MaxSelect Mission A330
Russian version of the text. Listed on TuxMobil.org
I have bought a notebook, well, a laptop, MaxSelect Mission A330.
is a trademark of a Moscow computer shop Atlantic Computers.
I was trying to find a balance between Linux compatibility, power, weight and price. This balance I found in exchange for a bit lower quality. Four worst drawbacks of this model are: 1) it's too hot; 2) display could be better; 3) there are no RS-232 and LPT ports; 4) speakers are of low notebook quality. I do not consider the absence of 3D on videocard a weakness - I don't need 3D; but those who need should take this into account.
In other aspects I am satisfied with the notebook. It is powerful enough, silent and not too heavy. Also I am glad I've found a computer shop that officially supports Linux. MaxSelect produces its own distribution based on ALT Linux Compact. There is a specialist in the shop that knows Linux, hardware compatibility issues and MaxSelect products; I spent a few hours consulting about notebook models, and I got more answers than asked questions!
I am not totally satisfied with the service. Some of emails to email@example.com went unanswered. They promised me a newer version of their distribution based on Linux kernel 2.6.12, but I didn't find the disk in the box, and my email with questions when and where can I get the disk was unanswered too. After I've bought the computer I found the hard disk was partitioned in a very weird way - 20 Gigabytes with XFS and 60 G with FAT32. The WiFi card is Intel PRO/Wireless 2200 B/G but the only wifi driver on the disk was Mad WiFi. So I decided to drop the installed system altogether and install Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 from my CD set.
It is the first computer I installed Debian 3.1 from scratch (I upgraded all my other computers from Debian 3.0 using dselect and aptitude) so I could try the famous new Debian Installer. Well, I found I kinda like the program. The Installer recognized all hardware (except for video card) and installed all drivers except for ipw2200 which is so non-free that even in the non-free section of the Debian archive there is only a source code downloader but not the driver nor firmware. It seems I bought a slightly wrong wifi adapter - I should spent more time trying to find an adapter with more free driver and firmware.
Below is a table with detailed description of the hardware, drivers and other software. Links provided for software that is not in the Debian distribution.
The supplied external AC/DC power adapter is small and light; it can be used for voltage from 120V to 250V; on either sides of the adapter there are cords for about 1.5 meters length. Builtin cooler is very quiet (especially compared with my desktop monster), though not completely silent; it's powerful enough to cool the processor down to 50-60°C even during hot summer (70-80°C under very heavy procesor load like transcoding video).
Weight 2,7 kg. Size 326*277*36 mm. Price $1000. Warranty 2 years. Documentation states that Li-Ion battery can lasts for at least 600 charge/discharge cycles.
Comparison with my other computers:
(1) Encode 4 gigabytes VOB files using Transcode with FFmpeg codecs.
Computer Processor Frequency, MHz BogoMIPS Disk, RPM PyStone benchmarks Compiles kernel 2.6.12 with modules, min Encode a DVD to an AVI1 Comments Notebook AMD Sempron 2600+ 1600 3200 5400 26500 14 real 90m35s
Max load average: 2.6;
Max temperature: 74C even with an external fan;
Swap used: no.
Desktop AMD Athlon XP 1600+ 1400 2760 7200 22800 12 real 128m34s
Max load average: 4.6;
max temperature: 74C;
swap used: 8 megabytes.
Server Pentium III 450 890 5160 40 N/A
After a year the grey color is slightly peeled under the right arm but is not changed in other places. Symbols on the keyboard still are in good shape. Some keys in the keyboard started to fall in.