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Thread: System76 systems "unique"??

  1. #1
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    System76 systems "unique"??

    I saw this on OmgUbuntu but their comment system is currently hosed so I thought I'd post this here because I really would like a response on this.

    On that site, Ian said:

    FYI: I do work for System76.

    All of our hardware is unique. We don't rebrand other OEMs' computers.
    Strange, because the Bonobo is the same as one of Clevo's laptops, part for part. Also Sager had this model at one point too. Can you explain this?

  2. #2
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    Re: System76 systems "unique"??

    We use parts from a variety of manufacturers, and make changes in firmware and BIOS that render our laptops distinct from other laptops available. For example, our System76 driver application will only run on System76 branded hardware, due to these BIOS changes.

    In addition to this, we provide a better out-of-box Ubuntu experience than any other OEM, and provide full hardware and software support for current and future versions of Ubuntu.
    Ian Santopietro - System76 Technical Support.
    Open a Support Ticket!
    Ask a Sales Question!

  3. #3
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    Re: System76 systems "unique"??

    Ah, so you guys actually open up these laptops and change out parts? And no doubt System76 works more smoothly with Ubuntu than other machines, I can vouch for that firsthand.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Re: System76 systems "unique"??

    Yes, I can vouch for System76 here.

    I have a GazP6, which is clearly a Clevo P150HMX, "fulfilled" through Sager Notebook.

    That said, there are some key fundamental hardware & software differences between Clevo, Sager, and System76's version.

    My machine truly was customized (all the way down to the BIOS firmware) to run Ubuntu.

    Hardware differences aside, they really do stand by their hardware. I have had the misfortune of several issues outside of my own or System76's control pop up and support has always been empathetic & helpful. The representatives know what they are doing, and will take what you say at face value - drastically speeding up the troubleshooting process. This appears to be because instead of reading off of a script, they have proper training/experience.

    That said, I must say the hardware repair process could use some serious work. My GazP6 needs to be sent back to be rebuilt after a fall due to the (included) defective carrying case. I have not yet been able to do so because the timetable for shipping & repair that I have been given is so foggy that I need to alot almost three weeks that I can live without a functioning computer. As an Electrical & Computer Engineering student, this is completely unacceptable.

    So in conclusion - Yes, System76 machines are in fact unique in not only hardware, but software and support as well. Though the support representatives are personable and actually helpful,* actually getting a machine repaired is a trial I wouldn't wish on anyone.

    Hopefully this helps...

    *Unlike almost every other company I've dealt with.
    Last edited by chriscross93; February 16th, 2012 at 11:52 PM.
    When the elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.

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  5. #5
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    Re: System76 systems "unique"??

    Quote Originally Posted by chriscross93 View Post
    That said, there are some key fundamental hardware & software differences between Clevo, Sager, and System76's version.

    My machine truly was customized (all the way down to the BIOS firmware) to run Ubuntu.
    Not disputing this, but curious: how can you tell?

  6. #6
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    Re: System76 systems "unique"??

    I would love to see a detailed response from a System76 rep, I'm pretty curious myself - but this is what I see offhand.

    BIOS:
    System76 Branded splash screen. I also believe some configuration options have been added/amended/removed based on their relevancy to Ubuntu and the hardware changes.

    Hardware:
    There is space internally for a TV Tuner & Cellular Modem, both are absent. FYI GazP6 owners, this appears to leave an open Mini PCI slot to do with what we please. (Please confirm/deny that slot being usable System76 - I would like to know before I buy a card.

    All user configurable options are checked for full compatibility (HDD/SSD, RAM, Etc). The configurations offered by System76 and Sager Notebook are very different.

    My personal favorite:
    An Ubuntu logo sticker is placed over the windows key.

    P.S.
    If you have any other specific questions about the GazP6, I'm happy to go digging in mine.

    EDIT: Also, it seems that System76's laptops are built to spec and shipped by Sager Notebook. (That is where my Pangolin & GazP6 came from. This is likely the reason people have such headaches regarding hardware support. The System76 reps are at the mercy of Sager...
    Last edited by chriscross93; February 17th, 2012 at 10:27 PM.
    When the elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.

    -Swahili Proverb

  7. #7
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    Re: System76 systems "unique"??

    Quote Originally Posted by chriscross93 View Post
    I would love to see a detailed response from a System76 rep, I'm pretty curious myself - but this is what I see offhand.

    BIOS:
    System76 Branded splash screen. I also believe some configuration options have been added/amended/removed based on their relevancy to Ubuntu and the hardware changes.

    Hardware:
    There is space internally for a TV Tuner & Cellular Modem, both are absent. FYI GazP6 owners, this appears to leave an open Mini PCI slot to do with what we please. (Please confirm/deny that slot being usable System76 - I would like to know before I buy a card.

    All user configurable options are checked for full compatibility (HDD/SSD, RAM, Etc). The configurations offered by System76 and Sager Notebook are very different.

    My personal favorite:
    An Ubuntu logo sticker is placed over the windows key.

    P.S.
    If you have any other specific questions about the GazP6, I'm happy to go digging in mine.

    EDIT: Also, it seems that System76's laptops are built to spec and shipped by Sager Notebook. (That is where my Pangolin & GazP6 came from. This is likely the reason people have such headaches regarding hardware support. The System76 reps are at the mercy of Sager...
    I do think it is misleading for them to say that they do not rebrand, since they essentially rebrand sager/clevo, but it is also fair to say that they are unique, as they have somewhat made changes.

    I'm guessing the desktops are built by system76 and are unique. I see lian li cases on certain models, for example. Pretty pricy cases that I doubt are used by other OEMs.

  8. #8
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    Re: System76 systems "unique"??

    Quote Originally Posted by isantop View Post
    We use parts from a variety of manufacturers, and make changes in firmware and BIOS that render our laptops distinct from other laptops available. For example, our System76 driver application will only run on System76 branded hardware, due to these BIOS changes.

    In addition to this, we provide a better out-of-box Ubuntu experience than any other OEM, and provide full hardware and software support for current and future versions of Ubuntu.

    Does this mean that only System 76 is able to do maintenance task on its machine ?

  9. #9
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    Re: System76 systems "unique"??

    Quote Originally Posted by jschall1 View Post
    I do think it is misleading for them to say that they do not rebrand, since they essentially rebrand sager/clevo, but it is also fair to say that they are unique, as they have somewhat made changes.

    I'm guessing the desktops are built by system76 and are unique. I see lian li cases on certain models, for example. Pretty pricy cases that I doubt are used by other OEMs.
    Rebranded? No, more accurately would be to say highly customized. I own two of their systems. It's no more rebranded than a PC you built yourself. The case and board, might be used from other sources. But the customization makes this much more than mere "rebranding".

    Rebranding means stickers and OS only, no custom BIOS, additional firmware and System76 driver offered. Just saying...

    My Eee is rebranded because I installed Mint on it and put a sticker on the face of the netbook. Big difference there. A desktop PC someone builds from an ASUS board, isn't a rebranded ASUS PC. There's a Seagate drive, another brand for the DVD-ROM, etc, etc. See where I'm going with this?
    Last edited by ctsdownloads; February 19th, 2012 at 04:59 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: System76 systems "unique"??

    I do think that system 76 is misleading unsuspecting buyers here. Even if their laptop works now, there is no guarantee it will work just fine 6 months down the line when new ubuntu comes along. If "out of the box" experience breaks, system76 is not going to fix it. See the thread below.

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1919468

    fingerprint is broken for quite sometime and so is the webcam for more than 2 years. So, what did system76 do to fix them ? I think nothing.

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