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System76 launch multiple new powerful Linux laptops

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Not one, not two but three product announcements from System76 today as they're launching a range of new Linux powered laptops. First is the Serval WS that will be getting a refresh but they're also bringing back the Adder WS and the Bonobo WS.

System76 said all of them can be configured with up to 64GB RAM, have at least a 144Hz display and up to 8TB of storage. In the case of the Serval WS it has a 165Hz screen, and the Bonobo WS can have up to 12TB of storage. So there's something that will hopefully fit every need.

From the press release:

  • Adder WS — Starting at $1599!
    • For the first time, System76 offers a laptop with NVIDIA 40 Series graphics — up to the GeForce RTX 4070. The new Adder WS is also equipped with an i9 13900HX CPU (24 cores, 32 threads) and DDR5 RAM. The NVIDIA RTX 4070 has more VRAM and a 54% higher clock speed than the previous generation. With its formidable speed, the Adder WS is perfect for budding professionals setting out on the next phase of their career.
  • Serval WS — Starting at $1799, shipping mid-May
    • In addition to an i9 13900HX CPU, DDR5, and NVIDIA 40 Series graphics, the 17” Serval WS brings a 4K display option back to the System76 line. A 15” option is also available with a 1080p matte display at 165 Hz. Serval WS provides high-speeds ports like USB 3.2 gen 2, Thunderbolt 4, and 2.5GbE ethernet, and can power up to 5 displays (4 external). If you’re going to be downloading and uploading lots of data, this laptop is for you.
  • Coming Soon: Bonobo WS — Starting at $3299!
    • With an i9 13900HX CPU, DDR5, and up to an NVIDIA RTX 4090, the Bonobo WS once again returns as System76’s most powerful laptop. Amazingly, it’s also one pound lighter and 43% thinner than the previous Bonobo WS. Like the 17” Serval WS, the Bonobo WS features a 17” 4K display.

Since they have a few laptop models back now, they've also launched a comparison page (which actually died as soon as it went live due to the demand). Clearly System76 are doing well, and they recently teased work on their upcoming custom laptop.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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17 comments
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ElectricPrism Apr 20, 2023
My Analysis:

Pros:
- Coreboot
- Great Construction
- Linux Software / Hardware 1st class citizen
- Great Refresh Rate Screen
- Matte Screen
- Nice Keeb
- Actual Plugs and Ports (Looking at you Apple)

Cons:
- Intel CPU is "okay" -- and "fine" when paired with Intel GPU for basic usage. Would prefer a AMD Coreboot (but maybe that's too much to ask for idk).
- Nvidia GPU -- 50/50 -- if you have a specific use-case (I'm assuming CUDA), but I find I'm just happier on AMD

I bought a Librem 14 a while ago over 76 since I liked the kill-switches for Camera, Mic, and Wifi on the side. Also having Librem-Boot/Core-Boot was slightly silly but a selling point to me.

For me personally if System76 could "steal" those kill-switches it would be a very noticeable upgrade to me.

Also, I am not a fan of 19:6 even though nearly everything is the "TV" aspect ratio -- Valve doing 16:10 on Steam Deck and Framework doing other ratios are noticeable ⭐⭐⭐Golden Stars ⭐⭐⭐ to me personally.

--

Someone not me -- these things seem to be a beast and absolutely kill it -- It's no wonder System76 are wildly popular when they get so much right and appear to have such great premium construction, style and specs.

(Edit: My eyes are peeled for their AMD releases, and I admittedly am a fully realized tech-snob -- my feedback is a "squeaky wheel" just in the hopes that it gets incorporated into their business so I can take the leap in the future to 76-- after all -- who else is there really? Very impressed by their look and style.)


Last edited by ElectricPrism on 20 April 2023 at 6:59 pm UTC
Jarmer Apr 20, 2023
I agree with @ElectricPrism re intel / nvidia. I greatly prefer AMD for anything linux related, so as long as I can customize it with amd cpu and gpu, then great, but if not, I'm sorry but I'll look elsewhere.

Much more looking forward to their custom laptop launch! Also will be interesting to see where the Cosmic DE goes.
mr-victory Apr 20, 2023
Quoting: ElectricPrismNvidia GPU -- 50/50 -- if you have a specific use-case
In my experience an Nvidia GPU is not that bad when combined with an Intel one.
ElectricPrism Apr 20, 2023
Quoting: mr-victory
Quoting: ElectricPrismNvidia GPU -- 50/50 -- if you have a specific use-case
In my experience an Nvidia GPU is not that bad when combined with an Intel one.

So I had this Wacom MobileStudio laptop drawing tablet ($3500) that I sold.

It supposedly had a really powerful Nvidia M1000 or whatever GPU with Intel fallback.

I ended up having to disable the Nvidia GPU and just using the Intel one to keep the thing from overheating and powering off randomly.

YMMV -- in some ways it went perfectly fine (admittedly it was probably Gen1 and maybe Wacom has squared away weird issues as I see Wacom touts their Linux support on their Cintiq page the last year or so [and this was several years ago]).

For most people
, Nvidia is just fine. But I __NEVER__ dual boot -- and it's not like I'm a cheapass either I got at least $4,000 of AMD GPU's in 2022.

I am holding out for a good AMD Linux laptop. I need a laptop I can drag to work, hook up to the servers and not deal with Nvidia weirdness booting my ass to Shell after a software update (Admittedly it wouldn't be the end of the world, but if I ever needed a device to put employee workstations on or family or whoever AMD really does a good job keeping things stable and running -- MESA is great, Intel GPU is adequate but doesn't pack the punch I prefer just yet).

I think I partially agree with you, Nvidia is enough for most people -- maybe a AMD core-boot is much more difficult than I realize or ROI requires a commitment or the available combinations are not as robust as I or they would like. Who can say?

Again just crossing my fingers as the Squeaky Wheel hoping they get inside my head and understand the potential market.

This one is pretty compelling:

https://system76.com/laptops/pangolin

But then, lacking core-boot means I don't have that tech "off-grid" level that I strongly prefer halfway from [ 1. Proprietary and Steam is fine ] and [ 2. Wouldn't a FOSS GNU world be great? ] -- If I can shell money at something that increases privacy and freedom instead of takes them away I'm game.


Last edited by ElectricPrism on 20 April 2023 at 7:56 pm UTC
grigi Apr 20, 2023
I agree with the weird complete lack of AMD dgpu's offered by linux notebook vendors.
The Ryzen cpu's also perform notably better unplugged than the Intel ones, but on the counterside, the Intel CPU's tend to have fewer powermanagement bugs and coreboot is also much better supported. So I', not really too concerned about that.

But I keep on remembering the abysmal experience with an Nvidia GPU on linux as the device gets older...
My kids are still using an old Sandy-bridge notebook with a Radeon 7730M (unmuxed dual gpu) and it works great. At least that old device is still useful, whereas my Ivy-bridge era notebook with its Nvidia gpu stopped being usable half a decade ago. Seems such a waste.
Purple Library Guy Apr 20, 2023
It's nice that they're putting out powerful Linux laptops.
But, could somebody maybe do a wimpy Linux laptop? That's more what I'm in the market for.
no_information_here Apr 20, 2023
Quoting: grigiI agree with the weird complete lack of AMD dgpu's offered by linux notebook vendors.

Framework AMD version coming soon...

https://frame.work/ca/en/products/laptop-diy-13-gen-amd

Edit: Not discrete GPU, but good enough for me.


Last edited by no_information_here on 20 April 2023 at 10:32 pm UTC
Pengling Apr 20, 2023
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  • Supporter
Quoting: Purple Library GuyIt's nice that they're putting out powerful Linux laptops.
But, could somebody maybe do a wimpy Linux laptop? That's more what I'm in the market for.
RIP netbooks. Something along those lines would make a great (and, for my purposes, much more useful) alternative to Chromebooks in this day and age!
emphy Apr 21, 2023
Quoting: Purple Library GuyIt's nice that they're putting out powerful Linux laptops.
But, could somebody maybe do a wimpy Linux laptop? That's more what I'm in the market for.

Pinebook-pro may be what you're looking for:

https://www.pine64.org/pinebook-pro/
Purple Library Guy Apr 21, 2023
Quoting: emphy
Quoting: Purple Library GuyIt's nice that they're putting out powerful Linux laptops.
But, could somebody maybe do a wimpy Linux laptop? That's more what I'm in the market for.

Pinebook-pro may be what you're looking for:

https://www.pine64.org/pinebook-pro/
Arm, huh? That might actually be even more wimpy than I had in mind. But it might be a great replacement for my wife's Chromebook (which still fundamentally works fine, but Google have decided to make it gradually unusable by ceasing all updates).

I can't tell from the website what Linux it has on it, if any. I wouldn't be up for too much fiddling, especially for something my wife would be using.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 21 April 2023 at 4:58 am UTC
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