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Thread: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

  1. #11
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Intel HD 4000 is faster than some low end AMD and Nvidia Video cards. Intell still falls short of the very high end AMD and Nvidia, but they are good enough for regular desktop use. As I said earlier, I am using Virtual Box and external 1920x1200 monitor just fine on my Intel 3000.

    AMD is a reliable company, but I am not sure how reliable DELL is, especially if you have to deal with Ubuntu support issues. Unless I want a very high end video card (i.e. GTX 670), I wouldn't go with anything other than System76. You should also check ZaReason, they have high end Nvidia laptops with pre-installed Ubuntu.

  2. #12
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3Miro View Post
    Intel HD 4000 is faster than some low end AMD and Nvidia Video cards. Intell still falls short of the very high end AMD and Nvidia, but they are good enough for regular desktop use. As I said earlier, I am using Virtual Box and external 1920x1200 monitor just fine on my Intel 3000.

    AMD is a reliable company, but I am not sure how reliable DELL is, especially if you have to deal with Ubuntu support issues. Unless I want a very high end video card (i.e. GTX 670), I wouldn't go with anything other than System76. You should also check ZaReason, they have high end Nvidia laptops with pre-installed Ubuntu.
    The biggest problem for me is that I need a laptop with a Firewire port since I do a lot of audio recording (and I do most of my gigs onsite, so a desktop isn't an option), and there just aren't any of those in the S76 lineup right now A better graphics card would be nice (since I also play a bit of Starcraft 2) if non-essential, but the Firewire port is unfortunately non-negotiable

  3. #13
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    The Intel HD 4000 graphics chip on the latest Ivy Bridge architecture is actually quite satisfactory for me. I can run Amnesia: The Dark Descent on fairly respectable settings at a decent frame rate with a bit of tweaking.

    Edit: nevermind, I got the facts wrong here and mixed up AMD and Nvidia.
    Before you go and drop money on a Dell for its AMD card, stop and consider why System76 currently has nothing available like that. Their primary business is to offer systems which run seamlessly with Ubuntu. Currently, the laptops which use AMD [Edit: no, Nvidia] cards tend to use Optimus, allowing them to fall back to the integrated Intel chip when you're not doing anything that needs strong graphics computation. Optimus, if you search around online, simply does not work in Linux. Previously, System76 did a hardware multiplexer to make it work but they said that now they can no longer do it. On the other hand, you do have the Bumblebee project which is a FOSS attempt to bring Optimus support to Linux. However, that is quite new and almost certainly not ready for System76 to depend on yet.

    The point is that if you go and get that Dell or whatever just because it has an AMD card on it, don't expect it to be simple to get everything up and running with Linux smoothly. Chances are, you'll be stuck using the Intel chip only, despite having dropped some money to get the AMD [Edit: this is false and only applies to Nvidia]. Do a lot of searching online for forum posts by people with the laptop you want to try to verify that everything will work out of the box first.
    Last edited by jakobcreutzfeldt; July 2nd, 2012 at 10:13 AM. Reason: i'm an idiot

  4. #14
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Quote Originally Posted by jakobcreutzfeldt View Post
    The Intel HD 4000 graphics chip on the latest Ivy Bridge architecture is actually quite satisfactory for me. I can run Amnesia: The Dark Descent on fairly respectable settings at a decent frame rate with a bit of tweaking.

    Before you go and drop money on a Dell for its AMD card, stop and consider why System76 currently has nothing available like that. Their primary business is to offer systems which run seamlessly with Ubuntu. Currently, the laptops which use AMD cards tend to use Optimus, allowing them to fall back to the integrated Intel chip when you're not doing anything that needs strong graphics computation. Optimus, if you search around online, simply does not work in Linux. Previously, System76 did a hardware multiplexer to make it work but they said that now they can no longer do it. On the other hand, you do have the Bumblebee project which is a FOSS attempt to bring Optimus support to Linux. However, that is quite new and almost certainly not ready for System76 to depend on yet.

    The point is that if you go and get that Dell or whatever just because it has an AMD card on it, don't expect it to be simple to get everything up and running with Linux smoothly. Chances are, you'll be stuck using the Intel chip only, despite having dropped some money to get the AMD. Do a lot of searching online for forum posts by people with the laptop you want to try to verify that everything will work out of the box first.
    Optimus is NVIDIA's technology. AMD uses something very similar called Hybrid Graphics mode. Unlike Optimus, Hybrid Graphics is officially supported under Linux with the proprietary Catalyst driver, but - from what I've read - tends not to work particularly well anyway.

  5. #15
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Argh....you're right. I was thinking about it on my way to work that I needed to go back and fact check because I might have mixed up the two but you beat me to it. I'm putting on my dunce cap now.

    I've gone back and placed corrections in my original post so as not to spread my confusion.

    Anyway, the point still remains that both AMD and Nvidia seem to be a bit of a pain in Linux, whereas Intel seems to generally work pretty reliably, albeit with less impressive power.
    Last edited by jakobcreutzfeldt; July 2nd, 2012 at 10:13 AM.

  6. #16
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Quote Originally Posted by GOVATENT View Post
    I want to press buy right now so bad. But dell is offering some random laptop with an AMD gpu at the same price. I figure it's gotta be more reliable than the intel HD 4000. I don't dual boot or care for windows games. I just want my native linux games to work right and to be able to use Virtual box and multitasking to run fine. I want to support a linux company and not dell or some other crummy OEM which puts linux users as last. I think I might just go with the s76 anyways. As long as they will stand by to support the hardware with ubuntu i don't mind a performance hit. Although I'm coming from a very high end laptop which I'm selling to my brother for the price of this s76. I just don't like the trackpad in ubuntu. It's a macbook pro. I've been researching the intel hd 4000 for over a week now.
    The HD 4000 will handle many Linux games very well. We tested a Gazelle with every title in the most recent Humble Indie Bundle on maximum detail settings (where applicable), and every title ran fine. In terms of reliability, You're going to be much better with Intel since A) there's less hardware to break, and B) the driver support with Ubuntu is much, much better.

    Intel graphics have garnered a reputation over the past few years for being very slow and unsupported. But the situation is now turned around completely. Intel graphics adapters feature full driver support out of the box in Ubuntu, with no additional drivers needed. On top of that, the recent Sandy Bridge and (particularly) Ivy Bridge chip designs have rendered low end discrete graphics completely obsolete.
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  7. #17
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    I am so bummed out you guys are not offering nvidia chips in your laptops anymore.

  8. #18
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Quote Originally Posted by dodo3773 View Post
    I am so bummed out you guys are not offering nvidia chips in your laptops anymore.
    It's not really their fault, since Nvidia insist on putting this Optimus crap in their mobile GPUs and then refuses to support it on Linux. But I do wish we had any word on whether or not we'll be seeing AMD chips in S76 laptops anytime in the next couple months

  9. #19
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Quote Originally Posted by isantop View Post
    Intel graphics have garnered a reputation over the past few years for being very slow and unsupported. But the situation is now turned around completely. Intel graphics adapters feature full driver support out of the box in Ubuntu, with no additional drivers needed. On top of that, the recent Sandy Bridge and (particularly) Ivy Bridge chip designs have rendered low end discrete graphics completely obsolete.
    The fact that Intel graphics works out of the box is a huge draw for me. I suffered through ATI's proprietary drivers back in the day, and frankly, there is something very comforting about using non-proprietary drivers...

    [Although, at least proprietary drivers for linux seem to be a bit more streamlined than those for Windows. To get the scanner on my sister's HP multifunction printer working, I had to install what seemed like a gigabyte of software.]
    Last edited by brdmn; July 3rd, 2012 at 03:45 AM. Reason: More bitter complaints about Winbloat.

  10. #20
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Update from me: I went for the system76. Playing the waiting game. I am very happy I went with them. Just buying it I had such a great experience with the company. No OEM could offer what they are giving me. I did a ton of research and the Intel HD 4000 will be a perfect fit for me. Plus knowing it should work good in linux is a plus for me. I don't like leaving ubuntu.

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