstating that either. The new Serval WS will come with either the 3rd Gen Ryzen 3600, 3700X, or 3900 CPU making all models quite a power-house and good for gaming too.

Have a look at some images provided by System76, including a sweet interior shot - click for a gallery:

"Our twelfth generation Serval WS breaks new ground with AMD Ryzen desktop CPUs in a laptop starting at only $1,299," says Carl Richell, Founder and CEO. "As such, it's the perfect companion for professionals requiring desktop performance while mobile."

Not only does it have a top processor, it's not short on the graphics side either. They didn't go with AMD for graphics though, sticking with NVIDIA instead giving the choice of either an NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti or an RTX 2070. On top of that you can kit it out with a huge amount of hard drive space with up to 4TB NVMe.

Here's the full specs they sent over:

Operating System

Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS (64-bit) or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (64-bit)

Processor

3rd Gen AMD® Ryzen™ 5 3600: 3.6 up to 4.2 GHz - 6 Cores - 12 Threads

3rd Gen AMD® Ryzen™ 7 3700X: 3.6 up to 4.4 GHz - 8 Cores - 16 Threads

3rd Gen AMD® Ryzen™ 9 PRO 3900: 3.1 up to 4.3 GHz - 12 Cores - 24 Threads

Display

15.6” FHD (1920x1080) Matte Finished, 120 Hz

Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2070

Memory

8GB DDR4 2933Mhz as standard, upgradeable to 64GB dual-channel DDR4

Storage

2 x M.2 (SATA or PCIe NVMe), 1 x 2.5" 7mm height drive, Up to 8 TB total

Expansion

2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-C), 1 x USB 2.0, SD Card Reader

Input

Multitouch Touchpad, Multi-Color Backlit Chiclet US QWERTY Keyboard

Networking

Gigabit Ethernet, Intel® Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX + Bluetooth

Video Ports

HDMI (w/HDCP), Mini DisplayPort (1.4), USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C w/ DisplayPort (1.4)

Audio

2-in-1 Audio Jack (Headphone / Microphone), Microphone Jack, Stereo Speakers

Camera

1.0M HD Video Camera

Security

Kensington® Lock

Battery

Removable 6 cell Smart Lithium-Ion battery pack 62Wh

Charger

Dependent on Graphics:

GTX 1660 Ti: 180 Watts, AC-in 100~240V, 50~60Hz

RTX 2070: 230 Watts, AC-in 100~240V, 50~60Hz

Dimensions

(Height × Width × Depth):

1.28" x 14.21" x 10.16" (32.51 mm x 360.934 mm x 258.06 mm)

Weight

5.95 lbs (2.70 kg)

Base weight. Varies on configuration

According to System76 press the AMD Ryzen powered Serval WS will be available today, June 11. You can see more and order from System76.com. The direct page for the Serval WS is here.

Fantastic to see System76 continue to expand. Over the last 2 or so years they've really become quite a force to be reckoned with in the Linux hardware and software space. Starting off from humble beginnings offering somewhat generic devices although with their full Linux tailored support, they moved onto their very fancy custom-built Thelio desktop line. From there they progressed even further into more open source with things like Coreboot and open firmware on the Lemur Pro from this year. This is another great step to offer more choice to consumers.


On another related note, System76 are hiring! They need a Software Engineer to work on their Linux distribution Pop!_OS. Seems you need to be US-based but you can do it remotely. Have a look on their jobs page.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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18 comments
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yokem55 11 Jun
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Personally, and I don't think I'm alone here, but I was really hoping for a lighter, more compact Ryzen 4xxx APU based system then a workstation brick with a desktop CPU in it.

I can't help but wonder if AMD has all their mobile APU supply tied up with the big OEM's.
TimeFreeze 11 Jun
Quoting: yokem55Personally, and I don't think I'm alone here, but I was really hoping for a lighter, more compact Ryzen 4xxx APU based system then a workstation brick with a desktop CPU in it.

I can't help but wonder if AMD has all their mobile APU supply tied up with the big OEM's.

Agreed. Also even when i would be interested in this i would not buy it since they only have Nvidia as an option.
Kithop 11 Jun
Yeah... I got all excited until I read 'nVidia'.

Nope, no thanks. Never giving them money again if I can help it, until they follow AMD's lead and properly open source + get their drivers into mainline, like AMDGPU, which works miles better on my partner's newer desktop w/ an RX 580. No more losing video drivers every time there's a kernel update.

Hopefully it's just a lack of decent options on the AMD side being available in channels yet, so give it another 6 months and maybe this will change.
hiryu 11 Jun
Quoting: yokem55Personally, and I don't think I'm alone here, but I was really hoping for a lighter, more compact Ryzen 4xxx APU based system then a workstation brick with a desktop CPU in it.

I can't help but wonder if AMD has all their mobile APU supply tied up with the big OEM's.

The Serval WS line has always been their "portable workstation" line that has a full desktop CPU and terrible battery life. Perhaps we'll see something when they refresh their Oryx Pro line, which is expected this month.

Does anyone know if AMD has something like Nvidia Optimus? I've noticed that switching from the Nvidia GPU in my Sys76 laptop to the Intel has had the option changed from "Intel" to "Integrated" recently. I've searched around a little to see if AMD has a solution for this, but I haven't found anything. I may just be searching for the wrong thing though. :/


Last edited by hiryu on 11 June 2020 at 4:30 pm UTC
Shmerl 11 Jun
Well, picking Nvidia for graphics is a major no go for a Linux laptop. Pretty bad move on their part.

Let them make a proper AMD laptop.


Last edited by Shmerl on 11 June 2020 at 4:32 pm UTC
I am very happy to see they made a laptop with an AMD CPU. That is a huge plus. I am also really happy to see it have a 120hz screen, I think refresh rates above 60 are one of the best things I have experienced in the last 10 years. If I could change anything I would have tried for a 14" screen and to have an AMD GPU.
drlamb 11 Jun
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Quoting: hiryuDoes anyone know if AMD has something like Nvidia Optimus?

While not exclusive to AMD, GPU switching should work out of the box with vgaswitcheroo/PRIME.

https://01.org/linuxgraphics/gfx-docs/drm/gpu/vga-switcheroo.html


It also doesn't appear that Clevo makes a Ryzen-APU powered machine yet. There are leaks of benchmarks for models containing the Radeon 5600M so it's only a matter of time.


Last edited by drlamb on 11 June 2020 at 4:41 pm UTC
tuxintuxedo 11 Jun
Some benchmarks suggested that the Radeon 5500M and 5600M are below their Nvidia counterparts in terms of power. This might be one of the reasons that many (if not most) laptops that come out with an AMD CPU (including the Ryzen 4000 series) get an Nvidia card as they are meant for the gaming laptop category.
Love you System76... But Nvidia, f*ck you!
KohlyKohl 11 Jun
Quoting: ShmerlWell, picking Nvidia for graphics is a major no go for a Linux laptop. Pretty bad move on their part.

Let them make a proper AMD laptop.

Their hardware and drivers are not that great in my experience. The last AMD graphics card I bought was used for a month and then replaced with nVidia again. Maybe in a few years I'll look at them again but for now I'm sticking with nVidia under Linux.
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