System76 Oryx Pro 7 Review
Updated on August 27, 2021
Oryx Pro 7 Configuration
System76 Technical Documentation
for more information.
- OS: Pop!_OS 20.10 (64-bit) with full disk-encryption
CPU: 5 GHz i7-10870H (2.2 up to 5.0 GHz - 16MB Cache - 8
Cores -16 Threads)
- GPU: 8 GB RTX 3070 w/ 5888 CUDA Cores
- Memory: 8 GB Single Channel DDR4 at 2933 MHz
Storage: 240 GB Seq Read: 540 MB/s, Seq Write: 465 MB/s
- Display: 15.6" 1920x1080@144Hz LCD
- Warranty: 2 Year Limited Parts and Labor Warranty
- Price: $2,209.47
- Model: Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 NVMe SSD
- Size: 2TB
- Price: $319.99
Model: HyperX Impact DDR4 CL17 SODIMM Memory (Kit of 2)
- Size: 32GB
- Speed: 2933MHz
- Price: $219.00
I ended up purchasing the Oryx Pro 7 with base memory and storage,
then upgraded these components with parts I bought from Amazon. The
upgrade experience was pretty good. Removing the bottom cover just
involves removing a bunch of screws, nothing too difficult. I had a
little trouble with this because one of the screws seemed to get
stuck, but I eventually got it out. The
Parts & Repairs guide
was very clear and helpful in this regard.
Regarding OS, I initially tried to install Arch Linux with dwm like
I had on my desktop, but found that switching between the graphics
modes (i.e. Integrated, Hybrid, and Discrete) was just a nightmare.
I tried installing
System76 software through the AUR, but could never get it working reliably. Additionally, the laptop
speakers did not seem to work out of the box. I eventually got the
audio working thanks to the
solution in the ArchWiki, but I ultimately decided to switch to Pop!_OS because of the
graphics switching issue. The main change I made to the default
Pop!_OS install process was to use
rather than the default (ext4 I think) so I could take snapshots and
backup my data with
My experience with Pop!_OS was very positive. I'm really happy that
System76 and Pop!_OS have come up with a good solution for
switchable graphics. Being able to just click on the option in the
GNOME menu is so useful. The window management in Pop!_OS's
desktop environment is very good too. Coming from a standalone
tiling window manager like dwm, this provides a pretty good balance
between convenience and usability.
After some more time with Pop!_OS, I realized that I really missed
the package management, customizability, and rolling release of
Arch. Since I couldn't get Arch working before, I decided to try
some other Arch based distros like
both of these, I found that switchable graphics (via the
system76-power AUR package, now works. I eventually decided on Garuda because it implements a
lot of the customizations I usually do in my vanilla Arch installs
anyways (e.g. btrfs, zen kernel, chaotic-aur, backups w/ timeshift,
easy options to enable gaming tweaks, etc.). The
edition immediately ran into crashing and system break issues, so I
tried the KDE Dragonized edition. It looks pretty nice and uses
instead of GNOME. After still encountered freezing issues, I
switched to the
edition, but replaced i3 with
because I was experimenting with it at the time. After realizing
that Xmonad would not really fit my needs (mainly gaming), I
replaced it with
dwm-flexipatch. Now, performance is amazing and I haven't encountered the major
freezing issues that I had with GNOME and KDE.
The display is really good, I am highly satisfied with it.
Everything is just so much smoother in 144Hz.
Keyboard is not bad at all, but it definitely doesn't match up in
terms of quality and satisfaction to the excellent HP Spectre x360
keyboard that I used previously. I really don't mind it though and
love that it includes a full sized number pad. The layout doesn't
feel cramped and it has plenty of keys that can be customized via
Gaming performance is amazing! Recently got Yakuza: Like a Dragon
on Steam. It runs at around 70 to 80 fps with all the settings
turned up to the max. I love that I can use my favorite operating
system without having to compromise too much on gaming
Love the keyboard backlighting and color changing on the fly.
Would love to be able to customize this further in software
When I need a mouse, I tend to use an external one, but the
trackpad feels excellent to me. My finger just glides across the
super smooth surface. I think the overall trackpad size is good as
well. Not as large as one you would find on a Macbook, but
definitely good enough for my use cases.
It was a bit more difficult than I expected to remove the bottom
plate when upgrading the RAM and storage, but overall a very easy
process. Really appreciate the focus on upgradeability in the
I absolutely love the port selection. No need to live the dongle
life when the laptop has so many built-in already.
The build quality is pretty solid. It definitely feels like a
Speakers are really sub-par. I understand that System76 doesn't
design the hardware, but this was my main disappointment. I have
bluetooth bookshelf speakers and bluetooth headphones I can use,
so this isn't an unsolvable problem, but just generally annoying.
Webcam is functional, but not good at all. Definitely need to use
an external webcam for video calls.
The microphone has a strange oscillatory behavior where there is
some buzzing sound that increases and decreases regularly.
Additionally, you can really hear the fans ramping up and down in
the mic, makes it difficult to have a meeting if you use the
integrated mic and the fans suddenly turn on. Definitely need an
Battery life is really bad when the discrete graphics card is on
(as expected). Maybe a little more than an hour a time, sometimes
more depending on how willing I am to lower CPU frequency and
stuff. As a desktop replacement, that is to be expected through.
Mouse click buttons are not great. Regularly left click on
something in GNOME and nothing happens. "Tapping" with the
mousepad works very reliably though.
Fans can get really loud at times, especially when gaming. I often
have to turn up my speakers or wear noise cancelling headphones.
This is an understandable limitation with gaming laptops though.
Using a custom kernel solved a lot of my complaints with the
thermals and fan noise though. Now the fans don't turn on as
often. When they do, they don't ramp up to the maximum speed, so
noise is kept to a reasonable level.
Random freezing is kind of an issue, but is generally resolved by
using a custom kernel.
While the display itself is great, I really wish the hinge would
rotate farther back. It looks like the screen can only rotate
about 120 degrees from fully closed, so getting a good viewing
angle (especially when the laptop is propped up or really low) can
It may seem that the cons outweigh the pros, but this is only in
number and because I am really nitpicking. The things this laptop
get right (e.g. gaming, refresh rate, switchable graphics, general
performance) are much more important to me than the other things.
Regarding price, you are definitely paying a premium for first-class
linux support, but it is well worth it in my opinion. I do not want
to use Windows anymore and I am happy to pay extra if it means
supporting a company that promotes and sells Linux computers and
having a device that can be easily upgraded down the line. Overall,
I am very happy with my purchase.
These are some images from when I unboxed the laptop, installed the
RAM & SSD, and customized my setup a little.