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Acer Aspire V5-131-2887 Notebook Intel Celeron 847 (1.1GHz) 4GB DDR3 Memory 320GB HDD Intel HD Graphics 11.6
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: This is a light, inexpensive notebook great for taking Linux on the road. I typically run Gentoo, but as this notebook only has a 1.1G dual-core processor I decided to forgo the pain of continuous compilation and installed the LTS Linux Mint 13 KDE 32-bit edition instead. I used a USB DVD reader with a downloaded Mint ISO and a wired connection to my network, and the installation proceeded without a hitch. After Mint was installed I was able to ditch the wired connection and ran on the WiFi connection instead.

Austin H. has a good review that matches my experience, so I'm not going to repeat it, other than to note that the backlight actually does work (see the Cons.) Like him, I removed the internal hard drive and installed an SSD instead. Removing the bottom of the case is easy (pop off the battery, take out one screw, and slide the cover), as is removing and replacing the drive. There are some good videos on youtube showing the process.

Cons: On the one hand, it's great that the manufacturers are beginning to support Linux by providing notebooks without the Windows tax. On the other hand, one can barely call the Linpus OS 'support'. It's obvious that this is still a Windows notebook with Windows simply stripped out. In particular, the BIOS is a bare-bones affair crafted to fulfill the minimum needs of Windows and only vaguely hewing to the official BIOS specifications, such as they are. The result is that it takes more effort and twiddling then it should to get everything to 'just work'. I'm still awaiting the day when Linux is treated as a first-class citizen by the hardware manufacturers and not some begrudged stepchild.

Some cons:
- the display backlight does work. However, to make it function I had to edit the grub2 file '/etc/default/grub' and add 'acpi_backlight=vendor' to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX= line and reboot. The backlight keys then work. They are a bit slow and jumpy, but sufficient.

- the SD card reader doesn't work. As of this review, this appears to be a regression/bug in the Broadcom BCM57765 driver related to power management. There's a kernel patch floating around out there, but I wasn't sufficiently interested to apply it, as I don't have much use for the slot myself.

- like most laptops/notebooks, the touchpad is a pain when typing. Whenever possible I prefer a mouse, and Fn-F7 works fine to toggle the touchpad on and off.

- No USB3.

Other Thoughts: Please don't buy this expecting a plug-n-play device. You have to have enough skill to install a real Linux distribution. It's not difficult, but if you don't understand what I just wrote, buy something else.

As Austin H. said, I wish more of the hardware manufacturers (and Newegg) sold systems like this. However, I also wish they would do a better job of tailoring those machines for Linux, both by adhering better to hardware/firmware standards and by not reserving the better hardware for Windows devices. (For example, why does the Windows version of this model get the touchscreen and the USB3 ports?)

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LG USB 2.0 Super-Multi Portable DVD Rewriter with M-DISC Model GP50NB40
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggs Works as advertised on Linux 03/05/2014

This review is from: LG USB 2.0 Super-Multi Portable DVD Rewriter with M-DISC Model GP50NB40

Pros: I bought this to use in conjunction with an Acer Linux notebook. For a test, I plugged it into my desktop Gentoo/KDE system, which recognized it instantly. I tried dvdbackup on a CD-R video I had previously recorded on my desktop DVD burner, and it read the whole disk without issues. I then burned a few ISO images with the K3B program to some CD+R disks I had lying around. They passed the verify check, and K3B reported an estimated write speed of 7.84x; fairly close to the advertised 8X speed.

Cons: Like all slim portable DVDs it's mechanically frail with the drive door extended--treat it gently. The provided USB cord is exactly 23" long so this drive will have to reside close to a USB A socket.

Other Thoughts: I bought this device primarily for its M-Disc capability, which I'll test later when the disks arrive. This device will join my 3-1/2" USB external floppy drive in my collection of hardware intended to fight off long-term obsolesence by the manufacturers of 'permanant' storage solutions.

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SAPPHIRE FleX 100322FLEX Radeon HD 6450 1GB 64-Bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: I replaced a 6570 with this card because I do a lot of engineering (software and hardware) and needed three monitors. It fits fine in my Shuttle SH67H3 and--being fanless like my old card--is nice and quiet. I'm running the open source radeon driver on my KDE desktop Gentoo Linux system, driving three 1920x1200 Dell monitors with no problems. Compositing effects still work fine, and I didn't take much of a hit at all on my OpenGL graphics performance, which in my case primarily involves CAD stuff, not gaming. Basic Linux 3D games like tuxracer, Scorched3D, and the like still run fine, and I don't even notice any slowdown with X-Plane 9. I also have a SiliconDust HDTV box on my network, and this card has no problem driving a full 1920x1080 HD video broadcast on one of the three monitors while doing work on the other two monitors.

Cons: If you're interested in Linux gaming, move on. None of the Unigine 3D demos will run with the open source driver at this time. They might with the binary fglrx driver, but I'm not interested in finding out. I'm sure the performance would be less than spectacular in any case.

The other thing I notice about this card is that it runs 3-4 degrees hotter than my old higher-performance fanless card. I attribute that to the smaller heat sink on this card. Not an issue really.

Other Thoughts: The open source radeon driver uses so little of the 3D hardware potential of a video card that I see very little difference in OpenGL performance between my older, more powerful 6570 and this 'in theory' lesser performing 6450. That may change in the future.

For everyday PC work I'm not aware of any other video card on the market that is both fanless (quiet) and can drive three monitors easily out of the box on a Linux desktop.

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Robert J.'s Profile

Display Name: Robert J.

Date Joined: 10/06/04

  • Reviews: 3
  • Helpfulness: 3
  • First Review: 08/21/13
  • Last Review: 03/11/14
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