Posts Tagged hardware

The Samsung 960 EVO 250G and Linux. How Well Does It Work?

๐Ÿ“… June 8, 2017
What? Your M.2 NVMe SSD is not fast enough and you want faster speeds?

I have had superb, speedy success using the Samsung 950 Pro NVMe SSD in Linux. Everything from system installation, booting, and everyday usage is a resounding success — even on a Z87-based motherboard.

With the release of the newer Samsung 960 EVO, would Linux performance be as good as or better than the 950 Pro?

Having finally acquired a Samsung 960 EVO 250G SSD for myself, it was time to find out.

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The EVGA GTX 1060 SC and Linux Mint 18.1

๐Ÿ“… May 30, 2017
Running Linux at high resolutions with fancy desktop effects works well on low-end graphics cards, but I wanted smoother performance, silent or near-silent graphics, and plenty of ports for different monitors. What to do?

Why, look for a new card, of course!

The latest 1080 line from Nvidia is overkill for my needs, but the 1060 is perfect. I wanted smoother desktop effects compared to the older Radeon card I had been using, and when I found the EVGA 1060 SC 3GB graphics card on sale, it was a must-buy.

Featuring lower power consumption, more cores, higher clock speeds, five ports to connect a variety of monitors, and favorable performance (in case my original plans on Linux are lackluster I can still use this card elsewhere), this 1060 card is a winner for my humble needs.

There are two versions of the GTX 1060: a 3GB version and a 6GB version. After pondering various benchmarks and reviews, I saw almost no difference between the two versions (other than the huge price difference at the time), so I chose the 3GB version. After all, it was on sale comparable to theย cost of a lesser 1050, which only had three ports.

The real questions are these:

  • “How does the EVGA GTX 1060 SC perform in Linux Mint 18.1?”
  • “Is it easy to install drivers?”
  • “Does it even work at all?”

Here is my experience installing and using this card with Linux Mint 18.1 64-bit.

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Adventures with the Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler

๐Ÿ“… March 21, 2017
Whrrrrrrrr. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Whiiiiiiinnnnnnnne…

Guess what? It’s a noisy CPU fan on a stock CPU heat sink. Can we do better?

Is an improvement available that results in lower CPU temperatures and near-silence fan performance?

One CPU cooler that I am impressed with is the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. Whenever I build or upgrade a Linux system, I usually purchase one of these little marvels because it works reliably well with almost no noise.

I upgraded the stock AMD CPU cooler on a Linux system using an APU in an FM2 socket because it was too noisy and inefficient. What did I replace it with? Why, the Hyper 212 EVO, of course!

Here are some pictures…

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The Plugable USB 3 Ethernet Adapter and Linux

๐Ÿ“… January 25, 2017
eth01USB 3.0/3.1 is fast enough to accommodate almost any external device at full speed. This includes network adapters.

Need an extra RJ-45 network port on your system? Do you have a portable netbook or laptop thatย you need to plug into aย LAN quickly?

The Plugable USB 3 ethernet adapter is a small device that allows you to connect a computer to a LAN through a USB port. It offers full duplex throughput up to gigabit speeds if connected to a USB 3.0/3.1 port. And best of all, it is 100% plug-and-play compatible with Linux.

Here are my results after using this device with Linux Mint 18.1 and USB 2/3/3.1.

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Asus Xonar DSX and Linux

๐Ÿ“… January 23, 2017
coverBuzzzzz. Whiiiiiine. Zzzzzzzzpt. Beep. Beep. Bi-bi-bi-bi-biiiiiip.

On an inexpensive, low-end motherboard utilizing an ALC892 audio system, these are the analog sounds heard through headphones when moving the mouse.

Dragging windows. Selecting portions of an image in GIMP. Moving the mouse cursor. Every time the wired USB mouse moves, electronic interference is heard in the form of annoying beeps and buzzes.

Would a dedicated sound card improve the existing motherboard audio? I was immensely impressed with the superior audio quality of the Asus Xonar DX sound card, so I thought I would try a lower-priced version: the Asus Xonar DSX sound card.

Here are my results with Linux Mint 18.

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Experience Better Sound in Linux with the Asus Xonar DX Sound Card

๐Ÿ“… January 13, 2017
coverSo, you have finally constructed your ultimate tower of silicon greatness featuring quad SLI, NVMe storage, 4TB SSD data, 4K monitors, the latest multi-core CPU, maxed out RAM, and…what? You’re still using motherboard audio? You poor thing. Let’s fix that.

This article looks at the Asus Xonar DX PCIe sound card running in Linux and compares it with existing motherboard audio featuring the ALC1150, which is found on most higher-end motherboards these days.

Is there a difference in sound quality between a dedicated sound card and motherboard audio? Here are my tests and opinions from using the two myself.

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Adding USB 3.1 to Linux

๐Ÿ“… January 10, 2017
coverLinux supports USB 3.1 in the kernel. Why not show Linux some love and give it the hardware to use?

‘Tis a pity, but USB 3.0 is slow. Well, slow compared to SATA 6Gbps and the blazing fast M.2 NVMe. USB 3.0 tops out at ~440 MBps for external SSDs while SATA maxes out at ~540 MBps…depending upon the quality of the SSD.

Let’s go faster!

That is what USB 3.1 is for. The best part is that the prices have fallen, and you do not have to wait for future USB 3.1 motherboards. If you are running Linux, then you can add USB 3.1 to your existing system now. Even if your motherboard is an older model that only supports USB 3.0 and PCI Express 2.0, you can install inexpensive PCIe USB 3.1 cards to provide the faster ports and reap the benefits.

This article looks at the QICENT Dual-port USB 3.1 PCIe card and tests its performance on two different motherboards with PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 2.0.

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