Update: Transforming the Transformer

Published on January 26, 2022 at 6:57 am by LEW


I did manage to get Linux working on that old transformer from this post.  So in this post I thought I would go over the results.

The purpose of the post was to determine if Linux would allow older hardware to be useful again, So I will be focusing both on the hardware comparability, as well as how well the hardware ran.

Hardware Compatibility

I will need to do some more testing after my upcoming excursion is finished, as I will be putting the transformer and the rest of my equipment into storage fairly soon.

But overall the hardware was as I expected. With the exception of the 1.2 megapixel front facing web came, every thing seems to be working.

Adding the firmware during the install did make the Wi-Fi card functional. While I did not test the functionality, the software reported the Bluetooth seemed as functional, which was the surprise, as I did not think the firmware package would support it. Something to look into latter.

There are actual drivers for  the webcam out there. However they have not been rolled into the Linux kernel from what I researched. And they do appear to need some serious work to be usable. A USB webcam I plugged in worked fine and had much higher resolution. Note the webcam was not working under Windows 10 either. I think the ASUS drivers where for Windows 8.


This is where it all comes together. Does older hardware actually perform better using Linux. And the answer is a resounding “yes, but it depends“. Let me explain.

Drive Space: Windows 10 weighs in at around 15 gigabytes (after I cleared a lot of the old update files), half the available hard drive space. My Linux install with multiple Desktops weighed in at around 5 gigabytes. So a big improvement there, less worry about completely filling the hard drive.

Boot Speed: Windows 10 has only one boot speed form a complete shutdown, and that is slow. However Windows 10 has a trick where normally it never completely shuts down. There are some issue with doing this, but that is out of scope.

Linux, running a command line only interface was blazing fast to boot, no contest. However, installing a full desktop and display manager really put the brakes on boot speed. With KDE being only slightly faster. Gnome was to close to call. With just a windows manager and a light display manager it is definitely faster but you loose some functionality,  like full touchscreen support.

Operations: Without a doubt, even the most bloated desktops under Linux were definitely smoother and faster. However, in some case,  not by that much.

Where I really saw an improvement was with lighter desktops or Window Managers only. However speed comes at the cost of features when going light. Out of the desktops I tested, Cinnamon seems to offer the best performance with the most features.

If you are not worried about the touch screen, you could go with something really simple like Slim and JWM (see this series of articles).


Depending on what you are looking for (performance vs features), switching to Linux can be a mixed bag.With Linux, in a lot of cases, speed comes with less features and eye candy. You need to analyze your usage habits and what you really need and want from your old obsolete computer experience.

If you need the full blown desktops with all the bells and whistles, you will save some space by switching to Linux, but you will not gain much in performance.

If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, you can definitely increase performance of older machines by switching to Linux.

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