February 11, 2010 -- There are some community projects like Lomoco for providing configuration controls for Logitech mice under Linux, but this project and others have not exactly moved along at a brisk pace even though mice drivers are much simpler than say graphics cards or most other hardware components. For Razer mice, there was RazerTool, a simple project to provide some basic tweaking options for select Razer mice under Linux, but that project has been defunct since early 2007. Even with the lack of configuration tools or specialized drivers for Razer mice (or keyboards and other peripherals) on Linux, we still end up falling in love with their hardware as the build quality of their products are phenomenal, the products we have tested have been designed very well, and they really have just been excellent products. Back in February of 2007 we tested out the Razer DeathAdder, which was an example of a great Razer product and received our Editor's Choice Award, but today we are trying out the 1800 DPI version of their DeathAdder gaming mouse.
January 08, 2010 -- While wireless chipsets are not as complicated as graphics processors, under Linux they can cause just as many headaches when it comes to getting them working reliably. More hardware vendors have opened up to supporting their wireless chipsets under Linux, but still it can be a pain having to hunt down the firmware for a wireless adapter, needing to build an out-of-tree driver, having issues with the driver such as with WEP/WPA authentication, or if all else fails trying to get the Windows driver working under Linux through ndiswrapper. However, for those looking for a PCI-based 802.11g/n wireless adapter that will work "out of the box" with modern distributions like Ubuntu 9.10, one that we have found to do the job is the Encore ENLWI-N.
October 02, 2009 -- Most often we are faced with testing out the latest motherboards, processors, and graphics cards to see how well they work with Linux under different conditions and a variety of tests. While those are obviously the components that most Linux users are concerned with when it comes to Linux compatibility and performance, plenty of peripherals to this day don't work under Linux or will only do so to a limited extent or after jumping through various hurdles to get a half-working device. With mice for instance, they generally will work fine when plugged into any modern desktop Linux distribution, but with some of the gaming and high-end input devices not all of the buttons will be detected or other features will not work. When a company came along that we never heard of, Mionix, claiming to offer some of the best gaming products, curiosity got the best of us and we decided to see how well the Saiph 3200 from this unheard of company would work on the Linux desktop.
September 18, 2009 -- When setting up my new office recently one of the test machines wound up being a distance away from the rest of the systems and the wired network. Rather than going through the hassle of dropping a CAT-6 line to this test station, the quicker and easier approach was to just pickup another USB WiFi adapter. The wireless adapter ended up being the MediaLink USB54G that offers USB 2.0 and 802.11g support, but only mentioned compatibility for Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, and Vista systems. How did the MediaLink USB adapter working out under Linux? Quite well.
September 02, 2009 -- Back in February we reviewed the NZXT Cryo LX, which was a massive notebook cooler made of aluminum that packed three 120mm fans and support for up to 19" widescreen notebooks. With not many individuals having 17" and 19" notebooks compared to 15" and smaller, NZXT has now introduced the Cryo S that is better sized for smaller notebooks and netbooks. The Cryo S cooler uses just two 120mm fans that can be run off USB or an AC adapter and there is an integrated two-port USB 2.0 hub.
August 25, 2009 -- While nearly all of our Linux benchmarking work at Phoronix is automated through the Phoronix Test Suite, it is still grueling and time-intensive work to setup all of the test systems, handle the management of the testing, and of course writing all of the articles and news posts. As a quick break from all of our Linux hardware testing and software benchmarking, the folks at Sumo Lounge asked to send out their Omni Bean Bag Chair. The Sumo Lounge Omni has been reviewed in many computer and gaming magazines as a great piece of furniture for computer gamers and has been featured in other publications like Playboy and Hooters Magazine.
August 17, 2009 -- Last year we reviewed the SilverStone Treasure TS01, which was a 2.5-inch hard drive enclosure but what had made it unique was its use of two RFID keys, which unless in the close vicinity to the device, would impair the hard disk drive from functioning. This was a nice security buffer, but SilverStone has been at it again refining their products and seeing what else they are able to achieve. As part of their Raven series, which includes products like the unique RVM01B mouse and beautiful Raven RV01 chassis, there is now the Raven RVS01. The RVS01 does not have any RFID tags or any advanced security measures, but it does offer eSATA connectivity.
August 03, 2009 -- Back in November we reviewed the Logitech G15, which was a well-built keyboard and offered a nice set of features, albeit it came at a lofty premium. The G15 sported a "GamePanel LCD" at the top of the keyboard which was a mini programmable LCD. This was nice and with some manual setup procedures would work under Linux. However, for those that may be looking for such a display or just looking for a smaller device to help with gaming, there is the Logitech G13. The G13 is not a traditional keyboard but rather an "Advanced Gameboard", as described by Logitech. It is effectively just an input device for your left hand that comes with 25 programmable keys along with a mini-joystick and at the top is a GamePanel LCD.
July 20, 2009 -- It is not often that we look at audio products at Phoronix. Usually we are looking at sound cards with their Linux driver, like the Creative X-Fi Linux fiasco and the ALSA drivers for high-end sound cards. Occasionally we will look at gaming headphones and we have even looked at multi-million dollar home theaters, but in this review, we are checking out a simple 2.1 speaker system. The folks over at Xoxide recently sent out the Altec Lansing VS2421 speaker system, which we are testing out this morning.
July 01, 2009 -- Razer has long been known as a manufacturer of high-end gaming mice with such prestigious products as the Copperhead, DeathAdder, and most recently the Lachesis. Razer has also expanded to offer other products such as the Barracuda Sound Card, Tarantula Keyboard, and the Piranha Gaming Headset. Razer's products generally do not come cheap, however, recently they have begun offering lower cost products such as the Arctosa Keyboard, which is still built and designed well but is a step-down from their flagship product lines. Most recently, Razer has now further entered the entry-level gaming mouse product with the introduction of the Salmosa, which is a sub-$40 USD but still promises high precision with its 3G infrared sensor.