Evaluation of imaging hardware represents a vital component of system design. In small-animal SPECT imaging, this evaluation has become increasingly difficult with the emergence of multi-pinhole apertures and adaptive, or patient-specific, imaging. This paper will describe two methods for hardware evaluation using reconstructed images. The first method is a rapid technique incorporating a system-specific non-linear, three-dimensional point response. This point response is easily computed and offers qualitative insight into an aperture's resolution and artifact characteristics. The second method is an objective assessment of signal detection in lumpy backgrounds using the channelized Hotelling observer (CHO) with 3D Laguerre-Gauss and difference-of-Gaussian channels to calculate area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC). Previous work presented at this meeting described a unique, small-animal SPECT system (M 3R) capable of operating under a myriad of hardware configurations and ideally suited for image quality studies. Measured system matrices were collected for several hardware configurations of M 3R. The data used to implement these two methods was then generated by taking simulated objects through the measured system matrices. The results of these two methods comprise a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis that is well-suited for hardware assessment.