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Thread: New Gazelle Professional Laptop Thread

  1. #11
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    Re: New Gazelle Professional Laptop Thread

    Early morning update... (aka Dear Diary)

    Well, I fully charged the battery last night, after fully discharging, powered it up, and the little battery indicator stated that I had right at 2:15hrs remaining. Well, actually it said I had 1:42, then 1:58, and finally stopped at around the 2:15 mark. However, now that I have been using it (internet and wifi only, at full brightness), it states that I have about 1:44hrs left. Hmm...

    Also, I was greeted with the message: system running low on graphics (or something like that), before fully booting. It wouldn't let me start up unless I chose an option (such as, open in boot mode or in low graphics mode), however it wouldn't let me choose any option - either by trackpad or keyboard. I had to force shut down, and power back up. Doing so got me back in, but soon after I was in, I received a system message again wanting me to report my error. I did so, and then it acted as though I'd have to restart in order to diagnose and continue. Yet, it did its reporting, and let me continue without further notice. So, I have no idea what is going on. I haven't made any changes to the system, only downloading official programs through the store, and using none just yet.

    As I watch my battery life dwindling faster than I can type this quick reply (it's down to 1:25 now), coupled with errors and my other qualms, my somewhat being satisfied comment above is turning to a feeling of being somewhat dissatsfied. But, it's still early, and perhaps I'm being too picky. Though, this keyboard noise is kind of getting on my nerves (as is the smell of warming plastic)...

    More as it develops.
    Last edited by norfair; May 30th, 2012 at 11:18 AM.

  2. #12
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    Re: New Gazelle Professional Laptop Thread

    norfair,

    Sounds like you are having a rough time of it. I can't speak for Ubuntu 12.04 but in Arch - I seem to be doing pretty good in terms of battery life. I've been using my panp9 on battery power all morning and it's about 1.5 hours in and I have 61% battery life remaining. Keep in mind my Arch installation is still incomplete so I"ve been downloading and compiling new packages all morning to whip it into shape. Currently I'm running Cinnamon (a Gnome 3 mod by Mint) in accelerated mode with no issues, so I can't really speak for Unity here either.

    I'm curious though - which processor did you get your Gazelle with? I've not experienced any real heat problems myself with the 3610QM processor, but I could see how some of the faster ones might effect that experience negatively. I only ask because my wife will need a new laptop soon and I was considering getting myself a new Gazelle Pro with a faster processor and giving her my panp9, so any info you can share on your specs would be most appreciated!

    EDIT: It's worth mentioning that I've removed the optical drive on my panp9 and replaced it with a second harddrive and am booting off an SSD, so those things may be effecting my power usage a great deal as well.

  3. #13
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    Re: New Gazelle Professional Laptop Thread

    Hi, jaylittle. Thanks for your comment.

    I have the same processor as yours, the i7-3610QM. I didn't feel the need to upgrade the processor from the default selection given that this laptop had no option for discrete graphics. In my mind it made sense to stick with the default, as why beef up the processor without the option to beef up its graphics capability. So, I kept it basic. Though, I did upgrade the RAM and the hard drive to a SSD one (thinking doing so would help battery life). Though, the SSD does seem to provide lightening fast startup times.

    I should note that in checking out my system specs upon first boot, I lost 20GB from my SSD. I guess Ubuntu needs this much now? I suppose such isn't that unreasonable, but greedier than I thought/hoped.

    Overall, I guess the system is okay, just not what I expected for the price paid. Had this been a desktop replacement kind of system (discrete graphics and such), I'd be somewhat okay (though probably not really) with its subpar battery life. But with this machine being a still rather portable one, it should be able to remain in its mobile, cord free state for longer than it can - especially doing the menial tasks I've been throwing at it. Coupled with the other issues and quirks at hand, the negatives (for me) outweigh the positives. For now, anyway.

    I haven't fired up my new laptop yet since arriving home, so I am not sure what I will face this evening. Hopefully I will warm up to it and find a way to overlook its flaws, as I want to like it. I really do. I respect what System76 is doing, and would say that 75% of my issues are hardware related, and the other 25% a mix of a variety of things. I know Ubuntu has always struggled in the power management department, but I had hoped that with the newest operating system release, this area would be better addressed. Though, perhaps Unity is just too power hungry for its own good.

    Oh, and if you do get the Gazelle Pro (don't let my potentially overly critical words sway you against it), I highly recommend the matte screen option - if only to help support and show the world that matte screen users are more prevalent than glossy-screen pushers think. Unless, of course, you're a fan of glossy screens.

  4. #14
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    Re: New Gazelle Professional Laptop Thread

    After reading norfair's review I am bit relieved as well as sad lol. Releived because now I know that I am not the only one with problems/concerns nrofair has mentioned and sad because now I cannot ask System76 to replace my laptop and hope that it won't dissatisfy me.

    I am returning this laptop as soon as I get some free time next week to back up my data and wipe the hard disk. I spent almost my entire day setting up this laptop. :/ I really tried to like this laptop and overlook somethings which I didn't like but the heating problem and battery backup is an absolute bummer.

    Here is my review :

    After using Ubuntu for many years I finally decided to buy a laptop made especially for Ubuntu. My previous laptop was a Lenovo Y550 , which is not working anymore.

    My personal experience with System76:
    I am really impressed with their website, the feature to directly contact support from your account and the fact that conversation threads are saved in your account, their customer and sales support, timely responses and speed of operation.

    Hardware :

    • Body – The body of the laptop is made of plastic. Though it doesn’t feel very plasticy. It has a textured metallic look to it. But I won’t say that this is the best plastic body I have seen. The side edges are a bit sharp. Though they give nice aesthetic appeal they can be a bit painful if you end up grabbing your laptop with one hand. The four small legs at the corners of the base could have been a bit smoother around the edges as well.
    • Screen - The display quality is excellent. Image and text look great. Ubuntu never looked so beautiful on my previous laptop. It seems like the hinges are not very sturdy. When the screen is very gently tapped from a top corner it shakes rather than staying firm. This will be more clear after using the laptop for couple of days.
    • Optical drive – It would have been better if it were a slot drive since the tray feels a bit flimsy when taken out. If you are buying the optical drive as an accessory then for $55 you would expect a better quality. More on accessories, optical drive and caddy case pricing at the end.
    • Keyboard – It’s a chicklet style keyboard and feels pretty good while typing. Though the keys could have been softer. Volume, brightness, hardware switches are multiplexed with function keys. It would have been great to have dedicated volume keys but that’s just my personal preference.
    • [B]Touchpad[B] – Major problem here ! The entire touchpad and area on it’s left gets quite warm. After a certain period of time it becomes bit uncomfortable for the left palm. The right side of the touch pad remains at normal room temperature. This might make me return the laptop. This is a multi-touch touch pad with two finger scroll enabled by default.
    • Cooling - As mentioned before the touchpad area gets quite warm. The base of the laptop on the left side close to the cooling vent also becomes warm. Though I have seen many laptops getting warm in that area but with this laptop sufficient base area gets warm in that region. Cooling is where this laptop really needs a lot of re-design.
    • Speakers – The sound quality is "okay" but the volume is very low. I went into sound settings and increased the volume above 100% and it was better.
    • Webcam – It’s a 1.3 MP webcam. The quality is good for video chat or for recording a quick video. There is NO webcame LED to show whether the webcam is on or not.
    • Microphone – Microphone is on the left of the touch pad under the keyboard. The voice clarity is good but if you try to type while voice chatting there is a chance that you might end up covering it with your left palm. My friend told me that each time when I typed, she felt as if I am talking from some distance. Though according to her it wasn’t a major problem since my voice was still clear to her.
    • Battery – The battery lasts for roughly around 2 hours 15 minutes. I have tested this three times after a full recharge.


    Software :
    • Ubuntu – Since this laptop is made for Ubuntu it comes pre-installed with Ubuntu. On first start it asks you to select language , timezone and to create an user and set a password. It then installs Ubuntu on your system. This is slightly modified installer where you are not asked to modify your partitions or other such advanced settings. After installation on first boot Ubuntu installed some kernel updates and then Unity became unresponsive. On next restart the wifi couldn’t establish a connection even after multiple attempts. On third restart the system gave a graphic error and asked me if I want to start in low graphic mode or want to reconfigure graphic settings. When I chose reconfigure it didn’t do anything and kept coming back to same window. When I pressed cancel it sent me to the terminal. On fourth restart everything worked fine ! These are problems associated with Ubuntu and not with system76.
    • Windows – Using Ubuntu live CD I re-partitioned the hard disk. Drivers for windows are available on System76′s support page. Windows cannot configure wifi or ethernet by itself so make sure you download those drivers before installing windows.


    Accessories, upgrade options and pricing :

    I am not very satisfied with System76′s pricing for their accessories and upgrade option.

    In accessories section they have listed Optical CD/DVD drive for $55 and caddy case for second storage for $49. On laptop’s configuration page they have an option to upgrade the base system with a 60GB SSD + caddy case for $140. Now the important point to notice here is that the base system which is for $899 already includes an optical CD/DVD drive which is for $55. Now the same 60GB Intel SSD is available for $90-100 online. So it’s pretty clear that when upgrading to SSD+caddy case System76 should deduct the price for optical CD/DVD drive from the final total. But they don’t do that.

    So effectively if you are customizing your system76 laptop and upgrading to SSD+caddycase you are being charged for the optical CD/DVD drive as well but not going to receive it. It makes sense to not upgrade the optical drive and buy the caddy-case separately and then buy an SSD from some other place. I have asked system76 and they have confirmed that installing caddy-case yourself won’t void your warranty. Though they didn’t comment much about this pricing problem and said they cannot offer it that way.

    The Good : Ubuntu works out of the box [ after couple of restarts as in my case ] Excellent display quality. Intel 3rd Gen processor along with HD Graphics 4000 makes using Ubuntu a breeze. Brilliant display !

    The Bad : On upgrading to SSD+caddycase the user ends up paying for the optical drive as well. Buying the caddy case from the accessories section is a better idea. Battery backup is roughly between 2-3 hours. From a laptop without discreet graphics card I expect more battery backup.

    The Ugly : There are serious problem with cooling in this laptop. The touchpad, area on the left of touch pad and base area near the vent become warm enough and it get’s bit uncomfortable after some time.
    Last edited by adroitster; May 31st, 2012 at 08:56 PM.
    There are 10 types of people . One who know about binary and the other who don't know.
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  5. #15
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    Re: New Gazelle Professional Laptop Thread

    Question: Do you have an SSD or an HD in your laptop? I ask because directly underneath the left side of the touchpad is where the SSD/HD sits. I have an SSD that I already owned prior to purchasing my panp9 (a 120 GB Intel SSD) and I notice no heat at all from that part of the laptop. I expect that this is due to the fact that since an SSD has no moving parts it produces no heat. This probably also influences the lack of heat I have noticed from the side vent as the two primary heat sources requiring ventilation will be the processor and the HD.

    Now on the flip side, I do have an HD installed where my optical drive used to be, but since it's just used as a secondary data source (games, MP3s, etc), it doesn't get quite as much use as the SSD does. So it's not producing any heat at all either.

    As for the case - is the top portion actually plastic? I thought so at first, but a friend of mine seems to think its Magnesium. I don't know enough to say one way or the other however.

    EDIT: Blah - the HD actually sits on the right side. Hmmmmmm... nevermind all that hogwash. Question - did you remove the bottom panel at all from the laptop? If so, did you remember to plug the fan on the bottom back in before screwing in the panel?
    Last edited by jaylittle; May 31st, 2012 at 03:23 PM.

  6. #16
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    Re: New Gazelle Professional Laptop Thread

    Hey jaylittle ! Thanks for replying. Yeah the HD is on the right side. That was the first thing I checked for when the touchpad area started to become warm.

    My friends HP laptop had this problem and we resolved it by replacing the HD.

    In this system76 laptop the right side actually remains cool. So I believe the heating is because of some design flaw in the cooling system. Whatever is underneath the touchpad area shouldn't be there.

    I wonder how guys at system76 didn't notice it while testing the product.
    There are 10 types of people . One who know about binary and the other who don't know.
    Electronic Engineers : All say no to doping , but we survive on it.

    www.orion-racing.com

  7. #17
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    Re: New Gazelle Professional Laptop Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jaylittle View Post
    As for the case - is the top portion actually plastic? I thought so at first, but a friend of mine seems to think its Magnesium. I don't know enough to say one way or the other however.
    The Gazelle, Pangolin, and Lemur currently use cases made from polycarbonate. The texture provides a nice aesthetic while reducing fingerprints.

    Quote Originally Posted by adroitster View Post
    Hey jaylittle ! Thanks for replying. Yeah the HD is on the right side. That was the first thing I checked for when the touchpad area started to become warm.

    My friends HP laptop had this problem and we resolved it by replacing the HD.

    In this system76 laptop the right side actually remains cool. So I believe the heating is because of some design flaw in the cooling system. Whatever is underneath the touchpad area shouldn't be there.

    I wonder how guys at system76 didn't notice it while testing the product.
    I'm actually guessing that your problems (both software and heating) are due to a one-off manufacturing defect in your specific system. In our testing the entire top of the laptop remained cool, and never got uncomfortably warm. Our system was actually configured higher than yours (assuming I've found the correct order), and should have been warmer.
    Ian Santopietro - System76 Technical Support.
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  8. #18
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    Re: New Gazelle Professional Laptop Thread

    Received my Gazelle Pro yesterday and everything seems to be great! The screen isjust nice and crisp. Speed is exceptional so is the look of the laptop. The chiclet keyboard feel great when typing.

    The bad:
    I just started noticing this today but I am also experiencing the warmer than usual heat from the left palm rest. I am now using one of those Logitech cooling pads to keep the heat a little more manageable.

    Another issue I encountered is the two random freezes of the laptop where nothing responds. Happened yesterday and it just happened again a few minutes ago. I wasn't doing anything special just browsing the web and installing software. I really hope this is not a sign of things to come.

  9. #19
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    Re: New Gazelle Professional Laptop Thread

    Hello isantop!

    Well then I guess I am just unfortunate to receive a laptop with defect in it. Though I have heard the same complaints from couple of other users as well.
    There are 10 types of people . One who know about binary and the other who don't know.
    Electronic Engineers : All say no to doping , but we survive on it.

    www.orion-racing.com

  10. #20
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    Re: New Gazelle Professional Laptop Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by norfair View Post
    However, I have read that I can disable the trackpad when typing. I will look into that, and not a big deal all things considered.
    You can do this by going to System Setting > Mouse and Touchpad > Touchpad > Disable touchpad while typing.

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