System76 review request

So I had an idea for the Level 1 Linux channel that I thought I’d throw out here.

As a Linux user, I have run across System76, but trying to find quality reviews of their products are difficult.

Would the Level 1 be able to get review units for @wendell and team to review?


I own a System76 Gazelle. I have had it for about 6 months now. It is a great system but for what you get you can get a dell with dedicated gpu for similar price. It is very well built but also keep in mind that they are rebranded Clevo laptops with a different bios. System76 is getting staged for building their own laptops form the ground up but not sure when this will launch.


I too own a System76 Laptop: An Oryx Pro. It’s a really great laptop, but I agree with @sanfordvdev that it wouldn’t be difficult to find a similarly specced system with another vendor. One of the selling points with the company is the specialization and knowledge base with Linux. At least if you run into a problem, you can directly contact them and get a specific solution.

It is really reassuring to have the Open Source compatibility vetted by the company rather than having to hope for no integration issues.

On a side note, I would LOVE to see some AMOLED screens at some point. Always wanted a laptop with an AMOLED.

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I feel like any review of System76 should come with a disclaimer about price. OEMs have painted themselves into a corner with the price of PCs. They’re dirt fucking cheap, and a portion of that is due to the bundled crapware. No bundled crapware? You’re going to see prices similar to those you see with System76.

just. friggin. awesome.

I have a lemur 2015 model, and while it performs well the plastic body is crap. I love how easy it is to take the back panel off for upgrades, but the plastic is what kills me. Why arn’t more people using metal? Oh well, they are now so w/e.
It does not age well, and I’m a heavy user of a track pad and now there is a very noticeable black sploch where I use it the most. Battery life is still great even after two years. I’m only at ~75% overall capacity of what it once was and still can get a solid 4 hours out of it.

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i think hak 5 reviewed one. would like to see wendell’s take on it. i hear it’s re branded clevo or something like that.

I have the System76 Lemur (2016, lemu7). I’m basically waiting to save up and see what comes out with Ryzen mobile, but until then, I have a lot to say…

The Keyboard

It’s terrible. 6 months or so on I still mistype stuff because the keys don’t actuate when they should. Never in my life have I used a worse keyboard.

The Trackpad

It’s pretty small compared the last few laptops I owned, and pretty unreliable. Better disable tap to click!

Storage capacity

This is what’s pretty cool about the laptop. You can THEORETICALLY have 3 drives – 2 SATA/NVMe M.2 and one 2.5".

I say theoretically because since I didn’t configure my system with 2 M.2s, they didn’t solder the second M.2 connection onto the board… Good thing I checked before buying another drive!

The Battery

It’s mediocre. Can be about 3 - 4 hours on average, but with tweaking (low brightness, configuring TLP, etc) you can stretch it out to at least 7 hours.

What’s a shame is that with some moving things around, maybe removing some of the storage options, this mediocre battery life could be doubled, if not tripled easily. It’s pretty empty inside.

The Build Quality

is bad. Cheap plastic that flexes easily.

The Sound

Easily the single worst thing about the laptop (okay, maybe a close second to the keyboard). It’s pretty quiet. Cranking the volume up to 75 - 100% results in this annoying clipping sometimes.

The Display

The only good thing about the laptop. It comes with a 1080p 14" IPS display.

Other Stuff

It has an obnoxious blue light next to the power button. Under normal circumstances using the laptop indoors, the blue light is distracting. Using it in darker areas is outright painful.

Easy solution is to remove it outright, since it’s already redundant with the LEDs on the front of the laptop. Other easy solution is to tie it to screen brightness. But seriously, just remove it.

I took it apart and put several layers of electrical tape over the light, and still a considerable amount leaks through that’s visible everywhere except in the sunlight… at least it’s dimmer, I guess.

Also, this probably isn’t a S76 thing as much as an Intel thing, but I tried to install Windows to test a Source mod I work on… and running said mod results in flickering and screen corruption that sometimes continues to make the system unusable until rebooting. So don’t get this if you plan to run Windows.

The Price

This shitstain as configured cost about $900. Boo.


I guess the only really way to get a quality laptop is to sink $1000 - $1500 into something because at that range they stop using mostly plastic crap and switch to using metal and have a good build quality.

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