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Thread: Buy new laptop: lots of questions

  1. #1
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    Jun 2005
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    Buy new laptop: lots of questions

    I'd like to support a company that sells pre-installed linux, but.....

    I'm not a gamer, so the integrated Intel graphics is fine with me. I don't think I would notice a big difference between the i5 and i7 processors, and would prefer longer battery life. I haven't yet searched to see how big a difference in battery life there is between the two.

    The System76 batteries seem to be weaker than others. I am seeing battery lives of 6 hours on forums for other brands of laptops. These are users and not marketing claims. Since the hardware is similar, I assume its the batteries. Posts on here are saying 3 to 4+ hours for general use, with a fresh battery. That doesn't seem very good for a 14" with integrated graphics. Are there 3rd party batteries with more power for the System76? The other reason for asking is if System76 went belly up, I'd still be able to get batteries in the future.

    Is there significant differences in battery life between the Lemur and Gazelle?

    I am leaning toward the Lemur, or possibly the Gazelle. I think the Lemur's resolution is ok for a 14" but would want the higher resolution of the Gazelle for the 15".

    How high of a resolution is possble on the VGA port to an external monitor? I'd like to see 1600x1200 or better. I will be connectint to an external monitor at times.

    Can the Lemur put out 1080p hdmi to a TV?

    How's the WIFI reception with the bluetooth option card?

    I heard lots of good things about System76 and the quality of the laptops seem to be very good.

    Thanks in advance for any help with these questions.

  2. #2
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    Re: Buy new laptop: lots of questions

    Quote Originally Posted by oakhilltop View Post
    The System76 batteries seem to be weaker than others. I am seeing battery lives of 6 hours on forums for other brands of laptops. These are users and not marketing claims. Since the hardware is similar, I assume its the batteries. Posts on here are saying 3 to 4+ hours for general use, with a fresh battery. That doesn't seem very good for a 14" with integrated graphics. Are there 3rd party batteries with more power for the System76? The other reason for asking is if System76 went belly up, I'd still be able to get batteries in the future.
    I'm not aware of any 3rd parties making batteries for our system, and even if there were, we don't do any testing with them. That said, we're not in any danger of going belly up any time soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by oakhilltop View Post
    Is there significant differences in battery life between the Lemur and Gazelle?
    The Gazelle will get around three hours per charge. The Lemur gets four.

    You might check those other users and see if they're testing Windows. Windows battery times of around 6 hours will translate to about four in Ubuntu, due to less efficient power management.

    Quote Originally Posted by oakhilltop View Post
    How high of a resolution is possble on the VGA port to an external monitor? I'd like to see 1600x1200 or better. I will be connectint to an external monitor at times.
    VGA has no technical limit on maximum resolution, since it's an Analog standard. That said, the picture will begin to degrade around 1280x1024, and 1920x1080 is really the maximum usable resolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by oakhilltop View Post
    Can the Lemur put out 1080p hdmi to a TV?
    Absolutely!

    Quote Originally Posted by oakhilltop View Post
    How's the WIFI reception with the bluetooth option card?
    Pretty standard for a laptop. Our testing indicates good signals out to about 100 feet.
    Ian Santopietro - System76 Technical Support.
    Open a Support Ticket!
    Ask a Sales Question!

  3. #3
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    Re: Buy new laptop: lots of questions

    I would like to ask a question to isantop. Has System 76 ever thought about offering SSD in their laptops? I know it would add cost to the units, but it really improves performance and increases battery life, up to and over an hour longer on some models.
    Also they run cooler and would add longer life to the laptop. We all know that heat and dirt can be harmful to computer.
    Thanks isantop.
    My hometown on the Mississippi River.
    Using a Asus 3632QM laptop with 8gig RAM, 750gig Hybrid.
    Machine Registered 366271, 366273, 366275.
    Registered Ubuntu user number 18630. Registered Linux user number 458093.

  4. #4
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    Re: Buy new laptop: lots of questions

    Quote Originally Posted by irv View Post
    I would like to ask a question to isantop. Has System 76 ever thought about offering SSD in their laptops? I know it would add cost to the units, but it really improves performance and increases battery life, up to and over an hour longer on some models.
    Also they run cooler and would add longer life to the laptop. We all know that heat and dirt can be harmful to computer.
    Thanks isantop.
    We offer optional SSDs on all of our systems. Our testing suggests they don't significantly affect heat or battery life. You're looking at maybe fifteen minutes, tops.
    Ian Santopietro - System76 Technical Support.
    Open a Support Ticket!
    Ask a Sales Question!

  5. #5
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    Re: Buy new laptop: lots of questions

    Quote Originally Posted by isantop View Post
    We offer optional SSDs on all of our systems. Our testing suggests they don't significantly affect heat or battery life. You're looking at maybe fifteen minutes, tops.
    Thanks for the quick responds. The comments I made were based on reviews I saw from other manufactures. Goes to show you can't believe everything you read. I would think SSD's would improve performance?
    My hometown on the Mississippi River.
    Using a Asus 3632QM laptop with 8gig RAM, 750gig Hybrid.
    Machine Registered 366271, 366273, 366275.
    Registered Ubuntu user number 18630. Registered Linux user number 458093.

  6. #6
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    Re: Buy new laptop: lots of questions

    Thanks for the quick answers.

    Yes, they were running windows when they said they got 6 hours. I thought of that after I made the post. Hopefully the kernel will improve the power management.

    I can't decide between the lemur and a i5 based pangolin. I like the battery life, and portability of the lemur but wonder if I would wish I got the 15". I'm guessing the battery life of the pangolin is in between the lemur and gazelle.

    A pangolin with a higher res screen option would be nice. I'm not sure if the Intel graphics can drive the higher res though.

    Maybe I'll go look at some 15" 1376 x 768 laptops in a store.

    Anyway, thanks again, and I will have to think it over for awhile.

  7. #7
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    Re: Buy new laptop: lots of questions

    Quote Originally Posted by oakhilltop View Post
    Thanks for the quick answers.



    A pangolin with a higher res screen option would be nice. I'm not sure if the Intel graphics can drive the higher res though.

    Maybe I'll go look at some 15" 1376 x 768 laptops in a store.

    Anyway, thanks again, and I will have to think it over for awhile.
    Just looked at the gazelle and saw that it uses the Intel graphics at the higher res. For some reason I thought the gazelle had Nvidia.

  8. #8
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Buy new laptop: lots of questions

    I purchased my System76 Lemur Ultra on June 26th, 2012.

    The Bluetooth and 802.11 B/G/N Wi-Fi do not interfere with each other. I have Verizon FIOS Internet, TV, and Wireless and I get strong signals for my 802.11 G Wi-Fi using WPA2 AES-TKIP-PSK. I have three Bluetooth devices and they all work fine while I am connected to my Wi-Fi.

    In terms of battery life, I get about 3 hours and 50 minutes with the Bluetooth turned off and the screen dimmed to 1/4 brightness. I also have an Energizer Energi to Go XP18000 and it works with my System76 Lemur Ultra except I only used it once for 1 minute to test it. It will give me an additional 6 hours of battery life. B&H Photo, Video, Pro-Audio sells it.

    http://www.energizerpowerpacks.com/us/products/xp18000/

    http://www.energizerpowerpacks.com/us/where-to-buy/

    Ubuntu 12.10 will ship with Linux kernel 3.5 for certain or 3.6 if possible. It will be more energy efficient so I expect that battery life will improve by another 10 percent.

    I use Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate Edition Service Pack 1 in an Oracle VM Virtualbox guest virtual machine so I can not tell you how long the battery life lasts on my System76 Lemur Ultra because I did not install Windows 7 bare metal. Six hours sounds reasonable to me though.

    I chose the System76 Lemur Ultra because I wanted maximum battery life. I am going to graduate school and I have to take 9.00 credit hours or 3 classes in one day. That's 4 hours of classes in one day. So, I wanted a notebook PC that was thin and light and it could last 4 hours on a single charge. It comes close.

    I got the Crucial M4 SATA-III 6 GB/s 128 GB Solid State Drive. Let me tell you that my System76 Lemur Ultra is wicked fast. I also got the Intel 3rd Generation "Ivy Bridge" Core i5-3210M CPU. It is much faster than a 2012 Apple MacBook Air except I can get real work done. If you can afford to purchase a SSD, then get it. It will improve battery life by an additional 15 minutes which appreciable.

    System76 is doing just fine as a company. They have been in business for over five years. Don't go with ZaReason. Their laptops are antiquated and they charge a fortune for their top of the line model. Remember, ZaReason does not have an official sub-forum here on Ubuntu Forums. This means that you will have to contact them directly for help and support. System76 has its own sub-forum and they do offer help and support to customers and prospective customers alike.

    My previous notebook PC was an ASUS N61JV-X2 notebook PC. It was a budget desktop replacement. I spent $1,500.00 USD on it and it died in less than 22 months. I spent $1,100 USD on my System76 Lemur Ultra and I know it will still last for the next two years. I take really good care of it.

    Make sure that you upgrade to Linux kernel 3.2.0-27 generic as soon as possible. There is a bug with the Linux kernel 3.2.0-26 generic with the Intel Ivy Bridge HD Graphics 4000. Your computer will randomly freeze and lock up if you don't upgrade the Linux kernel to fix this specific bug.

    Finally, System76 recommends that you install Microsoft Windows 7 in an Oracle VM Virtualbox guest virtual machine because it is simpler and easier and you won't risk destroying your data with manual partitioning. Running Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate Edition Service Pack 1 in an Oracle VM Virtualbox guest virtual machine is really fast. It's faster than when I had Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium Service Pack 1 installed on my ASUS N61JV-X2 notebook PC.

    Stick with the default configuration and settings. There will be fewer mistakes to be made and it will save you a lot of hassles and trouble down the road.

    Check with System76 on their instructions for upgrading to newer Ubuntu versions before you do it on yours. It will save you time and money and it will prevent problems from happening. Make sure you download and install the latest System76 device driver from their Knowledge76.com website.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2005
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    Re: Buy new laptop: lots of questions

    A little marketing feedback to System76.

    Many manufacturers are now offering higher resolution screens on their "lower power" laptops. Even though someone doesn't need the processing power of the i7, they often like a really nice screen.

    If it is possible to offer the same optional displays the gazelle has on the pangolin, then I think you would find a customer base. Make it an option at a price that makes sense for System76 not to lose money on the deal.

    I use a laptop mostly for surfing, some light photo editing, watching videos, and some scripting. 90% of the time I don't think I would notice the difference between an i5 and i7. I prefer the lower power and heat of the i5, but I think I would appreciate the better screen.

    Just trying to give some feedback from all of my laptop searching. If the pangolin had the high res screen, I think you would have my money by now

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    30

    Re: Buy new laptop: lots of questions

    Can't agree more with this last post. You would have my money also (well you had it before...but you would have some more.
    And please take out the DVD unit...or at least make it the 'slit' type.

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