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System76 Shares With Us More Details On Thelio Open Hardware, Pricing Starts At $1,100 USD

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  • System76 Shares With Us More Details On Thelio Open Hardware, Pricing Starts At $1,100 USD

    Phoronix: System76 Shares With Us More Details On Thelio Open Hardware, Pricing Starts At $1,100 USD

    While System76 is officially announcing their Thelio systems next week on 1 November with plans to then begin shipping these "open hardware" systems in December, today the Linux-friendly PC vendor shared with us some more exclusive details on the forthcoming hardware being manufactured in Denver, Colorado. Here are those exciting details -- much more than just some digital web saga.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=27031

  • #2
    At that price point this is likely to be ARM (cell phone / low end type processor) or x86. I'd bet it's x86 given the performance description, which means that it's open only in terms of the basic hardware and not in terms of the firmware stack. Also not owner-controllable (ME/PSP, depending on whether they went Intel or AMD).

    The released images are just the disk backplane. Not the controllers, which are the interesting and normally closed bit, just the backplane with what looks like a bog-standard LED / SGPIO controller onboard. Neat to see the designs in FreeCAD but nothing revolutionary there -- the underlying technology has never been secret or restricted in any way. Oh, and once you've used NVMe there's no going back to SAS/SATA...

    They're a bit late to the open hardware party too. The first was probably one of the SPARC machines, a second that springs to mind is the BeagleBone, a third is of course the POWER9 stuff available now. A bit disingenuous on the marketing end IMO.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by madscientist159 View Post
      Also not owner-controllable (ME/PSP, depending on whether they went Intel or AMD).
      Intel's ME can be completely disabled: https://puri.sm/posts/purism-librem-...gement-engine/

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jaxad0127 View Post

        Intel's ME can be completely disabled: https://puri.sm/posts/purism-librem-...gement-engine/
        No it can't be -- that's a myth from another company heavily invested in Intel products. On all newer Intel CPUs multiple signed ME modules -- with eFuse-based downgrade protection I might add -- must run or the system will not boot. Something similar exists with AMD and the PSP.

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        • #5
          Very interesting but I’m somewhat disappointed already. Every platform should have a NVM option.

          Im still wondering about the processor. It would be cool to see a custom ARM solution in this box. If not ARM a custom AMD chip that leaves out the compromises.

          Micheal the cost differential between manufacturing here vs China isn’t that huge. That is the manufacturing labor is not a big deal per box. It is often the add one that make or break manufacturing in the USA. So I’m wondering, did they get a break on taxes or other incentives.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by madscientist159 View Post
            They're a bit late to the open hardware party too. The first was probably one of the SPARC machines, a second that springs to mind is the BeagleBone, a third is of course the POWER9 stuff available now. A bit disingenuous on the marketing end IMO.
            Anyone know how good support is in POWER9 for day to day stuff? If it were capable of running all the typical open-source desktop software in Ubuntu, for example, I would just use it. I don't really game anymore.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cynical View Post

              Anyone know how good support is in POWER9 for day to day stuff? If it were capable of running all the typical open-source desktop software in Ubuntu, for example, I would just use it. I don't really game anymore.
              I should have Talos II next week in the labs and will have lots of write ups to come for things like that.
              Michael Larabel
              http://www.michaellarabel.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by cynical View Post

                Anyone know how good support is in POWER9 for day to day stuff? If it were capable of running all the typical open-source desktop software in Ubuntu, for example, I would just use it. I don't really game anymore.
                I'm a bit biased but for the most part things just work. We use P9 desktops as daily drivers on this side, and the last missing piece (Chromium) is falling into place nicely: https://mobile.twitter.com/RaptorEng...01835230408711

                The only hassle is if you have proprietary applications with no source code. But that's what the Windows box in the corner or the set top box by the TV is for, right?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Michael View Post

                  I should have Talos II next week in the labs and will have lots of write ups to come for things like that.
                  Awesome, I am super excited for that. It's hard to believe after all these years that a fully open option with decent performance exists. Makes me think of the old days (I'm not old though lol) where people would get hardware just to play with it and explore.

                  Originally posted by madscientist159
                  We use P9 desktops as daily drivers on this side, and the last missing piece (Chromium) is falling into place nicely: https://mobile.twitter.com/RaptorEng...01835230408711
                  Nice!! That is exciting to hear. This may sound like it's coming out of nowhere, but after using an iPhone for some time, I am just so ready to run away from anything proprietary. It's a great phone, but good god, the control they want is unbelievable. When they pulled a version of Telegram from their app store or held back updates, I was just furious. Felt like I was renting my phone from Apple. Google is even worse from a privacy or support point of view. Now I just need Purism to finish their phone and I'll be happy and free from these control freaks for a while.

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                  • #10
                    Can't wait to see the Thelio finished products. Really impressed by the attention to detail that you simply don't find with the usual high-volume manufacturers, or with the other boutique vendors who mostly just assemble COTS parts. I'm due for a new workstation this coming Spring...

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