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  • System76 Galago UltraPro Haswell Ultrabook

    Phoronix: System76 Galago UltraPro Haswell Ultrabook

    For the past month at Phoronix we have been busy benchmarking the System76 Galago UltraPro. This latest creation from the Linux-friendly System76 is an Intel Haswell ultrabook with Iris Pro graphics. Here's our look at this Linux-loaded ultrabook and the benchmarks we've run on this powerful yet lightweight system.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=19240

  • #2
    No backlit keyboard?

    This seems to be a very good laptop, given the Haswell processors with Iris pro graphics and full HD screen and not to mention that it is a Linux laptop that works out-of-box. However the lack of backlit keyboard is disappointing for a high-end ultrabook. It appears to be a limitation of the Clevo model it's based on.

    Michael, do you know if the keyboard problem is a design issue or a software one? Apart from this, how is the keyboard and touchpad in general? Both in terms of layout (if the special and arrow keys have comfortable location and spacing), feel and responsiveness? It baffles me that most laptops don't get these basics right, namely reliable keyboard and touchpad input, even in 2013 and instead go for fancy features like touchscreen which nobody asked for. I am willing to pay a premium if some manufacturers could get these things right. Obviously hinting at Macbooks which got most things right.

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    • #3
      Too bad real-time power consumption can't be done (actually a deal breaker for me). So is regular battery life testing (battery life for a specific type of load) not normally done for reviews especially compared to a Windows installation?

      Can the 128 MB eDRAM actually function as a regular L4 cache for the CPU or is it only used by the GPU? Not sure if the CPU benchmarks presented can actually show its effect if it really can be used as an L4 cache.

      On a somewhat related to notebooks note, does anyone know of notebooks other than ThinkPads that can have their battery charge thresholds set? I know some Samsung and Sony notebooks have this option under Windows but I can't seem to find a way to do it in Linux.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by hdas View Post
        This seems to be a very good laptop, given the Haswell processors with Iris pro graphics and full HD screen and not to mention that it is a Linux laptop that works out-of-box. However the lack of backlit keyboard is disappointing for a high-end ultrabook. It appears to be a limitation of the Clevo model it's based on.

        Michael, do you know if the keyboard problem is a design issue or a software one? Apart from this, how is the keyboard and touchpad in general? Both in terms of layout (if the special and arrow keys have comfortable location and spacing), feel and responsiveness? It baffles me that most laptops don't get these basics right, namely reliable keyboard and touchpad input, even in 2013 and instead go for fancy features like touchscreen which nobody asked for. I am willing to pay a premium if some manufacturers could get these things right. Obviously hinting at Macbooks which got most things right.
        For me, any notebook should have backlit keyboard. And when it comes to keyboard and touchpad quality for use, I must say Lenovo G475 is the best I've tried! (At least the brazilian one). It would be perfect if it had backlit...

        Comment


        • #5
          Did you test Ubuntu vs Manjaro? Please post resuts

          Even with the problem thanks for installing Manjaro

          Did you test it?

          Please publish

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          • #6
            Originally posted by hdas View Post
            This seems to be a very good laptop, given the Haswell processors with Iris pro graphics and full HD screen and not to mention that it is a Linux laptop that works out-of-box. However the lack of backlit keyboard is disappointing for a high-end ultrabook. It appears to be a limitation of the Clevo model it's based on.

            Michael, do you know if the keyboard problem is a design issue or a software one? Apart from this, how is the keyboard and touchpad in general? Both in terms of layout (if the special and arrow keys have comfortable location and spacing), feel and responsiveness? It baffles me that most laptops don't get these basics right, namely reliable keyboard and touchpad input, even in 2013 and instead go for fancy features like touchscreen which nobody asked for. I am willing to pay a premium if some manufacturers could get these things right. Obviously hinting at Macbooks which got most things right.
            I think this laptop is the Schenker S413 / Clevo W740SU. Poor keyboard is a common conplaint of Clevo laptops.

            Comment


            • #7
              Battery life

              I would be interested in the tests of the battery life in some real-life scenario.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by chrisb View Post
                I think this laptop is the Schenker S413 / Clevo W740SU. Poor keyboard is a common conplaint of Clevo laptops.
                That's too bad. There's an online shop in Germany that sells BTO laptops built from Clevo barebones, but a poor Keyboard is a deal breaker. Backlit option seems to present for most models though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I bought it

                  I am the happy owner of this ultrabook. Feel free to ask me about it. I got mine from the latest batch that shipped after their last backorder, I got it just over two weeks ago and have not had any problems with the keyboard. It is not a good keyboard, the stroke is too short but after a few days I didnt even notice. I had the fan problem once when running the 13.10 beta, booted an older kernel - have since updated and have no more problems. HDMI audio didnt want to work but it seems to be ubuntu being finicky rather than a real issue.

                  Let me say again: No keystrokes are missed on my keyboard.

                  Maybe I am lucky but I have read from other users who have said their Galago from the recent batch isnt giving them any problems, one user theorized that it was a clevo problem that their resellers arnt allowed to talk about.

                  I get about 4 hours general use out of it. NOTE: cpu and gpu are throttled to 1.3Ghz and 200Mhz respectively on battery, just FYI its a BIOS thing.

                  I have not tried Manjaro as Im not quite ready to ditch Ubuntu, but both Manjaro and AntergOS look very good.

                  I ordered it with 16GBs of RAM and a 240GB Intel 525 mSATA SSD as well as Intel Centrino Wireless N.

                  One thing the review did not cover is that it also slots a 2.5" drive - My plan is to buy an intel ac wireless card and a Samsung 840 Evo 1TB down the line for upgrades.
                  Last edited by FaiT; 10-21-2013, 03:24 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Anyone know about the 15.6" models? Keyboard also an issue?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nils_ View Post
                      That's too bad. There's an online shop in Germany that sells BTO laptops built from Clevo barebones, but a poor Keyboard is a deal breaker. Backlit option seems to present for most models though.
                      Yes really odd that some laptop makers don't focus on a great keyboard. IBM pretty much nailed it 15-20 years ago, how hard can it be to clone that design?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by guido12 View Post
                        Can the 128 MB eDRAM actually function as a regular L4 cache for the CPU or is it only used by the GPU? Not sure if the CPU benchmarks presented can actually show its effect if it really can be used as an L4 cache.
                        Yes it does :

                        Unlike previous eDRAM implementations in game consoles, Crystalwell is true 4th level cache in the memory hierarchy. It acts as a victim buffer to the L3 cache, meaning anything evicted from L3 cache immediately goes into the L4 cache. Both CPU and GPU requests are cached. The cache can dynamically allocate its partitioning between CPU and GPU use. If you donít use the GPU at all (e.g. discrete GPU installed), Crystalwell will still work on caching CPU requests. Thatís right, Haswell CPUs equipped with Crystalwell effectively have a 128MB L4 cache.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by chrisb View Post
                          Thanks. I keep reading that but I haven't seen any CPU tests to show how much relevant tasks actually benefit from it. Not sure how one would test it though. Maybe use a comparably clocked non-Iris Pro Haswell chip or somehow disable/enable the CPU from using the eDRAM as a cache. Do you know of any benchmarks specifically exercising the the eDRAM as an L4 cache?

                          I'd be more interested in the Iris Pro based chips if it provides tangible benefits in CPU performance seeing as I don't play any PC games.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hdas View Post
                            It baffles me that most laptops don't get these basics right, namely reliable keyboard and touchpad input, even in 2013 and instead go for fancy features like touchscreen which nobody asked for.
                            It is bizarre that the laptop makers seem so determined to produce laptops with "features" that many people find annoying. Intel insists that a laptop can't be called an "Ultrabook" unless it has a glossy touchscreen, and yet in a PC Pro survey the majority of people preferred a matte screen. Same thing in a Which? survey. Even with matte screens, I can't really understand the design decisions that some of these companies have - ie. "this laptop is matte, it's designed to appeal to buyers who don't like glossy surfaces, so let's make the bezel as reflective as possible!" - what on earth makes them think that a buyer who deliberately seeks out a non-reflective screen wants that screen to be surrounded by a highly reflective bezel? It makes no sense.

                            People also criticise the lack of vertical space on 16:9 screens. 16:9 is good for watching video, or playing video games, but not so great for web browsing or other vertical-document oriented tasks. The "but it allows you to run two web browsers side by side" argument isn't accurate when a) most people don't do that (~60% browse at full screen), and b) your screen is small, and non-mobile web sites are designed for desktops with 1000+ pixel width displays. Try putting two web sites side-by-side on an ultrabook with "standard" 1366x768 - after accounting for scroll bars you now have about 650 pixels width for each, and most desktop sites will not render well at that size. The screen height will be something like 14cm - less than a portrait iPad - but with the big difference that a laptop is designed to be used at arm's length, whilst an iPad is designed to be held in front of your face (most iPad/Kindle users I've seen browsing/reading seem to hold the screen about 25cm away, laptop would be double that distance). It's amazing that laptop makers don't try to optimise their devices for vertical-oriented tasks, and ignore the success of the 4:3 tablet (3:4 in portrait) in web/book reading (tasks that many users spend most of their time doing), and just stick to 16:9. You'd think there'd be some variation beyond wide screens - the Google's Chromebook Pixel's 3:2 seems to be the only example of a maker trying something new, and it was widely praised by reviewers for the extra screen height - why did no other laptop designers notice this?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by guido12 View Post
                              Thanks. I keep reading that but I haven't seen any CPU tests to show how much relevant tasks actually benefit from it. Not sure how one would test it though. Maybe use a comparably clocked non-Iris Pro Haswell chip or somehow disable/enable the CPU from using the eDRAM as a cache. Do you know of any benchmarks specifically exercising the the eDRAM as an L4 cache?

                              I'd be more interested in the Iris Pro based chips if it provides tangible benefits in CPU performance seeing as I don't play any PC games.
                              I've only read the Anandtech review, in particular look at p17 for OpenCL and p18 for generic CPU. Iris Pro beats the 4770k in OpenCL performance, sometimes doubling the performance, which is very good for a mobile part. For CPU see the graph with row Crystalwell Advantage - the estimated gain seems to be anywhere from -4.5 to 9.5 but he also says "Intel claims that with the right workload, you could see huge double digit gains". I haven't seen any benchmarks showing that, though, I'd be interested if there are any.

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