Librem 14 Hardware Questions

Hi, I was wondering if anyone knows a bit more about the hardware going into the Librem 14. I’ve listed a few questions below.

  1. Display:
    a) What’s the refresh rate?
    b) Is it a TN or IPS panel?

  2. RAM:
    a) What’s the clock speed of the RAM Purism has chosen? I think the 10710U supports 2666 MHz so I assume it’s this.
    b) I read that it’s still possible only one DIMM slot will be fit into the 14. Have there been any further updates on this?

  3. USB:
    a) I think that there’s no thunderbolt support for the usb-C port, does that mean it can’t transmit power and video simultaneously? (sorry - I’m unfamiliar with thunderbolt)

  4. Wireless Radio:
    a) I know that the 802.11n standard is capable of communicating over 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies, but is the Atheros card that Purism has used capable of transmitting/receiving at 5 GHz?
    b) I read this post [] and completely understand why Purism went with the ath9k driver. But does that mean that if the ath10k driver becomes free, I can just update to enable the 802.11ac standard without upgrading the wireless radio card hardware itself?
    c) Is the wireless card removable (i.e. replaceable)? (actually I think this [] answers the question)

  5. Camera:
    a) What is the recording resolution of the camera?

  6. Speakers:
    a) Does the 14 come with in-built speakers? If so, how easy would it be to unplug them from the motherboard?

  7. Battery:
    a) What’s the battery capacity?
    b) I suppose it may be too early to have a sense just yet, but is there any indication of the battery life?

Apologies for asking so many questions but I just know I’m going to have to pay an arm and a leg more in tax as it would need to be shipped to the UK, and I’m keen to know as much as possible beforehand.

If you’re able to answer any of the questions, I’d really appreciate it :slight_smile:

I don’t think I’ve exauhsted my search through old Purism blog posts so feel free to just point me to one of those I might have missed.

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Hi, I can answer few of your questions.

  1. a) Likely 60Hz b) IPS
  2. a) 2666MHz is the maximun supported speed (with SO-DIMM DDR4), but Purism might also ship with lower speed RAM as that is also supported
  3. Yes, the USB-C port can be used simultaneously to deliver power and for external display output.
  4. Yes it comes with speakers, the connection might be at either side of the motherboard so might be easy, might not be.

1a) up to 60Hz

1b) IPS

2a) right, up to 2666, depending on availability we may also ship lower speeds but try to get 2666 as much as possible (RAM sourcing can be a problem sometimes which is why we need to keep this open)

2b) we can confirm two SO-DIMM slots, the laptop will also work with just one module installed but best performance is achieved with two identical SO-DIMMs, then dual channel RAM access becomes available

3a) Thunderbolt is not available, right. We will have two type-C connectors, one left and one right. The right one is a full function type-C including PD (power delivery, for charging) and DP alt mode (i.e. Display Port alt mode for video output

4a) yes, the QCNFA222 Atheros card uses the 5GHz ISM band for WiFi, though it does not support the higher bandwidth of 802.11ac

4b) the ath10k is a different hardware so you would at least have to replace the M.2 WiFi/BT card for that

4c) yes, see 4b), it is a standard M.2 2230 wireless card

5a) max. is 720p

6a) the speakers are connected to the main board with detachable connectors, so this is pretty straight forward, but you have to open the case for that. The case is kept close and steady by a number of screws, no glue.

7a) we are currently looking into giving two choices, 45Wh and 55Wh. The 55Wh option has 4 cells, the 45Wh 3 cells, i.e. the 4 cell battery is larger and will block the second M.2 2280 SSD slot. Some may choose a larger battery over two storage slots, some may prefer two storage slots. We will announce the options shortly.

7b) we are ATM still developing all the firmware stuff and due to the CPU shortage we described in a recent blog post: we have not yet been able to test this fully with the final CPU, the samples we have received from production so far had smaller CPUs of the same generation - good enough for firmware development but not for power consumption testing. We will update this as soon as we have real numbers. But I expect the battery life time to be pretty good.

Though let me add a word or two concerning battery run time. There are a number of major power consumers in a laptop:

  • LC display backlight
  • GPU driving the display output
  • SSDs
  • CPU itself
  • RAM

Power consumption will vary a lot depending the use of the above units. Cranking up the display backlight to 100% will eat heavily into your power budget and we can not do much about this. If you constantly drive a changing picture to the display rendered from the GPU, this will cost additional energy. Accessing the SSDs for reading or writing will prevent them from clocking down the high speed interfaces, eating power. And then of course there is the CPU consuming really a lot if it is busy, along with the RAM - DDR4 RAM also consumes quite some energy.
What I want to stress here is that even trivial stuff like some animation of something on a web page in a browser window can significantly eat into your power budget reducing your battery run time by hours - seriously. So if you want to get the maximum battery run time it is also in the user’s hands to be careful when opening applications and what these actually do. This has become more and more important in recent years where CPU makers like Intel optimize power consumption mostly for the idle case and less for the busy case.



Will it be possible to order a 55Wh and a 45Wh battery and swap them at will? (of course with the understanding that the end user would need to open the case).

I really hope that there will be a 55wh battery option. The reason is that I want to be able to use my laptop for 10h-12h per day without charging. If I take the psu with me it adds weight and is inconvenient. And the battery loses capacity over time.

Currently I m running a ThinkPad T450s, i7-5600u, 2.5" SSD, 12GB RAM with 24wh and 72wh battery on Linux which gives me 15h + productive wifi battery life.

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