Last August, a piece of my own computer equipment died at work. It was a Dell Dimension 8300 desktop that my father-in-law had given me. In my municapl career, this system was near and dear to me, because it served as my Linux training computer and as a primary workstation. Using it as a primary workstation speeded up and made deeper my Linux education. All in all for an older hyper-threaded CPU computer, it was pretty fast, robust, and a great system.
To replace this system, it was agreed I could purchase a pre-installed Linux system with comparable hardware. Having had good luck with System76 http://system76.com/ with laptops, I chose to purchase a Ratel “Value” system, and proceeded to get it set up as a test system.
It basically sat with very little use until last week. I tried an Informix SE database copy. This is an unauthorized refresh that works. Basically, you delete the current database directory and all files, then copy over a new database directory and its files.
That copy time went from 2:17 on a Thinkpad T61p Dual Core 2.xG 4GB RAM to 1:40 on the Ratel. I immediately decided the Ratel would become my permanent workstation, and would act as my desktop (email, web browsing, including hosting test versions of our database applications).
All in all, I am pleased with System76 hardware and their support response. And, yes my laptop had a goofy motherboard and needed replacing earlier this Fall. My view of companies is you do not know how good they are, until you deal with them under problem conditions.