Not often do we look at computer accessories at Phoronix, but every once in a while some product looks interesting for whatever reason and we decide to try it out. With this review, we are looking at the AluStand from Artwizz. Artwizz is a company that is based in Berlin and was founded in just 2004 as a manufacturer of iPod and iPhone accessories, but since then they have branched out into developing other innovative products primarily designed for Apple devices, but other notebook computers too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Razer is a company that began by producing high-end gaming mice like the Copperhead and since that point they have ventured into other gaming products like high-end sound cards, headphones, and mouse pads. Back in 2006 we looked at the Razer Tarantula, but the Arctosa has now succeeded that gaming keyboard. The Razer Arctosa is a moderately priced gaming keyboard that offers macro keys, media keys, 1000Hz Ultrapolling, and other features to entice gamers. The big question though is how well this keyboard with all of its functionality works under Linux.
Last year we reviewed the OCZ Alchemy Elixir, which was the first keyboard we looked at from this company that once was just known for their system memory and power supplies but since have ventured into all sorts of gaming products. The OCZ Alchemy Elixir was a nice keyboard, but now joining their peripherals line-up is the OCZ Behemoth -- a laser gaming mouse with a 4-way LED display, 18 grams worth of customizable weights, and an adjustable DPI sensor.
Logitech is one of the leading manufacturers of computer peripherals, including keyboards and mice, and with that, they have an immense selection of products. Among the different Logitech mice are ones with interchangeable grips, custom-color LEDs, and even an air mouse, but one of the newest members of the Logitech MX family is the MX1100. The Logitech MX1100 is a cordless laser mouse that is designed to not only be wireless but also provide extremely comfort. Will this Logitech cordless laser mouse work under Linux though?
While a relatively simple device, web-cameras are still an area on Linux that can be problematic when it comes to compatibility and the device functioning properly. The level of Linux support for USB web-cameras has improved quite a bit in recent years, and for many devices it is now a plug-and-play experience, but that is not the case for all devices. In this article we are taking a brief look at the Logitech QuickCam Communicate Deluxe. The QuickCam Communicate Deluxe has a 1.3 mega-pixel sensor with the capabilities to capture video up to a resolution of 1280 x 1024 at 30 frames per second.
Quite infrequently do we look at cooling products at Phoronix, but when something interesting comes along, we certainly snatch up the opportunity to look at something new and unique. An example of this is with the Noctua NH-U12DX, which is a heatsink designed for Intel's Xeon processors, but it does not share many traits with most workstation/server heatsinks. This tower heatsink with three heatpipes can also be setup in an air-duct design for dual Xeon systems where a the 120mm fans can push air across two NH-U12DX coolers.
NZXT is a company that started out by producing unique computer cases designed for computer enthusiasts and gamers that were built well, were not based off designs from other manufacturers, and carried a distinct set of features. We have reviewed several NZXT cases at Phoronix, but with time they have expanded to produce other products. One of their first non-enclosure products was a NZXT power supply, which has now led to a complete series of NZXT power supplies, and a thermal controller that can be installed into a 5.25-inch drive bay. Their latest venture, however, has led them to producing a notebook cooler. The NZXT Cryo LX is a large notebook cooler made of aluminum, has an integrated four port USB 2.0 hub, and uses three 120mm fans for active cooling.
With the holidays quickly approaching, if you are looking for a new 802.11g wireless router to connect a few more gadgets to your network but not looking for something expensive, you may be interested in the NetGear WGR614 Wireless-G Router. This wireless router with four 10/100MB Ethernet ports is fairly basic when it comes to its feature set, but from our testing we've found this router that sells well below $50 USD to be quite reliable for home use.
A few months back we had looked at the OCZ Alchemy Elixir Keyboard, which was designed for gamers and was built quite nicely, but it had fallen short when it came to the multimedia keys working under Linux. Though if you are looking for an advanced keyboard that works quite well with Linux, you may want to check out the Logitech G15, which works under Linux and even with its small LCD display.
While SilverStone Technology has long been known for their high-end (and very expensive) computer cases such as the Sugo and Temjin series, as of late they've begun manufacturing other computer peripherals while driving new and interesting innovations into these conventional products. Earlier this month we looked at the SilverStone Treasure TS01, which was a 2.5" SATA drive enclosure, but separating it from the other enclosure devices on the market, this one would encrypt the drive and secure it using two RFID keys. If these small keys were not exposed to the TS01, the drive enclosure would not work. Another interesting creation from SilverStone Technology is the Raven RVM01B. This here is SilverStone's first computer mouse and we are looking at it today.
Over the years of Razer launching new products such as the Copperhead, Barracuda HP-1, and Tarantula, we have been completely overtaken by their incredibly well-designed products -- primarily their high-end gaming mice -- and the bar they continue to raise with each new iteration of products they introduce. The Razer Copperhead was one of their best mice to have been introduced and it contained a laser sensor with 2000 DPI capabilities, but their newest mouse is the Lachesis and it uses a 4000DPI 3G laser sensor. However, with Razer having yet to provide any drivers or customization software for the advanced capabilities of this mouse on Linux, is the Razer Lachesis worth its expensive price tag?
When thinking of OCZ Technology what comes to mind? High-end DDR3? DDR2 with large and unique heatspreaders? Their Neural Impulse Actuator? Chances are you're thinking of them for their memory products they've been manufacturing for eight years, but not for any OCZ-branded keyboards. However, OCZ has done just that and they've introduced their very first keyboard targeted towards gamers. The Elixir Keyboard is part of OCZ's growing Alchemy series of gaming products. We're not terribly surprised that OCZ has introduced a keyboard, seeing as this company is extremely innovative and has been on the fast track since acquiring PC Power & Cooling and Hypersonic PC last year. Today at Phoronix we are checking out this first OCZ keyboard named the Elixir.
Aten, have you ever heard of them? If you haven't, it's not because they are a newcomer to the market place, as they actually have been around for nearly 30 years, but they focus all of their efforts on manufacturing KVM switch solutions. These KVM switches just aren't limited to simple multi-port analog switching, but they have a variety of enterprise-grade switches, IP-based switching, embedded solutions, HDMI switches, and many other products. One of Aten's newest products is the CS1782 DVI KVM Switch, which is designed for homes and small offices and has support for not only handling two systems with keyboard, mouse, and DVI monitor switching, but it goes beyond that to offer surround-sound audio and USB switching as well. In this review we are looking at the Aten CS1782 KVM DVI Switch.
Back in 2005 we were introduced to Hiper Group, a company that started out in the United Kingdom with dedication towards delivering the best quality, design, technology, and price for every Hiper product. We had reviewed the Clavier Aluminum Keyboard and Type-R Modular PSU from Hiper, but since then they have turned to offering an impressive variety of power supplies, case fans, cases, and other computer peripherals. While a simple product, one of their newer creations is a DVI to HDMI cable. This cable is made of 24 gauge wire with EMI shielding and gold-plated connectors, but at an affordable price.
Last month we had looked at the Gigabyte AirCruiser N300 GN-WI30N-RH 802.11n WiFi adapter. The wireless adapter uses the Ralink RT2860 chipset, which doesn't have a Linux driver in the kernel, but we were able to easily get this 802.11n wireless adapter working with Ubuntu when using ndiswrapper and the Windows driver. Today we have our hands on the Gigabyte AirCruiser N300 Dual GN-WI06N-RH, which is a PCI Express Mini-Card with dual-band 802.11a/b/gn support. How well does this Atheros-based WiFi card work on Linux? We'll tell you in this review.
We haven't looked at a new Razer product since February of 2007 when reviewing the DeathAdder, but with products from the Copperhead to the Mantis, we have been impressed with their exceptional quality. The Razer Barracuda AC-1 did initially have some problems with Linux, but those have since been worked out with the ALSA Snd-Oxygen driver. Today up on the review block is a new Razer audio product and that is the Piranha Gaming Communicator, which is a headset designed for gamers with true-to-life audio quality and a noise-filtering microphone.
We have looked at many Gigabyte motherboards and graphics cards at Phoronix, but this computing company also maintains products in the mobile and communication sectors with such products as Bluetooth adapters, VoIP devices, Ultra Mobile PCs, wireless routers, and 802.11b/g/n wireless modules. Today we are checking out our first Gigabyte wireless product as we review the AirCruiser N300, which is a MiniPCI 802.11n (draft) wireless adapter. This wireless adapter uses the Ralink RT2860 chipset, and in this review we'll tell you how to setup this wireless card using ndiswrapper on Ubuntu 8.04.
In the market for a simple notebook stand but aren't interested in the various notebook cooling contraptions like the Thermaltake iXoft or Prime Cooler CoolPad? If so, you may be interested in the Logitech Alto Express. The Alto Express is a notebook stand that raises the notebook display for increased viewing comfort and convenience.
Leading up to the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) last month in Las Vegas, we received many invitations to check out various booths, receptions, other displays, and even a Gulfstream G5 flight out to the San Fernando Valley. One of the booth invitations we received was from a company known as OtterBox. Their booth had consisted of various protective cases for PDAs, iPods, phones, and GPS devices. We had initially written off Otterbox as a company of little interest to our Linux readers seeing as they just manufactured cases for consumer electronic devices. However, that was before we had noticed the OtterBox 7030. The OtterBox 7030 is a notebook case that is not only waterproof but also crushproof, can even be dropped up to a meter with your notebook inside, and of course is engineered to prevent any damage to the laptop itself. Keeping in mind we are the ones that boil USB flash drives and use motherboards to open beer bottles, we have our hands today on the OtterBox 7030. Is this polypropylene chassis able to protect a notebook inside when it's being used as a winter sled?
Normally at Phoronix we don't look at any digital photography products, but the DXG-110 from DXG USA had caught our attention as being the first 10 megapixel digital camera available for under $200 USD (it retails for $170 to be exact). Higher megapixel cameras are often misinterpreted by consumers as meaning a higher quality product, while that is not always the case and with the DXG-110 you shouldn't set out looking to take professional-grade photographs. In this article we are also looking at some of the photo management programs available to Linux users.
157 peripherals articles published on Phoronix.