Hardware News Archives
When combining the LinuxBIOS with the Linux kernel, BusyBox, a petite X11 server, Matchbox window manager, and rxvt, the LinuxBIOS is capable of possessing a graphical user interface. Uwe Hermann has covered this LinuxBIOS interface as well as linking to a YouTube video that shows off the GUI. There are also screenshots on the LinuxBIOS Wiki.
10 March 2007
The GIGABYTE M57SLI-S4 is the first desktop motherboard to officially support the LinuxBIOS. This NVIDIA-based AM2 motherboard features SLI support and a whole lot more while being supported by the LinuxBIOS. More information on this GIGABYTE motherboard is available here. We'll work on a Linux review of this motherboard shortly.
25 February 2007
According to newly revealed information, Dell customers are wanting Linux pre-installed on their notebooks and desktop PCs. In fact, it is one of the most requested features from this leading PC manufacturer; having the ability to multi-boot into Windows XP or Windows Vista or no Microsoft partition at all are among the options. More information is available at Dell Idea Storm.
21 February 2007
Over the weekend we had conducted an interesting overclocking experiment in the middle of a Michigan blizzard. While the Pentium 4 530 and Abit AW9D had not made it as far as we had hoped, it certainly was an interesting and enjoyable experiment. If you enjoyed our Overclocking, The Natural Way article, please be sure to Digg the article.
4 February 2007
Along side Intel's Xeon 5300 series launch, Tyan is today introducing the TyanPSC Typhoon 600 series of personal supercomputers. The Typhoon 600 series use the Clovertown quad-core processor, well, many quad-core processors. The TyanPSC T-650QX offers a total of 40 cores for a total amount of 256 GFLOPS of power while the T-630DX provides 128 GFLOPS of power. More on the TyanPSC Typhoon 600 series can be found here.
14 November 2006
For months now we have been passing along bits of information on the Sugo SG02, and while this SFF chassis has still not been released, SilverStone is already hard at work designing the Sugo SG03. We have heard from a credible source that the SilverStone Sugo SG03 is indeed under development. While the Sugo SG02 remains nearly the same as the Sugo SG01 Evolution with a few exceptions, the SilverStone Sugo SG03 will introduce a completely different design concept. Initially the Sugo SG03 was slated for release later this year, but with the delays faced by the SG02, the Sugo SG03 will likely not make its public appearance until the middle of next year -- perhaps at Computex Taipei 2007. The details are few at time, but we will continue to work on acquiring additional information on this SFF chassis. In the mean time, feel free to share your thoughts on the SilverStone Sugo series at the Phoronix Forums, where we also have additional details on the Sugo SG02.
16 October 2006
Sneaking out yesterday was the second release candidate for ALSA version 1.0.13. There are quite a few extensive changes in this development release compared to the first 1.0.13 release candidate. The complete set of changes for Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) v1.0.13RC2 can be found here.
16 September 2006
As it has been almost a month since any Razer updates have been passed along, here are a few additional notes. Phoronix still has yet to hear back from Razer Inc on whether they plan to port their drivers to Linux, release specifications, or do anything else to help the Linux community. Phoronix still plans on assisting Linux-Gamers and their Lomoco project. While the project is focused on Logitech mice, Andreas Schneider had mentioned Razer mice support could be appended into the next major version (v2.0). Meanwhile, we are also working on getting support for the Razer Diamondback and Krait into the SourceForge RazerTool project -- at this point it only supports the Copperhead. After updating one of our Copperhead's to firmware version 6.17i, RazerTool had worked flawlessly under Fedora Core 5. Previously, there were problems due to firmware version 6.13. Once we have any additional Razer + Linux details to pass along, we will do so.
11 June 2006
Creative Lab's open-source website has been updated with word that they are working on Linux drivers for their X-Fi lineup of high-end sound cards, which have been quite popular with Windows gamers. However, these closed-source Creative drivers will not be available for Linux until second quarter of 2007. These proprietary drivers will have full support for ALSA and OpenAL v1.1. EAX will also be supported by these closed Creative drivers. This announcement can be found here. No word yet when the open-source Advanced Linux Sound Architecture will support the Creative Labs X-Fi series.
2 June 2006
As Phoronix has been doing for a while now, we have been lobbying to hopefully have Razer Inc release the specifications to their mice, open-source their drivers, or create viable Linux drivers -- or practically anything to support the Linux community. While we have been tempted to start a community-driven project for this *NIX Razer support in GPL fashion, it seems that a SourceForge project has spawned that attempts to do just that. This project is dubbed RazerTool. Its initial release appears to have just occurred two days ago, and at this time it is only known to work with the Razer Copperhead with both a command-line interface and GTK client. Some of the features include the ability to switch profiles, alter DPI/Hz/buttons, and upgrade firmware -- among other things. In our shot with RazerTool v0.0.6 and GNU/Linux, the software had failed to communicate with the Copperhead device. Phoronix has been discussing with the leader behind lomoco (Logitech Mouse Control) project at Linux-Gamers, and support for the Razer mice may be integrated with lomoco v2.0. Still no word yet on the official outlook for Linux from Razer.
18 May 2006
In the midst of our Razer Krait review, we had posed the question to Razer in regards to open-source drivers or mouse specifications. Whether or not Razer decides to open up their Windows display driver and software, or release any product specifications to allow for third party drivers and software to be built -- which would allow greater Linux support -- it will be interesting to see what occurs. To this point we have yet to hear an official response other than "internal discussion between departments". We can only hope that Razer will see Linux gamers as another viable market. As we had mentioned in the Razer Copperhead and Krait reviews, their gaming mice do work under Linux using the generic USB mouse drivers -- and they do truly perform great -- but they do lack the Razer-specific features that are available from the Windows drivers. The Razer hardware themselves have proved to be phenomenal time and time again from our various reviews of their product with using their products extensively. While official access to their specifications or driver source would be ideal, there is the option of developing an independent GPL project to allow these vendor-specific options -- similar to Linux-Gamers work with lomoco (Logitech Mouse Control) and based off of lmctl. If no official support is granted, Phoronix may be starting and supporting such a Razer Linux project in the coming months. In fact, we have already began to purchase additional Razer mice for development purposes. We have already posted a tidbit of information on the Copperhead and Krait. If anyone would be interested in working on a Razer project for Linux, feel free to contact Phoronix. Otherwise if you are a Linux Razer user or simply would like seeing this official support, feel free to voice your thoughts with Razer. Below are a few pieces of information in regards to the Razer Diamondback with Linux. cat /proc/bus/input/devices I: Bus=0003 Vendor=1532 Product=0002 Version=0100 N: Name="Razer Razer Diamondback Optical Mouse" P: Phys=usb-0000:00:03.0-1/input0 S: Sysfs=/class/input/input1 H: Handlers=mouse0 event1 B: EV=7 B: KEY=7f0000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 B: REL=103 lsusb -vv Bus 002 Device 002: ID 1532:0002 Device Descriptor: bLength 18 bDescriptorType 1 bcdUSB 2.00 bDeviceClass 0 (Defined at Interface level) bDeviceSubClass 0 bDeviceProtocol 0 bMaxPacketSize0 8 idVendor 0x1532 idProduct 0x0002 bcdDevice 1.00 iManufacturer 1 Razer iProduct 2 Razer Diamondback Optical Mouse iSerial 0 bNumConfigurations 1 Configuration Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 2 wTotalLength 34 bNumInterfaces 1 bConfigurationValue 1 iConfiguration 0 bmAttributes 0xa0 Remote Wakeup MaxPower 100mA Interface Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 4 bInterfaceNumber 0 bAlternateSetting 0 bNumEndpoints 1 bInterfaceClass 3 Human Interface Devices bInterfaceSubClass 1 Boot Interface Subclass bInterfaceProtocol 2 Mouse iInterface 0 HID Device Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 33 bcdHID 1.10 bCountryCode 0 Not supported bNumDescriptors 1 bDescriptorType 34 Report wDescriptorLength 79 Report Descriptors: ** UNAVAILABLE ** Endpoint Descriptor: bLength 7 bDescriptorType 5 bEndpointAddress 0x81 EP 1 IN bmAttributes 3 Transfer Type Interrupt Synch Type None Usage Type Data wMaxPacketSize 0x0008 1x 8 bytes bInterval 10
12 May 2006
Of the products we have been tampering with for some time now in preparation for their Linux reviews has been the Razer Krait. Some of the features for the Razer Krait include optimizations for Real Time Strategy (RTS) and Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming (MMOG). Its engine is based upon the Razer Precision Infrared technology, and various other technologies that we will be discussing in its review soon. For any developers out there working on projects like lomoco for Linux mouse control with vendor specific options, we have a few pieces of information to share today. For our Razer Copperhead information, it is posted here. If any developers are interested in working on a Linux Razer mouse project, feel free to contact Phoronix. With normal usage, we have yet to experience any Linux compatibility problems thus far. cat /proc/bus/input/devices I: Bus=0003 Vendor=1532 Product=0003 Version=2310 N: Name="Razer Razer 1600dpi 3 button optical mouse" P: Phys=usb-0000:00:03.2-1/input0 S: Sysfs=/class/input/input1 H: Handlers=mouse0 event1 B: EV=7 B: KEY=7f0000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 B: REL=103 lsusb -vv Bus 003 Device 002: ID 1532:0003 Device Descriptor: bLength 18 bDescriptorType 1 bcdUSB 2.00 bDeviceClass 0 (Defined at Interface level) bDeviceSubClass 0 bDeviceProtocol 0 bMaxPacketSize0 8 idVendor 0x1532 idProduct 0x0003 bcdDevice 23.10 iManufacturer 1 Razer iProduct 2 Razer 1600dpi 3 button optical mouse iSerial 0 bNumConfigurations 1 Configuration Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 2 wTotalLength 34 bNumInterfaces 1 bConfigurationValue 1 iConfiguration 3 HID-compliant mouse bmAttributes 0xa0 Remote Wakeup MaxPower 100mA Interface Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 4 bInterfaceNumber 0 bAlternateSetting 0 bNumEndpoints 1 bInterfaceClass 3 Human Interface Devices bInterfaceSubClass 1 Boot Interface Subclass bInterfaceProtocol 2 Mouse iInterface 0 HID Device Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 33 bcdHID 1.10 bCountryCode 0 Not supported bNumDescriptors 1 bDescriptorType 34 Report wDescriptorLength 79 Report Descriptors: ** UNAVAILABLE ** Endpoint Descriptor: bLength 7 bDescriptorType 5 bEndpointAddress 0x81 EP 1 IN bmAttributes 3 Transfer Type Interrupt Synch Type None Usage Type Data wMaxPacketSize 0x0008 1x 8 bytes bInterval 10
8 May 2006
Last weekend Phoronix had covered The BoxHeads April 2006 LAN event, which had proved to be a success with the number of gaming participants, prizes, and overall atmosphere throughout the entire day. In the morning, however, there was a minor power situation. The power inside of the building managed to fluctuate quite a bit, which caused the demise of almost ten systems. The power supplies in the affected machines had largely blown capacitors and burnt PCBs. While The BoxHeads had proudly replaced all damaged components, today we have a few photos to share (which turned out surprisingly well). The two photographs below show the smoke that was simply pumping out of a single machine immediately after the problem had occurred. Additional images from the LAN are available inside the Phoronix article.
26 April 2006
OCZ Technology Group, a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory and components, today announced the launch of the extremely powerful GameXStream Power Supplies—a new line of PSUs for performance-minded gamers. After their first power supply release in June 2004, OCZ has become known as a pioneer in high-performance PSUs for overclockers and gamers. With the release of the 600 and 700 watt GameXStreams, OCZ offers affordable power solutions that are among the most powerful power supply units on the market today. More on the GameXStream Power Supply LineHigh Efficiency is available at OCZ Technology.
26 April 2006
Compro Technology, an innovative leading developer and manufacturer of PC multimedia products launched VideoMate S350, a powerful digital satellite TV tuner card with analog video/audio capture. It accompanies Philips 9-bit ADC chip, the state-of-the-art silicon digital TV tuner, Compro Picture Purifying Technology, and Power Up Technology to provide superior HDTV video quality reception on your PC. Not only watching free-to-air high quality DVB-S TV shows on your PC as a regular DVB-S card, accompanied by Compro’s exclusive Power Up Technology - it can automatically boot up your system from the Windows Shut Down (ACPI S5), Stand by (ACPI S3), or Hibernation (ACPI S4) mode and record your favorite shows, then ComproDTV 2 will automatically shutdown your system when recording is completed. Friendly Remote controlled power on/off - to enhance the home entertainment PC experience, users can power up and shutdown their PC with the bundled ergonomic design remote control. More information on the Compro Technology VideoMate S350.
25 April 2006
Back during COMDEX Las Vegas in 2002, Broadcom had shipped the industry's first 54Mb/s 2.4GHz wireless LAN solution, which was named the BCM4306. This 802.11g/b BCM4306 solution was accompanied by the BCM4309 dual-band, BCM2050, and BCM4702. While we haven't had much in the way of problems with some Linux distributions -- specifically Debian-based distros -- some others haven't faired quite as well with out-of-the-box support. The Broadcom BCM4306 solution that we have been using is PCI based and came from Minitar with a model number of MN54GPC. With a bit of tweaking, we have had no troubles getting the Minitar MN54GPC (BCM4306) working with Fedora Core 5 and the 2.6.16-1.2080_FC5 kernel. lspci -v 03:04.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller Subsystem: Micro-Star International Co., Ltd. Unknown device 6825 Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 32, IRQ 19 Memory at fb028000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=8K] Capabilities:  Power Management version 2 While the Broadcom BCM4306 Linux support isn't comparable to the magnificent open-source capabilities with the Atheros 802.11g Chipsets and the use of MadWifi, the BCM4306 does have some Linux drivers available. The open-source Broadcom 43xx Linux driver is quite experimental as Broadcom has yet to publicly release the specifications for their WiFi chips. We had attempted to use these BC43XX drivers with the Minitar MN54GPC, however, the module would fail to work in our tests. We had used the bcm43xx-fwcutter RPM from the official Fedora 5 Extras repository, and had extracted the card's firmware out of the Windows wireless drivers. In fact, we had tried cutting multiple Windows drivers to attain the firmware but in all instances in combination with the Linux BCM43XX drivers, the card had failed to work. Below is an example of the bcm43xx-fwcutter at work. bcm43xx-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware ~/Desktop/bcmwl5a/bcmwl5.sys bcm43xx-fwcutter can cut the firmware out of /root/Desktop/bcmwl5a/bcmwl5.sys filename : bcmwl5.sys version : 126.96.36.199 MD5 : 5e58a3148b98c9f356cde6049435cb21 extracting bcm43xx_microcode2.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_microcode4.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_microcode5.fw ... *****: Sorry, it's not posible to extract "bcm43xx_microcode11.fw". *****: Extracting firmware from an old driver is bad. Choose a more recent one. *****: Luckily bcm43xx driver doesn't include microcode11 uploads at the moment.*****: But this can be added in the future... extracting bcm43xx_pcm4.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_pcm5.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_initval01.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_initval02.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_initval03.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_initval04.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_initval05.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_initval06.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_initval07.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_initval08.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_initval09.fw ... extracting bcm43xx_initval10.fw ... The alternate option (which ultimately worked) was using ndiswrapper. After building ndiswrapper on Fedora Core 5, we simply had installed the Windows Broadcom display drivers (bcmwl5/bcmwl5a) following by creating a network-script entry for wlan0, and then loading the ndiswrapper module. With those steps (among a few other tweaks) accomplished, the Minitar MN54GPC (BCM4306) had no problems running under Fedora Core 5 with the 2.6.16 kernel. One little issue that we had faced though, was while running NetworkManager, we had experienced some connection issues with one of our wireless networks. ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf ndiswrapper -l Installed drivers: bcmwl5 driver installed bcmwl5a driver installed, hardware present ndiswrapper -v utils version: 1.8 driver version: 1.13 vermagic: 2.6.16-1.2080_FC5 686 REGPARM 4KSTACKS gcc-4.1 cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-wlan0 DEVICE=wlan0 BOOTPROTO=dhcp ONBOOT=yes TYPE=Wireless NETMASK= DHCP_HOSTNAME= IPADDR= DOMAIN= HWADDR= ESSID=phoronix CHANNEL=1 MODE=Auto RATE=Auto USERCTL=no IPV6INIT=no PEERDNS=yes With a bit of tweaking, it certainly wasn't difficult to get the Broadcom BCM4306 802.11g device working with Fedora Core 5 using ndiswrapper. ifconfig wlan0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:0C:76:71:4D:89 inet addr:192.168.0.123 Bcast:192.168.0.255 Mask:255.255.255.0 inet6 addr: fe80::20c:76ff:fe71:4d89/64 Scope:Link UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1 RX packets:3490 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0 TX packets:4691 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0 collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 RX bytes:271196 (264.8 KiB) TX bytes:4223349 (4.0 MiB) Interrupt:19 Memory:fb028000-fb02a000 iwconfig wlan0 IEEE 802.11g ESSID:"phoronix" Nickname:"phortest" Mode:Auto Frequency:2.437 GHz Access Point: 00:11:95:BC:10:CF Bit Rate=24 Mb/s Tx-Power:25 dBm RTS thr=2347 B Fragment thr=2346 B Encryption key:off Power Management:off Link Quality:100/100 Signal level:-73 dBm Noise level:-256 dBm Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0 Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0
16 April 2006
While this product will not be featured in a Phoronix review, we simply wanted to pass along a few additional details about Hewlett-Packard's Deskjet 5940xi printer under Linux. Some of the features for the HP Deskjet 5940xi include borderless 8.4 x 11-inch printing, optional six-ink printing, ink-backup mode, picture bridge support, and auto-off power savings. When it came time to install the 5940xi printer, we had attached it to a Fedora Core 5 system with the 2.6.16-1.2080_FC5 kernel and GNOME v2.14. Turning the system on, Linux had detected an attached printer and we simply selected the appropriate printer and driver from the list. After that, the system was set to go with all of its printing needs. Printing everything from photographs to documents, the print quality was satisfactory and in all of the testing we had ran across no problems when it came to the Linux setup. If any Linux users happen to come across any Hewlett-Packard Deskjet 5940xi issues, feel free to contact us.
15 April 2006
Among Antec's many popular chassis and power supply products is the P180. On top of the P180 in the Performance One series is the P150 and P160W. The Antec P180 will be featured in an upcoming Phoronix review, but in the meantime we have a few images to share today. Some of the P180 features include TAC compliant, power supply isolation chamber, extensive cooling system, and a double hinge door design. More information on the P180 is available at Antec's website.
11 April 2006
For those in the market for a lock supportive of Kensington's lock, the Kensington MicroSaver computer security cable may be the perfect candidate. On top of the Kensington lifetime warranty, they also have a guaranteed notebook replacement warranty. In other words, if your laptop is properly secured and is ever stolen, Kensington will replace it. The product's slim lock barrel is designed for low-profile notebook computers (but is compatible with any Kensington lock whether it be an LCD monitor or projector) and offers a patented T-bar locking mechanism and super-strong cable. The cable is composed of steel and Kevlar fiber with stainless steel braiding. Kensington's anti-theft warranty is limited on a $1,500 USD reimbursement. Information on the Kensington MicroSaver is available here.
11 April 2006
Back in September of last year we at Phoronix first broke news that NVIDIA's infamous SoundStorm Technology may make a comeback in an article we had entitled SoundStorm 2: SoundStorm Strikes Back? In the article we mentioned the likelihood that SoundStorm would likely be revamped and make a comeback, while repeatedly NVIDIA had told the public that such a technology was dead. In that article we mentioned -- We can almost say with certainty within the next six months or so NVIDIA will be unveiling new high-end audio solutions for its products. Whether it will rejuvenate the original SoundStorm or be redesigned in its entirety, only time will tell if an audio re-birth is imminent on NVIDIA's internal roadmap. Well, a little over six months later, we have now started to see additional details emerge about this NVIDIA APU comeback. Scott Wasson of The Tech Report has reported that coming out of Sony's presentation at GDC (Game Developers Conference 2006) that the PlayStation 3 may be powered by such a NVIDIA audio technology. The presentation states 8 Ch. Audio and among the features being discussed is true hardware DSPs and 3D positional audio capabilities. While we have a few additional inklings as to what the NVIDIA "SoundStorm 2" shall hold, we shall save them for another date in the near future :) One thing we will say though, is that this new audio technology will not be limited to the Sony PlayStation 3. Of course, our original SoundStorm 2: SoundStorm Strikes Back? article is still available for public viewing here.
30 March 2006
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