Linux Hardware – How Well Has It Performed? Part 2

📅 July 3, 2017
Here are three more items that have stood the test of time:

Let’s compare how well they have performed over time with Linux.

Acer Aspire One 722 Netbook

Tron: Legacy 1080p Blu-Ray playing on the Acer Aspire 722 Netbook.

First Use: ~2010-2011

After almost seven years of usage, this Acer Aspire One 722 mini marvel holds up well. The display is as bright and crisp as the day I opened the box and without any dead pixels. The battery life, while not as great as its original condition, still lasts about three hours…and this is close to seven years later. I still use the original battery, and it continues to hold a decent charge for medium-length usage.

Originally this netbook included a slow, crippled Windows 7 Home edition laden with bloatware, but it runs 64-bit Linux great. Even Xubuntu 17.04 runs fast and snappy with full Linux features and compiz effects for smooth graphics performance. In my experience, Linux — going as far back as Ubuntu 10.10 — runs better than Windows on this netbook.

One of the best upgrades is DDR3 8GB RAM, since this allows virtual machines to run smoothly. If you have this netbook, a RAM upgrade is probably the best improvement available over the stock 2GB RAM.

Other netbooks have come and gone, but this reliable system continues to prove its usefulness. The Aspire One 722 has outlived the Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook and the Acer Aspire One AO756.

Pros

  • Convenient mini-computer that runs Linux well.
  • Serviceable parts.

Cons

  • The annoying hardware BEEP when the power cable is connected when the system is on. Ug! WHY was this built into the system without a way to disable it?
  • No longer available unless purchased used or found as leftover stock. However, it sells at a low price today. Well worth the money for an inexpensive backup computer.

Cyborg R.A.T.7 Mouse

Cyborg R.A.T.7 Mouse. Various parts can be adjusted, replaced, and customized for maximum manual comfort. A very precise mouse.

First Use: ~2011-2012

Another fine piece of hardware. Though I like the M.M.O.7 better, the R.A.T.7 is also an excellent modular mouse for those who enjoy finely-tuned customization. This mouse was later sold by Mad Catz, and it still performs well to this day.

Buttons are responsive, and the laser tracking is precise. Like the M.M.O.7, the R.A.T.7 still suffers from the unresponsive button issue in Linux — even with the latest 2017 distributions and 4.10.17 kernel, but this is remedied by modifying xorg.conf with a custom mouse button mapping (see the R.A.T.7 page for details).

 

Cons

  • The mouse still works flawlessly, but the matte plastic has become sticky over time. This gives the mouse an “icky” feel to the touch. However, a thorough scrubbing with rubbing alcohol removed the sticky grime and restored it to a smooth, shiny feel.
  • No longer easily available.

Mach Xtreme MX-ES SLC USB Stick

16GB USB 3.0 SLC device. Reads and writes average about 160-180MB/s.

First Use: 2014

If an award existed for “Fastest USB Stick,” then the Mach Xtreme MX-ES would win…or at least still provide competition today. As an SLC (Single-Level Cell) device, this USB stick is fast…very fast! It is USB 3.0 that easily performs at ~170MB/s for writes and ~160MB/s for reads. It is one of the few USB devices I have ever used where the write speeds were faster than the read speeds. Many times, depending upon the data transferred, reads and writes would measure at ~180MB/s.

It continues to offer speedy performance to this day with every version of Linux that I have tried. Despite the speed, it is a pity that this USB stick did not become as popular as its potential.

 

 

 

Pros

  • Fast! USB 3.0 Fast at ~180MB/s (maximum measured speed).
  • Metal enclosure for a durable device. No plastic except in a few areas.

Cons

  • No longer available at a reasonable price…if found at all.
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