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Harold G.

Harold G.

Joined on 09/25/04

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 6
Most Favorable Review

HTPC Linux

AMD A4-5300 - A-Series APU Trinity Dual-Core 3.4GHz (3.6GHz Turbo) Socket FM2 65W AMD Radeon HD 7480D Desktop APU (CPU + GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic - AD5300OKHJBOX
AMD A4-5300 - A-Series APU Trinity Dual-Core 3.4GHz (3.6GHz Turbo) Socket FM2 65W AMD Radeon HD 7480D Desktop APU (CPU + GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic - AD5300OKHJBOX

Pros: Inexpensive, fast, and low powered. Decent GPU. The processor was ~90% idle during DVD playback in XBMC (at 1.4 GHZ pstate). Handles 1080 blu ray mkvs w/ no issue.

Cons: The only thing I can think to put here is: For proper support for this APU in Linux, you need a very modern Linux distribution, with the latest Catalyst drivers.

Overall Review: I am running Arch Linux on this, using Linux kernel 3.6.11. As reported by the powernow-k8 module, there are 6 p-states on this CPU: 1400, 1900, 2300, 2700, 3000, and 3400 MHz. It also reports that core performance boosting is on.

Excellent hardware - a Linux-centric review

ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 Intel Core M 8 GB Memory 256 GB SSD 13.3" Ultra-Slim FHD Aluminum Laptop Windows 8.1 64-Bit
ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 Intel Core M 8 GB Memory 256 GB SSD 13.3" Ultra-Slim FHD Aluminum Laptop Windows 8.1 64-Bit

Pros: CPU: Intel Core M-5Y10c, 500-800mhz (2ghz turbo), 2 cores with hyperthreading. Has VT-x enabled. If you are hesitant about purchasing due to this CPU, don’t be. Its more than fast enough for most tasks. It also stays quite cool. The hottest I have seen it is at 44 degrees celsius. There is no fan, so there is no noise from the system at all. Network: Intel 7265 wireless. Probably not as good as the Atheros AR9462 in my previous laptop. I suspect the main reason for this is probably the aluminum case. Possibly power saving. Its still quite good, my NFS mount is quite fast and reliable over wireless. The included USB network adapter is a Realtek 10/100/1000, using the Linux r8152 module. It works quite nicely...I needed to pull in the Intel wireless firmware. Not sure how much I will use it in the future. Graphics: Are OK in Debian Jessie at the moment. The biggest issue is lack of hardware decoding at the moment. The acceleration method defaults to UXA, not SNA. Regular internet/word processing use should be fine. None of this is Asus' fault, and shouldn't be an issue with other distros using newer packages. SSD: SanDisk SD7SN3Q2 M.2 SSD. I benchmarked it at 510 MB/sec read and roughly 300MB/sec write. By default, its split up into 5 partitions, the EFI system partition, the Microsoft reserved partition, The Windows 8.1 root partition, an empty data partition, and finally, the recovery partition. I shrunk the Windows partition to 32GiB and removed the empty data partition. Using a live 64bit EFI flash drive, I pulled a rsync backup of my other laptop’s Debian Jessie filesystem over to this one, after adjusting it for space. Memory: 8GB DDR3 @1600mhz. Board lists max capacity of 16GB, but its soldered in. No upgrading it. I’m using the Linux zram module, which compresses memory...works quite well. Display: LCD is quite nice. Its a matte IPS, with great viewing angles and minimal glare. Probed as an AUO (AU Optronics) B133HAN02.1, model 212d, connected via eDP1. Power Consumption: I was able to get every tunable to ‘Good’ in powertop, with the exception of ‘VM writeback timeout’, which I don't care about. On battery, the powertop tool shows a discharge rate of between 5 and 8 watts. The display is reported as the largest consumer using this tool, at 5.9 watts @ 50% backlight setting. The 8 hour battery time is probably quite close, perhaps even understating it a bit. Mechanical/Case: Quite solid. Nothing sharp. Rear display housing will keep some fingerprints. Display module, when opened, pushes the back of the keyboard slightly up (has two little nubs on it). The keyboard is comfortable to type on, none of the keys are spongy. You also may want to change the behavior of the OS after pressing the power button, as it is on the keyboard, in the upper right corner. Uses small torx screws for its bottom case, t4s or t5s by the look of it (compare that to equivalent Apple products, that use proprietary pentalobe screws).

Cons: Trackpad: The trackpad is the worst part about this machine. There is a very small amount of play in it. Detected as ‘ETPS/2 Elantech Touchpad’. Personally, I really dislike trackpads with software right click button, and use custom xorg synaptics settings to modify its behavior. This translates to: one finger click=left click, two finger click=right click, three finger click=middle mouse button. I found the trackpad frustratingly inaccurate in Windows, but with tweaking, it may be ok. Case stickers (I am nitpicking here): Does it really need to have an energy star or HDMI sticker?

Overall Review: EFI Firmware: American Megatrends Inc. BIOS, which seems to only boot 64bit EFI (wasn’t able to get it to legacy boot MBR). I disabled secureboot. No updates are out yet, but it looks like it can be upgraded from within the firmware, using a flash drive. Hitting esc key at startup brings up the boot chooser/setup. I was tempted to put Windows 8.1 under cons, but I don't want to be that guy. If you like it, great. It just isn't for me. It would be nice to have a Linux model, with the same hardware, minus the cost of the Windows license, whatever that is to Asus.

great card...great price.

Rosewill RNX-N180UBEv3 - Wireless High Gain N300 Wi-Fi Adapter - IEEE 802.11b/g/n, (2T2R), Up to 300 Mbps Data Rates, USB 2.0 Cradle, 5 dBi High Power Antenna
Rosewill RNX-N180UBEv3 - Wireless High Gain N300 Wi-Fi Adapter - IEEE 802.11b/g/n, (2T2R), Up to 300 Mbps Data Rates, USB 2.0 Cradle, 5 dBi High Power Antenna

Pros: I am using Debian linux wheezy with this card. It works great. No errors were spit out when I put it into master mode. Excellent speed/stability when tethered off my phone (even though the driver is in linux kernel 3.2.0 staging area).

Cons: The module for this card, r8712u, isn't reloaded properly after a suspend to ram. The module has to be suspended before a suspend to ram. Make a file in '/etc/pm/config.d/' with the following in it: SUSPEND_MODULES="r8712u"

Overall Review: It requires enabling of 'non-free' packages in '/etc/apt/sources.list' and the installation of the 'firmware-realtek' package. lsusb: 0bda:8172 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8191SU 802.11n WLAN Adapter

a debian linux review

OCZ Vertex Plus R2 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) VTXPLR2-25SAT2-60GB
OCZ Vertex Plus R2 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) VTXPLR2-25SAT2-60GB

Pros: drive passed read/write badblocks test (mkfs.ext4 -ccv /dev/sdb1). it is also pretty quick, considering i'm using an older board w/ an nvidia ck804 sata 1 controller running in ide mode. factoring in rebate and 56GB usable space, its about .89 cents/GB, which is pretty good.

Cons: to date, nothing.

Overall Review: off a live usb disk i created, i used partclone to do a device-device copy, from my old drive (an old 40GB) to this new one (the command was 'partclone -b -s /dev/sda -o /dev/sdb' iirc...can't remember if i had to specify the partitions to copy or not). i added noatime (to reduce disk i/o) and discard (to enable trim) to my drive's entry in /etc/fstab. i also rewrote the boot loader, via a chroot, for good measure (grub-install /dev/sdb). Timing cached reads were ~ 730 MB/sec. Timing buffered reads were ~ 143 MB/sec.

great for dell replacement

Rosewill DER-A400 Continuous 400W ATX12V v2.01 DELL Replacement Power Supply
Rosewill DER-A400 Continuous 400W ATX12V v2.01 DELL Replacement Power Supply

Pros: Works in a p4 dell dimension just fine.

Cons: Paying a premium for a power supply without a off/on switch.

Overall Review: I had to replace the power supply in a friends dell. The case wouldnt permit a power supply with a on/off switch. It was either this or the hack saw with another power supply.

nice card reader for the price

Vantec USB 2.0 58-In-1 Internal Card Reader/Writer with Built-In USB Port for 3.5" or 5.25" Drive Bay - Model UGT-CR905
Vantec USB 2.0 58-In-1 Internal Card Reader/Writer with Built-In USB Port for 3.5" or 5.25" Drive Bay - Model UGT-CR905

Pros: Works in 5.25 and 3.5 bays. Works in ubuntu 10.10.

Cons: None

Overall Review: Connects to a main board usb jumper. Make sure you have a free one or buy a pci card that has a jumper on it.