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

  1. #31
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Quote Originally Posted by HDave View Post
    Well, I just caved and ordered my Pangolin with the Intel graphics 4000. I can't wait any longer and figured I could give it to my wife if things improve. Their customer support said it runs compiz very well. I hope it does...though I am sure I won't be running my 3D CAD vizualization stuff on it

    I'll report back once I get a chance to really use it. I did max out the processors and memory so at least I can run a handful of Virtualbox VMs at the same time.

    I've always had success with nVidia on laptops with Ubuntu in the past and am really disaapointed to hear that their new technology isn't working with Linux. I guess this is what Linus was referring to when he said FU to nvidia during that speech a couple weeks back. At the time, I thought he went overboard...now that it's hit me in the head, I'm reconsidering...
    This is exactly what he was referring to. Optimus, and Nvidia's refusal to work on getting it working in Linux.
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  2. #32
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    May 2007
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    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

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

    So fear not! I got my laptop Thursday Night. I've been using it for 24 hours and I love it!!! I already ran all my day to day stuff except for virtualbox. I also tested a lot of the games I want to play on here. Everything runs better than on my old laptop and even my desktop. I'm very happy with the power of the HD4000. Again you can't max all settings and go trigger happy, but I play most games at the 1080p option when available with average settings and it all plays great for me. This is the perfect computer. Video review to follow very soon. I just have been so busy.

  3. #33
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    Nov 2008
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    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

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

    I use Nvidia's CUDA technology on graphics processing units for general purpose programming. This is called GPGPU. It gives you a parallel processing computer. My panp5 has limited capacity, but computers with more capable Nvidia cards can approach supercomputer performance.

    CUDA works with Ubuntu 11.04 and 10.04 http://www.nvidia.com/content/cuda/cuda-downloads.html . Maybe laptops could be developed with newer Nvidia graphics cards and older versions of Ubuntu. This alternative may be unappealing in some ways, but it would enable the use of more modern graphics cards for a broader range of uses with Linux.

    I haven't been able to upgrade most of my Ubuntu installations since 11.04, in part because of the Nvidia issue. I do run 12.04 in VirtualBox on one system, but can't do my heavy computing (including GPGPU) in that environment.

    GPGPU works on both Nvidia (programmed in CUDA or OpenCL) or AMD (programmed in OpenCL only, but that is fine), so there may be other possibilities.
    System76 Pangolin (Panp5) Lucid Lynx

  4. #34
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Futurian View Post
    I use Nvidia's CUDA technology on graphics processing units for general purpose programming. This is called GPGPU. It gives you a parallel processing computer. My panp5 has limited capacity, but computers with more capable Nvidia cards can approach supercomputer performance.
    The Tesla and the high end Quadro can beat small clusters, nothing that you can get on a laptop can ever compete with a supercomputer. If you need such a high end machine you should get a desktop and System76 does sell pretty powerful Nvidia desktops.

    Wine games is the most GPU demanding apps you can ever hope to run on a laptop, and Intel 4000 is good enough for pretty much everything else.

    CUDA works with Ubuntu 11.04 and 10.04 http://www.nvidia.com/content/cuda/cuda-downloads.html . Maybe laptops could be developed with newer Nvidia graphics cards and older versions of Ubuntu. This alternative may be unappealing in some ways, but it would enable the use of more modern graphics cards for a broader range of uses with Linux.
    Last I checked (a few years ago), the main reason why CUDA worked only with older versions of Ubuntu was because Nvidia was very slow to support newer versions of GCC. I could use CUDA on newer versions if I install and use older GCC. I don't know if this is still valid.

    At any rate, the reason why System76 doesn't use Nvidia has nothing to do with CUDA or Nvidia support for CUDA. Nvidia doesn't support Optimus, which includes all GPU functionality on the laptops.

    I haven't been able to upgrade most of my Ubuntu installations since 11.04, in part because of the Nvidia issue. I do run 12.04 in VirtualBox on one system, but can't do my heavy computing (including GPGPU) in that environment.
    Can you run GPGPU under Virtual Box at all? Virtual Box tends to be slower in general and it doesn't work well with the GPU, for example you cannot play 3D games under Virtual Box. Am I wrong?

    GPGPU works on both Nvidia (programmed in CUDA or OpenCL) or AMD (programmed in OpenCL only, but that is fine), so there may be other possibilities.
    Currently AMD has better GPU support for laptops than Nvidia, but while AMD hybrid graphics is getting there, it is not good enough yet.

    If you absolutely must use Nvidia on your laptop, look at the ZaReason model with GTX670, but you may experience issues with Optimus. You can alternatively get an older machine with GTX560 or GTX580, those did not use Optimus and work quite well (although you will not get much of a battery life).

  5. #35
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Your points are all well-taken, 3Miro, and yes, it does take a high-end desktop with high-end graphics cards to come anywhere close to a supercomputer. But I can't lug a desktop around, so it is handy to be able to develop on a laptop and then transfer the code to the desktop machine. And System76 does indeed have some very good desktop machines for this purpose.

    Optimus seems like a good idea; wish it worked better with Linux.
    System76 Pangolin (Panp5) Lucid Lynx

  6. #36
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    Re: Is there a System76 laptop with a higher end graphics adapter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Futurian View Post
    Optimus seems like a good idea; wish it worked better with Linux.
    On paper it is good, but unfortunately there are limitations in both Xorg and current Nvidia driver to make this practical. At most, some people have been able to set their machines to swithc graphics with reboot or restart of Xorg. System76 aims at providing smooth performance, hence they will not sell Optimus until it is works right.

    I wish it worked well too, but unfortunately it doesn't.

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