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

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  • #31
    How did you come up with these guesses looking at those photos? I love the speculation but there is hardly enough shown derive core series processor.

    There are are some interesting ARM processors on the market now that could go into this machine. Most of them built for the “server” industry if you believe the marketing. My problem with that, is a focus on the server world is not sustainable by a processor designer. So I can easily see one of thoose chips slotted into this machine. Or maybe a cut down variant with only 16 cores.

    In any event the the issue is how do they live up to their open claims. Frankly I’m not obsessed with totally open hardware the way many are in this forum. What I want is an ARM based machine that doesn’t suck. ARM for low power at idle but plenty of cores to provide a highly usable system for years to come. Frankly this is one reason why I’m hoping for an ARM based Mac Mini, such a platform should be able to do home server duty fine but yet have decent performance. The important thing is to get idle power down so that an always on computer does blow out the electrical bill.

    Ive seriously considered going the Orroid route for server duty but I’d prefer a box with multiple SSD storage slots.

    Originally posted by madscientist159 View Post

    It depends on exactly what ARM SoC they choose. However, given the claims of high performance, either they are likely using x86 (in which case no freeing will ever be possible) or a closed high-end ARM device like TX2 (same problem). The price point (to me) strongly hints toward an Intel desktop processor, though an AMD low end processor would be possible as well.

    If for some reason they are calling a Chinese cell phone / tablet SoC "high performance", that would be freeable. I highly doubt that is the case here, especially considering the RAM support table they have published.

    EDIT: OK, there's a picture of part of the mainboard at https://betanews.com/2018/10/26/syst...-thelio-linux/ Here's my educated guess putting all the pieces together:

    Mini-ITX Intel board, 2 DDR4 RAM slots, Core series LGA1151 processor, one PCIe slot, based on similar reference design to the Gigabyte mini-ITX board here:
    https://www.gigabyte.com/us/Motherbo...WIFI-rev-10#ov

    It's possible they have a daugherboard ("riser") that provides additional PCIe slots as well.

    Probably the claim to fame bits are in the implementation of the design in KiCAD (hopefully anyway, though I find this a bit dubious given KiCAD's current limitations vs. Allegro or similar) and the "open hardware" backplane bits. This would be a fully closed and locked firmware stack machine if I'm right, which kinda renders the "open hardware" aspects worthless from a practical perspective.

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    • #32
      Interesting pictures but how will System 76 square away their claims of USA manufacture if a gigabyte board goes into the machine? This has me questioning System 76 as a company. Hopefully these are just promotional photos. The other possibility is that they prototyped on Gigabyte and are duplicating the component layout on their board.

      Frankly id rather see a high volume board used simply to keep costs down. Still that doesn’t square with the open hardware made in Colorado claims.

      Originally posted by steve007 View Post

      A perfect match. Slot colours, print screening, port types and position. Even the surface mount components look a perfect match.

      I'd wager the basic system will … unless the picture is out of date, or they change the component.
      Well I’m hoping something has changed as I want to respect the company and their claims. I could live with a Gigabyte board if it wasn’t for all the claims they have offered up about being built in the USA. System 76 really needs to come clean when they launch as to where everything is coming from.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by madscientist159 View Post
        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?
        no, i want to play my games on linux, i'll leave playing in the corner to you

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        • #34
          Originally posted by madscientist159 View Post
          In general, if you have no real processing requirements, get an ARM Chromebook for $150 and install coreboot on it. That's a lot cheaper than the System76 machine, and likely gets you a much more open firmware stack if you choose a model with the right Chinese SoC.
          i wonder what videodriver you envision for chinese soc. etnaviv? what's its status?

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          • #35
            Originally posted by madscientist159 View Post
            Mozilla doesn't really care about owner controlled platforms, they are more interested in x86/Windows and ARM/Android at this point, which is both concerning and disappointing. I don't know if community requests can change that attitude or not
            of course they can. now you have to make firefox users (wintel and android community) to request power9 support

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            • #36
              Originally posted by wizard69 View Post
              Interesting pictures but how will System 76 square away their claims of USA manufacture if a gigabyte board goes into the machine?
              Is a Chevy Camaro or a Ford F-150 American? Do all the components come from U.S. companies exclusively? I would be very surprised.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Vistaus View Post

                They only used Gigabyte in the past because their computers are based on Clevo hardware implementations (laptops, computers). So they didn't really "use" Gigabyte, they "put up" with Gigabyte as Clevo had chosen Gigabyte. I'm not saying they won't be using Gigabyte for Thelio, but it doesn't have to be as they were free to choose their own supplier this time.
                The link off to the betanews site shows "teaser" shots of the actual Thelio system sent to them by System 76. The section of board pictured is a dead match for the Gigabyte H370N Wireless. So it's very likely a stock board with Intel CPU, not Arm, or Power or any other random chip. Elsewhere it is mentioned that a System 76 guy said it was something like a daughter board that would provide the "open source" bit. Looks like they are producing back planes for custom hard drive cages. The last pic on betanews looks interesting. Looks like a large heat pipe cooler over the CPU area that expels straight out of the rear of the machine, drawing out warm internal air and using it to cool the much warmer components via the heatsink/heatpipe. So the cooling system looks like it will be very integrated/system dependent.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by steve007 View Post
                  Is a Chevy Camaro or a Ford F-150 American? Do all the components come from U.S. companies exclusively? I would be very surprised.
                  A bit outdated, but...
                  https://www.cars.com/articles/the-20...1420680649381/
                  Less than ten cars assembled in the US are more than 75% domestic content. Ford isn't even on that list with any vehicle.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by curaga View Post
                    Lack of JIT is hardly a dealbreaker anyway, every sane website is fast enough with interpreted JS.
                    isn't firefox ui implemented in js?

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by wizard69 View Post
                      Interesting pictures but how will System 76 square away their claims of USA manufacture if a gigabyte board goes into the machine?
                      maybe they claim only machine manufacture, not board manufacture?

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