Open Source Linux Powered System76 Thelio Desktops Is Here

last updated in Categories Hardware, Linux News

Thelio Linux Desktop
The top 500 most powerful supercomputers on the planet run Linux operating system. Linux has a 100% market share of those machines and a large share of cloud computing, VMs, and bare metal market too. Obviously, developers and people who care about their privacy need Linux pre-installed so that they can get back to work ASAP. System76 released new desktop systems with Linux pre installed. The Thelio desktops computer available with both AMD and Intel CPU. AMD is more user-friendly to the Linux and provides a better price-performance ratio.

More on open source Linux powered System76 desktop system

System76 based in Colorado and specializes in preloaded Linux based servers, desktops, and laptops. You can get either Ubuntu or Pop OS distro. If you want you can replace the preinstalled operating system with another Linux distro such as Debian, Fedora or try BSD family of the operating system.

Right to repair or upgrade system

Thelio desktop systems allow owners to update or change hard drives, memory (RAM), graphics cards as per their needs. Most modern systems are gluing everything to the motherboard, and you can not upgrade stuff like RAM later. It is a refreshing change for sure. Another good news is open hardware concept. You can find the source code for Thelio and Thelio Io design hosted on GitHub.

Designed and made in Colorado, USA

These computers made in Colorado, USA. From the official website:

US-sourced wood and aluminum are formed, finished, etched, and built by artisans in our Denver, Colorado factory. Premium components from around the world are then assembled to your final specifications. And to offset environmental impact, every Thelio sold plants a tree with the National Forest Foundation.

Prettiest computer chassis

That is one of the prettiest computer chassis (cases) I have ever seen:
Open Source Linux Powered System76 Thelio Desktops

System76 Thelio desktops configurations

The desktop ship in three different hardware configuration as per your needs:

  1. Thelio – Compact design for everyday work option.
  2. Major – Mid rage developer machine up to 4 GPUs and single CPU.
  3. Massive – High-end Linux workstation with multiple GPUs and CPUs.

Hardware specs

SpecsThelioThelio MajorThelio Massive
CPUAMD Ryzen 5/7 OR Intel i5/i7/i9AMD Ryzen Threadripper OR Intel Core X seriesUp to 2× Intel Xeon Scalable
GPUAMD Radeon Graphics for AMD cpu or Intel UHD Graphics (optional AMD or NVIDIA dedicated GPU)AMD or NVIDIA GraphicsUp to 4× AMD or NVIDIA Graphics
RAMUp to 32 GB Dual Channel DDR4 @ 2933 MHzUp to 128 GB Quad Channel DDR4 @ 2933 MHzUp to 768 GB Quad Channel Registered ECC DDR4 @ 2666 MHz
StorageUp to 22 TB, M.2 NVMe and 2.5″ SATA drivesUp to 46 TB, M.2 NVMe and 2.5″ SATA drivesUp to 86 TB, M.2 NVMe, U.2 NVMe, and 2.5″ SATA drives
NetworkingGigabit Ethernet, built-in Intel Wireless-AC (a/b/g/n/ac) with BluetoothGigabit Ethernet, built-in Intel Wireless-AC (a/b/g/n/ac) with Bluetooth2× Gigabit Ethernet, optional Gigabyte Wireless-AC (a/b/g/n/ac) with Bluetooth
Base pricing starts atUS $1,099US $2,299US $2,899

I just managed to configure a $76,783.00 Thelio Massive to see higher end limits:
Thelio Massive Linux Workstation
Of course, I don’t need such a high-end system. Ideally, I would go with something that is budget friendly:
Thelio AMD Linux Desktop

Conclusion

You get an open case with an open IO board, but BIOS is still proprietary. OSHWA certifies systems means that the design and layout of the computer and boards is open source. Unfortuenly Intel/AMD CPUs/GPUs or BIOS/UEFI is not open source. From the blog post:

To further our open computer ambition, we’re working to remove functionality from the proprietary mainboard. To that end, we designed Thelio Io, a daughter board that manages thermal and chassis control while also providing a storage backplane for the drives in Thelio. It’s open hardware and open source firmware, and a big step in the right direction. We’re by no means done. We’ll continue to open source more functionality. Eventually, all that will be left are proprietary hardware initialization bits and convincing Intel and AMD to open up there. We think there’s reason for optimism. Intel contributes lots of code to Linux and AMD graphics drivers are open source already. Maybe open hardware is next for them. Let’s keep pushing.

I like the smaller Thelio desktop, AMD CPU/GPU option, and that IO controller. Overall excellent desktop system for scientists, engineers, developers, sysadmins, and makers. The desktop system is available for pre-order right now, and the PC will not ship until December for all Linux enthusiasts located in North America at the moment.

See also

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

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