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Tuxedo vs. System 76

linux
hardware

#1

Hello Folks,

First post in a while… been rather preoccupied!

Anyway, I am wondering if anyone here has any personal-ish experience with Tuxedo computers?

I am taking a new position in Europe soon, and my lab is going to splurge on a new laptop for me, seeing as how my 6 year old Alienware 17 finally passed away into digital afterlife. Since I use GNU/Linux fulltime (I don’t even dual-boot anymore), I figured that instead of getting another Alienware and installing GNU/Linux on it, and messing around with drivers (bumblebee!!) etc., I might as well just get specialist hardware! This is where it gets complicated because of E.U. import taxes (trust me… try importing shit into E.U., and the experience will change your life!)! Unfortunately, my lab doesn’t pay import duties, which is on my pockets!

I had my eyes set on the System 76 Bonobo WS, for two reasons primarily – (a) the possibility of a GTX 1070 SLI, which Tuxedo does not offer, and (b) System 76’s custom drivers.

But I don’t want to pay 600 Euros in the way of GST, so I am considering this model from Tuxedo – Tuxedobook XUX708

I am wondering :

  1. What’s their driver situation like? Is it on the same level as System 76’s… reliable etc.? If anyone has any experience, I would be glad for the input.

  2. Is the 1070 SLI worth the hassle, given micro-stuttering and driver optimization complexities? Just for background info, and to avoid getting into the details of my labwork, think of the “purpose” in terms of running high-demand/graphically intensive games. I know the GTX 1080 is probably gonna be more than sufficient for most things you can do on a laptop, even a workstation laptop, but since I won’t be paying for it :stuck_out_tongue: I am kinda curious about the performance gains with a SLI 1070.

Thanks for the responses in , advance! Hope the community’s been well and thriving!


#2

It’s not specialist hardware. Why make life complicated, why not just get a dell with Linux installed on it if you want Linux pre installed?


#3

The preliminary mathlib stuff on the 2080 w/cuda is a dramatic improvmenet over 10 series. Depending on what you are doing the tensor cores may be really handy.

Is thunberbolt/egpu an option for you with such a system?


#4

Simply because Dell does not offer customized drivers (I have absolutely no free time to work things out), nor the level of power in their Ubuntu systems.


#5

Hey Wendell! Nice to hear from you again! I move a lot so the eGPU is another thing to carry around. I doubt there’s any 20 series laptops coming out soon…


#6

Yeah heat and silicon size would be an issue for sure for laptops. I lug around an aorus gaming box I love and it’s been pretty durable but “another thing” for sure

Should blog some of your work or share enough I could do a video on it. I’m sure it’s interesting. :smiley:

I don’t know much about tuxedo unfortunately. System76 is solid tho


#7

Hey Wendell,

Here’s something you could sink your teeth into:

In Defense of Skepticism of About Deep Learning, by Gary Marcus.
The discussion around it was… well, entertaining. Lots and lots of people getting insecure (on both sides) and yelling at cross-purposes (the nature of the academia) while a few sane minds (again, on both sides) trying to keep the discussion relevant.

If you want to get deeper, take a look at the Gallistel-King Conjecture. They argue, primarily, that the ability to store and retrieve numbers is all that an organism needs to be able to do complex cognitive computation of the human kind (algebra, symphonies, poetry etc.).

It was “outrageous” for a while to even propose that biological substrates could do classical Turing Machine type of computations. Minsky was vilified for his Perceptrons, for instance, even though he is a lot less radical than David Marr, Jerry Fodor or Chomsky. But this paper by Green and colleagues at the European Bioinformatics Institute goes a long way in vindicating G&K.

Complex Cellular Logic Computations using Ribocomputing Devices.

Also, the late Partha Niyogi’s (was a member of the MIT A.I. Lab) books are extremely insightful. Passed away at a very young age.

The Computational Nature of Language Learning and Evolution.
The Informational Complexity of Learning

Here’s another recent podcast that looks at some A.I. issues beyond specific environments!

Why A.I. Has Trouble with the Real World?

Where it gets really interesting, and really complicated is what Minsky and Chomsky were and are (respectively) interested in – how come very young children, including babies and toddlers, are so very good at figuring these things out (and frustratingly so because intuitively we all “kind of” know “why”), and so very fast with very impoverished set of data?


#8

Customised drivers for what? I’m not aware of syatem76 having custom drivers for anything?


#9

They do have a modified UEFI which is guaranteed to play nice with any linux distro.

They also have the POP!_OS which plays well with nvidia from what I hear.


#10

I don’t really count the OS, it’s just an OS. Dell has the same with Ubuntu.

But I’m trying to find what’s actually custom in regards to firmware, they don’t do custom drivers as far as I’m aware. Some comments I’ve seen say that they write their own firmware for the laptop bios/etc. But this isn’t any different from dell, and dell supports distribution wide firmware updates via fwupd.

If your wanting a laptop with Linux preinstalled in Europe then dell is the best option. They are available, supported, better mainstream OS, better corporate support especially if your company already works with dell, and you don’t pay that import tax.


#11

Hi Eden,

As far as I know, and their sales team claims so if you chat with them, System 76 makes custom drivers (especially for the GPUs) for their computers other than the firmware you mention. Tuxedo makes similar claims about custom installation scripts and drivers for all their hardware. Although, while System 76 sales person that I had a chat with claimed that they work with Nvidia with proper “legal” arrangements to ensure “our drivers provide the most effective performance possible”, Tuxedo website says that they customize the libre drivers.

I do get your point about Dell, and I do think that the XPS 13 is alluring. However, I hate having two systems to sync between, and high mobility makes eGPU a little problematic. And Dell simply doesn’t provide any high performance machines with GNU/Linux preinstalled.

Heck… if I end up in Reading, I don’t think they even have an Alienware with GTX 1080 listed in the Dell UK website anymore. Although they do in France. Are the new alienwares playing nice with GNU/Linux?


#12

@ryanleesipes is a system76 employee. He is the community manager.

nvm… Guess he got fired or something. lol. It looks like they have a new community manager. Or unless if he is spiritofthecommunity on the system76 website.


#13

No they don’t. By the simple fact that intel and Nvidia would never let them near their IP. I guarantee you you were lied to. I’ll eat stale bread or something if they’ve managed to pull off something no one else has been able to with infinitely larger resources.

Proper legal arrangements probably just means they’ve packaged the driver in line with Nvidias terms.

They do seem to make some of their motherboard firmware or at least modify it from the Clevo manufacturers default.

How high performance do you need?

Dells Precision line for example you can get a xeon e3/i7, Nvidia Quadra P5000/AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100, 64gb ram, up to 6tb storage.

Thats just one of their laptop options.


#14

Dell UK sell about 5 laptop models, each with varying configurations with linux, along with a number of desktop models, servers, etc. most all certified for Ubuntu and RHEL with options to ship with them pre installed.


#15

Let me have a look at the Precision series. I was not considering those. Do they come with Ubuntu?

[EDIT]: I took a look at the Precision 7730. The problem is with the P4200 it ends up costing about the same as importing a System 76 with GST, but the P4200 is slower in comparison (if only a little) to the 1080.

Tuxedo would be a lot cheaper. I think the problem is that Quadro series cards are priced higher than GTX series cards, regardless of the performance. Now, I know I won’t pay for it out of my pockets. But ethically speaking, it feels like a waste of tax payer’s money when it is possible to get similar/higher performance from another source.

But you have definitely given me something to think about!


#16

Ubuntu or RHEL depending on configuration. Though nothing stops you putting Linux on any of the configurations that don’t have it as an option, they just aren’t certified by Ubuntu or RHEL so don’t ship it out of the box.

We use the precision series and xps series at work for some things, they work well. and fwupd is a nice touch.


#17

Do keep in mind that the French use azerty and all their machines hence by default have that layout. Not sure if you can select another layout.


#18

Yup! Tuxedo seems to offer a choice between different keyboard layouts. I would probably get the Tuxedo, since it avoids the tax issue within EU. But boy, I sure would love to get that Bonobo WS! sigh


#19

Is there a reason you can’t get by with something along the lines of a Thinkpad P1? What work are you doing that you need a GTX card for? Otherwise you would probably be better off with a dell or lenovo workstation laptop and doing an egpu when you are at home. Those custom built gaming or linux laptops just fall apart after a year or two in my experience. How long does it take to install Ubuntu or Manjaro? Everything works out of the box with the kernel drivers on those machines as well.


#20

Yep! Not nearly enough rendering power, let alone visualizing.

Rendering 15T magentic resonance and electrophysiological images concurrently and changing both spatial and temporal resolutions, as well as voxel sizes, in real-time. Think of it as playing a very demanding gaming, where depending on the mission you have to continuously scale the display ratio, graphics settings and anti-aliasing up and down, with a window of about 10-15 nanoseconds.

Believe me, if I could I would take Wendell’s advise, and get a xps 13 and an eGPU set up. But the problem is, university red-tape don’t think so efficiently. For them, high-end worstation laptop = working hard, external graphics card = hardly working and playing video games. You and I may understand it is getting the same the thing done in different ways, the senior scientists will also understand… but since this is not the 1970s, scientists don’t make money calls anymore. They have “specialists”, finance officers, for that these days – people who couldn’t tell the difference between “a laptop and the… the large one” (IT Crowd reference) will nevertheless tell you what you can or cannot spend your own grant money on. You gotta work around them…

I did not know this! I have never owned a custom laptop, to be honest. Thanks for the input.

Hmmm… I suppose! I wonder what the compatibility is like with MSI dominator pro, or the Aorus models. But I don’t suppose they will have fully-supported firmware. Tuxedo though provides self-programmed drivers, and their Euro reviews seem to be generally good. German engineering is supposed to be good, and the chasis and stuff are the same Clevo models that System 76 uses!