System76 introduces new high-end Ubuntu Linux laptops

System76 introduces new high-end Ubuntu Linux laptops

Summary: Want a gaming or workday ready-to-run Ubuntu Linux laptop? System76 has the gear you crave.


Thanks to Windows 8's Secure Boot, it's getting harder and harder for a non-technical user to just get a new laptop and run Linux. System76, along with other Linux PC vendors such as ZaReason, have a better idea: Just buy a laptop with Linux already installed.

Galago UltraPro
Pretty and fast: System76's Galago UltraPro is an Ubuntu Linux laptop user's dream come true.

System76, which specializes in Ubuntu Linux laptops, desktops, and servers, is introducing two new Ubuntu laptops for gamers and office and home workers: The Galago UltraPro and the Gazelle Professional.

Gamers? Yes, gamers.

Games have always been available on Linux, but with Steam now supporting Linux, gaming has never been bigger on Linux.

To power up those games, the UltraPro comes with a fourth-generation 2GHz Intel Core i7-4750HQ processor with four cores. For graphics, the powerful laptop comes with Intel Iris Pro graphics backed by 128MBs of eDRAM.

Iris is Intel's answer for AMD and Nvidia's graphic processors. Intel claims that Iris boosts CPU performance by 10 percent and GPU performance by 50 percent over previous generations of Intel graphics subsystems.

This, in turn, backs up a 14.1-inch 1080p HD LED backlit in-plane switching (IPS) display with 1,920x1,080 resolution. The laptop also comes with Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, HDMI, Display Port, three USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, and headphone and microphone jacks.

At the minimum, the Galago UltraPro comes with 4GBs of RAM and can handle up to 16GBs. For storage, the low-end begins at a 500GB 5,400 RPM SATA II drive. From there, you can move to a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) or a single TB SATA II hard drive. The low-end configuration will cost you $995.

The workday Gazelle Professional comes with your choice of fourth-generation Intel Core i7-4700MQ CPUs. These range in speed from 2.4Ghz to 2.8GHz. In this system, graphics are powered by Intel's older integrated HD Graphics 4600.

The graphics power a minimum of a 15.6-inch 1080p HD LED backlit display with 1,920x1,080 resolution. Like the UltraPro, this laptop comes with Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, HDMI, Display Port, three USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, and headphone and microphone jacks.

Also, like its faster brother, the Gazelle starts with 4GBs of memory and you can push it up to 16GBs. The Gazelle also offers a wide variety of storage options. These start at a 500GB 7,200 RPM SATA II hard-drive and end at a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) or a one TB SATA II hard-drive. You can get this laptop, with a minimum configuration, for $799.

These systems all use the latest version of Ubuntu Linux, Ubuntu 13.04. You can order and configure them today, but, alas, you'll have to wait until late July before you can expect to find it on your doorstep.

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Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Linux, Ubuntu

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  • I see problems

    1. Aren't these a little weak on the RAM and HD departments for their price? Maybe I'm missing something and the specs are very good despite that, but...
    2. How stable is Ubuntu 13.04 really? Because from what I've read, the higher-end you go, the worse Ubuntu ends up being (it's not a STABLE release, you see.. it's almost a beta)

    Source for Ubuntu being slow:
    • With Linux

      you don't need much RAM. Linux Mint runs on less than a half gig on mine.
      D.J. 43
      • Or rather... don't need *as* much RAM. Really small amounts of RAM (like 64K) have been obsolete for decades. Rumor has it that you need at least a GB on Windows Vista and later just to play Solitaire.
        John L. Ries
        • windows mentality

          John, respectfully, that's kind of a Winsdoze mentality isn't it?
          Systems Guy
    • I do use it

      Well, I'm using 13.04 , and have no problems. It runs really smootly here at my laptop, and at my workstations at the office.
    • Robot9001: "I see problems "

      1. Economy of scale: Small system builders like System76 and ZaReason cannot match the price of multi-national OEMs like HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc. You can most likely find a similar PC with Windows pre-installed at a lower price. However, note that a laptop with Windows 8 pre-installed may give you some difficulty getting a Windows refund if you have to agree to Microsoft's Windows 8 EULA before you can install your Linux distro of choice (thanks for the link, AdamWill):

      "Secure Boot isn't the only problem facing Linux on Windows 8 hardware

      2. Personally, now that Canonical is supporting their long term releases for 5 years, I'd go with having Ubuntu 12.04 LTS pre-installed as it will get continued support for another 4 years (approx.). Non-LTS Ubuntu releases are now supported for 9 months, meaning that an upgrade would be necessary well within a year of receiving the laptop.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Gazelle Pro + 13.04

      I'm typing this on a Gazelle Pro that I got last summer, and upgraded to 13.04 on release day.

      No problems at all, and 16GB RAM is plenty, even for Android development.

      The only thing I'd suggest is to make sure System 76's repo is enable and their WiFi driver is installed. I haven't looked into what they tweak, but the stock iwlwifi driver was flaky until I installed their driver from their repo.

      Definitely get the matte display. I went back and forth and settled on the matte, and am definitely glad I did.

      HDMI out works perfectly as well, which was really nice. I normally use a bluetooth keyboard/mouse with a 27" monitor in the office.

      I was up in the mountains with no cable but a strong 4G signal. Tethering + HBO-GO + HDMI cable to a TV let me watch GoT, and the thing I was happiest about is that I didn't even have to set up dual-screen display. It was just there, and the HDMI sound out just showed up as for TV audio as well.
    • it's highly customizable

      1. I've got a Lemur Ultra that is 12 months old and I rarely need more than 2gb. I never use over 4gb of ram.

      2. System76 supports all official Ubuntu flavors so if Unity isn't your thing you can switch to Xubuntu without any worry.

      Although they don't provide support for other distributions I've successfully installed Fedora, Sabayon, Arch, Linux Mint and countless others. System76 selects hardware and customized the bios so nearly every distribution can be used.

      If I needed a second laptop I'd get this in a flash.
    • Ah, I was like "why not use Kubuntu?"

      ...or Xubuntu, and then the link you gave said the same thing.
    • Well

      It's worth remembering Dedo is a notoriously harsh reviewer. He's usually not strictly wrong about much, but he's very unforgiving. I'd read the Ubuntu forums some experiences.

      I'd expect a system with the specs cited here to be more than capable of running Unity / 13.04 smoothly. Personally I wouldn't buy a system with less than 8GB of RAM or with a spinning disk any more; I only really need that much RAM for virtualization (I still don't exceed 4GB in normal desktop use), but SSDs are so much faster than HDDs it's just not even worth the comparison. Once you've used an SSD it's impossible to go back.

      FWIW I run the Dell XPS 13 developer edition (obviously with Ubuntu replaced with Fedora 19). It's a very nice laptop. I hope they'll update it to Haswell. I'd find the Gazelle far too heavy at over 5lbs, but the Galago seems decent at 3.8lbs (that's very slightly more than the MBP 13" Retina, as a reference point many people will have at least picked up in a store). It's a little cheaper than the XPS 13 even specced up to match, so doesn't look like a bad choice at all.
      • I agree with you on the SSD's.

        I'm looking at SSD's to replace my ACER One HDD. It would extend the life of my 6 cell battery and give additional shock resistance. I've noticed the prices have started to come down. I like SSD's, they appear to be the best performers and have safeguards against burnout. OWC is an Apple supplier, but their hardware prices, especially for hard drives are excellent... and ...the hardware also runs on PC's. When I was shopping for low priced, FDB, perpendicular recording hard drives, they always had the best prices and selection.
        • Never heard of 'em

          The hardcore system building geeks seem to be big on Samsung SSDs; the 840 Pro is the current flavour of the month. I have a Crucial in my desktop and a pair of 840 Pros in my VM host box.
        • SSD

          SSDs won't provide much of a battery life improvement but it does make things more productive.
      • low spec is just the beginning

        System76 offers several SSD and ram options. They add the internals and test your system before it's sent out. So you can go with the base specs or dual SSD and max out the ram.
    • I can't outgrow my HP dual core with 2 GB of RAM.

      Its about 4 years old and it came with no OS. I use Linux Mint, a derivative of Ubuntu. It runs full screen Youtube Videos without clipping. Google Earth runs great. File management is outstanding.

      As a side note, the onboard graphics failed a couple of years ago so I went to Best Buy and bought an ATI PCI 16X graphics card with 2 GB. I also use FIOS and Google Public DNS, which is much better and faster than Verizon. I also use FIOS.

      The funny thing is I can't tell any difference between the on board graphics and the ATI card. Both seem to work about the same.

      The computer cost $239 plus 1.99 s+h and came with keyboard and mouse. I use it on a 22" Acer monitor from Tiger Direct for $125.
      • The graphics card was on sale for $79. at Best Buy.

        Computing with Linux is totally without AV and is very efficient. Family computing with Linux doesn't have to be expensive.
    • Why in the world you ever WANT TO PRINT SOMETHING?

      "Source for Ubuntu being slow:".

      Do you think that maybe, just perhaps we can go way out on a limb, take an almost infinite leap, and GUESS that perhaps Kubuntu--if Shuttleworth hadn't fired the one man responsible for Kubuntu development--WOULD ALLOW YOU TO PRINT YOUR WORK?

      Re-read your link.

      Sorry, folks: too bad about WANTING TO PRINT SOMETHING FROM KUBUNTU 13.04!

      Use something which really, really works, and which IS NOT RELEASED UNTIL IT'S REALLY, REALLY READY TO BE USED.

      Like Linux MINT.

      @SJVN--why would you write an article in praise of such a disaster as this? Have your editors ever discussed the issue of credibility with you?
      Wait a minute: I get it now. This is the decade of The-More-You-Leave-Out-The-More-Chic-You-Are.
      Case in point: I commented on an article regarding a VERY expensive "ULTRAbook" which did NOT have Ethernet capability.; comment to the effect that this was downright unacceptable. General tone of the flames received?: "This is 2013, you a*****e; get with the times!".
      I suppose Shuttleworth and Canonical consider you a dinosaur, bourgeoise, and gauche if you have to actually PRINT something; that's an activity reserved strictly for the unwashed masses.

      Go for it, all you Ubuntu Cult members!
      • Good lord.

        Did your mother never teach you to be polite?
        • So now it's impolite to state facts? That's EXACTLY what Canonical thinks!

          Did your mother never teach you to think for yourself?
          Did your mother never teach you the absolute necessity of critical thinking?
          Did your mother never teach you to be anything except a member of the herd?

          Never mind answering; you already have. Shuttleworth loves you.

          And if, perchance, you are referring to my taking SJVN to task, consider this: there is never any research--aka "hard work"--put into the items he writes about. He is great at repeating press releases. This latest gaffe regarding not being able to print when using Kubuntu 13.04 is just the latest in a very long list of gushing over items which turned out to be just plain wrong. Typical SJVN.

          How very RUDE of me!
          • Style. Content. Consider the difference.

            See subject.