Two days ago I got my brand new Gazelle Pro gazp8 from System76 and I decided to share the first impressions. I am mostly making a comparison to my old laptop Pangolin panp8 (I think it was 8, the generation right before the current one).

I got a few upgrades over the base Gazalle: I got the mate screen, I got the 8GB of RAM, I got the 2.7Ghz CPU and I got the 512GB SSD.

The old Pangolin has 8GB of RAM, older generation I-7 Sandy Bridge at 2.0Ghz and 500GB HDD.

The main reason why I upgraded was the screen. I recommend that everyone takes care of their eyes and looks for the screen with highest pixel density that they can afford. It makes a huge difference on the clarity of the picture and your eye fatigue over long working hours. I recently got promoted and I will be traveling a lot soon, hence I wanted to get a better screen for the travel and I think it was worth it. Besides and I also managed to find a buyer for my old laptop before it gets completely deprecated.

First impression of of the Gazelle:

- Packaged safe and tight for the trip from System76 to me. It is the standard 15.6'' size, same as the Pangolin. However, I like the dark grey color much better than the black with grey stripes of the Pangolin. The new laptop has a very plastic feel to it, but I don't mind and I like the textured surface much better then the old glossy remember-all-fingerprintes surface.

- The new laptop feels just a bit lighter, but I may haven't weighted it. The charger however is a lot lighter, which is really nice when I have to carry it (the Pangolin had bigger charger due to the old I-7 CPU)

- The boot time is ultra fast, the SSD is definitely worth the money.

- The screen is beautiful, I sat with my back to the window and I got glare from the screen frame, while the picture remained perfectly clear.

- As you can expect from System76, everything is set up and running right from the start.

- The system is extremely responsive, while the old Pangolin got the job done, the Gazelle gets it done smoothly and with style. It is a real pleasure.

I did reinstall Ubuntu 12.10 to get full encryption on the SSD. I had trouble getting both the DVD and Flash to boot, but this is an issue that I have noticed on some Intel machines. I let the laptop alone for a few minutes and then I managed to boot. Once the kernel loaded, everything worked great right from the live environment, no need for special drivers or anything of the sort.

I managed to connect the laptop to the external 2560x1440 monitor and that gave smooth picture. See my other thread on how to enable the 1440 resolution via HDMI.


I did opt for the 2.7Ghz CPU and that may have been a mistake. The CPU is very powerful, on single-core tasks it doesn't really fall too short from the Leopard Extreme Desktop that I have at work. However, the machine is running a bit hotter than what I am used to and the battery life is a bit shorter. Compared to the Pangolin, the CPU is much faster, but the 22nm of Ivy Bridge combined with the savings from the SSD and lower brightness of the mate screen mostly compensate for it. I might have been better off with the 2.4Ghz CPU, but sooner or later I will need to compute something on the laptop and I will be happy that I picked the faster version. Besides, I did get a second battery so with the fast boot time I can easily swap on the fly (and I mean inside the airplane).

If anyone is looking for a new Ubuntu laptop, I definitely recommend the Gazelle.