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Thread: S76 Lemur vs Dell XPS 13 vs ZR UltraLap430

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    8

    Question S76 Lemur vs Dell XPS 13 vs ZR UltraLap430

    Hey,

    I know the conversation about "which laptop should I buy" comes up about every 5 seconds, but I'm pretty stuck trying to figure out what to replace my crappy Dell XPS m1330 with.

    I was considering something from Lenovo because of their Ubuntu/Linux support, but can't find a model that provides what I'm looking for for a reasonable price (except maybe the t320, but it's pretty ugly). The Thinkpad carbon looks alright, but seems overpriced. Open to suggestions, if there's something I'm missing.

    My minimum requirements:
    1. Ubuntu certified (obviously)
    2. 8gb RAM
    3. 128GB SSD
    4. Intel i5
    5. 12-14" display
    6. ~$1,000 (hopefully less)

    As for the Ubuntu-certified, that's really important. I don't want a random laptop that someone reported can run Linux fine. Even this m1330 came with Ubuntu pre-loaded (I think it was 10.04). It was fine, but since then, problems continue to pile up after each upgrade.

    System 76 is leading right now (Lemur Ultra 14"). The price is great to get what I want ($813~). The support seems great and I'd love to support what they're doing. The only downside, is that it's pretty bulky, not so attractive, and I've read a ton of comments about the weak battery life. I don't often use battery, so it's not a big deal, but when I do, after spending this kind of money, I'd like at least 4 hours. Knowing that all future versions of Ubuntu will be fully-supported is huge though. I've been used to seeing paper-thin, gorgeous notebooks lately, so it's kind of hard to commit to this one.

    Dell XPS 13 seems to be in second place. I know the "Developer" edition is a ridiculous $1,500, but I saw the base model is $999; which comes with everything I want but is only 4GB RAM. Support said I can easily add a 4GB stick. Aesthetics is obviously what drew me to this model. Down-sides: the price, knowing that Dell could easily drop off Linux support like they have in the past. This comes with 12.04 LTS, and I have a good feeling they'll only support that (at least for a while). Seems stupid to pay that much more for looks, but I'd like something nice when I spend this much money.

    ZaReason UltraLap 430.. same sort of problem. Spending about an addition $200 for looks; since the same price gets you the S76 model.

    I'd really appreciate any thoughts, and even, alternatives.

    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Aurora, CO
    Beans
    2,564
    Distro
    Ubuntu

    Re: S76 Lemur vs Dell XPS 13 vs ZR UltraLap430

    Quote Originally Posted by mstef View Post
    Hey,

    I know the conversation about "which laptop should I buy" comes up about every 5 seconds, but I'm pretty stuck trying to figure out what to replace my crappy Dell XPS m1330 with.

    I was considering something from Lenovo because of their Ubuntu/Linux support, but can't find a model that provides what I'm looking for for a reasonable price (except maybe the t320, but it's pretty ugly). The Thinkpad carbon looks alright, but seems overpriced. Open to suggestions, if there's something I'm missing.

    My minimum requirements:
    1. Ubuntu certified (obviously)
    2. 8gb RAM
    3. 128GB SSD
    4. Intel i5
    5. 12-14" display
    6. ~$1,000 (hopefully less)

    As for the Ubuntu-certified, that's really important. I don't want a random laptop that someone reported can run Linux fine. Even this m1330 came with Ubuntu pre-loaded (I think it was 10.04). It was fine, but since then, problems continue to pile up after each upgrade.

    System 76 is leading right now (Lemur Ultra 14"). The price is great to get what I want ($813~). The support seems great and I'd love to support what they're doing. The only downside, is that it's pretty bulky, not so attractive, and I've read a ton of comments about the weak battery life. I don't often use battery, so it's not a big deal, but when I do, after spending this kind of money, I'd like at least 4 hours. Knowing that all future versions of Ubuntu will be fully-supported is huge though. I've been used to seeing paper-thin, gorgeous notebooks lately, so it's kind of hard to commit to this one.

    Dell XPS 13 seems to be in second place. I know the "Developer" edition is a ridiculous $1,500, but I saw the base model is $999; which comes with everything I want but is only 4GB RAM. Support said I can easily add a 4GB stick. Aesthetics is obviously what drew me to this model. Down-sides: the price, knowing that Dell could easily drop off Linux support like they have in the past. This comes with 12.04 LTS, and I have a good feeling they'll only support that (at least for a while). Seems stupid to pay that much more for looks, but I'd like something nice when I spend this much money.

    ZaReason UltraLap 430.. same sort of problem. Spending about an addition $200 for looks; since the same price gets you the S76 model.

    I'd really appreciate any thoughts, and even, alternatives.

    Thanks a lot!
    Spending $200 for looks is the UltraBook mantra. If we do get one for sale, you can expect more of the same there. A bit ironic, I guess, but if you want less, you pay more!

    That said, the pictures of the Lemur online don't really do it justice. It's certainly not "thin", but it still looks fantastic in person. Remember that in order to look good, you don't need to look thin.

    You should get at least 3.5-4 hours per charge on the battery, and while I don't have a lot of experience with the other two (obviously), I don't imagine it will be much better on the other two. Plus, it's easily the most powerful, and definitely the best value.
    Ian Santopietro - System76 Technical Support.
    Open a Support Ticket!
    Ask a Sales Question!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Nutley, NJ
    Beans
    618
    Distro
    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: S76 Lemur vs Dell XPS 13 vs ZR UltraLap430

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2010804

    Check out my System76 Lemur Ultra Thin (lemu4) notebook PC review.

    I got mine for $850.00 USD then I proceeded to do after market upgrades to bump up the price to $1250.00 USD. You can get the same exact configuration for $799.99 USD right now from System76. You'll save $50.00 USD from the price that I initially paid several months ago. If you place your order this weekend, then they should be able to deliver it by Christmas if you are in the United States of America if you choose overnight express delivery option.

    Mine looks good. It's sleek looking. It's fairly thin and it's fairly light. It's considered to be a thin and light notebook PC form factor. It's fairly powerful too. I think that if you get it, then you will be happy with your purchase.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Beans
    30

    Re: S76 Lemur vs Dell XPS 13 vs ZR UltraLap430

    Give me the Zareason ultralap looks with the System76 hardware (i7, 16GB, Intel4000, 512 ssd) and I would happily pay $200 extra.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Beans
    8

    Re: S76 Lemur vs Dell XPS 13 vs ZR UltraLap430

    Thanks for getting back to me guys..

    Alright, I'm pulling the trigger on the Lemur Ultra. Even from the limited experience, I really like this company - not only what they're doing, but the team there seems really solid. I'd rather support them and have a product backed by them then any other. I usually only say I like a company once every 5 or so years, so I realized that should be a bigger factor in the decision. I've already had 3 angry conversations with outsourced Dell morons since I began looking for a new laptop.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Beans
    8

    Re: S76 Lemur vs Dell XPS 13 vs ZR UltraLap430

    Order is in. Send me something good!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    San Dimas, California
    Beans
    71
    Distro
    Ubuntu Studio

    Re: S76 Lemur vs Dell XPS 13 vs ZR UltraLap430

    I purchased a System76 Lemur Ultra back in June and have no regrets. I get 4:30 hours easy on light web surfing (reading forums and stuff).

    I've installed several GNU/Linux distributions with wonderful results. Ubuntu Studio, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, and of course Ubuntu are all officially supported by the System76 Drivers.

    In my opinion if you're an Ubuntu fan you can't find better support than System76.

    Peppermint OS, Fedora, Linux Mint, Fuduntu, Arch Linux, Sabayon all work great, depending on the desktop environment you may need to add packages for function keys, web cam and card reader support.

    Customer service is above and beyond any other online company I've ever worked with. I frequently asked questions before and after my purchase and got a response the next business day (if not same day.)

    Also they custom build your computer, test it and all you have to do is create your account when you receive it. The hard part is resisting the urge to distro hop.

    Get an SSD you won't regret it

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Nutley, NJ
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    Distro
    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: S76 Lemur vs Dell XPS 13 vs ZR UltraLap430

    I hope you got a Crucial or Intel SSD that you can afford. It makes a very big difference in daily usage.

    You should note that the Crucial M4 SSDs treat encrypted data differently from the Intel 520 Cherryville SSDs. The Intel SSDs use the LSI Corporation SandForce SFF-2281 controller which treats encrypted data as incompressible and results in appreciably slower read and especially write performance. The Crucial M4 SSDs do not suffer a performance penalty for encrypted data, but they do not support AES-128 or AES-256 native with the System76 Lemur Ultra Thin (lemu4) model because the BIOS does not support full-disk encryption according to the Trusted Computing Group Opal standard. The Intel 520 Cherryville SSDs do support AES-128 and AES-256, but you will need the System76 Gazelle Professional or the Bonobo Extreme to get native full-disk encryption within their BIOS. Neither the Intel 520 or Crucial M4 support the TCG Opal standard for full-disk encryption which means that they offer software based encryption.

    System76 does not support full-disk encryption. If you choose to encrypt almost the entire drive whether it be a traditional hard disk drive, a newer solid state drive, or a Seagate Momentus XT SSHD, then you are on your own if you lose the encryption key. A much safer and recommended method is to encrypt your home folder which also encrypts your swap partition and file. This also means that you have to enter one less password at boot before you log in.

    I hope that you will like your System76 Lemur Ultra Thin (lemu4) notebook PC. For me, this was a risk going with Ubuntu because I just recently made the switch to Ubuntu on January 4th, 2012 after using Microsoft Windows since version 1.0 more than two decades ago almost exclusively. Changing my Microsoft mindset was the hardest thing to do. However, Ubuntu is much safer and more secure than Microsoft Windows 8 Pro 64 bit and I have both. Ubuntu is also much easier to use than Windows 7 or 8 in my opinion.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Beans
    8

    Re: S76 Lemur vs Dell XPS 13 vs ZR UltraLap430

    I definitely went with SSD (whichever System 76 provides; I'm not sure of the brand). I'm sure it will be fine. My current laptop is awful, so I doubt I'll be complaining about performance for a while (for some reason my current laptop takes about 4.5 minutes to boot xubuntu).

    @Welly, thanks for the information. I read through your entire review and saw all the information about upgrades, performance, etc. It was very helpful. I'm not concerned with full-disk encryption since I won't be doing it. And I'm definitely not worried about Ubuntu since I've been using Linux for a decade or so.

    I went with: Intel i5, 120GB SSD, 8GB RAM. That should be plenty and I figured I could also boost the HD or memory if I need to (doubtful).

    Well, I'm anxiously looking forward to having this machine arrive. I'll post my thoughts once I get it and have everything set up, etc.

    Thanks again

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Vermont
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    869
    Distro
    Ubuntu

    Re: S76 Lemur vs Dell XPS 13 vs ZR UltraLap430

    I have a lemur ultra, I definitely don't consider it bulky. Its obviously bigger than the ultralap because its not an ultrabook, but its a reletively small, light laptop.

    I don't find it to be ugly either. Definitely not the sexiest machine around, its understated, not ugly. I've had an excellent experience with it so far.

    The ultralap 430 does look tempting though, I wish system76 had an ultrabook.

    Regarding battery life on the lemur ultra, as long as you turn the screen brightness down you can get 4 hours easily. With a little extra tweaking in ubuntu you can squeeze out even more (I added a few pm-utils scripts, one to disable nmi watchdog on battery, one to increase the vm_writeback value on battery, and enabled sata alpm). Not the greatest battery life, but not nearly as bad as some of the things I had heard about system76 when I got the laptop.
    Last edited by screaminj3sus; December 11th, 2012 at 06:40 AM.
    Desktop: Windows 8 x64 | Intel Core i5-2500 | 16 GB DDR3 1333 | ATI 6950 2gb | 64gb Vertex 2/320gb/750gb/1tb hdd
    Laptop: System76 Lemur Ultra | Xubuntu 13.04 x64 | 2.5Ghz Intel Core i5-3210m | 8GB DDR31600 | Intel HD4000 | 500GB 7200rpm hybrid hdd

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