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Image of MX 3203 LaptopGQ(Great Quality) Brand MX 3203 Laptop on Linux

This laptop is a low cost ($450 October 2005) machine sold at Fry's Electronics and their on-line venue Outpost.com . This seems to be a RE-Branded ECS G320


I have access to this laptop which belongs to my partner, so I have not removed Windows from the machine I have simply used a live Linux CD based on Knoppix to test out the components for Linux compatibility. A machine of this price with a M$ Tax refund would be very enticing.

Boot/X

I booted this machine up with a DSL boot CD, and loaded the entire system into RAM. The auto detect seemed to work, and the Xwindows session opened without a hitch. The network card was obviously working, and I surfed a bit to check it out, and had no problem.

Audio

The next test was Audio, DSL has xmms, so i ran it and hit play, and was listening to classical music (the default file is a classical Internet radio station). The built in speakers seem to work fine, though are not very loud. Since OSS audio works, presumably it works on all cases. This machine has mini-plugs for mic and headphones, the headphones work fine, but i have not tested the mic.

CD/ DVD

I booted from this so, obviously that works. I also had the system copy the root from the CD to RAM and run from a RAM disk, and burned a copy of the DSL CD so post-boot access works fine, no surprise here.

Network

This machine has a compatible Ethernet card, but no built on WiFi, this seems to me a benefit for a Linux system, as you are not stuck powering a component that you likely can't use anyway.  The Four USB ports offer the option of  grabbing a USB WiFi adapter for which you know a driver exists.

Experience

I have not used this machine much. The default configuration seems to eat through the battery much faster then seems reasonable to me (about 1.5 h). The battery is small ( 4 cell ). An 8 cell ( or ) version claiming 3.5h life can be bought ( not tested ~ $150 Oct 2005)

The lack of PCMCIA seems reasonable at this point in history, and the army of USB ports seems to deal with the problem well. The  only drawback is that all these ports are on the back right side of the machine, exactly where your leg would be of you set the thing on your lap while sitting in bed, so I'm in favor of 6" USB AM/AF jumpers to get the stuff from back there to somewhere more convenient, like double-sided taping the WiFi adapter to the back of the screen.

For techs of various sorts the inclusion of a serial and a parallel port seems rather friendlier then the basic USB only design would otherwise suggest. Running your EPROM programmer or your robot over serial/parallel are still possible, even though other laptops have abandoned these versatile ports.
Processor: Via C3 running at 1.2 Ghz. Presumably this processor is very energy efficient
Memory: 256 M
HardDrive: 40G
Network: via Rhine 100BaseT
Modem: exists, presumably winmodem
Audio: AC97 compatible
Video: 14.1" XGA
CD/DVD: CDRW/DVD
OS: Ships with Windows XP HOME
Ports:
USB 2.0 x 4
VGA x 1
Serial x 1
Parallel x 1
KB/Mouse(shared) x 1
Audio in (mini-plug) x 1
Audio out (mini-plug) x 1
100BaseT (RJ45) x 1
modem x 1
Power:
19V power supply
large (3.0mm??) plug on side.
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