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Linux-driven Comet Lake laptop offers security features and dual 4K display support

Jul 3, 2020 — by Eric Brown 783 views

Purism’s 14-inch, $1,199 and up “Librem 14” laptop runs the Linux-based, security-enhanced PureOS on a hexa-core Comet Lake-S and offers dual NVMe-ready M.2 slots plus dual 4K displays via HDMI and DP/USB Type-C.

Purism has replaced its earlier, 13-inch Librem 13 laptop with a 14-inch Librem 14 model. Thanks to a smaller bezel, the 322 x 220 x 17mm laptop has a nearly identical form factor. The system is available for pre-order starting at $1,199 early bird pricing, with shipments due in early Q4 2020.

Librem 14
(click images to enlarge)

Like other Purism products, including the recent, 8th Gen Whiskey Lake Librem Mini mini-PC and Librem 5 smartphone, the Librem 14 is preloaded with the privacy and security reinforced PureOS. It similarly offers hardware kill switches to disable the webcam/microphone and WiFi/Bluetooth.

Whereas the Librem 13 and the still-available Librem 15 started with a 6th Gen Skylake CPU before being updated to a dual-core, 7th Gen Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U, the Librem 14 advances to Intel’s first hexa-core U-series processor: the 6-core, dual-threaded Core i7-10710U from the 10th Gen Comet Lake-S family. The 15W TDP chip starts at 1.1GHz with up to 4.7GHz Turbo.


System76 Oryx Pro

Other Linux-based laptops with Comet Lake include System76’s $1,623 and up Oryx Pro. The 15- or 17-inch laptop runs a new System76 Open Firmware stack with coreboot on an octa-core, 2.3GHz/5.1GHz Core i7-10875H with a 45W TDP.

The Librem 14 is equipped with a 14-inch, IPS matte screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio. The aluminum constructed laptop also provides a full-size keyboard.

The base price gives you 8GB DDR4-2133 but can load up to 32GB — twice the limit of the earlier Librems. For storage, there is a microSD slot and dual NVMe-ready M.2 slots, one of which is preloaded with a standard 250GB drive. Storage options range up to 2TB NVMe.

Librem 14 with HDMI and DP connected 4K displays (left) and side views
(click images to enlarge)

The Librem 14 ships with a GbE port and a Qualcomm Atheros 802.11n
WiFi radio with Bluetooth and dual antennas. For the same price, you can choose an airgapped model that lacks wireless.

Other features include 2x USB 3.1 host ports and a USB 3.1 Type-C with power delivery and support for DisplayPort. Together with the HDMI 2.0 port the system can drive dual 4K displays. An audio I/O jack is also onboard.

As before, the 1.4 kg system promises 7 to 9 hours of battery life. A DC jack and power button are available along with an optional, $59 adapter. There is also an option for a $29 privacy screen.

The Debian-based, open source PureOS provides end-to-end encrypted and decentralized storage and communications plus support for VPN services. The company promises to respect user privacy and ownership of data and offers ad blocking and tracking protections.

The system ships with open source coreboot with SeaBIOS and offers optional Heads-based Pureboot “tamper-evident firmware.” Pureboot disables and neutralizes the Intel Management Engine (IME) to reduce the system’s attack surface and avoid the IME’s rumored backdoor. Other security options include the OpenPGP-enabled Librem Key USB security key dongle and anti-interdiction services.

Further information

The Librem 14 is available for pre-order starting at $1,199 (early bird), a discount from the eventual $1,499. Shipments are expected in early Q4 2020. More information may be found in Purism’s announcement, product, and pre-order pages.


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