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Razer targets perfect Linux support (facebook.com)
415 points by danjoc on Mar 3, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 235 comments

I am one of many disgruntled Razer Blade Stealth and razer core owners, currently awaiting a refund. Some customers are on as many as their 4th or 5th replacement unit. They have no English support in the UK, just a couple of german phone numbers which nobody seems to answer. The forum is terrible and they can't translate emails correctly. It's insulting.

The typical issues are usually related to firmware, which myself and other users would be willing to wait for to be fixed, but Razer's default, almost auto-response, solution is to just send you another unit, with the same issues.

In general though, the razer blade stealth is not even in the same league as an x1, mbp, or xps, and it's not supposed to be. It's just priced the same.

Razer. Apple prices, gateway support.

I also got bit by this. Razer's simpler wired keyboards and mice might be OK, but their systems are fundamentally broken.

The Razer Blade Stealth (7500u) has broken Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C support. Most popular devices simply won't work at all, even though they work with other Kaby Lake computers, and even though they work with Razer's own previous Stealth laptop (6500u model).

The Razer Core has broken display software (double vsync lag) which makes it not work properly if you use an external GPU and monitor (which is ostensibly the purpose of the device)

Additionally, the Razer Core's USB ports just flat out don't work. There's a power short of some sort in the internal USB hub, so that if you plug in a device that draws any more than the lowest amount of power, it cycles through a connecting/disconnecting state, looping forever.

All of these are fundamental flaws with the product itself, so you can (and will be asked to) RMA units over and over for eternity, but you'll never get the problem fixed.


Razer Support has known about all of these issues for months now. There is zero communication coming from Razer -- they won't discuss their design flaws, they won't support their devices, they won't even acknowledge these issues as happening.

When asked directly, the CEO claimed he "wasn't looking at product reliability because we're actually one of the top few in terms of product quality". - https://www.reddit.com/r/razer/comments/5v8zkh/improving_raz... Since Razer's leadership doesn't care about quality at all, I can't imagine the company will ever care either.

At this point, I'm not spending another dime with Razer ever again, and certainly couldn't recommend any one else do so.

Additionally, the Razer Core's USB ports just flat out don't work. There's a power short of some sort in the internal USB hub, so that if you plug in a device that draws any more than the lowest amount of power, it cycles through a connecting/disconnecting state, looping forever.

This probably isn't a short; it's more likely a software problem. I can see how they could get into that mess. Remember, with USB, you're only allowed to draw 100mA until you've negotiated with your power source for more, and the power source can say no. USB interface chips enforce this[1], and cut power and send a fault signal if a device pulls too much power.

The Razer Core is basically a docking station. USB-C power is complicated to begin with, and they've set up one of the most complex situations. The way they're using this, the dock is providing power to the laptop, but the laptop is the data master for the USB ports on the dock, which is also providing power to the peripherals. This is something USB-C allows; a device can be a power slave and a USB master at the same time.

This is even more complex. The dock is a source to both sides for power management purposes, but a pass-through for data purposes. This is unusual. I've skimmed the USB-C spec but don't recall that being mentioned. They probably have to MITM the power handshake to get this to work. The laptop is running Windows 10, so they don't control the USB drivers and their power handshake. It's entirely possible that Windows doesn't support that configuration fully.

[1] https://www.onsemi.com/pub/Collateral/NCP380-D.PDF

* Plugable report similar problems with their dock.[1] They also power both sides while trying to pass through data.

* Similar problems reported for Anker.[2]

* And CalDigit.[3]

This may be a generic problem with USB-C middle boxes which power in both directions. Some configurations don't work, and this is tough to troubleshoot. The standards compliance test procedure for USB-C hubs [4] doesn't seem to contain this case. The test designers were still thinking "tree with computer at root" in 2015.

[1] http://plugable.com/products/ud-ca1/ [2] http://www.macworld.com/article/3057186/macbook-accessories/... [3] http://caldigit.com/usb-3-1-usb-c-dock/faq.asp [4] http://www.usb.org/developers/compliance/usbcpd_testing/3.1_...

Seems they have rushed a design to production. When this happen, except if the design flaws are utterly catastrophic (read on the level of batteries exploding here and there; or perhaps slightly marginally less grave problems), production will happily happen and only actual production flaws will result in the possibility of an effective RMA. This is the case for any hardware mass-producing company. This is actually also the case for production of dedicated hardware at intermediate volume. "Of course" in that situation pretty much no company will publicly acknowledge about the design flaws, even when obvious -- I put "of course" between quotes because this is hugely ridiculous, and I predict that state of doing that part of the business will change to far more transparency in a few years.

Even Razer's mice are pretty shit quality. I've had them going back to the original Boomslang, and I don't think I've ever had one last more than two years. I just like their ergonomics and features -- and the fact that Razer is good about replacing them when they break quickly, which they often do -- enough to put up with it.

I'm probably harder on input devices than most people, but I have working Logitech and Microsoft mice that are older than Razer itself.

I've had a WASD Code keyboard for a few years and it's been great. I picked up the Razer BlackWidow Chroma TE TKL a few months ago in order to reverse-engineer the USB protocol for Chroma so I could get a Teensy 3.6 to emulate a Chroma device in order to get an off-screen notification LED in Overwatch when my abilities were off cooldown (the keyboard does this with a pulsating key). Couldn't get the Wireshark USBPcap stuff to work but it's been an OK keyboard. I like the clack of their Cherry KX Blue alternative switches. It does feel a little cheap though...the Code feels like a professional piece of hardware (nicer plastics, feels solid) while the BlackWidow feels much more like an EXTREME GAMING ACCESSORY. In practice it hasn't broken or anything close, but it just doesn't feel solid like my WASD, and given that they're comparable price-wise ($100-$150 range) I'd expect a little better.

The Zowie FK1+ mouse is great if you like the Intellimouse Explorer. It's ambidextrous and symmetrical. No software to install, you just click the button on the bottom to switch the DPI setting, or some chords when you plug it in to set things like handedness. Works great, can't recommend enough. The only not-amazing part is the scroll wheel for desktop use; the detents are spaced pretty far to ensure accuracy when switching weapons or whatever in a game and work less well when trying to e.g. Rip through source code, but MW acceleration mostly fixes that for me. I'd totally try a Zowie keyboard after being so impressed with their mouse. Zowie is made by Benq, so they've been around for a while and have made professional products for a while too (I love my BL3201PH 32" IPS 4K screen).

I use a Razer mouse at work, and it's still going strong after five years of heavy usage. So, like anything, YMMV.

To be honest, even if they only ever lasted a couple of years, I'd still buy Razer mice. All non-gaming mice nowadays seem to be awful, cheap crap, and most gaming mice are over-decorated contraptions. Razer mice seem to be the only one they combine good, simple ergonomics with high precision and a quality feel.

Try Roccat. They're amazing.

Well that's about how long the Naga lasts for me. I just budget ~$50/year or so for a new one and don't really worry about it. If I could find a quality replacement that has the like 14 or so buttons it has then I'd go for it. But at the moment I use every single button and wouldn't give it up for anything less.

I'm on my third Naga. Once you get used to the extra buttons of "MMO mice" it's hard to use anything else. I tried to switch to the Logitech G600, but the shape is all wrong.

Mine barely lasted a few weeks. Threw it away and made a note never to touch anything by Razer ever again.

I also have had countless problems with Razer products. I own a couple blackwidow keyboards and have had a few of their mice. The Naga Epic is littered with complains about the scroll wheel not working and their draconian approach to installing mouse drivers that remind me of how HP's printer drivers pop adds in the system tray. Apparently I was not alone in noticing these issues; ArsTechnica did a scathing story about this:


Another signal about the reliability of the company is how they handle logistics. So if you are an US citizen living in Germany, you cannot buy a laptop with US keyboard layout. The assumption that razer makes is that if you access the website from a Germany, you are a german citizen, speaker and someone who uses a QWERTZ keyboard..

Im literally trying to purchase their product, but they discourage me with this absurd logic and unhelpful support.

The answer that support gives ia that if you want a different keyboard layout, you need to purchase it in a different country. That's not going to happen

At least Razer offers ISO keyboard layouts. I'm very grateful for that. All their competitors offer only US layout, no matter where you buy. [1]


[1] Apple Macbook Pro is the closest device that has a ISO layout option. ASUS/Acer/HP/Dell/MSI/Gigabyte etc only offer ISO layouts for their "mainstream" devices which are nowhere near the level of performance that a Razer Blade has. All "gaming models" are US keyboard only.

> All their competitors offer only US layout, no matter where you buy.

I am so happy about that. These continental European keyboards have symbols in wrong places, useless (unused) symbols (like ± in place of a colon in case of the Dutch one) and a short left shift (German QWERTZ, Belgian/French AZERTY and Dutch QWERTY all have that).

I remember doing a PHP web development internship once (like 4-5 years ago) where they had keyboards with a short left shift key. Two weeks into it I gave up trying to get used to it and remapped the < key (that's the one left of Z on those keyboards) to shift with autohotkey.

I also remember buying a mechanical keyboard that had a long left shift on the cover but after unpacking turned out to have a short one. Felt silly to return it over that (by now I would) so I gifted it to my brother instead.

God I hate those non-US keyboards. French/Belgians are the worst, having to hold down shift to type a freaking number and that while having a short left shift key.

What models specifically are you talking about ? My company buys high end ASUS and Dells with AZERTY (fr) layouts...

I've never heard of a major vendor not shipping ISO layouts before

Have you had a different experience with other companies?

My experience living in Germany has been that its been pretty hard to get American keyboards. Apple for instance only lets businesses oder laptops with US keyboards in Germany.

Apple's keyboard options are seemingly random.

Here in Japan, their keyboard options are: Japanese, Korean, US, UK, Arabian, French, Spanish and Danish(!).

Why Danish?! Not German?! And if they have Danish, why not, e.g. Italian, Swedish, all more populous countries? I'm almost tempted to believe the Danish option is due to a dk/de mixup.

Apple for instance only lets businesses oder laptops with US keyboards in Germany

In Sweden, at least 3 years ago, Apple was the only company that would sell a laptop with a US keyboard to consumers, and that was one of the main reasons my last laptop was an Apple.

I live in Sweden and gave had no trouble finding other language layout keyboards and laptops the last 15 years. Never had to look at apple devices for that :)

Dustin often has some for sale.

I looked, a lot. Checked both Dell and HP and they both said No. Dustin might occasionally have one or two, but then you're forced to take what's on offer. Apple was the only company that let you choose US keyboard layout directly on their order page for all their laptops as a normal config option.

This is false. On apple.de you can currently order 9 different keyboard layouts, including US.

Two differences are 1) you accessed that site in the US(?) and 2) GP said businesses, which indicates a business portal rather than the consumer store.

I wouldn't be so quick to call GP a liar. If you haven't encountered it, trying to do things online in another country is an eye opening experience. For example, indeed.com wouldn't even let me go to US job listings when I was in Hong Kong. Products, pricing, everything is different. How can round trips on airfare be so different just by switching departure points? Take a one way to Thailand before you buy airfare to the US from Hong Kong. You'll save a small fortune. Do I believe Apple has silly rules based on geography, just like every other company? Yes, I do.

In Spain, you don't have problems configuring an Apple computer with US keyboard since since a lot of years ago

Right now I'm configuring a MB Pro in Apple.de with US keyboard

Cool, now try it from South Korea. No keyboard options.


See, it's not hard to find examples. Now we can conclude by robertdpi's assessment that Apple is an unreliable company, because they assume all people living in South Korea want the same keyboard.

Lenovo let's you chose a US Keyboard for ThinkPads. This is what I'm doing despite living in Europe. This, the Trackpoint and the Linux support are the main features that make me still by ThinkPads.

I bought a US layout Das Keyboard from getdigital.de, only because it was out of stock on Amazon.de. And from my regular window shopping it's pretty easy to find US layout laptops as well.

It's a mixed bag. I live in Germany as an expat and found giants like Dell (incl. Alienware) offered QWERTY options for their laptops, and so did the smaller Clevo resellers who pride themselves on custom builds. But in between, with the mid-size players like MSI and ASUS, there's no such luck.

I ended up getting an MSI when I stopped over in Taipei on a trip, after hearing about the Razer reliability issues last year. Mind you, I am not considering MSI to be any better, given my experience so far.

Is it that different between Germany and Austria? I've ordered Apple laptops with en_GB keyboards with no problem. Well, they arrived with UK power plug too ;).

It might be. For example, I'm in the US and my friends that /work for Apple/ can't figure out how to get me a Korean keyboard like http://www.apple.com/kr/shop/product/MB110KH/.

Dell let me buy a US keyboard in Germany.

This is definitely not only a Razer problem. I've been trying to buy a Dell with an ANSI keyboard for a while, in the end I asked my company to buy it at one of their US studios and send it to me in Sweden. :(

I had a similar problem getting a new MacBook Pro with a UK keyboard. I live in Hungary. Ordering online in Hungary or buying in a store gets you a Hungarian keyboard. The U.K. store won't deliver to Hungary. In the end I got a flight back to the UK to pick one up.

That's unfortunate. Razer was my leading choice to replace my aging Dell laptop. Thank you for taking the time to let other people know about these issues.

People with bad experiences are usually the loudest. I don't think Razer would continue to be in business if problems were commonplace. I suggest going to your local Microsoft Store or Fry's Electronics if you have one near you. Both carry Razer laptops. You can see one, buy one, and if necessary, return one, all in one place. Brick and mortar. Good stuff. At least that way you get to see one before you make the big decision.

Sure. I try to make a judgement call on the nature of the complaint and the person complaining too. Some people have unreasonable expectations from a company or product.

But in this case, we're on HN, and the person is describing both firmware issues and customer service issues and they're being specific enough that their complaint has credibility. In the same way that people vote with their money on issues that are important to them, like sustainability or social matters, I entirely avoid companies with nonexistent customer service. Dell doesn't have a perfect track record, I've had some infuriating experiences with them, but at least they pay people to answer the phone and with some effort you can usually get an issue resolved.

If I find out ahead of time that a particular company doesn't provide any customer service whatsoever, or the only way to contact them is on Twitter or to write a scathing blog post and submit everywhere, I will try not to do any business with them.

I also have a 1/10 rule, which I tried to adhere to while running my own business: for every one customer complaint you hear about, there are at least 9 other dissatisfied customers that didn't make their complaints known.

I certainly don't want to put you off of buying a Dell. Props to them for shipping hardware with Linux pre-installed. I have no experience with them, but I would seriously consider what they have to offer when shopping as well.

I can back up this claim of Razer appalling customer support. They just flat out don't care.

> People with bad experiences are usually the loudest. I don't think Razer would continue to be in business if problems were commonplace

Sometimes that's true, but I don't think that's a fair assessment of the issues being presented here. These aren't some one-off bad units, Razer sells a couple products with fundamental design flaws that effect 100% of units shipped.

It's like telling Ford Pinto owners "Ford wouldn't be in business if their cars exploded"

As far as I can tell, nothing you've mentioned applies to people running Linux on a Razer Blade, Stealth, or Pro, which is the topic here. If that is the case, please make a specific point about it. The Razer Core was not mentioned for Linux support at all. My personal experience is that Razer hardware is glorious. Better than Apple. I have not needed to deal with support. It just works.

I agree with what you said, but would like to add that Razer in my experience has been bad two.

I bought a keyboard. It developed a defect and damaged the motherboard on two laptops. I won't be plugging it into a third. Their mouse software can't even be /configured/ on Windows without a login to their cloud goo.

No more Razer for me.

I think it's because gamers have lower expectations than people used to the quality of other laptops.

Same story here. Had to replace my 4yo Dell. I suggest you look at XPS 15 or Precision 5520. Extremely good value for money (and you can get them with quite beefed up specs)

A friend bought the 5520 and his raving about it has me wanting to buy one myself now. He loves it.

Bought a 7710 for the same reason and love it.

Wouldn't Alienware be also a good choice?

I was thinking of buying a desktop replacement, with good gaming capabilities and for me it boils down to Razer or Alienware. But I prefer Alienware because it comes with a 15" screen, which is perfect for me (14" is too small, 17" is too big).

Go with a Schenker. Fascinating value for money.


I switched to a Lenovo P50 for this very reason (the one I have comes with a 4K display, an eight-thread Xeon processor, 64 GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA Quadro M2000M with plenty of horsepower). The cooling systems on the Razer laptops are woefully inadequate for what they are supposed to handle.

The P50 is a bit heftier than the Razer, but it's built like a tank, and it has an awesome copper heatsink + dual cooling fan system that keeps my temperatures on the very low end relatively speaking.

Lenovo laptops are impossible to break as well, and the keyboards are immaculate, great key travel and response -- it feels like you are using a desktop machine instead of a laptop.

I'd love a laptop like that but all of Lenovo's spyware scandals and backdoors have made me wary. Also their trackpad doesn't look anywhere near as fancy as a Dell 9560, which I just spec'd to half the price with double the SSD (though which maxes out at 32GB).

There aren't any backdoors. Also, you don't use the trackpad on a Lenovo, you use the trackpoint.

Those DELLs have terrible keyboards (as a programmer, I spend most of my time typing in vim using i3 WM), and they aren't built to last.

If you have qualms about the pricing of Lenovos, its pretty easy to dig up corporate discount codes on /r/thinkpad or you can use a .edu email address if you still have one to get a student discount long after graduating. Usually that gets you anywhere from 25-40% off depending on the promotions.

Couldn't agree more, Razer support is awful. They make pretty products, but if something doesn't work you're going to have a very bad time.

That's a damn shame. I was looking forward to new laptop in 14" form with nvidia 1060 and strong battery. Damn. XPS then?

Seems to be a mixed situation. I've got a Razer Blade and have bee quite happy with it so far, other than a few small driver issues under Linux that would be fixable if I spent a little bit more time on it.

I ended up on a much more expensive Surface Book. I gave Razer a shot, but the screen was jacked up right out of the gate. Real shame.. the machine is beautiful.

I really really want that 1060.

Gigabyte Aero has similar specs, not as expensive but also not as fancy looking. Can't vouch for it first-hand, but I do intend to go with one.

If you can step down to GTX 965M the Surface Book is a very nice piece of hardware.

It's really unfortunate you have to step down from a 1060 to a 965M but step up over $1k in price.

The new Porsche Design Book is basically a Surfacebook with a TB3 Port, so eGPU and TB3 Docks are possible!

Just wanted to say that I'm looking to an existing ultraportable and hearing stories about how poor Razer's quality control and customer service is (from /r/razer and from friends) means I won't be buying a Razer Blade Stealth.

It's a real shame, it fits the bill perfectly but Dell will almost certainly get my money for an XPS 13 instead.

Yes, I had an awful experience with the stealth also, though it had nothing to do with linux support (managed to get everything working).

Multiple hardware failures and eventually had to return it. They should probably learn basic quality control techniques before spending any energy on better linux support.

Apple prices?

At least in Australia, they're way cheaper than Apple.

Was looking recently and prices went:

Razer Blade Stealth < XPS 13 < Apple

I've had very similar experiences with their support on other devices, very displeased. For a mouse of theirs, I ended up writing a kernel extension to fix the issues myself.

I'm glad I read this. I was thinking of perhaps switching out of Apple for Razor, since the last MacBook Pro update.

I was initially going to skip the 2016 MacBook Pro myself, mostly because of their price, but I got one recently and it's actually a very solid and I would even say amazing machine. The need for dongles/adapters can be overlooked as a transitionary pain.

Honestly, the only real use I have for dongles is USB hard drives and displays, but for that case I can just get usb-c to usb-micro-3 cable and a usb-c to DisplayPort cable and I'm back into the same situation as before.

Exactly the same situation here. I guess the alternative is the Dell XPS 15?

same here. the macs are under powered and overpriced but razer's quality is not high enough imo. I had to return my razer blade because of the constant fan noise even on idle. I just can't even take it to meetings or work in quiet rooms

> the macs are under powered and overpriced

How do you figure they are under-powered and overpriced? Compared to what?

They have some of the fasted SSDs on the market [1], their battery has been reported to go for 18 hours after they fixed the software issues [2], and how many laptops do you know that have high-DPI wide color gamut screens? The Touch Bar is also actually a very nice new class of input device with lots of potential, especially once you've tweaked it a little. [3]

Even without counting the value of macOS, how many competitors offer the same or better overall features, AND good build quality and customer support? (which Razer clearly doesn't as you can see from the comments on this very page.)

[1] https://9to5mac.com/2016/11/01/2016-macbook-pro-ssd/

[2] https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/13/macbook-pro-battery-issu...

[3] https://alexw.me/2017/01/what-if-you-could-customize-your-ne...

Then again, I have yet to witness any laptop that is as quiet as a MBP. Every Windows laptop I've encountered, no matter if at university, at work or at home, had its fans spinning even at idle - while it takes a 2015 MBP to do a full recompile of all Macports packages to noticeably heat up, much less engage the fans.

It's a side effect of both Apples unibody aluminium cases which are way better at heat dissipation than any plastic based case and Apples extreme level of control - they can optimize every tiny chip as well as the OS to be as power efficient as humanly possible, which avoids creating heat to dissipate.

It's fair game to compare Windows laptops for their noise level but seriously, comparing anything with Apple for noise is unfair.

Yes, noise and battery runtime are the only two things keeping me with a MacBook. I'd be willing to compromise on other things (resolution, CPU, aesthetics), but there is still no alternative. But currently still happy with my 2015 MBP Retina.

That's the thing that people don't understand if they've never owned a MacBook. Build quality and noise are not in the specs, so they only compare it on price / power. Also some people just don't care that their fans are running constantly...

I'd add the touchpad to that... second to none imho... my logitech keyboard for my htpc feels about as good, but the fixed (not able to be adjusted) right click region is irritating over two/three finger clicks.

The biggest problem I have with Apple is that they've completely lost track when it comes to their core user group.

A modern MBP still can't have more than 16GB RAM, it has 0 legacy ports, and cannot be upgraded at all.

Yes it might be a perfect laptop for hipsters who just want to show off their MBP and do the occasional Photoshop, but without developers who create programs for OS X or professional users who make their entire company buy MBPs there will be no ecosystem to lure in said hipsters... more sooner than later.

How many developers actually need >16gb for normal work? They exist for sure, but I would posit that its only some vanishingly small portion in practice.

Anyone running a handful of VMs for DBs/apps/services while also developing Java or .Net "enterprise" (fat-stack) applications. It's pretty easy to hit very high usage.

I do mostly web-stack stuff with node, and chrome is probably my biggest offender... But I've also got multiple tabs in firefox open, not to mention VS Code and other desktop-ified apps (spotify, slack, etc). I do okay with 16GB... but I know when I fire up a windows VM with Visual Studio, man does it get tight.

For example when you work with dockerized enterprise CMSes on a Mac - you'll need 8GB RAM at minimum for the Docker VM, 4+GB for your browser, 4GB for the IDE (although IntelliJ can eat even more RAM easily!) and suddenly there is no more RAM.

Basically, you can easily use 32+ GB of RAM as soon as anything Java is involved. For what it's worth I usually don't do Java stuff but my Chrome RAM usage alone easily exceeds 8 GB. I could really use more than 16 GB.

Are you sure that shitty support isn't coloring your view of the machine? I've got a RBS+Core and a MBA. Aside from the MBP having a better keyboard (and obviously TouchPad, as it does vs any PC) it's a great machine.

It's funny, but the touchpad is what kept me on a MBP for my late 2014 purchase... love the touchpad... not sure if I can stomach it again when I get another laptop, as everything else I like about mac has either gotten stale, soldered on, or simply not providing enough value to justify the cost.

But the touchpad is far and above anything else.

Which specific firmware issues have you faced ? The stealth runs almost perfectly on arch, if you add a kernel parameter workaround (namely i915.enable_rc6=0 button.lid_init_state=open)

> they can't translate emails correctly

Between UK English and US English?

Not the OP but it sounds like Razer's Europe support is all in Germany and the issue is translating from German to (British) English.

Ah that makes more sense. I thought the OP was implying Razer is Chinese as I have seen others do.


I'm probably making it obvious that I'm American, here... but can you sue them?

What's gateway?

Computer vendor... known for capturing the low end of the market, let's say.

You should be asking who was gateway.

Any Razer engineers here? I'm a proud owner that would like to work with you directly to fix some of the remaining driver support issues.

Also, has anyone gotten the Razer Blade to work with the Razer Core thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis? On default Ubuntu 16.04 it picks up the thunderbolt hub, but nothing underneath. This would be an amazing laptop for machine learning if I could supercharge it with a Titan-X.

Also, consider a 32GB build for us developers...

I saw a demo of someone getting the external video card working, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7kUgkXeTDw

But it required patching BIOS to allow the user to toggle some legacy settings.

Interesting. I'll look into that. Thank you.

I'm not sure that is something that could be "fixed" in 16.04 unless you can convince the Ubuntu kernel maintainers to backport patches for PCI-E hotplug / thunderbolt support.

LTS releases (like 16.04) get hardware enablement stacks where X/kernel/etc gets upgraded to the versions from the non-LTS releases. So if you make it work with ubuntu 17.04 for example it will trickle down to the LTS users. Makes LTS a much more attractive solution on the desktop. I've stopped bothering with the intermediate ones.

I'm running a kernel that supports PCI-E hotplug & thunderbolt. That's not the issue.

FWIW the kernel in 16.04 does support that. But I've tried with newer kernels too.

This is great! I picked up a Razer 2016/1060 a couple months ago and have been running Ubuntu on it since then.

There's been a few issues, but overall it's been a great machine to transition to after a decade of Mac usage. If you're interested, it will require a bit of configuration (and even then its not 100% perfect just yet). See here for a list of issues/solutions: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jI2jlVi1V0H8SeNm5kspJ1qX...)

Feel free to ask any questions if you're curious about picking one up!

Once upon a time I installed Ubuntu on either first gen or second gen "Razer Blade" (since rebranded the "Pro"/17 inch) and the only real issue I had with it was the keyboard would send double input. Found someone who had put together a custom driver patch and it became usable.

I have been looking at the Razer Blade and the Alienware 13" recently and have been leaning towards the Alienware since I can replace the WiFi card...but if Razer brings 1st class support for Linux systems then I will have a much harder decision to make when I start looking again.

Ohhh, nice doc :D Looks like you found a few solutions that I haven't. Thanks for sharing!

No problem! Just to be clear, I can't take credit for the content of the doc or starting it, but I've found it very useful.

If you have a solution / issue that isn't listen - please add it as a comment on the doc :).

Thank you so much for this! I have a 2016 and I'm still struggling with Optimus, will definitely be looking at that link.

Well, I think I'll refrain from buying razer because of this: https://mobile.twitter.com/internetofshit/status/83665111681...

Worth noting that you can use synapse (the driver software in question) in offline mode. Launching it during the s3 outage wasn't possible without manually editing the config XML file, but you can change to offline mode directly in synapse if their system isn't down.

Once you're in offline mode, you don't get cloud sync (nbd, honestly, except for when I get a new machine) and everything else works fine.

So synapse is online by default and has bad error detection (should just fall back to offline on timeout), but doesn't, strictly speaking, require cloud services to work. Not great design choices here, but not as bad as it sounds.

source: I am an owner of a razer mouse, couldn't configure it in windows on S3 day until I changed my config.

That's absolutely worth nothing if you already have a Razer mouse, but it's still a good reason to avoid Razer hardware. This is not the sign of a company that has their priorities straight.

My razer mouse has a twelve button thumbpad on the side of it. It sounds kind of ridiculous but it's an amazing piece of tech. I got it for gaming originally (and still use it for that), but it comes in handy in a lot of regular-work environments.

So I'd personally be happy if there were synapse drivers for linux, as I do work in linux and I'd love to be able to program macros and whatnot onto those buttons like I do when I'm booted into windows. It is a fairly handy piece of software, and I challenge you to find a better seventeen button mouse.

That doesn't apply to Linux...

It might not, but what it does do is show poor decision-making skills by teams at Razer.

This is for their razor blade laptop, are you really going to avoid their entire line up because of that?

This isn't even the laptop, it's for Razer Synapses which is their cloud mouse/keyboard settings program. This is literally nothing to do with their laptop line up.

This seems to be how the world of Windows works. Every peripheral I have seems to need an account to save your settings in the cloud, a feature I pretty much never care about. Every vendor wants you to know that yes, you're using their thing, and that they employ an entire team of engineers and designers that have never seen a computer before. I wish someone would put a stop to it.

This is why I had reservations about many high end mechanical keyboards that had all their macro/lighting/etc support done via software. Found out that Ducky makes keyboards that are 100% hardware configured, no OS even needed, just power. (Also IKBC keyboards do configuration via firmware too, I believe.)

As for my mouse, I had to use some Corsair junk to configure the button mappings, sensitivity, and turn down their ridiculous LED, but then it saved the settings to the mouse firmware so I can uninstall it and use it just fine on Linux. No more touching it again. Still not happy about it. Would rather it had been some tiny DIP switches underneath.

Yeah, I got on board the mechanical keyboard train before it was cool, and as a result my keyboard has no software that can configure it. There's a DIP switch to make caps lock into control. Perfect.

I have a Corsair mouse, and their software is spectacularly awful. (Their other software is also terrible; like configuring fan speed profiles for the water cooler.) No account required, but the button configuration is horrendously complex and in the end completely useless. I never figured out how to make a mouse button show up to Windows as an extra mouse button. Switched to a DeathAdder, and while their software is also terrible, at least the extra mouse buttons show up to the OS as mouse buttons. (Razer's software is terrible in a different way; the UI is overdesigned and I don't want to type in a username and secure password to change my fucking mouse settings... but once you're in there, the software does actually work well, letting you configure what you want in a relatively straightforward manner.)

All in all, this stuff is all super gimmicky. I want the marketing people to know I bought their product _in spite_ of the software they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars developing. I would be happier without it. The company would be more profitable without it. The mouse is for pointing at enemies and clicking when their head is under the crosshairs. I don't need a "brand experience". I don't need fancy colors or "game optimization". Just translate my hand motion to input events. I'll do the rest. Thanks.

I suspect the marketing department got too much say in this part of what they are offering. The drivers seem to be ok otherwise (I use a Naga Hex mouse and a Nostromo one hand keyboard).

If they can screw up a mouse that badly why should I trust them with my entire system?

it's the same brand, I think if they have the tendency to do this for their keyboard and mouse, who knows what they'll end up doing with their laptops.

They use Synapse for everything now, you can't use any of their peripherals or do anything to the local hardware (even on the blade) without their bullshit cloud service.

If they're reading this, here's my wishlist:

1) 15.6 inch laptop (14 is too small, especially with those bezels).

2) As thin of a bezel as possible (see XPS)

3) Camera on top! I don't want to show my fingers in conference calls. This may force the bezels to be larger on top, that's fine. (Pop-out camera?)

4) Offer the highest quality display from a color reproduction point of view, not the refresh rate. This is NOT a gaming laptop, or at least not a pro one.

5) The resolution should allow me to use the OS without scaling. If you can squeeze more than 1080p (1440?) the better. We need vertical space for coding! Some folks like 4K, so that should be an option.

6) Connectivity is important; lots of ports. Also, Intel WiFi cards, not Killer.

7) The sound should at least be decent. I don't understand how a phone can have better (ok, lounder) sound than a laptop.

8) Give us an option to optimize for power vs battery life. I want the fastest CPU (within reason) and a good GPU (1060 or 1050, but ideally 1060) at the expense of battery life, but others would like more battery.

9) I'm picky about the SSD that goes into the laptop. Either allow me to replace it or allow me to pick what I want (960 Pro).

10) Good trackpad, ideally with buttons.

11) Good keyboard, super important...

12) Under 6lbs

13) Cooling has to be top notch and the air intake cannot be on the bottom. I actually use the laptop on my lap.

14) Height should be around 1 inch. Making it super thin like MBPs is not worth the tradeoffs.

15) That logo needs to go or at a minimum don't make it glow...

It IS a gaming laptop...

And basically all your points sum up to it being a radically different laptop than what it is. Why not buy something else than ask changes of what Razer fans love?

Currently, yes, but I was giving suggestions in case they want to branch out. They asked a few times on Twitter what a developer would like in a laptop. The wish list reflects that. Unfortunately, I couldn't find something that would check off most of the items above.

If that's what you want... then buy an Apple MBP, or a Dell. For a Developer that is already eying a Razer, a more reasonable response is probably "32GB, trackpoint, ability to charge via dock, Linux driver support" not "completely redo your design and form factor."

As a Game Dev and Networking Dev, i'm def. keeping an eye on the razor blade linux support. It is most assuredly a gaming laptop and I like that.

That's never going to happen. AT least under razer's name. 1. The difference between 14 inch and 15.6 is minimal at best, if you want a bigger laptop the blade pro is the only option. Creating a new line would be too costly.

2. The bezel is there to add space to the main laptops body to fit a proper cooling system for the gtx 1060 and 7700HQ

3. See 2.

4. The stealth and pro offer 100% Adobe rgb models (see razer's website) with the blade having 100% srgb and 75% adobe rgb.[1] Having a 100% adobe rgb version of the screen wouldn't be out of the question.

5. 4k already exists on all blade models

6. The port selection is ok. I wouldn't be surprised if razer follow apple and adopt 100% thunderbolt 3 + power connector (current power brick is at 165W). Connectivity on the pro model is very good.

7. For razer this really isn't an issue they believe that most people would be using headphones.

8. I'm pretty sure windows has a feature like this built into the power menu?? The pro has a 1080 and the 14 has a 1060. Both feature the 6700HQ/7700HQ

9. Already replaceable. Uses Samsung pm951. (note: its a M2 storage drive)

10. Already exists

11. Already exists (note that the pro model has a "low profile mechanical keyboard" which received mixed reviews also rgb is standard)

12. The pro is 7.80 and the 14 is 4.10. Depends if you think the extra power is worth it

13. Not enough space on the body

14. Never gonna happen. Razer has been about thinness and performance since the first blade. If you want a thick laptop clevo and alienware exist.

15. You can turn the backlight off in synapse

[1]: http://www.mobiletechreview.com/notebooks/2016-Razer-Blade.h...

That is a better wishlist for System76. I really like the Oryx Pro idea, but it would be better with several of your items, starting with thinner bezels.


My number one mod for a new Oryx Pro model would be to get rid of the numeric keypad, center the keypad and trackpad, and add really good speakers on each side.

I'm not too sensitive to weight, I'd buy one of the 17" models in a heartbeat...with a 1070.

So basically you want them to not make Razer product anymore, but instead your product.

I like this laptop - mostly what you described but it has pretty thick bezels on the sides of the screen: http://store.asus.com/us/item/201612AM300000148-ASUS+ROG+GL5...

They're more likely to be reading over at insider.razerzone.com, but I'd say they're probably most interested in hearing about compatibility issues rather than product design choices. Razer will still be Razer, but if you can suggest more Linux friendly components, their ears are open.

I've been using a Razer Blade 2015 as an Ubuntu-only computer for several years now, and I've recommended it on HN in the past. It's been a great machine, and Linux works surprisingly well. (Of course that means that there are some minor problems, but "surprisingly well" is high praise in the world of Linux on laptops.)

Lots of people here complaining about build quality issues, but mine has been completely solid. The only issues I've experienced are some of the keyboard keys are losing their matte black printing, which is surprising but not fatal.

Additionally, at first I had a hard time getting a Blade that did not have a screen with a pink-to-white tint to it. However this appears to be an issue with all IPS panels--my Nexus 6 has the same issue and you can find people on Apple forums complaining about similar problems on Macbooks. Razer support was very helpful, and they hand-checked a unit to send me as a replacement, which is the one I'm using to this day.

In short, I'd continue recommending Blades for development work as Linux machines, and even moreso if they can iron out the usual Linux driver issues that plague all laptops.

Edit: I should also add that my limited experience with Razer support has been good, in that I got personal replies from people who didn't seem to be reading from a script, and who were happy to accommodate my returns and pickiness about screen quality.

What is battery life like for you? I tried Ubuntu on an Asus laptop 4 years ago. Windows would get ~7 hours, while Ubuntu barely managed to get 3 hours.

I love using it on desktop, but it sucks (sucked) on laptop when I used it.

Try using tlp and powertop to diagnose the issue (your CPU might not be entering low power C states -- a common problem with older kernels that don't support the latest Intel CPU architectures), so also upgrade your kernel.

Linux has consistently gotten 1.5x as much runtime on battery for me as Windows.

For readers confused as I was, the Facebook post only says they're "looking at" better Linux support. The author buries in a comment a target for flawless Linux support[1].

But I'd expect if flawless Linux support was actually their goal they'd announce it more prominently, which they did not.


I wasn't sure about their commitment either, but on the linked page, Min-Liang Tan (Razer CEO) comments:

"Well - our objective is to get the Blades to be running Linux flawlessly."

That seems like Razer is setting a clear target for Linux support.

Under promise but over deliver!

Razer's Synapse, or cloud based drivers seem like a huge step backwards. Needing to make an account so I can change the sensitivity of my mouse is crazy.

I've heard the argument

* they needed more space on the device so couldn't include the drivers and configuration

* cloud drivers allow portability of configuration

Both of those fall on their face in reality. Lan gaming is mostly dead since most multiplayer games are online and memory space is cheap.

you can run synapse in offline mode.

Still worth avoiding. It's a bad precedent to have hardware on the "cloud" for no reason. I still need to interface with their online service to use my offline device. Having a keyboard capable of calling home is not something I want any part of.

Only if you're logged in already. Just look at their Facebook page during the S3 outage, on which Synapse relies on. That software is just a piece of crap.

I think the developer community right now is siganificant enough to offer a meaningful market for smaller shop like Razer. If they manage to deliver a relatively well-built (not to the level of apple, something close to xps or thinkpad), with solid linux integration, slightly expensive (like 10% over the mass market models with equivalent hardware spec), I will buy for sure.

I don't own a Razer, although I've been thinking about buying one. My understanding is they're top notch, maybe even on par with Apple, if you get one without issues. They have above-average defect rates and way-below-average customer support. If you check out forums or /r/razer you'll find some people gushing over their laptops, and many complaining about support.

I'm a gusher myself, and I'm super picky. I looked for backlight bleed, dead pixels, scratches, unlevel feet.

If you're worried about buying a lemon, they sell them at the Microsoft store. In stock. You can buy and return all in the same place.

Please also add trackpoint[0] so that we thinkpad (linux) users can be more comfortable considering switching to your platform.


I know some people love them but compared to the massive glass trackpad with multitouch that I have on my MacBook I don't understand the appeal. Is it a portability thing?

I won't vouch for the productivity savings from moving your hands less, since I think that's an absurd micro-optimization. Rather, I prefer it because I find it to be quick and accurate. After a week or so of getting used to it, when I first got a ThinkPad that only had it, it became the most natural and comfortable way of navigating. Not having to repeatedly paw at the bottom of the laptop and confort my hand to make a click (or deal with a single-finger click0 has been nice.

Mind you, I'm only speaking for the real ThinkPad trackpoints. The one in a Dell laptop I had for work was nowhere near as comfortable, and felt slippery and awkward.

Exactly, it is about not having to "paw". I own a 2016 MBP and even with the massive trackpad I end up having to swipe and reposition at least a couple times for big movements, unless I set the sensitivity to a level that makes precision movements impossible.

disabled touchpad, <3 trackpoint

I have not used a Thinkpad in 10 year but I have never seen anything that compares to the Trackoint. Anything else has always given me the urge to use a mouse.

It's a not-having-to-move-your-fingers-from-home-row thing. It is extremely important for people like me that suffer from repetitive strain disorders, if we want to keep maximum productivity.

Precisely my experience. RSI changed everything, and I find it hard to explain to those that have never experienced it.

Buses and airplanes are GREAT reasons for the nub. When you're already in really cramped space, sometimes it's elbow gymnastics to move your hand down to the touchpad, and the nub allows fairly quick/accurate mouse movements without bending your wrist into some weird contortion or elbowing the person next to you.

I fell in love with it after building a large bulk of an app on the 17 express bus over the course of a year.

Adding to what others already said: for me it's more precise and easier to use trackpoints when inside a vehicle - train, bus, car, airplane - and the vehicle is moving.

Keep your fingers on the home row. Much faster.

Love the nub!

Trackpoints are better when in a cramped situation such as air travel. No readjusting of elbows are required when switching between keyboard and trackpoint.

Yeah or please don't.

I definitely do not think adding an archaic input to a gaming focused laptop is a killer feature, nor should it be configurable, at least on this brand.

Hey, the pointing stick is an excellent input device. They are used in joysticks and gamepads all the time - hat switch and analog controller are essentially the same thing with slightly different implementation.

It works much better for many kinds of games actually than a touchpad. Heck, I'd take two or four of these in a gaming laptop, you'd essentially have a gamepad included with a real keyboard.

As a huge gamer, yea, that type of input makes sense _on a controller_ type form. In the middle of a keyboard doesn't make sense _on a gaming_ focused machine.

I really like someone stepping up and making a high quality linux laptop. After the thread yesterday about System76 (who I thought was doing that) this makes me really happy. It's also somewhat a threat to Apple. If you aren't doing any iOS development you will now get a really nice alternative to a Macbook Pro.

Aren't Dell doing this well already with their XPS series?

Really not impressed with my XPS 13. The screen automatically changes brightness depending what is shown on it (dynamic brightness). The touchpad works really poorly, detects palm touches as clicks all the time. Nearly impossible for me to type without clicks. Messing with settings reduced palm clicks but made the pad unresponsive to clicks from my finger.

Had lockups until I upgraded kernel and flashed now BIOS. Audio had really loud hissing until I opened alsamixer and set controls to exactly the right values (got of a wiki page). To be fair, the audio is noisy on Windows 10 too.

My old Lenovo X200 works nearly flawless on Linux. Again, pretty disappointed with Dell.

I haven't tried an XPS, but the Precision 7xxx stuff definitely qualifies. My 7510 came with Ubuntu, and the experience was just as polished as any Windows machine (better in some ways, as they had configured their way around some Skylake-specific issues that still affected Windows at the time).

They are but all my experiences with Dell have been really subpar so I am almost permanently turned off from them. The XPS Developer Edition does look interesting though. But I am biased towards Razer because I am a gamer and would love to have a laptop that is great at development and great at playing games.

How about thinkpads? I really enjoy my t450s.

Since Lenovo's three spyware scandals, I'm never touching one again. I love my t410, but it's showing its age (or, has been for years) and as much as I wanted to go with Lenovo for a new machine, I can't bring myself to buy something that's MITMing my TLS connections or has firmware that persists spyware. These issues may be fixed in the newer models, but the company has lost all trust in my eyes.

From what I understand this issue never affected their Thinkpad line.

Dell is much closer to this than Razer. Razer hasn't stepped up yet. To quote Tyler Durden, "Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken."

I mean, I you weren't already doing iOS dev, why have an overpriced paperweight like a MBP?

It's a high quality linux-ish environment and has a huge ecosystem of developer tools. You can get almost anything that runs on linux on your MBP and you can also get a ton of things you can't get on linux that come from Apple or from enterprise companies.

It's also probably the number 1 dev environment for a ton of use cases so you get support and network efforts in the ecosystem. Are you a fullstack dev? Then OSX is for you. You have all your IDE, servers, Chrome, etc up and running very quickly.

If by 'almost anything' you mean 'some, mostly using node.js or ruby', then yes. Otherwise, no. For example, Docker has to run a Linux VM underneath to just work.

Both linux and macos have different strengths and weaknesses, and one is not a fully capable replacement of another, not even just for the cli/daemon stuff.

I'm writing this on a rMBP - and there are still reasons to ssh into a centos box.

The thing is on a MBP I can run a Linux VM, which is good enough for almost everything. The reverse is not true.

There is a ton of good software for macOS that isn't available on Linux.

Docker is an extreme example. Of course things relying on Linux-only kernel features are unlikely to run natively. You'll find plenty of compiled stuff on OSX (wkhtmltopdf, freeciv, postgres, inkscape, clojure, etc., etc.).

I know, I run postgis+mapnik on OSX. It is quite PITA to build, postgres clients usually link against wrong (system-supplied & ancient) libpq[1], everything links against wrong (system-supplied & ancient) zlib, half the things link against wrong (system-supplied & ancient; see the pattern?) sqlite, etc. Yes, it is problem with the build scripts, but I don't have an ambition to fix all the packages, and Linux packages do not have this problem. Actually, they have usable and maintained binaries just a single yum command away, so you are up and running in no time, compared to solving build env problems in OSX.

[1] - /usr/lib/libpq.dylib is especially annoying offender. Most dylibs are at least fat ones, but this one is x86_64 only. That means, when you want to build a fat binary of some libpq client, and it is being linked against system one, the build will fail. That includes building i386/fat version of postgresql itself.

So use a package manager like homebrew?

- Adobe + general creative apps

- Functional command line + command line developer tools

To chime in, I recently (this week) purchased a new Razer Blade laptop (1920x1080) with the intention of dual-booting windows and linux, as a permanent replacement for my MBP.

I have to say, the build quality seems top shelf. The laptop itself is a sturdy feeling machine. It booted up out of the box just fine, and within a bit I was supporting 2 player rocket league on an external 34" monitor with no problem.

After some fussing about, I finally got Antergos up and running on a smaller partition, and now it's working flawlessly.

I am not a linux guru, so I had to bash my head a little bit, but here I am...

I cannot speak anything about the quality of the customer service, or how long this laptop will perform admirably (obviously), but so far I am extremely happy.

edit: I should say that I received the laptop today (at time of writing) and getting linux up and running only took a few hours of my uneducated self faffing about.

For many of Razer's peripherals, there are some very well supported reverse engineered drivers: https://github.com/terrycain/razer-drivers

Slightly off topic: I was about to ask, in this day and age of responsive web design, why do Facebook, Wikipedia and others still have m. -prefix websites? On further reflection I can only assume it's in order to provide a bandwidth constrained alternative, rather than just a visual change. Still, these look like crap on a desktop, and it's a frustrating leak of implementation details when someone posts a link to Wikipedia from their phone, and suddenly I'm looking at a weird design on desktop. They're so good at detecting when people are on a small screen and redirecting to .m - couldn't they please do the reverse too and redirect from .m to the normal version for desktop clients?

And if someone needs a bandwidth constrained version on desktop (developing countries and people trying to avoid data roaming fees come to mind), then maybe we could come up with a better way for clients to tell this when requesting pages, rather than try to infer it from screen size?

A counterpoint: I frequently use the mobile version of sites on desktop because they're lighter, and I like just being able to use m.

I have a 14" Razer laptop from 2016. I am currently running Windows on it, and FWIW I have never been more pleased with a laptop.

I wonder if they will add compatibility for the Razer Core on the Linux side of things.

Currently, requires modding the BIOS.


Hopefully, that changes in the future.

I'll just put it this way: BIOS updates require purchasing a Razer Core or RMA'ing your entire laptop. Not a lie. Not an exaggeration. It's the truth for Blade and Blade Stealth owners.

The experience is borderline terribad. I got things (mostly) working with Linux Mint, but:

1) Runtime is maybe 2 hours. 2) It won't sleep when you close the lid (I have sleep hotkeyed instead) 3) The USB support is loltastic 4) External HDMI connector worked for a week then quit 5) Takes 3 hours to fully charge the battery

I could go on but it's Friday. I had really high hopes for this laptop and was ultimately let down by Razer. They should stick to making their peripherals work with Linux, then they can put on their bigboy pants and try to make an entire system.

They control the hardware. Linux is open source. This is their problem. Why do they need "feedback, suggestions and ideas on how we can make it the best notebook in the world that supports Linux."

I discussed this with the CEO a while ago on Twitter https://twitter.com/minliangtan/status/447658322544439296

I think their best bet would be to have someone at the company work specifically on Linux issues. Dell did this and made a handsome return on their investment.

I currently use a Dell Developer XPS, but would definitely consider the Blade as a candidate for my next laptop if they were good about Linux compatibility in their next release.

I'd love to work there on improving Linux support.

Here's my damage report for running Linux of a late 2016 Razer Blade Stealth laptop: https://www.reddit.com/r/razer/comments/5orvy5/late_2016_rbs...

Calling it now: Razer is going to eat Apple's share of the *nix-based developer market over the next few years.

This is a quick way for me to buy them instead of a new MacBook Pro. Awesome to see someone step up to the plate!

I brought a used razer blade stealth laptop from my colleague.

He said it wasn't that bad, but it overheats easily and CPU is almost always forced down clocked because of it. So it didn't achieve the performance he expected from the spec.

Razer Blade Stealth is almost perfect in spec. Built-in 4K display with NO NVIDIA GPU. That's great for the linux. Unfortunately, it's too thin. Not only it's bad for overheating, it doesn't have many useful ports. Especially the Ethernet.

I can't understand why the computer, advertised as the gaming laptop, doesn't have Ethernet.

I don't use it long enough to evaluate it, but so far, it's good for a portable toy computer.

Anyone else own a Razer mechanical keyboard that doesn't work in GRUB/BIOS menus?

I have a Black Widow Stealth and it works great... except not in BIOS menus or GRUB menus. In those cases I have to plug in my old keyboard to get a response.

You may need to enable legacy USB support in firmware and hope it works with your machine or mainboard.

Other than that, some of the advanced devices initialize too slow and firmware is not waiting on them long enough.

I recently purchased a Dell Precision 5520 because its linux support is terrific (or, it was on the 5510). If they pull this off then the next laptop I buy will almost certainly be a razer. No question.

Can you clarify?

Given your praise of the Precision 5520, why would you get something else next time?

I was in the market for a new laptop and strongly considered the 5510/5520s. They look amazing even when seen from the perspective of coming from a MBP. That said, the video cards on that series are optimized for CAD and not for gaming. If you are looking at a Razer at all, then you likely have some need for the gaming support, but if you bought the Dell, you are probably airing on the side of sensibility. If Razer were to make reliable products then the Razer Blade would be the perfect thing.

I recently bought a new laptop after considering the two above. My final choice was one I wouldn't typically wouldn't have made: MSI Ghost GS63VR. I needed to have the computing and graphics power at a low enough price point that I could afford to bounce back if the laptop goes bad (the first one I bought last week failed within 2 days).

At first I thought the coloured keyboard on most of their systems was useless, but I wonder if I could rig it up to switch colour based on vim mode. That might be fun. Is it controllable from software?

There's an SDK for interacting with all Razer Chroma enabled devices, so it's doable.


Yes. Razer Synapse is quite thorough.

Non-mobile link:


dang, can we get the link changed to this since most phones will redirect to the mobile version, but for some reason, people haven't figured a way to redirect to desktop versions from mobile?

As a counter point, the mobile version works without javascript. That's important to some of us :)

That's interesting. Thanks for letting me know!

If you are not doing Rails work, do people find Linux that much more productive these days than windows?

I generally buy Thinkpads because of the keyboard and cost (upgrade myself), and used to use Ubuntu probably 85% of the time. Overtime I have found myself doing more and more in Windows, because of both drivers and battery life.

For sys admin in makes sense, but for general dev work, I tend to find everything works just fine on windows, plus it makes day to day usage easier.

I got a 2016 Blade recently and installed Arch Linux on it. The only thing I found problematic so far was Nvidia Optimus, which seems a general issue.

A few days late here, but Nvidia Optimus is a general issue on all platforms, including windows. I raved for years about linux graphics support being crap, to the general amazement of the rest of the linux community. When I switched to windows, I found I had the same problems I did on linux. Oops.

Yea, the bbswitch stuff hasn't really been maintained. For my most recent Linux laptop I went with a Dell XPS 13 so I only had one graphics card to worry about.

Not a gamer, but wanted a better mouse so I bought some razor mice products over the years, required internet to setup/huge bloated driver/software package, and then hardware wise the build quality wasn't there. Gave up on them and went to the Apple mouse, much happier (didn't realize at the time but gestures are much nicer than buttons if you're not a gamer).

This got the attention of Alberto Ruiz at RedHat...

Muhahaha, my plan is working! ;)

Interesting that Razer is targeting Linux before macOS. I bought a Logitech mechanical keyboard (G810) and mouse (G502) primarily because they are the only manufacturer that offers first-class drivers for their products on macOS.

EDIT: misread HN headline; article mostly about Linux support on their laptops so comment is somewhat moot.

Not really - Razer makes devices for gamers, and macOS support for gaming is abysmal - no Vulkan support, poor OpenGL implementation, no VR support... you name it. So focusing on Linux makes more sense for a gaming hardware.

As a datapoint from someone who uses razer software on macs: I use razer hardware with my macbook pro at work. I have a razer keyboard, a pretty LED firefly mouse pad and a pretty LED razer mouse and razer's "Synapse" software mostly works, but I definitely feel like razer has a long way to go with software in general. It forgets settings, the update process is weird, and compared with Corsair or Steel Series software it is definitely not as good. I tried the Razer nabu watch and its software was worse in every way when compared to a pebble. Bluetooth connectivity had issues, step tracking, sleep tracking, it was all significantly worse than a PT. I love razer hardware, but their software skills seem to be still catching up.

This is for running Linux on Razer Blade systems.

Ah, that appears to be the case. This is what happens when you only read the HN headline. :/

Razer stuff comes with OS X drivers. I don't know about theirs or Logitech's being all that 'first class', though.

I have never seen a mechanical keyboard that required drivers. What abou that Logitech keyboard requires a driver?

Keyboard drivers provide additional support for controlling LED backlight color (many of them are RGB per key) and for managing 'macro' keys which send bulk key sequences.

Both features are popular in the gaming community. But they are also useful in other ways, I've got a mod which blinks the F11 key when I've got a meeting/appointment coming up (for example)

> I've got a mod which blinks the F11 key when I've got a meeting/appointment coming up (for example)

Huh, that's a clever idea. I should look into that!

This is why I bought a Ducky keyboard, which does all this via an ARM controller/firmware right on the board. Zero software for my macro, lighting, settings, etc.

Interesting keyboard, challenging manual :-). Having ARM Cortex-M chips as controllers really opened up the abilities of keyboards.

I've been collecting a list of features that I'd like if I had a completely hackable keyboard (or built one).

Yea, the only thing I'd like more is a firmware that would let me just straight up tweak it with C or Rust code, or Lua if performant enough.

I'm wondering if any of the DIY keyboard controllers are hackable. That'd be a nice future project.

It doesn't require the driver, but it adds functionality, such as mapping function keys to shortcuts and customize the keyboard lighting. For the mouse, it also allows DPI configuration, which is very useful.

Presumably to change the colors of the LEDs

These laptops are WAAAAAAAY over priced for what you get. I got a MSI G Series GS70 STEALTH-037 17.3-Inch Laptop and love it!!! Solid as a rock, always stays up to date firmware and plays Battlefield 1 smooth as butter. Plus 2 hard drives and you can connect 3 monitors.

I can't recommend them enough.

I used an MSI laptop for over a year as a Linux/primary dev laptop:


I now have a desktop and put Windows back on the lappy to play games, but it was an excellent Linux dev device, although I did have to get Wi-Fi working myself as I was an early adopter.

I never did get Bluetooth working, but after putting Windows back on, Bluetooth still didn't work and I realized it was a faulty adapter. :-/ One day I'll open it and replace it, but for now I just use a USB adapter.

If you use a laptop for Linux dev, you'll most likely struggle with some hardware that's not supported yet (although I've been very lucky with ever Dell being supported by the mainline kernel and latest linux-firmware).

Getting hardware working is the _fun_ part. :)

Razer owner for many years now. Love it, best gaming device I have laid my hands on. Comparisons with Apple don't make sense. They are targetting different audiences.

I mean, this is one of those things where either you're a real company, or you're not. Half a company is, like, supply chain management. The other half is, pushing the perspective beyond the horizon. Razer solve all the supply problems, obviously, or else there wouldn't be a working catalog, but as far as pushing things beyond the event horizon, signs are that there is much more to come.

Look at it this way... what Apple did with NextStep in 1999, Razer, et al., could be doing right now, finally, and catching up. With Linux.

Only 20 years behind the ball, but .. then again .. these are not yet $Billion companies. Yet.

This is confusing. It looks like they opened up a forum for users to discuss Linux support on their machines. Have they done anything at all beyond that?

The CEO said, hey, I want my laptops to run Linux flawlessly. Let's work on making that happen together. Here's a forum. Let's get some feedback on what we can do to better support Linux in future hardware.

This is a company that makes prototype laptops with three displays :D The dude will sink time and money into this if that's what he wants.

Give me Triple Display Notebook - Project Valerie [0], for under 2K, I will throw my Macbook Pro. This will be my dream Development machine.

Its interesting we have Game/Business centric notebooks. No Development centric notebooks.

[0] https://www.razerzone.com/project-valerie

If they just made the bezel more like XPS I'd be handing over my credit card right now.

Fix this enormous basel and ad support for 32GB memory and there will be no competition ...

It is either bezel or thickness if you want proper cooling in a small laptop - only 17" ones are likely to get away without either.

Or you can stick with low power cool hardware but that defeats the point of the gaming laptop.

But why? Linux desktop and Linux gaming are deader than democracy is in America.

Ok, I'll bite. I'm on Windows 7 right now, and in the market for a new machine (on a lenovo t410). When I get a new machine, I can go with windows 7, but it's much easier for me to just go to win 10. But win 10 scares me. An OS that shoves advertisements and pictures of Trump into my start menu, as well as includes a keylogger, advertisements in my lock screen, etc screams to me of "corporate spyware!!" and every part of me that wants to keep some shred of privacy just can't accept the tradeoffs.

So, stay on an OS that's two versions out of date, or upgrade to a Windows Spyware Platinum. I hate Macs/OSx so that's out.

OR install linux, run windows apps in a VM, and hope more games come out for linux. Hell, I can even dual-boot win 10 and play games there. Seems like a decent option.

32GB RAM and a TrackPoint/pointing stick, please.

I would also vouch for FreeBSD on Razer laptops.

FreeBSD laptop support is really specific and limited. I got FreeBSD-11 working perfectly on a Carbon X1 1st gen ... but the motherboard on it is going out and it likes to reboot randomly now (checked the ram, SSD and tried updating the BIOS .. BIOS update fails with a beep code whose only forum response on Lenovo's website is "return for warranty." :-/)

If you want FreeBSD on a laptop, check their wiki/list. There is a small subset with full suspend/resume support right now.

Why would BSD Desktop need a powerful laptop? What applications are you running on a desktop BSD?

It's okay to vote me down but I really am wondering what Desktop BSD are doing? I have been an old Amiga guy that ended up finding a home with Linux. I tried BSD several times and have BSD running a server at my home. My experience with Desktop BSD just didn't see where you would use the available application that would need a strong computer except for developing for BSD?

I would assume the exact same applications that Linux users will be running. Maybe few VM in beehive as well.

i keep wondering whether i should check out razer or dell for my next laptop, but i can't give up my thinkpad keyboards.

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